Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds

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Wondering which affordable stone to choose for your engagement ring or next piece of jewelry? We’ll walk you through all there is to know about simulant diamonds vs. lab created diamonds and help you make the best choice for your budget and preferences!

Simulant Diamonds Vs. Lab Created Diamonds

What Are Diamonds?

Before we dive into the world of simulants and lab grown diamonds, let’s get to know the star of the show – diamonds themselves. Diamonds are precious gemstones formed deep within the Earth’s mantle under immense pressure and heat. They are renowned for their exceptional hardness, brilliance, and timeless beauty. 

What Are Simulated Diamonds?

Simulant diamonds, often referred to as diamond simulants, are gemstones that mimic the appearance of natural diamonds but are composed of different materials. These stones are crafted to imitate the sparkle and allure of genuine diamonds.

Loose diamonds and simulants

Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds: Factors To Consider

Appearance

Simulant diamonds closely resemble natural diamonds in terms of their appearance. They possess remarkable brilliance and clarity, making them visually indistinguishable from their natural counterparts to the naked eye.

Cost

One significant advantage of simulant diamonds is their affordability. They are generally more budget-friendly compared to natural and lab created diamonds, making them an attractive option for those seeking a diamond-like aesthetic without the hefty price tag.

Ethics

From an ethical standpoint, simulants are conflict-free. Since they are not mined, they do not contribute to the ethical concerns associated with the diamond industry, such as blood diamonds.

Examples of Diamond Simulants

  1. Cubic Zirconia
  2. Moissanite
  3. White Sapphire
  4. Rutile

How Are Simulant Diamonds Created?

Stones like moissanite and cubic zirconia are created using a method called crystal synthesis. In this process, scientists replicate the conditions found deep within the Earth’s mantle, where natural gemstones are formed.

By heating and cooling specific chemical compounds, they can generate crystals with properties resembling those of diamonds or other precious stones, making them popular choices for jewelry due to their brilliance and affordability.

Pros of Diamond Simulants

  • Affordability: Simulant diamonds offer an affordable alternative to natural diamonds, allowing more people to enjoy their beauty.
  • Conflict-Free: They are ethically sound, contributing to peace of mind for conscientious buyers.
  • Appearance: Simulants like moissanite have even more sparkling brilliance than diamonds.

Cons of Diamond Simulants

  • Durability: Simulants are not as durable as natural or lab created diamonds, which means they may scratch or lose their luster over time.
  • Authenticity: While mimicking the appearance, simulants lack the intrinsic value and rarity of natural diamonds.
diamond and simulant jewelry

Lab Created Diamonds

Lab created diamonds, also known as lab grown or synthetic diamonds, are a product of advanced scientific processes that replicate the natural diamond formation process. They are created in controlled environments, such as laboratories, rather than being extracted from the Earth’s crust.

Appearance

Lab diamonds are virtually identical to natural diamonds in terms of appearance. They possess the same brilliance, fire, and optical characteristics that make diamonds so captivating.

Cost

Compared to natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are more affordable. While they may not be as inexpensive as simulants, they still offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional diamonds.

Ethics

One of the key ethical advantages of lab created diamonds is their environmentally friendly production. They have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to mined diamonds and do not contribute to harmful mining practices.

Pros of Lab Created Diamonds

  • Quality: They offer the same high-quality appearance and durability as natural diamonds.
  • Value: Lab grown diamonds provide excellent value for their cost, making them an attractive option for buyers.
  • Conflict-Free: They are ethically sound, contributing to peace of mind for conscientious buyers.
  • Versatility: They come in all fancy color diamond options

Cons of Lab Created Diamonds

  • Perceived Value: Some individuals may still value natural diamonds more due to their rarity and tradition.
  • Initial Cost: While more affordable than natural diamonds, lab created diamonds may have a higher initial cost than simulants.
loose fancy shaped diamonds and a diamond engagement ring

Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds: Comparing Durability

When choosing a diamond, durability is a crucial factor to consider. Let’s take a closer look at how simulant diamonds vs. lab created diamonds compare in terms of their ability to withstand daily wear and tear.

