Diamond has a standard quality grading scale for various important characteristics like color and clarity. Aquamarine, however, doesn’t have a quality grading scale. Some sellers create their own quality grading scale for aquamarine to help shoppers find the highest quality aquamarine. Aquamarine vs diamond has many other differences besides this.
If you’re trying to choose between the two as engagement ring stones, consider the important characteristics below. We have compared aquamarine vs diamond based on color, sparkle, hardness, clarity, cut, and price.
Difference in Color
Aquamarine ranges from blue to greenish blue in color. The gem is a variety of beryl, distinguished by this color. Diamonds are most commonly clear, but it’s possible to find blue diamonds. Colored diamonds occur very rarely in nature, so they are more expensive than the clear kind. Different from diamonds, aquamarine is sometimes large enough for 100 carat cuts.
Another difference between aquamarine vs diamond is color is an important factor in buying aquamarine. Although color matters in a diamond too, it’s not as important as it is for aquamarine. Some people don’t want a diamond that has a slightly yellow tint, so they must pay attention to the color grading scale. Colored diamonds, those that aren’t clear or white, are graded on a separate color scale. White diamonds can have a color rating from D to Z. D-F diamonds are colorless. G-J diamonds are nearly colorless. K-M diamonds may have a yellow tint detectable by the naked eye.
In aquamarine, the most valuable gems are dark blue to slightly greenish blue. Experts believe aquamarine’s color is most striking when the stone is five carats or larger. Although the industry has preferred colors, you can choose whichever shade of blue you like. Aquamarine with a pastel blue color is just as good as dark blue. It will come at a lower price since dark blue is in higher demand.
Difference in Sparkle
Between aquamarine vs diamond, diamond is well-known for its great sparkle. Aquamarine has good sparkle too. Because aquamarine is easy to cut, its sparkle is easy to enhance. Aquamarine that looks milky, cracked, or spotted has less sparkle than aquamarine that doesn’t. A poorly cut aquamarine loses significant sparkle, even if it has excellent clarity.
How a gem is cut influences its sparkle. Look for diamonds with very good or excellent cut if maximum sparkle is important to you.
Difference in Hardness
Aquamarine has a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Between aquamarine vs diamond, aquamarine scratches more easily as it has a lower hardness.
Diamond has a hardness rating of 10, the highest among gemstones. Although aquamarine isn’t as hard as diamond, it has decent hardness. It’s not easily scratched. Both aquamarine and diamond are durable enough for daily wear.
Difference in Clarity
A similarity between aquamarine vs diamond, clarity is one of the most important factors in the gem’s value. Neither gemstone should have visible inclusions. Fortunately, most faceted aquamarine is free of visible inclusions, so you will have an easier time finding these valuable gems. However, some consumers like how an aquamarine with inclusions looks in jewelry. There is a trend in the jewelry industry to use included aquamarine as a centerpiece.
In contrast, diamonds with visible inclusions are not commonly viewed as stylish or desirable. People usually expect a diamond to have high clarity. This results in a higher price for diamond jewelry with no visible inclusions.
Another popular way that low clarity aquamarine is used in jewelry is as partially polished slice or a nugget in a necklace. In engagement rings, high clarity aquamarine is usually used to give it great sparkle and brilliance. Many jewelry makers use tiny diamonds to complement the aquamarine centerpiece for engagement rings.
Difference in Cut
An aquamarine’s cut maximizes its color and clarity as long as the cut is good. Some gemstones are limited to a few types of cuts for bringing out their best sparkle and brilliance. Aquamarine, however, can be cut in almost any way. Most often, aquamarine is cut as oval, round, or emerald. Some gem artists cut aquamarine with one-of-a-kind designer cuts.
Cut aquamarine gems that are larger than five carats typically have a darker color. Accent aquamarine stones tend to be paler. Because aquamarine has an abundance of rough, it’s easy to produce well-cut stones. As a pleochroic gem, aquamarine displays different colors in different crystal directions.
In a diamond, each angle and facet influences how much light is returned to the eye as the diamond interacts with light. A poorly cut diamond may appear dark and lack sparkle. Brightness, fire, and scintillation/sparkle are three optical effects in a diamond that are influenced by cut. Diamonds with higher cut grades have better brilliance and fire.
Difference in Price
Diamonds sell at a per carat price. In higher weight categories, the per carat price is usually higher. One reason this is the case is large diamonds are rarer than small diamonds. For a diamond engagement ring, you can expect to pay around $1,000-$4,000 for a good quality diamond. Couples spent an average of $4,000 on an engagement ring in 2012. However, you can find a beautiful eye clean diamond engagement ring for less than $4,000. You must understand the different characteristics in a gemstone to find a good deal.
An aquamarine engagement ring costs around $1,000-$3,000, but some are even more than $3,000. It depends on what other materials are used in the ring. Is the aquamarine framed by tiny diamonds? Those diamonds add onto and affect the price. Aquamarine and diamond engagement rings are approximately the same price. The difference is diamond engagement rings run up to a much higher cost. They can exceed $20,000 at the high end.
The Bottom Line
Between aquamarine vs diamond for an engagement ring, you should ask the recipient if they are open to other types of gems besides a diamond. Some people stick to diamond for engagement rings, whereas others prefer something more unique or colorful. Aquamarine engagement rings are strikingly beautiful. There are many interesting designs to choose from as well.
Do you prefer aquamarine or diamond engagement rings? Let us know in the comments below.