Swarovski crystal is a man-made precision cut crystal glass by the Swarovski brand in Austria. This type of crystal is known as a diamond simulant because it closely resembles diamond. But can it pass as a diamond? To the untrained eye, Swarovski crystal can pass as a diamond. However, it has less brilliance and sparkle than genuine diamonds. We go in depth on the difference between Swarovski crystal vs diamond below to help consumers make informed decisions.
Difference in Color
Swarovski crystal vs diamond has drastic differences in color. The chemical coating on Swarovski crystal determines its color. Aside from clear, the crystal comes in over 84 different colors. Examples of colors Swarovski crystal is available in are khaki, ruby, Caribbean blue opal, mocca, and amethyst. It also has varying types of clear stones like crystal silver shade, crystal moonlight, crystal sage, and crystal AB. You can look at a Swarovski crystal color chart to easily browse a specific color you want.
A diamond color chart grades the diamond based on how colorless it is. In general, the more colorless a diamond is, the more expensive it is. The diamond color grade consists of colorless, nearly colorless, faint tint, very light tint, and light tint. Colored diamonds like blue, pink, yellow, and purple exist. But the range of colors you can choose from isn’t as wide as that of Swarovski crystal. Moreover, colored diamonds are extremely rare. Approximately 0.0001% of mined diamonds are colored.
Difference in Sparkle
When Swarovski crystal was invented, it had better sparkle than other types of crystals. One reason it had improved sparkle is the addition of lead. Daniel Swarovski also designed an electric machine that cut the crystal with higher precision. This resulted in better sparkle too. Diamond is known for excellent sparkle. It’s one of the reasons why the gemstone is popular. Not all diamonds are equal in terms of sparkle. Cut influences how well the diamond sparkles.
Difference in Brilliance
Between Swarovski crystal vs diamond, diamond has better brilliance. The refractive index of diamond is 2.42, compared to Swarovski’s refractive index of 1.7. Brilliance is a term in gemology used to describe light reflection. Similar to sparkle, the diamond’s cut affects brilliance. The more light that leaks out of the gemstone through the back, the less brilliance it has. Light that solely exits through the top of the gemstone is wasted too because one’s head blocks the light. Brightness and contrast work together to deliver brilliance.
Difference in Hardness
When it comes to hardness, there’s no debate over which is better between Swarovski crystal vs diamond. On the Mohs scale of hardness, Swarovski crystal is 6-7. Diamond has the highest hardness of 10. The Mohs scale of hardness rates gemstones based on how scratch resistant they are. A steel file can scratch gemstones with a rating of six. Stones with a hardness of six can easily scratch glass. In addition to glass, gemstones with a hardness of seven can easily scratch metal. Swarovski crystal becomes cloudy as it collects scratches over time. Diamond, however, doesn’t fade because it’s resistant to scratching.
Difference in Clarity
Swarovski crystal has excellent clarity. The manufacturer ensures they have good clarity through the polishing process and use of quality materials. Diamonds, in contrast, have varying degrees of clarity. It depends on the specific stone how clear it is. Diamond with excellent clarity tends to be more expensive than those with less clarity. The diamond clarity scale consists of flawless, internally flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included, and included. While shopping for diamond, you’ll see these gradings as abbreviations, such as FL, IF, VVS1, VS1, SI1, and I1.
Flawless diamonds don’t have any inclusions or blemishes visible up to 10x magnification. Only blemishes are visible up to 10x magnification in an internally flawless diamond. As long as diamond is eye clean, there’s no necessity to buy a diamond with higher clarity. Eye clean means that inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
Difference in Cut
Cut is one of the most important factors in buying gemstones. Swarovski crystal is precision cut with a patented machine. Their precision cut gives them sparkle and brilliance similar to that of diamonds. Because all diamonds aren’t cut by the same manufacturer, not all are equivalent in quality. Some diamonds are poorly cut, which can hurt their brilliance and sparkle.
On the diamond cut grading scale, there are five different categories: ideal, excellent, very good, good, and fair & poor. Ideal cut diamonds are only round. They have the best possible cut. Very good cut diamond reflects most of the light that enters. Good cut diamond reflects much of the light that enters but not most. Fair and poor diamonds don’t reflect much light.
Difference in Price
Swarovski crystal costs around $125, whereas diamond is almost 10 times expensive at $1,000. Some Swarovski crystal rings are as low as $49, and it’s possible to find diamond rings at a few hundred dollars. For budget shoppers choosing between Swarovski crystal vs diamond for jewelry, Swarovski crystal is often the better choice. However, if you’re buying an engagement ring, diamond is still a better choice. For one, you’ll have a hard time finding Swarovski crystal engagement rings. Secondly, an engagement ring is worn everyday, so you want a durable stone that can withstand it.
The Bottom Line
Swarovski crystal can fool the untrained eye but if you’re buying an engagement ring, you may still want diamond. One of the biggest drawbacks to Swarovski crystal is it’s not as durable as diamond and other diamond simulants. A reason you may want to choose Swarovski crystal for jewelry besides an engagement ring is it’s available in a wide range of colors. Colored diamond that occurs in nature is extremely rare.
Between Swarovski crystal vs diamond, which do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments.