Petalite Engagement Rings-The Pros And Cons

Brazilian PetaliteWhen it comes to clear gemstones, nature has provided lavishly. Not only is there an abundance of naturally-occurring gems to choose from, but a wide assortment growing in labs around the world.  With both nature and labs staying busy making us pretty fake diamond alternatives, it’s nice to know that we can also consider those rare and collectible gems like the Petalite.

What Exactly Is Petalite? In Simple Terms, It’s A Mineral

When you go to do a search on the properties of Petalite, you arrive at dozens of pages with deeply scientific terminology. Unless you have a degree in Gemology or Mining, thermal properties and other confusing jargon just doesn’t answer the questions we all want to know. Is it brilliant? Will it make a good fake diamond engagement ring? Is it affordable? Will it last?

Here Are A Few Interesting Facts About Petalite:

-Although Petalite can be found from the U.S.A to Burma to Switzerland, the clear variety of  quality gems for jewelry is only found in small pockets around the world.

-It has been touted as a “healing” stone that brings protection from angels. I suppose it couldn’t hurt to have an engagement ring that offers healing and protection since relationships can use all they help they can get.

Watching Light Refraction From Gemstones Is So Mesmerizing!

 

The Good Things About This Gemstone

I think that one of the best features about this gemstone option is its rarity. You just don’t see many women wearing Petalite jewelry of any type. It’s a great option for those who think-outside-the-traditional-ring-box.  When I first discovered Petalite, I was intrigued by the pretty, floral-like name of this gemstone.

Not So Great Things To Consider

There are two very differing opinions out there about Petalite. On one hand, it has been described as better suited for earrings and pendants, not rings. On the other hand, there are some gorgeous Petalite engagement rings featured on reputable jewelry sites online. The following chart shows how Petalite compares on the Mohs Scale of hardness.

Petalite Vs Cubic Zirconia Vs Diamond

DiamondsCubic ZirconiaPetalite
10 8 – 8.56 - 6.5

As you can see, Petalite is softer than Cubic Zirconia by almost two points. This will definitely make it challenging ( but not impossible) to maintain a scratch-free stone unless the wearer is skilled with wearing delicate jewelry items.

Would Petalite Be A Good Choice For An Engagement Ring?

One of the qualities that make a good choice for a fake diamond alternative is a stone that refracts light beautifully. For many, the closer you can get to diamond-like hardness, the better. That means less fuss and worry about scratching up your ring as you go about daily life.

Since nobody can walk around with their hand in an air sling to protect their engagement ring stones, softer gems can feel like a scary preposition. However, it’s not all bad news. Petalite is loved by collectors.

With the proper faceting, Petalite can sparkle and shine like a diamond. Gemporia.com offers a stunning video of their 1.55 ct Brazilian Itinga Petalite engagement ring in Sterling Silver.

If you don’t mind the extra TLC required of a Petalite, there is no reason why they wouldn’t make a lovely engagement ring.

 

 

 

 

Image Credits:

Brazilian Petalite, By DonGuennie (G-Empire The World Of Gems) (Own work http://www.g-empire.de) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Spinel Engagement Rings-The Hidden Gem

On my quest to search out fabulous fake diamond ring materials, I have stumbled upon more choices than I ever thought possible. There is so much out there beyond Cubic Zirconia land. Beyond the crystals, beyond the Rhinestones, past the sapphires and the topazes, we approach a vast abundance of fake diamond possibilities.

I can safely say that if a gemstone is hard enough to be polished, faceted and mounted, somebody out there has made it into a ring.

With so many of the colored gemstones available in clear or white versions, we have a smorgasbord of interesting choices. Another of those choices is a Spinel. Before I explain what it is, I want to mention that it has merit and value in its own right, not simply as a diamond substitute.

What Is A Spinel?

A Spinel is a natural mineral gemstone that comes in a wide variety of colors. Except for certain shades of yellow and green, Spinels cover the hues of the rainbow. The most popular colors are red and blue for their use as sapphire and ruby imitations. Some of the lavender shades are lovely.

These gemstones are mined in several different parts of the world, but the vast majority are mined in Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Secondary regions include Vietnam, Africa, parts of the Middle East and even Canada.

Is The Spinel Good For An Engagement Ring?

There are a few reasons why looking into a Spinel ring could make a lovely option for the bride-to-be:

  1. Although this gemstone is making a comeback, it still has a rare and unique aura about it. Spinel is an out-of-the-box choice for the woman who reveres her individuality.
  2.  With a Moh’s hardness of 8, it is a durable, scratch-resisitant gem that is very low maintenance.
  3. Pricing per carat weight differs with individual colors and cuts, but this website, Mdmayagems, gives you a great idea of the price points out there for loose stones.
  4. This might not be a reason, but it is something to consider; entertainment value. Your Spinel will bring curiosity seekers and give you the opportunity to spread the word around to friends and associates. You will be seen as avante garde, sophisticated and in-the-know about gems.

Spinel Engagement Rings From A Romantic Era

Daisyandstella Vintage 1920's Spinel bridal ring
Daisyandstella Vintage 1920’s Spinel bridal ring-with permission

Like every other gemstone known to man, many of today’s Spinel rings are actually created using lab-created stones. However, back in the day, the real thing was more plentiful.

Not only do historic pieces have romantic charm, you can’t beat the intricate detailing of vintage settings and the delight of owning a genuine stone.

This lovely ring showcases not only the hand-craftsmanship of the 14k gold setting and band, but gives  the Spinel center stone a brilliant focus.

Ring details and additional photos @ Daisyandstella Vintage Shop

Clear natural Spinels are quite rare these days unless you happen to find a beautiful vintage engagement ring like the one shown here.

The jewelry sites that I have researched seem to have more pale gray versions for the modern rings than those that are available through vintage or antique stores.  It seems clear Spinel was all the rage back then and you can see why when the stone is properly faceted for maximum sparkle.

Interesting Tidbits About This Gemstone

  • Red and blue Spinels look so much like rubies and sapphires, they were accidentally used on royal crown jewels in the days before gemstone testing existed.
  • Where rubies and sapphires are, Spinels are too. Mother Nature made it this way. It makes sense that they were confused one for the other.
  • According to legend, wearing Spinels are supposed to keep you calm and collected.
  • American gem lovers, according to this article on Jewelry T.V., Spinel has been found in New Jersey ( !) of all places.

A Lovely Example Of A Colorless Spinel

Isn’t this a fascinating lesson in faux diamond alternatives? There seems to be so many gorgeous options these days. For some, it can be maddening sifting through all of the stone choices. For others, it becomes a statement of freedom and release from tradition. Personally, I see it as yet one more gift of beauty offered by the earth for us to enjoy.

By the way, if you were as fascinated by the knowledge of Spinels in New Jersey as I was, you can actually participate in your own private dig adventure at Limecrest Quarry in Sparta, New Jersey. Don’t forget your boots!

 

 

Image Credits:

Red Spinel from Vietnam by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, Ruby from Tanzania by StrangerThanKindness (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/,daisyandstella,Vintage Women’s Clothing Shop from the 1900s – 1960s

White Topaz Vs White Sapphire-Which Makes A Better Fake Diamond?

Which one makes a better fake diamond; a white topaz or a white sapphire? As we travel along on the fake diamond road, we come to discover just how many options are out there in gemstone world. Any clear gemstone with durability, brilliance, quality faceting and a proper setting can make a beautiful engagement ring or wedding set.

So far, I have explored rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite as diamond alternatives. Today, I want to take a look at those gemstones that come in every color of the rainbow; sapphires and topazes. Mother Nature creates many clear versions of what we recognize as popular colored gems in the jewelry market.

Consider Your Favorite Gem In A Colorless Version

There are so many gems out there that are clear, valuable in their own right and make very beautiful pieces of jewelry. Many jewelers mix and match stones creating rings that may have a large carat weight white topaz surrounded by small diamonds or another clear gemstone. Before deciding which gemstone appears more diamond-like, let’s find out where they come from and what kind of qualities each has.

Topaz  Comes In Many Colors, But The Purest Form Is White

Colorless Topaz
Colorless Topaz

Without getting too technical and confusing, topaz is formed from granite rocks that contain more minerals than your average vitamin. In the purest form, topazes are naturally white or clear. Most, however, are tinged with color.

They are found in many parts of the world, including Brazil as shown by this raw beauty here. Topaz is classified as a mineral gemstone because it contains fluorine and aluminum. Many of our coveted gems are mineral gems. Isn’t the earth clever?

 

Gem Quality Colorless Sapphires Are More Rare

Natural Colorless Sapphire
Colorless Sapphire

Even though I call them white sapphires here, in jewelry lingo they are really colorless, not white. The colorless versions are also called corundum. Most of the world’s sapphires come from countries like Thailand, India, Myanmar and Africa.

Because they are on the rare side, there is a bigger market for the lab-created varieties. If you see a super-cheap white sapphire ring somewhere, it is probably going to be a simulated one. The beautiful colorless one shown here was found in Sri Lanka and remains a museum piece for gem lovers to admire.

 

A Simple Comparison Of The Two Gems

 White TopazTommaso Design White Topaz Solitaire Engagement RingWhite Sapphire
Average price per carat of a top-quality loose stone$15.00$800.00
Mohs Hardness scale89
CategoryMineral GemMineral Gem

Learn more about the Mohs Scale

As you can see, a sapphire is much more expensive than a topaz. Considering that a sapphire is almost as hard as a diamond, it makes for a durable choice in an engagement ring. However, I have seen some gorgeously sparkly  topaz rings on Pinterest that were cut and polished to perfection.

White Topaz Vs White Sapphire-Who Wins The Sparkle Test?

 

Which one would you choose? They both have beautiful shimmer. The sapphire is going to cost much more than the topaz, but comes in a close second for diamond-like hardness and durability.

Topaz is much more affordable which means you can get more carat weight for the money, but it isn’t as hard as Sapphire. If your budget allows and you need to make a serious decision between the two, go for the sapphire. Or the topaz. Or both. Clearly, both have the potential for a great fake diamond option.

We Never Have To Pretend That Our Clear Gemstone Engagement Ring Isn’t What It Is

If you decide to buy a white topaz or sapphire engagement ring, it’s up to you whether you want to correct your friends and family when they drool over your luscious new diamond ring. Or, you can simply let them think what they will.

All gemstones have heartfelt value and beauty simply because Mother Nature created them from the mysteries of the earth. Like the ladies in the videos above, they display their rings with pride and they should. Sapphires and Topazes are gorgeous gems.

If The Right Gem Cutter And Designer Molds The Ring, It Becomes A Jeweled Masterpiece

The traditional engagement ring and wedding band design is only as traditional as our own unique tastes. Couples are choosing a multitude of different styles, settings and stones these days helping to take the pressure off having to have a real diamond instead of something else just as meaningful.

For you gemstone fans: The Gem Geogallery of The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. gives you a great idea of the range of colors they come in. See the sapphires here or view the topaz grouping here.

 

 

 

Image Credits:

  1. Colorless Topaz-Minas Gerais, Brazil by Eurico Zimbres and Tom Epaminondas – Tom Epaminondas mineral collector, No Modifications, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/ 2. Natural Colorless Sapphire Crystal-Sri Lanka by Opacity, No Modifications, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/3. Comparison Rings courtesy of Amazon.com