Diamonds vs Gemstones: What Are the Differences?

Diamonds vs Gemstones What Are the Differences

When you’ve got engagement rings on your brain, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole looking at photos of rings online and think about choosing the perfect ring to rest on your finger and symbolize your love and commitment. One of the first decisions you must make is choosing your ideal stone.

Diamonds are the most popular engagement stone, but there’s a rise in alternative stones. The word gemstone is being thrown around a lot more recently as the popularity of using diamond alternative engagement rings increases. More people are seeking different gems to use in their engagement ring rather than the traditional diamond. But what exactly is a gemstone?

There are many things to consider when it comes to discussing a gem vs diamond, and it’s helpful to know what they are. We’ve put together this guide to diamonds and gemstones so you’ll learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision about your jewelry, whether you’re looking for gemstone or diamond engagement rings in Toronto.

What is a Gemstone?

According to Britannica, a gemstone is any of various minerals highly prized for beauty, durability, and rarity, although there are also non-mineral gemstones. Another piece of criteria is that they are cut and polished for use in jewelry.

With this definition, the answer to the difference between gemstone vs diamond is much simpler. A diamond is technically a type of gemstone. While most people think of colourful rocks like sapphires, emeralds and opals when they think of gemstones, diamonds also fit into the category of gemstone.

What Makes Diamonds Different From Other Gemstones?

Diamonds, like other gemstones, are naturally formed crystals, but where they differ is based on how they are formed. Other gemstones are made up of two or more elements, whereas diamonds are formed only from a single element, high pressured carbon.

Diamonds are unique because they are generally thought of as they are considered to have higher quality with less colour. At the same time, other gemstones are typically prized more based on their colour and vibrancy.

Additionally, as diamonds are considered to be the most precious and rare gemstone, they are the most expensive per carat, leaving other gems to be considered more affordable per carat and a great option for couples on a budget.

Diamonds are also the most durable gemstone according to the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The scale is how minerals are identified and compares their resistance to scratching. Diamonds sit at a 10, which is the top of the scale. When searching for alternative stones for an engagement ring, it’s important to look at the Mohs scale. One of the reasons diamonds are so popular as an engagement ring stone is their durability and resistance to scratching, even when worn on a daily basis.

What are Other Types of Gemstones?

There are approximately 200 kinds of gemstones, both precious and semi-precious. Precious gemstones include diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. All other gemstones are semi-precious because they are less rare than precious gemstones. Of the different types of gems, there are minerals like emerald and sapphires, organics like amber and pearl, and rocks like obsidian.

For those looking at other stones, it’s recommended to choose a stone that sits at least at a 7 on the scale, although at Made You Look, we highly suggest sticking to an 8 or higher. This ensures less chance of scratching or damage while still leaving plenty of stunning gemstones to choose from.


Stunning sapphires are one of the best alternative stones for engagement rings. They are a 9 on the Mohs scale and symbolize loyalty. They are part of the corundum family, with blue corundum known as sapphires, red corundum known as rubies, and other colours known as fancy sapphires. While brilliant blue is the best-known colour, sapphires actually come in a rainbow of colours, including pink, peach, teal, yellow and white.

The stunning colour variety of sapphires, along with their durability, make them a wonderful choice for an engagement ring.


The red corundum cousin of sapphires, it’s no surprise that rubies also make for an excellent alternative engagement gemstone. The unique red colours of this gemstone have been highly valued for thousands of years and remain so to this day. Rubies have long symbolized passion and love, making them a perfect choice for engagements. They come in various shades, from deep pink to deep red, and also sit at a 9 on the Mohs scale like their sapphire sister.


Moissanite is a gem of a gemstone and makes up more than a quarter of non-diamond engagement stones. For those wanting an alternative to diamond but don’t want to stray too far, moissanite has a similar look. The clear colour of moissanite makes it incredibly versatile, and it comes with its own sparkle and brilliance. It’s also the second hardest gemstone on the Mohs scale at 9.5, beaten out only by diamonds.

Explore Your Options

Using any one of these other gemstones is becoming one of the most increasingly popular engagement ring trends. Whether you’re looking for a traditional diamond or a different gemstone, ensuring you shop at quality diamond jewelry stores in toronto is key. At Made Your Look, we use various stones and can help you find or create a beautiful ring that symbolizes the love you share with your soon-to-be spouse.

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