Have you ever heard of the term "diamond simulant" and wondered what it meant? If so, you are not alone. But don't worry, this article will help you understand what a diamond simulant is and how they fare against the real thing.
What is a Diamond Simulant?
A diamond simulant, also known as an imitation, substitute, or alternative, is a stone with gemological characteristics similar to a natural diamond but with a different chemical and physical composition. Most diamond simulants are crafted so well that an average person can't tell the difference, making diamond simulants a realistic alternative to real diamonds.
Here are the most common diamond simulants on the market today:
- Cubic Zirconia
- White Sapphire
How to Tell a Diamond Simulant
A stone should possess certain diamond-like properties to be considered a diamond simulant. However, even though most simulants have properties that mimic real diamonds, they have one or more properties that differentiate them from real diamonds. Here are some characteristics on which diamonds simulants differ from real diamonds:
Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance and has a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale for hardness. On the other hand, simulants are much softer than diamonds, ranging from 6.5 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale. Cubic zirconia, for example, has a rating of 8–8.5, meaning that it'll scratch, crack, chip, and break easier than diamonds.
Fire and Brilliance
Diamonds have a unique fire and brilliance that is hard to replicate in a simulant. Both properties are heavily affected by the cut quality of the stone, but they are primarily a result of the diamond's high refractive index of 2.417 – 2.419 and dispersion of 0.44.
While simulants can, under certain light, create a similar sparkle and fire, they cannot match the sparkle and fire of a real diamond. Some simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite, have extraordinary fire and brilliance, making it easy for an experienced observer to distinguish them.
Color and Clarity
Diamonds come in different shades and colors, from colorless to yellow, pink, blue, and even black. Most colorless diamonds have a yellowish or brownish tint, while simulants are usually completely colorless. If placed side by side, simulants will appear very bright and white.
Clarity is another tell-tale sign of a diamond simulant. Synthetic simulants are created in a controlled environment and can be made internally flawless. On the other hand, natural diamonds often come with certain internal and external flaws that can sometimes be seen by the naked eye. Natural diamond simulants can also have inclusions but are not similar to real diamonds.
Simulated vs. Synthetic Diamonds
It's important to note that simulants and synthetic diamonds are different. A synthetic diamond, also known as a lab-grown diamond, is an actual diamond, but it is made in a lab rather than in the natural environment. It has the same physical and chemical properties as a natural diamond, which means it is also expensive.
On the other hand, diamond simulants will not have the same durability, brilliance, or color as a traditional diamond. They are not chemically identical to diamonds and are generally identifiable as fake diamonds, even to the untrained eye. However, they are much more affordable and can still look very similar to the real thing.
Why Choose a Diamond Simulant?
Price is one of the most important factors when choosing a stone for your jewelry. Diamond simulants are often almost 80% cheaper than real diamonds, making them an ideal option for people who want to get the look of a diamond without spending a fortune.
Also, choosing a diamond simulant is the perfect way to forgo the ethical and environmental issues associated with mining diamonds. Artificial simulants are made in controlled environments, making them more sustainable and ethical.
If you have questions regarding diamond simulants, synthetic diamonds, real diamonds, or how to choose the perfect jewelry piece, do not hesitate to contact Cut Fine Jewelers. We are the Baton Rouge's premier provider of custom engagement rings.