Lab-Created vs Simulated Diamonds

Lab-Created vs Simulated Diamonds

Curious about the disparity between simulated diamonds and lab-grown diamonds?

Fantastic! This is precisely where you’ll find the answers you seek!

Within this enlightening compendium, I shall address the most frequently raised inquiries surrounding these frequently misconstrued monikers for diamonds, such as:

  • Do lab-grown diamonds possess genuine diamond properties?
  • Are simulated diamonds mere counterfeits?
  • Can simulated diamonds endure everyday wear and tear?

Origin – Simulated Diamonds vs Lab-Created Diamonds

Simulated Diamonds

Simulated diamonds encompass a broad term employed to denote substances that replicate the appearance of diamonds. These imitations predominantly pertain to colorless variations of various gemstones, which can either occur naturally or be artificially cultivated.

Among the simulated diamonds preferred by consumers, moissanite, white sapphire, white topaz, and cubic zirconia reign supreme.

Although moissanite rings may contain genuine stones, their natural occurrence is exceptionally scarce. Consequently, all moissanite available in the market is synthetically created.

Cubic zirconia, too, is a man-made material. Its production lacks a universal standard, resulting in varying qualities across different iterations.

Chain retailers predominantly offer lab-created white sapphire, whereas authentic white sapphire can be procured from online vendors such as Brilliant Earth.

White topaz, being the colorless variant of topaz, is widely accessible due to its affordability, as topaz is primarily esteemed for its hues. Establishments like Kay Jewelers and Jared utilize white topaz as supplementary embellishments, while Brilliant Earth showcases sizable white topaz stones as centerpieces.

Shop at Brilliant Earth 

Lab-Created Diamond

Laboratory-produced diamonds and gemstones truly embody their name, being meticulously crafted within controlled laboratory settings. These lab-grown gems possess all the inherent qualities of genuine gemstones. In fact, lab-created diamonds possess identical quality attributes as their naturally occurring counterparts, as the laboratory conditions impeccably emulate the environment in which diamonds form deep within the Earth’s crust.

It is important to note that a lab-grown diamond is, in essence, an authentic diamond.

There exist two primary techniques for the creation of lab-grown diamonds. The initial method developed is known as the high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) process. In this method, a diamond seed is subjected to exceedingly intense levels of heat and pressure.

A diamond seed refers to a fragment sourced from a naturally formed diamond. This seed is carefully positioned within a carbon substrate, subjecting it to specific conditions. As the carbon begins to liquefy, it adheres itself to the diamond seed. Subsequently, as the amalgamation cools down, diamond crystals gradually initiate their growth process.

The chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique also incorporates the utilization of a diamond seed, which can either be a naturally occurring specimen or an HPHT diamond.

In the CVD process, scientists introduce the seed into a specialized chamber, which is then filled with carbon-rich gases, commonly methane. Under elevated temperatures, these gases undergo a transformation into a plasma state. Within the plasma, the molecules undergo disintegration, leaving behind solely pure carbon particles that gradually accumulate around the seed, eventually forming crystalline structures.

Appearance – Simulated Diamonds vs Lab-Created Diamond

One significant factor contributing to the confusion between diamond alternatives and lab-grown diamonds is the nomenclature initially assigned by the industry. In the early stages, a diamond created in a laboratory was commonly referred to as a synthetic diamond.

Moreover, alternative terms used to describe lab-grown diamonds include cultured diamonds, cultivated diamonds, or engineered diamonds. Although the term synthetic still lingers within specific circles, the majority of the industry endeavors to steer clear of such designations. This is because the word “synthetic” carries connotations of being artificial, despite the clear distinction between faux diamonds and lab-grown diamonds.

Simulated Diamonds

To grasp the concept of simulated diamonds, one must recognize their ability to mimic the appearance of genuine diamonds. While they may exhibit a diamond-like colorlessness, their resemblances largely cease at this point.

For those unacquainted with the realm of jewelry, a ring adorned with a transparent centerpiece would likely be mistaken for a diamond ring. However, aesthetics extend beyond mere color. It is when simulated diamonds are juxtaposed with their authentic counterparts that the disparities become evident.

Diamonds exhibit a delicate interplay of white and rainbow hues, harmoniously coexisting without overwhelming their sparkle. The pinnacle of radiance is found in a flawlessly cut round diamond, perfectly showcasing its brilliance.

