Four Gemstone Alternatives for Diamond Engagement Rings

Gone are the days where a diamond was a girl’s best friend. With the world becoming wiser to marketing campaigns and gimmicks, more and more people are turning towards the idea of using gemstones for their engagement rings, rather than the traditional diamond.

Gemstones are the New Diamonds… Or is it the other Way Around?

Though it may seem like this is just trending now, truth is that gemstones replaced diamonds way before people became aware of it. In fact, if you look back, you’ll even find names such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Kate Middleton sporting rings with their gemstones in them.

So why not take inspiration from them and have your own engagement ring set with one of these gemstones?

We take a page out of Howard Fensterman’s website to provide you with some insight!


Perfect for the original sort, the Amethyst stone is purple and gorgeous even in its raw state. When cut and paired with silver or rose-gold, the stone and metal complement each other beautifully and often give a quirky look to the ring.

However, Amethyst stones aren’t that hard, but they’re quite durable and cost a fraction of the price that you’d pay had you bought a diamond.


There is a reason why sapphire is one of the most popular gemstones. The blue hue of the stone, when set against the sparkle of silver gives off an almost other-worldly aura, and looks quite beautiful after it’s been well-cut. In fact, it looks even better than a diamond, although if you’re looking for a bigger stone, you may want to pay more as well.

Sapphire stands as the third toughest stone, and costs only a third of the price, making it the perfect replacement for a diamond!


Why go for a pink diamond when you have a Morganite on offer?

Coming from the same family as emeralds, this stone looks romantic, feminine and delicate, lending an oh-so-pretty look when set in a delicate design. Regarded as one of the most popular choices for rings at the moment, the Morganite comes in different prices so do your research before you buy it. This way, you’ll be able to get the best cut and quality of stone!



With its dazzling range of colors and gorgeous clarity, topaz has now become the natural choice for those seeking a colorful and vibrant engagement ring.

The topaz stone comes in various hues of blue, orange, green, pink and red, although you can also buy a pure topaz that’s colorless if you’d rather go for the simpler option. However, if you’re more into colors, the range of topaz stones available might give you just the stone you need to make your ring look good.

Want to Learn More?

These are just some of the stones that are the most popular options for engagement rings. But if you want to learn more before making your choice, surf through Howard Fensterman’s website here and be inspired by his lifelong passion for mineral collecting and stones.

What Are Synthetic Gemstones?

Have you ever heard of the term ‘synthetic gemstones’?

Chances are that you have. Also, you may be under the impression that synthetic gemstones are not real; however, in the world of gemstones, the word ‘synthetic’ does not mean ‘fake’. The word has been derived from a Greek word which means ‘to put together’. Thus, synthetic gemstones are those that are man-made. This means that they are manufactured or grown in a laboratory and have the similar physical and chemical properties and appearance to their natural counterparts. In some cases, however, synthetic gems may contain additional compounds. Synthetic gems that are somewhat dissimilar from the natural ones include opal and turquoise.  

Synthetic gems look exactly like their natural counterparts and only a well-trained or experienced expert can distinguish a synthetic gemstone from a natural one.

The production of synthetic gemstones is not a new phenomenon, as many believe. Their production started around late 19th century mainly due to their industrial usages, such as in the fields of microelectronics, laser technology, and communications. They are also used as abrasives. However, they soon started to be used in the jewelry industry as well. The first known gem that was successfully produced in the laboratory was ‘Ruby’.   
How Are Synthetic Gemstones Grown?

Yes, you read it right!

Synthetic gemstones are actually grown (the accurate term used within the industry). This is done in the laboratory. The process entails combining various chemicals in a particular environment so that they automatically arrange themselves–without any human intervention-in a particular manner so as to create the same structure as that of real gems.

Some of the processes that have been used for growing or producing synthetic gems are:

  • Verneuil Process. In simple terms, this is known as the ‘flame fusion’ process. It is the oldest and the cheapest method of creating synthetic gems.
  • Czochralski Process; also called ‘crystal pulling’.
  • Flux Growth
  • Hydrothermal Growth
  • Skull Melt Process
  • Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
  • High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

The most commonly grown or manufactured synthetic gems are Sapphires, Diamonds, Quartz, Opals, Emeralds, Ruby, Spinel, Alexandrite, Amethyst, Ametrine and Citrine.

Simulated Gemstones Are Different From Synthetic Gems

A lot of people use the terms ‘synthetic gemstones’ and ‘simulated gemstones’ interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two.

