In the past few years, some people have considered choosing a lab-created stone instead of a traditional natural diamond. But did you know that there are other natural alternatives to lab-created diamonds that offer similar beauty with a lower price and higher value? White sapphires are a perfect lower-cost option.
What are lab-created diamonds?
Lab-created diamonds, also known as synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds, lab-grown diamonds and many other names, are artificially created stones. They are sometimes confused with cubic zirconia, another diamond alternative. Cubic Zirconia is quite different in makeup, as it is a crystalline form of another element, zirconium dioxide. Cubic zirconia does not contain the same brilliance, fire, or durability as a natural diamond. Lab-created diamonds are generally sold at a lower price than natural diamonds. However, they still remain at a higher price point than other diamond alternatives.
Sapphires: the natural alternative
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to lab-grown diamonds, white sapphires are a great option. Like diamonds, sapphires are created over millions of years beneath the earth’s surface. Sapphires receive their color from trace elements present within the earth during the formation of the stone. White sapphires are particularly rare because they have no trace elements and therefore appear very similar in color to diamonds. Pink, blue, green and other colored sapphires are a beautiful and unique option for those wanting to make their engagement ring especially distinctive. Here are some reasons why we love white sapphires for engagement rings.
They cost less than natural and lab-created diamonds.
Not only are sapphires in general more affordable than diamonds, white sapphires tend to come at a lower price than some other colors of sapphires. Though they are rarer in nature, there is a higher demand for blue sapphires, so the market follows as such.
They are very durable.
While diamonds remain the most durable stone, with a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphires are a close second, coming in at a 9. Sapphires are a great option for engagement rings, and of course they are protected under the Shane Co. Free Lifetime Warranty.
They are versatile.
White sapphires come in a variety of shapes and sizes, just like diamonds. You can have a round white sapphire engagement ring that mimics a diamond ring style, or choose something in a different shape to fit your style.
They can appear “whiter” than diamonds.
Whereas diamonds appear colorless, white sapphires can be appreciated for their stark white color. Since white stones are hard to come by, this makes for an intriguing and sophisticated engagement ring.
If you decide that a white sapphire engagement ring is right for you, you’ll probably have the opportunity to spend more on the perfect setting because of the money you’ve saved on the center stone. You can design your own ring at Shane Co. by choosing your favorite setting and then picking a sapphire in your preferred cut.
Why is a natural diamond a better choice than a lab-created diamond?
If you decide that you really desire the sparkle of a real diamond, there are a variety of reasons why buying a natural diamond is a better choice than a lab-created stone.
Historically, natural diamond and sapphire prices tend to hold their value, which means if you’re buying a natural stone and intend to one day sell it, you’ll likely get back most, or possibly more, of the investment you put into it. Man-made diamonds, on the other hand, have no resale value whatsoever. If you try to sell your lab-created diamond later on, it may not be accepted by jewelers and will end up going for pennies on the dollar in online marketplaces.
Natural diamonds are formed over millions of years below the earth’s surface. Plus, the supply of natural diamonds is finite. Synthetic diamonds are manufactured in a lab in a matter of weeks. It only makes sense to choose a rare and natural stone, such as a diamond or sapphire, to symbolize the rare and enduring nature of love and commitment. In addition, because lab-grown diamonds have only been around for a short amount of time, it’s impossible for them to embody the emotion and tradition of natural diamonds that have been passed down from one generation to the next.
One of the reasons some people may consider a synthetic diamond is because they’re unfamiliar with ethical practices in the diamond mining industry. The fact is that the industry has programs in place, such as the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties Guidelines, to help prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the supply chain. Shane Co. adheres to the highest standards of ethics and practices and only works with partners who value the importance of ethically sourced stones as much as we do.
Making the ethical choice
In 2003, after much attention was drawn to “conflict diamonds,” the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was established to help prevent these diamonds from entering the mainstream market. It requires buyers and sellers of diamonds to verify that their stones are being purchased from legitimate sources that do not fund conflict, and prevent those in the business from buying or selling diamonds to companies with unknown or suspect suppliers. This process has reduced the amount of “conflict diamonds” being sold all around the world.
How does Shane Co. fit in?
Shane Co. takes ethical sourcing seriously, even beyond the requirements of the Kimberley Process. The Shane family has bought from the same families of stone cutters for generations — it’s one of the reasons why we’re offered first pick of all newly cut stones. Tom Shane personally travels to Bangkok, the colored gemstone capital of the world, to hand-pick our rubies and sapphires, and makes it a point to intimately know the reputation of the sources we deal with. “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do business,” he says, and he believes that as a leader in the diamond industry it’s our responsibility to take control at a local level to prevent dishonorable practices from occurring. We have always maintained the highest ethical standards, even before the implementation of the Kimberley Process.
When these measures were passed, Tom Shane remarked, “As Shane Co. was doing all the diligence already, and had been for years, we were unimpacted. There was nothing for us to change!” You can feel good knowing that Shane Co. gems are 100% ethically sourced.
Deciding what’s right for you
Ultimately, your choice in fine jewelry, particularly when it comes to engagement rings, has to be something you feel confident about. Whether your goal is finding something affordable, meaningful, beautiful or all of the above, Shane Co. is here to help you make the best informed decision. You can shop all of our loose white sapphires in a variety of shapes and sizes on our website or explore our natural diamonds for the perfect engagement ring. We offer natural stones because we truly value their story and meaning — it’s one of the reasons why our customers keep coming back.