There was a time when only the super-rich could wear lustrous, sparkly diamonds and for those of us whose budgets didn't quite cover the cost of real gems the alternatives just looked cheap and tacky.
Now anyone can glimmer and shine with gemstone alternatives that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.
Here are some facts about three of the most popular gem substitutes.
Swarovski Crystals and Swarovski Elements
Swarovski crystals are faceted lead glass man-made in Austria. They are extremely beautiful and look just like the real thing.
Genuine Swarovski crystals always carry the Swan logo but those made before 1989 may have a different marking or appear to have none at all. Rest assured all crystals made by Swarovski have the logo on them somewhere.
Swarovski Elements are crystals supplied by Swarovski to third party jewellery manufacturers. Because Swarovski doesn’t make the finished jewellery it can only be branded as ‘MADE WITH SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS’.
Rhinestones were originally made from the rock crystals found in the river Rhine, in Europe. Today they are made in Austria by Swarovski, in the Czech Republic by Preciosa, and in factories in Bohemia. They are also known as Austrian crystals and Bohemian crystal.
They are a low cost substitute for real gems and crystals.You will see coloured rhinestones on many things apart from jewellery, such as clothing – think flashy cowboys and denim jackets – handbags, shoes and hats.
Cubic zirconia is probably one of the most well known diamond substitutes. It has been around since the 1970s and can be cut and shaped the same as diamond.
Although it is fabricated, it shines with the brilliance of genuine, flawless diamond and as such, it is a popular choice for jewellery.
This inexpensive gem substitute is usually white but can come in other colours, just like diamond. You will often see it labelled as ‘manufactured diamond’ because the same grading and evaluation system is used for both.
These are just some of the alternatives you can find and, like everything else, you will always find cheaper, lower quality versions.
What’s important is the availability of synthetic gemstones to suit every budget so now we can all sparkle.
Article written by: Allyson Crockett
Back to Blog Homepage.