Sparkling jewels add so much pizzazz to any outfit, and diamonds are often the jewel of choice. However, diamonds are not the only colorless gemstones used in jewelry. Here are four more gemstones that will give your jewelry collection plenty of sparkle. These gems are not only beautiful, but they are also more affordable than diamonds.
Moissanite outshines diamonds. It's true. Moissanite reflects light splendidly. When white light passes through an inclined surface, it splits into rainbow colors; this dispersion is called a gem's fire. Moissanite has twice the dispersion of diamonds, and of the mineral-based gemstones, only a diamond is harder than moissanite. Discovered in Arizona in 1893, moissanite has since been found in only small amounts, usually in or near a meteor crater. It is difficult to mine, so most moissanite used for jewelry is lab-grown. Read our moissanite jewelry fact sheet to learn more about this sparkling gem. Look for moissanite in solitaire settings that showcase the brilliance -- such as engagement rings, pendants and stud earrings.
White sapphires brighten a rainbow of gems. All gem-quality corundum, except ruby and padparadscha, is called sapphire. White sapphire is the colorless, pure form of the corundum mineral; it lacks the metal oxides that create colorful sapphires. Look for white sapphire as an accent to colored sapphires in jewelry. For example, a pretty ring might display a large yellow, pink or blue sapphire surrounded by white sapphires. You'll also find it in solitaire necklaces, stud earrings and some wedding rings as an affordable alternative to diamonds.
White topaz makes silver jewelry even shinier. Topaz is best known as a golden yellow or bright blue gem, but colorless topaz, although less common, is available, too. Most white topaz jewelry is made of sterling silver and features the gem mixed with other semiprecious gemstones, such as amethyst, blue or pink topaz, garnet and citrine. A mixture of white topaz and sterling silver or white gold makes sleek, sophisticated bracelets, pendants and rings.
Cubic zirconia jewelry accessorizes any wardrobe. Unlike the other stones on this list, cubic zirconia is a diamond simulant, meaning it is created to resemble diamonds and is not a natural gemstone. Cubic zirconia, commonly known as CZ, is zirconium oxide in cubic form. Clear CZ stones look like flawless diamonds and are the most popular diamond alternatives for fashion jewelry. Fine jewelry can also contain cubic zirconias. Many couples choose CZ engagement rings because they are beautiful, reasonably priced and, as a man-made gemstone, environmentally friendly.