What Are Simulated Diamonds?

What Are Simulated Diamonds?

Curious about the concept of simulated diamonds?


You’ve come to the correct location.

Within this informative guide, I will provide answers to prominent inquiries such as:

  • What precisely are simulated diamonds?
  • Which simulated diamond is considered the finest?
  • Do simulated diamonds possess authenticity similar to real diamonds?

Best Places to Buy Simulated Diamonds – Brilliant Earth

Shop at Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth comes highly recommended for:

What Are Simulated Diamonds?

A simulated diamond refers to any transparent material used to replicate the appearance of an authentic diamond. These can include naturally occurring gemstones, lab-grown gemstones, natural substances, or artificially produced materials.

RECOMMENDED: How To Tell if Your Diamond is Real

For those unfamiliar with simulated diamonds, navigating through the realm can be quite perplexing. The distinction between lab-grown diamonds and simulated diamonds often causes confusion, as many individuals mistakenly assume they are synonymous. However, it’s important to note that lab-created diamonds are not simulated diamonds.

Furthermore, the term “synthetic diamonds” is sometimes used interchangeably, leading to additional misunderstandings. In reality, synthetic diamonds possess the same resilience, optical properties, and chemical composition as mined diamonds, commonly known as natural diamonds.

Synthetic gemstones, such as lab-created diamonds, are fabricated in laboratories and mirror the characteristics of their naturally sourced counterparts. However, gemologists classify a lab-grown diamond as an imitation diamond.

RECOMMENDED: Best Fake Diamonds

Simulated diamonds have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional diamonds for various reasons. Factors such as affordability, radiance, and ethical concerns regarding diamond mining and conflict diamonds contribute to the growing demand for simulated diamond options.

Trending Varieties of Imitation Diamonds

A plethora of diamond simulants exists, encompassing any transparent substance that can be skillfully cut and faceted to resemble a diamond. Nevertheless, certain diamond imitations have gained significant popularity in recent times.


Shop at Brilliant Earth

Over the past two decades, moissanite has emerged as the prevailing choice for simulated gemstones. Although it is a rarity in its natural form, moissanite is classified as a synthetic gem rather than being purely man-made. Its fascinating origin story has earned it the affectionate moniker of the “Space Diamond.”

Moissanite possesses a remarkably high refractive index, resulting in a light performance that surpasses that of diamonds. The brilliance of moissanite is often likened to the captivating effect of a disco ball, adding an extra dash of sparkle to its allure.

White Sapphire

Shop at Brilliant Earth

White sapphire, the uncolored variant of sapphire, presents itself in both natural and lab-created forms, providing buyers with various options.

Due to its relative scarcity, natural white sapphire is more challenging to come across locally and is often more readily available through online retailers. On the other hand, lab-created white sapphire can be conveniently found at popular establishments such as Jared and Kay Jewelers.

While lab-created white sapphires share the colorless characteristic of a diamond, it does not exhibit the same level of brilliance. Its light performance is often described as possessing a silvery appearance. White sapphire lacks the pronounced refractive index and dispersion that contribute to a stone’s sparkliness.

Cubic Zirconia


Cubic zirconia stands at the forefront as the prevailing synthetic gemstone material, celebrated for its widespread popularity. It possesses the remarkable ability to be fashioned into a myriad of hues and shades. It is commonly encountered in costume jewelry or affordable fashion accessories, successfully mimicking the appearance of genuine diamond jewelry when observed from a distance.

Swarovski crystals, a variation of cubic zirconia, are skillfully enhanced to accentuate their brilliance and sparkle, offering an elevated level of radiance.

The quality of standard cubic zirconia varies, making it challenging to discern which one is superior. In terms of brilliance, a cubic zirconia stone exhibits a greater reflection of rainbow-colored light as opposed to pure white light, in contrast to diamonds which primarily reflect white light. The brilliance of cubic zirconia is akin to that of moissanite, yet possesses a more understated display of rainbow light.