On the other hand, moissanite presents itself as colorless under most lighting conditions. However, even the highest-quality moissanite may exhibit a subtle tint in specific lighting environments. What sets moissanite apart is its exuberant brilliance, characterized by an abundance of rainbow light, often likened to the dazzling radiance of a disco ball.

White sapphires, often available in larger carat weights at affordable prices, possess a crystal-clear appearance akin to colorless diamonds. However, when illuminated, white sapphires lack the same brilliance as moissanite or diamonds, failing to emanate a comparable luminosity.

The luminosity of a white sapphire, as described by experts, can be best characterized as a shimmering display with a silvery undertone. It is worth noting that white sapphires, despite their commendable hardness rating, frequently exhibit a cloudy appearance. In contrast to diamonds, sapphires, as a gemstone family, do not possess the same captivating sparkle. This disparity is particularly evident in the colorless variants of sapphires.

Optical Treatments

Although it is infrequent, simulated diamonds can undergo certain treatments, although they are not widespread. Conversely, cubic zirconia possesses the flexibility to be fashioned in various colors. Similar to simulated diamonds, treatments are typically not applied to moissanite, white topaz, or white sapphire.

RECOMMENDED: White Sapphire vs Cubic Zirconia

The desirability of topaz and sapphires primarily stems from their inherent colors, rendering any color treatments unnecessary. In the case of moissanite, white topaz, and white sapphire, they tend to exhibit remarkable clarity without any noticeable imperfections. Consequently, the absence of significant visual flaws obviates the need for clarity enhancements as well.

Simulated Diamond Imitations

Simulated diamonds encompass a variety of colorless gemstone species, and the decision to create imitations depends on their perceived worth. Among the numerous imitations, glass emerges as the most prevalent substitute. If anyone attempts to deceive by presenting diamond simulants, it is often accomplished through the use of a glass stone. Glass possesses the ability to be skillfully faceted to resemble genuine gemstones.

Among the imitative gemstones, moissanite and white sapphire stand out as popular choices that, intriguingly, can also become the subjects of imitation themselves. Both moissanite and natural white sapphire engagement rings often command prices reaching a few thousand units of currency.

While white topaz can be artificially produced in laboratory settings, it is not commonly available in the fine jewelry market. As topaz is one of the most prevalent minerals found naturally, there is no significant demand for its synthesis in commercial jewelry production.

Lab-Created Diamonds

A diamond produced in a laboratory possesses an indistinguishable visual aspect compared to a diamond obtained through traditional mining methods. The radiance of both diamonds remains identical, provided that their quality classifications are equivalent.

Observing a naturally sourced diamond engagement ring alongside a lab-created diamond engagement ring would prove futile in discerning any dissimilarities.

Granted, certain experts in gemology possess the ability to distinguish a diamond’s origin based on the inclusions it harbors. This task becomes progressively more challenging when dealing with diamonds of higher clarity grades, such as VS or VVS.

Optical Treatments

Various treatments are employed to modify the characteristics of lab-grown diamonds, primarily focusing on enhancing their color rather than rectifying clarity imperfections. Unlike mined diamonds, lab diamonds exist in an isolated environment, devoid of any interactions with other minerals.

While lab-grown diamonds do exhibit inclusions, they are comparatively less conspicuous than those found in mined diamonds. The prevalence of I clarity lab-grown diamonds is limited since they are renowned for their superior clarity. It is commonplace to encounter lab-grown diamond jewelry featuring VS or VVS diamonds at affordable price points.

Lab-created diamonds that have undergone the CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) process may undergo color treatment. Many CVD diamonds exhibit a brown hue initially, and the treatment is employed to render them colorless or nearly colorless. Furthermore, these diamonds can also undergo treatment to acquire various fancy colors typical of lab-grown diamonds.

Lab-Created Diamond Imitations

A human-crafted diamond possesses the potential for imitations akin to those found in natural diamonds. Any gemstone classified as a simulated diamond can also serve as a facsimile for a lab-grown diamond. Presented below are several gemstones that may assume the disguise of a laboratory-grown diamond:

  • Moissanite
  • Rutile
  • White Sapphire
  • Glass
  • White Topaz
  • White Spinel
  • Cubic Zirconia
  • White Quartz
  • White Zircon
  • Glass

When dealing with illicit lab-grown diamond merchants, it is prevalent for them to substitute genuine lab diamonds with alternative materials such as white topaz, glass, and cubic zirconia.

