Fake diamonds are stones that have different chemical composition from real diamonds. These imitations can be either synthetic or natural. (Synthetic diamonds, on the other hand, have the same chemical composition as real diamonds and are not considered fake.)
Fake diamonds are also known as diamond simulants, simulated diamonds, faux diamonds, and diamond imitations. Let’s take a look at the most common diamond substitutes used in jewelry:
Cubic zirconia is a synthetic substance and is one of the most popular diamond substitutes.
It is made of zirconium dioxide and is relatively hard (8.0-8.5 on the Mohs scale), although not as hard and durable as real diamond (which is a 10 on the Mohs scale).
Cubic zirconia is much cheaper than diamonds, but it scratches more easily, and this is why it tends to lose its brilliance after being worn for some time.
Zircon is a mineral that occurs in nature and can come in a variety of colors.
Some people confuse it with cubic zirconia, but these two substances are different. Colorless pieces of zircon are sometimes cut, polished, and used as diamond imitations.
This mineral is, however, much softer than real diamond – zircon’s hardness rating is 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
Moissanite (or silicon carbide) is a mineral that is so rare in nature that it is often created synthetically in a lab.
Moissanite looks very similar to diamond but tends to exhibit more colorful sparkle when exposed to light. Because of its colorlessness and hardness (9.5 on the Mohs scale), this material is one of the best substitutes for diamond.
White sapphires are often used as diamond substitutes. Sapphire is not as hard as diamond bit is still harder than most other gemstones (it is a 9 on the Mohs scale).
The combination of durability and colorlessness in white sapphire makes it popular as a diamond imitation.
Rutile is a mineral that is commonly found in red and brown. Synthetic rutile can be created colorless, and it is this variety that is used as a diamond substitute.
This mineral is, however, much softer than real diamond and scratches easily – rutile’s hardness rating on the Mohs scale is 6.0-6.5.
Spinel is a natural mineral that occurs in colors such as red, green, brown, blue, black, and white.
White spinels are colorless, and this is why they are sometimes used as fake diamonds. This mineral is moderately hard at 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs scale.
Some synthetic varieties of garnet are used as diamond substitutes. For example, YAG (yttrium aluminium garnet) and GGG (gadolinium gallium garnet) are sometimes used to make diamond imitations.
Depending on the process used to create them, synthetic garnet varieties can have a Mohs hardness rating in the 7.5-8.5 range.
A lot of diamond imitations are made of glass. These substitutes are cheap, but their brilliance and sparkle are nowhere near those of real diamonds.
Also, fake diamonds made of glass are much easier to scratch or chip.
Where to Buy Diamond Imitations?
If you're looking to buy jewelry with cubic zirconia or other simulated diamonds, we recommend that you check out the great selection of diamond imitations available at Amazon as well as Ross-Simons and Reeds Jewelers.