Simulated diamonds are a popular alternative to real diamonds, but many people are not sure exactly how they differ and how to tell them apart. Let’s see what a diamond simulant really is and how you can distinguish it from a real diamond.
What Is a Diamond Simulant?
Diamond simulants, or simulated diamonds, are stones that look like real diamonds but have different chemical composition and physical properties.
Simulants are, in essence, fake diamonds.
They should not be confused with synthetic diamonds, however, which are identical in any way to natural diamonds except in that synthetics are created in a lab.
Signs That a Stone Is a Simulated Diamond
It looks too clean.
Even the most flawless diamonds have some internal defects.
Some of these flaws are not visible with the naked eye, and you may have to use a loupe or microscope to see them, but no natural diamond is without imperfections.
Diamond simulants, on the other hand, are often very clean (especially those created artificially) but much cheaper than real high-clarity diamonds.
It retains heat.
A real diamond dissipates heat very quickly. Therefore, if you breathe on it, a real diamond will not remain foggy.
If a stone retains some moisture in the form of fog on its surface after you do this breath test, then you most likely have a diamond simulant.
It scratches easily.
Diamond is a very hard substance, and although it can be chipped if hit really hard, it is not easy to scratch it.
Simulated diamonds, in contrast, are never as hard as the real thing, and they can be scratched relatively easily, especially if the simulant is made of a softer substance.
If it doesn’t take a lot of effort to scratch a stone, or if it has a lot of scratches already, then it is most likely a simulant.
Its sparkle is too colorful.
Real diamonds have sparkle, but some simulants have it in excess.
There are simulated diamonds that sparkle in all colors of the rainbow. One such example is cubic zirconia, which when put next to a real diamond exhibits much more colorful flashes of light.
The stone is colorless, but its price is low.
Real colorless diamonds are very rare and therefore quite expensive.
If a stone is white, without a hint of yellow, and if it is relatively cheap, especially if it is also flawless and big, then it is almost certainly a diamond simulant.
It is cheap.
Simulants are cheaper than real diamonds, and although diamond prices depend on a variety of quality characteristics, you are not likely to find a good and well-cut diamond that is around one carat for less than a couple of thousand dollars.
If a stone is reasonably big and colorless, looks clean to the naked eye, and its price is in the hundreds, then it is likely a fake.
Common Diamond Simulants
Here are some of the more popular diamond substitutes: cubic zirconia, zircon, moissanite, synthetic garnet (you can see it abbreviated as YAG and GGG, which are different variations of lab-grown garnet), spinel, rutile, white sapphire.
Trademarks such as DiamondAura or Diamonique can also indicate that the stone is a simulant (unless they indicate a synthetic diamond that has the same chemical composition as real diamond).
So, if you see or hear any of these names mentioned by a jewelry vendor, you should know that you are dealing with a diamond simulant.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).