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Price and Value – Simulated Diamonds vs Lab-Created Diamond

Simulated Diamonds

Diamond substitutes typically come at a lower price point compared to diamonds of equal quality and size. The expense can be further balanced by considering the choice of ring settings.

Below are approximate per-carat price ranges for well-known simulated diamonds:

The resale value of these gemstones is relatively low, as pawn shops and retailers generally only engage in transactions involving diamonds. Some exceptions may exist for colored gemstones, but not for colorless varieties.

In terms of overall worth and resilience, a handful of simulated diamonds prove to be highly suitable for everyday use. Among the top contenders are moissanite and white sapphire.

The Mohs scale provides insight into a mineral’s scratch resistance, which directly relates to its ability to withstand everyday wear and tear. This encompasses routine encounters with various objects or even the presence of airborne dirt and dust particles.

Here are the Mohs ratings for popular simulated diamonds:

Despite the advantageous durability of white sapphire, which renders it suitable for regular use, it necessitates consistent maintenance. While it can withstand the effects of dirt and dust, it also tends to attract them, resulting in a cloudy appearance. If the prospect of daily cleaning is not appealing to you, white sapphire may not be the ideal diamond simulant for your needs.

Lab-Created Diamond

Synthetic diamonds, produced in laboratories, can be significantly more economical, with prices ranging from 20% to 70% lower than their mined counterparts possessing similar grades and grading records. These lab-grown gems undergo evaluation based on the well-established 4Cs criteria, just like naturally occurring diamonds.

The swift creation of lab-grown diamonds by scientists within a mere month diminishes their intrinsic value. Why squander substantial funds on diamond mining endeavors when a synthetic alternative can be effortlessly fabricated? These man-made diamonds not only come at a reduced cost to the industry but also exhibit near-flawless characteristics. Consequently, it is logical for the industry to offer them at a more affordable price point.

The pricing of lab-grown diamonds experiences constant fluctuations, prompting jewelers to restrict their trade-in policy exclusively to natural diamonds. Similarly, pawn shops refrain from accepting lab-created diamonds due to the inherent instability of their market value. Nonetheless, these synthetic gems can still be insured through specialized jewelry insurance companies, contrary to common belief.

Lab-created diamonds exhibit an identical level of hardness to that of their natural counterparts, measuring a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale. The remarkable characteristic of diamonds lies in their ability to scratch one another exclusively. However, despite their impressive hardness, diamonds are susceptible to chipping and breaking due to their inherent cleavage. It is often misunderstood that hardness implies an overall capacity to withstand impacts and forceful blows. In reality, hardness solely pertains to the resistance against scratching.

mohs hardness scale

The majority of gemstones possess a characteristic known as cleavage, rendering them susceptible to chipping when subjected to external force. Lab-grown diamonds, despite their exceptional properties, are not exempt from this vulnerability and can also break when subjected to significant impact.


What’s the ultimate verdict?

If you’re faced with the decision of opting for a simulated diamond versus a diamond created in a laboratory, I strongly suggest choosing the latter.

Here’s the rationale:

  • Lab grown diamonds possess an unparalleled radiance akin to that of a genuine diamond.
  • Lab grown diamonds come accompanied by comprehensive grading reports.
  • Ethical concerns regarding conflict diamonds are completely alleviated with lab grown diamonds.
  • Lab grown diamonds are priced at a strikingly affordable range, being 20% to 70% more economical than mined diamonds.
  • Inclusions within lab grown diamonds are comparatively inconspicuous.
  • When it comes to resisting dirt and dust, lab grown diamonds reign supreme.
  • Lab grown diamonds demand less maintenance in comparison to certain simulated diamonds.

Feel free to select your ideal ring from our exclusive compilation of top-rated artificial diamonds, carefully curated from the most reputable e-commerce platforms.

In the event that a lab grown diamond exceeds your financial limitations or you simply prefer to explore alternative options, I highly advocate for considering a moissanite. Renowned as the foremost substitute for lab-created diamonds, moissanite presently reigns as the favored choice among diamond alternatives.

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