No one can deny that diamonds are a fan favorite. They sparkle, match everything, and dazzle through generations. What’s not to love? Well, for many: the price point. In this guide, we’re comparing white topaz vs. diamond.
Is there a budget-friendly alternative to diamonds? You bet, and it’s called white topaz.
This naturally colorless gem is less pricey than other substitutes like white sapphire but satisfies those who still want a natural gem. Unfamiliar with white topaz? No sweat! Let’s go over some quick facts to get you up to speed.
What is White Topaz?
If you’re a December baby, you might be familiar with white topaz’s more popular cousin: blue topaz. Topaz gemstones come in a variety of colors, but white topaz is actually its purest form. You might even call it the crown jewel of the topaz family.
Why? The transparent quality means the gem is natural and free of impurities. What do we mean by impurities, though? Impurity comes from the presence of a non-essential element. In other words, if the color-causing element wasn’t there, the internal structure would still be intact.
This isn’t the only trait that makes white topaz special. Typically found hiding within inactive volcanoes, it only forms when water from surrounding rocks crystallizes magma into a rock called pegmatite. Topaz is found inside this rock and becomes colorless once it’s exposed to the sunlight. Pretty neat, right?
Given its hidden nature, it’s no surprise that the word “topaz” actually comes from the Greeks, meaning “to seek.” Plenty of visitors to Texas’ Hill Country regularly seek out glimpses of white topaz in the Llano Uplift, an extraordinary geological dome elevated above its surroundings. While most white topaz comes from Brazil, you can also visit Topaz Mountain in Utah to find some yourself.
Have you fallen in love with white topaz? Excellent! Before you take the leap and make a purchase, let’s compare white topaz vs. diamond.
Do Diamonds Reign Supreme?
Hollywood hasn’t created a song for the white topaz yet (what a shame!) but I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of tunes about diamonds. Why do diamonds captivate us so much? The phenomenon is centuries-old.
Legends of diamonds go back to ancient times, where it seems like everyone had a different way to interpret these little miracles. Some believed they were struck by lightning, others believed they came from fallen stars.
All folklore aside— what are diamonds?
The bond of carbon atoms in a diamond is so strong, they’re virtually unbreakable. It’s no wonder a diamond engagement ring is a symbol of everlasting love, a bond forged in the depths of the earth shining for all to see.
Think diamonds are just a girl’s best friend? Think again! Diamonds are popular for both men and women; popularly adorning earrings, watches, and cufflinks.
A well-cut diamond will sparkle from every angle. It’s scratch-resistant, so their gleam will last… well, forever!
Alright, now that we know the unique features of white topaz vs. diamonds, let’s put them side by side to see which one is right for you.
White Topaz vs. Diamond
While diamonds are produced mostly in Russia, Botswana, and Canada, places like Australia and African countries consistently produce them, too.
White topaz, on the other hand, comes mostly from deposits in Brazil, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. As we mentioned, though, they can also be found in the US in states like Texas and Utah.
Value & Price
You can probably guess which is more valuable when it comes to white topaz vs. diamonds. How much more valuable are diamonds? Well, cost-wise, it’s almost a 10x difference. A diamond will typically be in the thousands, while a white topaz will be in the hundreds.
This depends on a few factors, though. For a diamond, the bigger the size, the bigger the price tag. For a white topaz, bigger means cheaper because it shows more imperfections. As scratches build up over time, they’re much harder to see on a small one. Wait, scratches? How durable are these things? Glad you asked!
You know now that diamonds are scratch-resistant. White topaz, on the other hand, is not as tough. With a strong enough hit, it can break. It may not compete with the hardest gem in the world, but it does fare well in the competition overall.
We measure a gemstone’s hardness on the Mohs scale from 1-10. Diamonds lead the rest at a 10, but topaz comes in close at 8. This makes topaz the hardest naturally-occurring silicate mineral. In simpler terms, semi-precious topaz is closer to diamond than most others, only ranking below the precious sapphire and ruby.
But does it scratch? Yes, white topaz can get scratched while diamonds won’t. Over time, these scratches can build up and make it look duller. The bigger question is, will it still sparkle?
A gemstone’s appearance relates to three key features: clarity, color, and cut.
- Clarity is measured by the presence and visibility of internal inclusions. These are just minerals that got stuck inside during formation. Both have internal inclusions, so visibility is what matters. Remember what we said about imperfections in white topaz? If you’re comparing these two in equal sizes, the clarity is pretty equal.
- Color is another fairly equal comparison here. Both of these are naturally colorless in their purest state. This is part of the reason many prefer white topaz over synthetic options like cubic zirconia: they’re all-natural.
- The most popular cut for diamonds is the most brilliant: the round cut. It’s not surprising that its substitute’s round cut is also highly sought after. The difference between them comes down to the refractive index—a measure of gem brilliance. White topaz has a refractive index of 1.6, while diamonds are at 2.4.
Diamonds, therefore, reflect more light and you know what that means? Lots of sparkle!
If you have a diamond engagement ring, you’re going to have it on all the time. That means regular cleaning is essential. But can you clean white topaz the same way as diamonds? Not exactly.
White topaz is more susceptible to damage, so you can’t use any vibrating cleaners or heat on it like you can with a diamond. Both can handle a mild dish soap in warm water to get any dirt off. While diamonds can endure harsher methods of cleaning, this is the only safe method for white topaz.
White Topaz Vs. Diamond: Which is Right For You?
Whether you’re looking at a diamond engagement ring, necklace, or other jewelry, budget matters. But how will you choose between white topaz vs. diamond? Diamonds are pricey, but they show a symbolic commitment and their resilience makes them great heirlooms to pass down.
Not everybody can afford this investment, though, and that’s okay because white topaz is an amazing alternative! Diamonds will offer you a more vibrant, long-lasting sparkle, but a white topaz, with proper cleaning and care, will be just as eye-catching to onlookers who won’t know the difference.
Still debating? Why not have both? A diamond-centered ring with white topaz accents is a great compromise that will leave your loved one—and bank account—impressed with your choice.