Are Simulated Diamonds Really Worth It? Find Out Everything Right Here.
Everybody wants to own a diamond but most can’t. They are expensive and certain cuts are well beyond the paycheck. But there is something known as simulated diamonds.
These diamonds lack the holistic value of a mined diamond. However, they are affordable and ethically produced versus mined diamonds. You could call them synthetic diamonds that mimic the aesthetics of a raw, naturally mined diamond.
Puritans might disagree with simulated diamonds for a bunch of reasons. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: They are accessible to just about anyone.
Here is everything you need to know about simulated diamonds.
What is a Simulated Diamond?
Simulated diamonds are not always synthetic or lab grown. Colorless quartz, topaz, sapphire, beryl, and zircon are known diamond substitutes. Synthetic gems and particular natural gems fall under the category of simulated stones.
Simulated stones lack the physical, optical and chemical properties of a mined diamond. Lab-grown diamonds mimic the properties of a natural diamond. In this case, a simulated diamond might mimic the look and feel of a real diamond but lacks the chemical properties.
Certain variations of simulated stones are very popular, like zirconia and moissanite. It is important to know the difference between mined and synthetic diamonds.
Simulated Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds
Every synthetic diamond is unique and cannot be categorized under one banner. They do possess some basic differences when it comes to being compared with a mined diamond.
Mined diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth. This unique property makes them susceptible to a fair amount of wear and tear. Synthetic diamonds cannot match this level of hardness. They might develop scratches and aberrations on the facets over a short time.
Mined diamonds can also withstand heavy polishing. They have a brilliance and fire that’s incomparable. Simulated stones and other gems cannot match the lustre and radiance of real diamonds.
Simulated diamonds have extraordinary brilliance. In certain cases, their fire is so much that it does not seem like a diamond.
Simulated stones have a higher density than natural diamonds. This means that a synthetic diamond of the same carat weight will appear smaller in size than a mined diamond. Of the various kinds that are available, two are very popular.
Here is what you need to know about them.
Cubic Zirconia vs Moissanite: Simulant of Choice.
Cubic zirconias are lab-grown diamonds. Melting Zirconium oxide at 4982ºF, yields crystals after it cools down. Polishing and cutting these crystals gives us Cubic Zirconia. Their hardness is 8.5 on the Mohs scale and mimic shapes like Oval cuts and Cushion cuts.
Moissanites can be natural. However, moissanites that compare to diamonds are always lab-grown. This synthetic diamond is a crystalline form of silicon carbide, created in laboratories. Their hardness is 9.25 on the Mohs scale and they are the closest diamond simulant.
Fire and Brilliance
Cubic Zirconia does not have much fire or brilliance. Light passing through a zircon is hardly reflected back to the eye. Also, this stone has a higher depression rate than other diamonds. Having a higher depression rate causes the CZ stone to have a ‘rainbow effect’. This certain quality lowers the value of the stone. CZ has a lower refractive index of 2.15-2.18, as compared to other diamonds (r.i-2.42). This makes cubic zirconia easily distinguishable from a mined diamond.
Moissanites have amazing brilliance and fire. When evaluating older cuts, it becomes very difficult to tell a real from a fake. In fact, only an expert jeweler can tell the difference. This makes moissanites very popular as diamond simulants.
CZ is a synthetic material and hence not as tough as diamond. It lacks longevity and gets scratched and cloudy over time. Cubic Zirconia is denser than mined diamonds. A jeweler can tell the difference by weighing the stone. A 1 carat diamond will appear bigger than 1 carat CZ.
Moissanites are tougher than Cubic Zirconia. With regard to psi value,
- diamond- 14.6 psi
- moissanite- 7.6 psi
- cubic zirconia- 2.4 psi
Based on these facts, moissanites are almost half as tough as diamonds but 3 times harder than CZ. The lack of a cleavage plane gives a durability advantage to the moissanite. They do not chip or scratch very easily, but the cut does make a difference. In certain regards, diamonds are the toughest but a princess cut is more likely to chip than a round.
Clarity and Color
CZ lacks the inclusions of a natural diamond. A CZ might appear flawless, in certain cases. It’s this flawless nature that makes it look unnatural.
Selecting a VS1 or VS2 clarity grade is good, depending on the carat weight. Going for an eye-clean VS2 cushion cut would give a flawless stone. Cubic Zirconia is colorless. It does have the tendency to radiate an orange-tinted light. Despite its low quality, it is very popular with jewelers around the world.
Moissanites do not contain clarity imperfections and appear eye clean in most cases. Finding eye-clean moissanites on a budget can be tasking. Moissanites radiate a brownish and yellowish hue. This makes them similar to J-M color diamonds.
Moissanite can be nearly colorless G-I range to colorless D-F range. This makes this stone difficult to distinguish from a mined diamond. These fake diamonds can also radiate a yellowish to yellowish-green hue.
Size and Value
Cubic Zirconias cost next to nothing when compared to mined diamonds. A 1-carat CZ diamond engagement ring would cost $13.99. Whereas a 1-carat diamond engagement ring would be $3000. They have hardly any value when resold. In fact you have more chances of getting a better valuation for the setting than the diamond. The price does vary with carat weight. A 3-carat CZ ring would be around $180-$200.
Moissanites are much more expensive than Cubic Zirconias. When compared to real diamonds, there is a substantive difference. For $500 you can get a moissanite diamond which is 8% larger than a faint-colored mined diamond. The same size difference goes up to 20% when compared to D-F-colored diamonds.
Why Buy a Simulated Diamond?
Buying a synthetic diamond is not always about saving money. Although, the difference in price might get you that vacation you have been wanting to go on. Primarily consumers buy such diamonds to increase their mindfulness.
These synthetic diamonds are purchased for ethical reasons. Mining for raw diamonds leads to environmental impacts. So to boost sustainable sourcing of raw materials, a lab-grown diamond or a synthetic diamond is a preferred choice. It also does not burden the conscience of the consumer in any such way.
It is a good idea to buy simulants for anniversaries, small celebrations or any such event. It keeps things easy on your wallet. Cheap or not, it is important to buy a synthetic or real diamond from a trusted seller.
You don’t want to get duped when it comes to buying simulated diamonds or lab grown diamonds. It is important to follow GIA certifications and buy from a reliable jeweler.
Here’s how we can help.
We bring consumers to authentic jewelers. Jewel Hero ensures you get a terrific deal every single time you come in contact with a local diamond expert.