As mentioned above, although synthetic gems are made in the laboratory, they mostly have all the same properties as that of natural gems. However, this is not the case with ‘simulated gems’. These are actually the fake stones. They only look like the natural gems, but their physical and chemical properties are different.

Plastic or glass is used for the production of simulated gemstones. This is why they are available at extremely low rates.

So the next time you go for gemstone shopping, always remember that synthetic and simulated gems are two different things. It is a simulated gem that is fake, not the synthetic one.

Three Incredible Gem Sites to Visit this Summer!

The fact of the matter is that there is a plethora of gemology-themed vacation destinations within the US that attract solo travelers and families alike!

Here are some of our favorite picks of the year:


Digging for diamonds?

Check out Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

Take your family, partner, and friend (or simply go alone) to a literal treasure trove full of diamonds, just waiting to be found.

In 1975, a visitor discovered a 16-carat wonder right here, while in 2015, an 8.5 carat diamond worth over $1 million was discovered. To date, over 30,000 diamonds have been found within the park. In addition, you have an appraiser available on site who can estimate the value of your precious findings!


Looking for something a bit different?

Head on over to Morefield Mine in Amelia, Virginia. An excellent opportunity to put your mining skills to test—here, you’ll find an abundance of amazonite, topaz, garnet and other minerals!

Herkimer Diamond
Herkimer Diamond

New York

There’s more to the Big Apple than Broadway and pizza.

Crystal Grove Diamond Mine gives you a unique opportunity to discover gemstones within one of the busiest cities in the world.

Any specials on the menu?

Try the Herkimer diamonds and quartz—we hear they’re the real deal!

You also have the option to rent out your own prospecting tools. Pro tip: Keep a chisel and hammer handy to break down the rock—you’ll thank us later!

The US is an incredible place for gem-hunters and mineral collectors. And if you’re interested in expanding your collection, be sure to explore the rest of our blog for updates and insight on various new gem sites all over the region.

Honorable mentions include Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine in Montana and Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine in Nevada.

For more on gems and minerals, follow Howard Finsterman Minerals to discover a world of glittering marvels!

All You Want to Know About the July Birthstone

Ruby - Gemstone of July
Ruby – Gemstone of July

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know what birthstones are and how they are believed to help people in metaphysical healing and bringing good fortune with their unique properties. Each birth month has a different gemstone associated to it and a few months are even associated with multiple gems.

Birthstone of July

Ruby, known as the ‘King of Gems’ in ancient India, is the gemstone of folks born in July. Ruby is considered as one of the most prized of all gemstones and they are much harder to be found in large sizes than sapphires, emeralds and diamonds. Due to their rare occurrence, rubies are expensive and their prices increase exponentially with size.

The ruby is a type of mineral corundum that was discovered about 2000 years ago. Mineral corundums are found in many different forms, only the red one is called Ruby while all others belong to the family of sapphires.

The Benefits Rubies Are Believed To Bring Into the Lives of Their Owners

The word ‘Ruby’ comes from Latin and it means ‘red’. The most high quality rubies are found in Burma and Thailand.

Like all other birthstones, rubies are believed to bring many benefits, if worn by the people born in July. Some of these benefits are:

  • During ancient times, it was believed that rubies have amazing healing properties and can help prevent hemorrhages and cure inflammatory disease. Also, it was believed to soothe anger.
  • Europeans found rubies to bring health, wealth, love and wisdom to their owners.
  • According to a wide held belief during The Middle Ages, rubies have the ability to warn their owners about the upcoming problems so that they can figure out a way to deal with them. Whenever something bad is going to happen to their owners, rubies were believed to change their color to dark red or brown. This allows the wearer to prepare for the upcoming problem.
  • It is also believed to offer protection from all kinds of evils.
  • Burmese warriors had a strong belief that they became invincible in battles by wearing these precious red gemstones.
  • For the people born in July, ruby is believed to increase mental strength, courage and stamina.
  • They are also believed to fuel one’s creativity and motivation.
  • Rubies are also known to help in overcoming depression and eliminating fatigue.
  • According to experts, ruby has the unique property of helping its owner to achieve life goals by inciting refreshing and positive energy that motivates them to move forward in their lives.
  • It is believed that ruby helps in maintaining healthy blood vessels and, ultimately, normal blood circulation. It stimulates the pineal gland and is also linked to heart energy center.
  • Rubies are also widely associated with power, vividness and passion and the symbolic meaning of the gemstone’s red color is passion and love.

It would not be wrong to say that people born in July are lucky because they have got one of the most beautiful, valuable, unique and rare gemstones that look perfect no matter how you wear it.