Have you ever wondered which gemstones are white? Then you’ve come to the right place. There’s far more to explore in this category than diamonds alone. In this article, we’re going down the list of white gemstones — from milky gems to white sapphires to translucent.
In jewelry, white gemstones reign supreme. Of course, colorful gemstones are attractive and make beautiful accent stones or center stones for those who favor bold colors. That said, if you’re looking for a timeless gem that won’t break the bank, keep reading!
But first: why choose white gemstones for your jewelry?
Why Choose From This List Of White Gemstones?
Despite the myriad of colorful jewels in the world, white gems are indisputably the most popular and desirable. It seems counterintuitive, considering the appeal of flashier, more vibrant jewels. However, white and colorless gemstones are classic, timeless, and supported by thousands of years of jewelry trends.
That’s right; even the ancient pharaohs, queens, and rulers favored white gemstones. Not to suggest they’re better than colored gems, but for certain items like engagement rings, most buyers want a glittering rock — sans color.
Understandably so, considering white gems flatter every skin tone, are compatible with all jewelry metal colors, and accentuate every style. Ultimately, white gemstones are universal and versatile.
Topping the list of white gemstones are diamonds. No surprise there, but there are worthy candidates equally as appealing as diamonds. Among the elite are white sapphire, opals, pearls, and white topaz.
As you might notice, each of these stones has a unique color variation. White sapphires lean toward colorless while opal is milky white. Which beckons the question:
White Gems Vs. Colorless Stones: What’s The Difference?
Despite the two terms, white and colorless gemstones are considered in the same league. Some gems lean toward opaque white (like pearls and opals), while translucent gemstones like diamonds and white sapphires fall in the same group.
It might seem strange, but it has to do with the way the light enters and refracts through the surface of a gemstone. Diamonds are colorless, but in the light, they flash white sparkles. So, when we discuss white gems, we’re discussing any jewel that is white or colorless.
With that detail cleared up, let’s proceed to the list of white gemstones!
List of White Gemstones: Top 9
1. White Sapphire
Everyone loves sapphires, and it’s easy to see why: they come in every color, they’re highly durable and richly saturated. White sapphires are completely colorless and make great alternatives to diamonds.
You won’t have to worry about damaging a sapphire, as they rank at 9 (only one notch below diamonds) on the Mohs hardness scale. That’s because sapphires are basically pure corundum, a hard, inclusion-free mineral.
Large white sapphire can look cloudy and milky, but small accent stones look exact to diamonds! And that’s why they’re at the top of our list.
We couldn’t write this list of white gemstones without including the most popular gemstone of all — diamonds! The words diamond and engagement ring have become synonymous. There’s a good reason why: they sparkle more than any other gem, they’re the hardest gemstone in the world with a 10 Mohs ranking, and they’re scratch resistant.
Did we mention diamond brilliance? When you look at the glimmer and sparkle of a diamond, you can’t help but feel captivated by the bright distribution of light. Diamonds are also very clear and unclouded, making them a prime choice for engagement rings. After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend!
3. White Topaz
You may be more familiar with blue topaz, but did you know that in its natural state, most topaz gemstones are white? It makes sense that white topaz is an excellent diamond substitute. Thanks to topaz’s brilliance, they are often indistinguishable from diamonds to the natural eye.
Of course, they aren’t as hard or durable as diamonds, but they do pretty well with an 8 Mohs ranking. Best part? They’re much more affordable than diamonds, making them a great engagement ring stone candidate. If you frequently clean your white topaz stone, it’ll sparkle and dazzle for years to come.
Many people mistake white zircon for the cheaper diamond synthetic, cubic zirconia, which hasn’t helped zircon’s reputation. However, zircon is 100% natural and was around long before its synthetic misnomer. If you’re looking for an affordable diamond alternative, we suggest you take a closer look at white zircon.
Brilliant? Check. Sparkly? Check. Affordable? Check. Versatile? Check. What’s not to love? Well, we have to mention one caveat: Compared to the prior mentions on this list of white gemstones, zircon ranks between 6-7.5 for hardness. Still, if you have a skilled gemologist facet and set the stone, it’ll last a lifetime.
White quartz is a unique crystal that differs from most white gemstones. It’s not quite transparent, but not miky like an opal. Quartz is amply available and affordable, making it an accessible choice for all budgets.
While it doesn’t share the same prestige as diamonds or sapphires, white quartz is deserving of a double-take thanks to its glass-like aesthetic. If you’re looking for white gemstone fashion jewelry, look no further than quartz!
We’ve covered the list of colorless gemstones, let’s explore some white-hued variations, starting with the alluring moonstone. Raw, uncut moonstone is extremely popular right now, thanks to its earthy, organic intrigue. Moonstones are highly versatile and pair well with silver, gold, and rose gold.
Of course, you’ll want to take care with moonstone jewelry as it’s not too durable, ranking at 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale. Still, if you maintain your jewelry well, store it safely, and clean it regularly, there’s no reason why this white jewel shouldn’t sparkle as bright as the moon itself.
7. White Opal
Opals are notorious for their iridescence and fiery play of color. However, they’re anything but predictable, considering you won’t find two exact opal specimens. A less valuable but equally captivating variety is white opals. With a milky white body tone, white opals exhibit radiant opalescence.
Unlike faceted gems, white opals are cut cabochon — a smooth, polished variety that best displays their luster and sheen. What they lack in durability (5.5-6.5 on the Mohs scale), they make up for in affordability. Did we mention white opals are the most affordable opals in the world?
To mitigate potential damage, choose opal jewelry with protective settings. From there, let your white opal do what it does best: dance vibrantly in the light.
You might not instinctively think of pearls when you imagine white gemstones, but they absolutely deserve a spot on this list. Pearls are time-honored organic gemstones hailing from the earth’s oceans, rivers and waterways. Grown meticulously inside mollusc and oyster shells, pearls are natural phenomenons that make for gorgeous jewelry.
Thanks to the introduction of cultured pearls, these white gems have become much more affordable and widely available. Pearls encapsulate delicacy and femininity, but they are naturally soft and malleable. Be sure to take care of your pearls to ensure they remain beautiful long-term.
9. White Agate
People desire gemstones for their sparkle, brilliance, and shine. However, there’s another style of gems that are equally as intriguing: opaque gems. White agate is a milky gem with a smooth, wax-like sheen. These white gems make great statement pieces, as they’re typically larger and used in fashion jewelry. You can easily find white agate for a great price and add it to your fashion jewelry collection!
And that wraps up our list of white gemstones! Do you have a favorite? White gemstones are versatile, bright, and elegant. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong because there’s nothing as classy and timeless as a white gemstone!