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Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab-Created Diamonds: What is the difference?

Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab-Created Diamonds: What is the difference? - New World Diamonds - fine jewelry, engagement rings and great gifts

While lab-grown diamonds are look-alike of natural diamonds, simulant diamonds are physically, chemically, and optically different. Read on.

With the rising popularity of lab created diamonds and diamond simulants, it's natural for questions to arise. However, there's a lot of mixed information out there, leading to confusion about the differences between these two types of stones. It's important to know that diamond simulants and lab-created diamonds are not the same thing. To help clear up any confusion and make it easier for you to understand your options, we've put together a comprehensive guide that breaks down the distinctions between lab diamonds and diamond simulants.

Exploring Diamonds, Simulant Diamonds and Lab-grown Diamonds

Diamonds: Diamonds are minerals made of pure carbon that form crystals naturally under high temperatures and pressures beneath the Earth's crust. They are one of the hardest naturally occurring substances, making them durable and resistant to scratching and breakage. Mined diamonds are extracted from the earth and are prized for their durability, making them popular choices for engagement ring center stones.

Simulated Diamonds: Simulated diamonds, like cubic zirconia (CZ) or moissanite, are manufactured gemstones designed to look like diamonds but differ in both appearance and composition. They lack the same chemical and physical properties as diamonds and are typically priced lower. Simulants can be distinguished from natural or lab-grown diamonds by their fiery sparkle, visible to the naked eye.

Lab-Created Diamonds: Lab-created diamonds are grown using advanced technology that mimics the natural diamond formation process. These diamonds are created from tiny carbon diamond seeds of pre-existing diamonds, using either extreme pressure and heat or a special deposition process known as CVD. Best lab created diamonds possess the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as natural mined diamonds. They are nearly indistinguishable from natural diamonds, even with professional gemological equipment, and can only be identified through extensive scientific testing. Best lab created diamonds are more affordable than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality and are considered a sustainable choice as they require no new mining.

Difference between Lab-grown Diamonds & Simulant Diamonds

  1. Properties: Lab-created diamonds have identical physical, chemical, and optical properties to natural mined diamonds, making them real diamonds. Simulant diamonds, like moissanite or cubic zirconia (CZ), are physically, chemically, and optically different from lab diamonds.

  2. Visual Appearance: Lab diamonds are visually indistinguishable from natural mined diamonds without specialized equipment, while simulants like moissanite or CZ can be distinguished with the naked eye due to their fiery sparkle and rainbow refractions.

  3. Hardness: Lab diamonds rank a perfect 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making them one of the hardest and most durable minerals on earth. Simulants like moissanite (9.25) and cubic zirconia (8.5) are also durable but more susceptible to surface scratching and wear over time.

  4. Affordability: Lab-created diamonds are typically 30% less expensive on average compared to natural diamonds of similar size and quality, making them a more affordable alternative. Simulant diamonds, being visually different and less durable, are generally lower in price compared to both lab-created and natural diamonds.

Overall, while both lab-created diamonds and simulants offer alternatives to natural diamonds, lab-created diamonds closely mimic the properties of natural diamonds and are considered real diamonds, whereas simulants are visually and compositionally different.

Final Thoughts

Today, diamond simulants like cubic zirconia and moissanite are created in labs to mimic the appearance of diamonds. However, they are compositionally and optically distinct from diamonds and can be made from various materials and gemstones.

Appearance-wise, diamond simulants can be easily distinguished from diamonds due to their optical properties. For instance, moissanite is double refractive, whereas a diamond is single refractive. This causes moissanite to emit a fiery rainbow sparkle, which is noticeable to the naked eye and sets it apart from diamonds.

Cost is another significant factor. Many popular diamond simulants are priced much lower than both natural and lab created diamonds. This makes simulants an appealing and budget-friendly option for couples looking to create their dream engagement ring without exceeding their budget or compromising on the size of the center gemstone.

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