Simulant Diamonds

When it comes to durability, simulant diamonds, while dazzling in appearance, have limitations. These stones are generally much softer than natural and lab created diamonds, which means they can be more susceptible to scratches and abrasions. However, moissanite is an exception here, with a hardness closer to diamonds at 9.5 on the Mohs scale.

Lab Grown Diamonds

On the other hand, lab diamonds share the exceptional durability of natural diamonds. Their hardness on the Mohs scale is identical to that of natural diamonds, making them highly resistant to scratching and damage.

The Mohs Scale of Hardness

The Science Behind Lab Created Diamonds

The creation of lab grown diamonds is a marvel of modern science. To appreciate these gems fully, let’s delve into the intricate processes and advanced technologies that bring them to life.

Lab created diamonds are grown through two primary methods: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

In the HPHT method, scientists recreate the extreme conditions found deep within the Earth’s mantle, where natural diamonds form. Carbon atoms are subjected to high pressure (over a million pounds per square inch) and high temperature (around 2,200 degrees Celsius).

Under these intense conditions, carbon atoms arrange themselves into the crystal structure of a diamond. Over time, a diamond crystal grows layer by layer.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

The CVD process involves placing a small diamond seed in a sealed chamber filled with a carbon-rich gas, such as methane. When the gas is heated to extreme temperatures, carbon atoms are released and bond to the diamond seed, causing it to grow. This method allows more precise control over the diamond’s growth and purity.

The result of these scientific processes is a lab created diamond that possesses the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds. They are indistinguishable from natural diamonds even under close inspection.

loose fancy shaped diamonds with tweezers and a loupe

Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds: Choosing Your Stone

Now that you have a clearer understanding of simulant diamonds vs. lab created diamonds, we’ll break down the reasons why you should choose these stones:

Earth Created Diamond:

  1. You love diamond’s sparkle
  2. You’ll wear your diamond jewelry often
  3. You admire the billions of years of history contained in each stone

Lab Created Diamond:

  1. You love diamond’s sparkle
  2. You’ll wear your diamond jewelry often
  3. You want a large diamond at a lower price

Moissanite:

  1. You’re on a budget
  2. You like small-carat stones
  3. You’ll wear your jewelry intensively

Cubic Zirconia:

  1. You’re on a budget
  2. You’ll wear your jewelry carefully and not every day
  3. You’re saving up for a more expensive stone

Choosing the stone that suits your lifestyle is an important part of designing meaningful jewelry that will last you throughout your life. And if you choose to buy either lab-created diamonds or earth-created diamonds, you can choose from 1000’s of beautiful options at James Allen.

FAQs

Are simulated diamonds worth anything?

Simulated diamonds have value primarily in their aesthetic appeal. They are not as valuable as natural or lab created diamonds from a monetary standpoint.

Is a simulated diamond good quality?

Simulated diamonds are crafted to mimic the quality of natural diamonds in terms of appearance. However, they lack the intrinsic hardness and longevity of natural or lab diamonds.

Is a simulated diamond a cubic zirconia?

No, simulated diamonds are not the same as cubic zirconia. While cubic zirconia is a popular diamond simulant, simulants can be made from various materials, including moissanite and white sapphire.

Conclusion 

As we wrap up this sparkling exploration of simulant diamonds vs. lab created diamonds, it’s clear that both options offer unique advantages. Simulants provide an affordable and ethically sound option for those who desire the appearance of diamonds.

While lab created diamonds offer a sustainable, high-quality alternative. The choice ultimately comes down to individual preferences and priorities.

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Jessica is a seasoned content writer with four years of experience and a qualified gemologist. She enjoys educating new shoppers on the best practices for buying jewelry.

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