Now more than ever, it has become almost impossible to tell if something is real or not, particularly when jewelry is concerned. For instance, if you don’t have the budget or are not yet ready to buy a real diamond, a good alternative is simulated diamond. The good news here is that most people won’t even be able to tell that what you have isn’t the real thing.
But the main question now is, what is simulated diamond in the first place?
A simulated diamond, or diamond simulant, may resemble a real diamond but their physical, optical, and chemical properties are different. If you are hoping to buy a good diamond imitation, it is important to know the specific characteristics of the particular stone that you are planning to get.
What are Simulated Diamonds?
Simulated diamonds or diamond simulants are stones that look like real diamonds with different physical properties and chemical composition.
Simulated diamonds are popular alternatives to genuine diamonds.
In essence, a simulated diamond is a fake diamond.
However, you shouldn’t confuse them with synthetic diamonds that are identical to natural diamonds in any way aside from the fact that they are lab-created.
Materials Used as Simulated Diamonds
Natural gems and laboratory-grown gems or synthetic gems alike that resemble a specific gem could be used for imitating the gem in question. These imitations are what gemologists refer to as simulants. Different natural materials like colorless quartz, sapphire, beryl, topaz, and zircon in particular have long been used as simulated diamonds through the years.
Most of today’s popular simulated diamonds including moissanite and cubic zirconia are lab-manufactured synthetic stones. For example, cubic zirconia is made through heating the powdered ingredients until they reach their melting point then letting the mixture cool down to its solid state.
How Simulated Diamonds are Made
A simulated diamond is manufactured using the procedure known as the skull melt. This is where the materials are being heated up from inside outwards. The outer part stays relatively cool as the inner part melts to form its own skull or outer crust. The preferred cube form is obtained only with the use of extreme heat with a metal oxide stabilizer added to the procedure to guarantee the formation of isometric cubic crystals. After switching off the heat, the product will cool under strictly controlled conditions to harden later on.
The solid crystals are going to form while it hardens. Since these are manufactured in controlled environments, the structure of these crystals is perfect with no inclusions or feathers. Since these are solid and not made up of layers, their hardness are almost the same as that of natural earth-mined diamonds. Thanks to their clarity and hardness, these crystals could be cut with the use of the similar proportions for cutting real fine diamonds. The faceting is precise and intensive as well to create the required facets for mimicking the brilliance of real diamonds.
Signs That a Stone is Actually a Diamond Simulant
It is easy to tell if a stone is a simulated diamond through the following signs:
It looks perfectly clean.
You can still see several internal defects even in the most flawless diamond on the planet. Some flaws might be invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen with the use of a microscope or loupe. But, one thing is certain. Natural diamonds always have imperfections.
On the other hand, simulated diamonds are usually very clean, particularly the ones made artificially. The only difference is that they come in more affordable price tags than genuine high clarity diamonds.
It scratches all too easily.
With diamond being a very hard substance, scratching it wouldn’t be that easy, although it can chip if you hit it really hard. In contrast, a simulated diamond never has the same hardness as the real ones. It is also relatively easy to scratch them, particularly if a softer substance was used for making the simulant. If the stone already got lots of scratches or it doesn’t take much to scratch it, it is most probably a simulated diamond.
It can retain heat.
Heat dissipates in real diamond really fast. This means that real diamond won’t stay foggy if you breathe on it. If the stone retains the fog’s moisture on the surface after breathing on it, it just means that what you got is a diamond simulant.
It has a too colorful sparkle.
Although it is common for real diamonds to sparkle, simulants go overboard with it. Some simulated diamonds even sparkle in every color of the rainbow. The perfect example of this is cubic zirconia that exhibits numerous colors of light when put side by side a real diamond.
It is a colorless stone with a low price.
It is very rare to find real colorless diamonds and this is what makes them very expensive. If the stone is white with no yellow hints and it comes with a relatively cheap price, and is big and flawless at the same time, it is almost definitely a simulated diamond.
It is cheap.
Simulated diamonds are much cheaper than genuine diamonds and while the prices of diamonds depend on various quality characteristics, it would be impossible to find a well-cut and good diamond with about one carat for only a couple of thousand dollars.
In case the stone is colorless, big, and looks clean enough to the naked eye priced in the hundreds, it is most probably a fake.
Should You Buy a Simulated Diamond?
There are different factors that you need to consider when choosing between simulated diamonds and real diamonds. People often consider buying a simulated diamond since this is way cheaper than real diamonds of the same color, clarity and size.
But, will it be worth your money? Well, this will depend on how open you are to simulants and their unique characteristics. You also need to consider the stone’s origin story.
However, if all you want is an attractive but affordable diamond alternative, a simulated diamond is no doubt the best choice you’ve got!