White Gemstones List – My Top 10
White or colorless gemstones are another very popular category of gemstones. The negative side of colored gemstones is that, a specific color will not go with all different colors of dresses, skin types and sometimes even the metal of the jewelry. But white or colorless gemstones, on the other hand, is perfect to be used all across. Therefore, I will introduce a white gemstones list in this article which you can consider for your jewelry.
Diamond is undoubtedly the most popular gemstone in this category and many other colorless gemstones such as white sapphire, white zircon, goshenite and white topaz are mostly used as less expensive alternatives for diamond.
Other white gemstones such as moonstones, pearls, white agate and white opal brings a whole new value to jewelry in terms of design.
White Gemstones List
Following white gemstones list is created based on some generic factors such as hardness and luster. But, depending on your requirement, any stone in the list can be the best fit. The list of stones are,
- White Sapphire
- White Zircon
- White Topaz
- White Spinel
- White Agate
- White Opals
- White Jade
I will describe the details of each stone one by one.
White Gemstones List
Diamonds still remain as the most desired gemstone in the world. Due to its brilliance and hardness, the popularity of diamonds for jewelry is unlikely to drop. Diamonds have a hardness of 10 in the Moh’s scale of hardness which is the highest value. Therefore, diamonds are the hardest known material and it cannot be scratched unless with another diamond.
Diamonds also have the highest refractive index of 2.417-2.419 among all precious gemstones. Therefore, diamond has the best brilliance/luster among all of those.
The negative fact about diamond is, even though it has a high hardness, it is a brittle material due to its structure. Diamond can get chipped or cracked with a hard knock.
Although diamond is not a rare gemstone, the global market is controlled by two major companies, Alrosa and De Beers. This is the main reason for the high prices of diamonds.
2. White Sapphire
When the mineral corundum is free from any trace elements, white sapphires are formed (You can learn about all other colors of sapphires and how those colors are formed in this article). Sapphire has a hardness of 9 in the Moh’s scale and a refractive index of 1.76 – 1.77.
Sapphires are also tougher than diamonds and will not easily chip or break when faced with the high force. High hardness, brilliance/luster and toughness makes white sapphire a perfect choice for a jewelry which you want to last for a long time.
Another major advantage of white sapphire is that, it is much less expensive than diamonds.
Occasionally, natural white sapphires can have a faint tint of yellow or blue. Some people will prefer this and some will don’t.
3. White Zircon
Zircon has a high refractive index of 1.930 – 1.987 and demonstrate a high brilliance. It is usually faceted to highlight its brilliance. Hence, zircon is used as a natural alternative for diamonds.
Zircon has a hardness of 7.5 and it is also a relatively brittle gemstone. Therefore, it is not considered as a very durable stone.
If you are going to purchase white zircon jewelry, you might want to keep in mind that certain white zircons can demonstrate a faint off-white color which will affect the beauty of its jewelry.
4. White Topaz
White topaz is another very popular alternative for diamond. It is a gemstone found in abundance and prices are affordable for almost anyone. Natural topaz is mostly colorless and it is treated with irradiation to get more popular colors such as London blue, Swiss blue or sky blue.
Refractive index of topaz is 1.61 – 1.638 and hence it is not as brilliant as diamonds. But it has a hardness of 8 which is higher than zircon.
Topaz has a cleavage and hence it is prone to chipping and cracking. Topaz can easily lose its luster due to dirt and cleaning the surface from a soft cloth often makes a notable difference.
All the gemstones we discussed so far are colorless, but pearls come in a very rich white. Although there are other colors of pearl, white is the most common. Surface of pearls also demonstrate different colors when viewed from different angles, which is known as iridescence.
Hardness of pearl is only 2.5 – 4.5 in the Moh’s scale, probably the softest gemstone in this list and therefore it can easily get damaged.
Pearls are grown inside mollusks and oysters. Long ago, pearls were one of the most valuable gemstones as those were hard to find. Sri Lanka, where I am from, was known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean as the sea around Sri Lanka was famous for pearls. But pearls are now abundant and affordable as those are now cultured by oyster farmers and mussel farmers.
There are few types of moonstones such as rainbow, blue, white and colorless. All these types are used in different types of jewelry. Moonstones are famous for its unique silky sheen and soft surface which adds a unique value to its jewelry. Colorless moonstones also demonstrate a blue, white or a mixed color sheen. There are some moonstones which demonstrates the cat’s eye effect as well.
Since its hardness is only 6 – 6.5., it can get scratched easily. Moonstones are generally cut as cabochons and raw moonstones are also used in some jewelry.
7. White Spinel
Spinel is a very popular gemstone for jewelry as it has a hardness of 8, a refractive index of 1.712 – 1.736 and it is generally an affordable stone. White spinel is not as easily available as popular colors such as pink and purple.
Spinel is a tough and durable gemstone and these jewelry can last a long time. Spinels are gaining popularity in the world of gemstones and it is definitely a stone you should consider.
8. White Agate
Agate is another gemstone found in abundance and hence it is very affordable. It comes in so many colors including white. White agate ranges from translucent to opaque and it adds a unique beauty to jewelry with its soft oily brilliance.
It is a fairly durable stone with a hardness of 7, especially when compared with the price you pay.
9. White Opals
If you want to add a bit of color to your white jewelry, white opal is a great option. Opals are known for its optical effect of shinning mix of colors known as opalescence. Opals are mostly cut in cabochon shapes to increase this effect. Darker tones of opals are much expensive as those demonstrate a stronger opalescence but white stones also adds a unique beauty to jewelry.
The hardness of opal is 5.5 – 6.5 which is relatively low and hence it can get scratched quite easily. Its refractive index is 1.37 – 1.47 which is also low but the beauty of opalescence is the attraction of this gemstone.
10. White Jade
Jade occurs in a range of colors including white, although green jade is the most famous. There are two variations of jade: Nephrite and Jadeite. Nephrite is abundant and inexpensive while jadeite is rarer, harder and expensive.
The stone has a hardness of 6-7 in the Moh’s scale but it is a tough gemstone due to its compact composition. Jade is either translucent or opaque. It is usually cut as cabochons or as various shapes such as human figures, animals, ornaments, etc.
This white gemstones list was created to give a brief understanding of the options available for you to consider for your jewelry with white or colorless stones. I summarized the properties of each stone together with advantages and disadvantages.
Hope you found this article useful and please let me know any questions you may have.