White Topaz


Similar to diamonds, white topaz can exist as either a naturally occurring stone or a lab-created alternative, although synthetic white topaz is generally not readily available in commercial settings. When encountering white topaz at a jewelry store, it is safe to assume that it is of natural origin. White topaz represents the colorless variant of the topaz gemstone.

Primarily utilized as an imitation diamond accent, white topaz can also serve as a central stone in certain instances. Retailers such as Zales and Kay Jewelers often employ white topaz accent stones within their collections of lab-grown colored gemstone jewelry. It is important to note that the level of dispersion in white topaz is lower than that of a diamond, resulting in less pronounced fiery flashes.

White Zircon

Zircon stands as an independent precious stone, entirely distinct from cubic zirconia, lacking any correlation between the two. Matara zircon, also known as white zircon, derives its name from the Sri Lankan mine where it originates. Unfortunately, it remains relatively overlooked as a diamond substitute due to its association with synthetic cz stones.

The diverse array of zircon’s colorful variations, like the enchanting rose zircon, finds its significance as an alternative birthstone for October, my birth month. Locally sourcing white zircon proves to be a challenging task, primarily due to its lack of widespread popularity.

White Spinel

Spinel emerges as a diverse gemstone variant, presenting a vibrant spectrum of hues. Locally, the scarcity of its colorless variation has become evident, but its availability can be explored through online channels. Conventional online purveyors of exquisite jewelry are unlikely to showcase it; instead, platforms like Etsy and Amazon are more promising avenues. Within vintage jewelry, spinel garners substantial popularity as a favored alternative to diamonds.

The splendor of white spinel manifests through its admirable brilliance, accompanied by a delightful interplay of multicolored luminosity. However, an inherent challenge lies in locating a well-faceted white spinel, where each individual facet demands meticulous attention to ensure uniformity and overall appeal.

Other Different Simulated Materials

Yttrium Aluminum Garnet

Yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) emerges as a manufactured synthetic gemstone, intended to imitate the brilliance of diamonds, and experienced a surge in popularity during the 1950s. Despite the inclusion of the term “garnet” in its name, it bears no connection to the birthstone associated with January. However, its prominence waned as the 1970s unfolded, coinciding with the advent of cubic zirconia, which swiftly claimed the limelight.


Gadolinium gallium garnet (GGG) finds its connection to YAG due to their shared history as pioneering diamond substitutes. Both GGG and YAG emerged as early contenders in the realm of synthetic gemstones. However, GGG diamonds made their debut approximately a decade later than the introduction of YAG. Despite their initial promise, GGG diamonds lack substantial value and prove exceptionally challenging to procure in contemporary times.

Strontium Titanate 

Strontium titanate stands as an additional gemstone synthesized in laboratories. During its initial introduction to the market in the 1700s, there was speculation surrounding its origin, with some perceiving it as a product of human craftsmanship. However, the revelation came when strontium titanate was unearthed in the natural mineral variant known as tausonite, leading to the definitive recognition of its synthetic nature.


The ubiquitous substance found abundantly across the globe frequently serves as a deceptive medium to ensnare unsuspecting patrons seeking diamond-like alternatives. Glass, which exists in both natural and artificially produced forms, encompasses various deceptive practices. It can manifest as a complete gemstone composed solely of glass or be filled with glass components. Furthermore, glass can be intricately faceted to mimic the appearance of a diamond, albeit lacking its distinctive radiance and brilliance.

Pricing of Diamond Simulants

The pricing of imitated diamonds is contingent upon a collection of diverse colorless gemstones or substances. Their respective costs are subject to fluctuations based on factors such as the type of ring setting, accompanying certificates, quality levels specific to each stone, and the retailer’s pricing strategy. To gain insight into the average prices of commonly sought-after simulated diamonds, please refer to the following chart.

Durability of Simulated Diamonds

The overall resilience of a gemstone is contingent upon its hardness level and susceptibility to cleavage. These factors play a pivotal role in determining the stone’s capacity to withstand environmental factors such as dirt and dust, as well as its propensity to endure chipping or fracturing.

Hardness Level of Simulated Diamonds

The Mohs scale of hardness is a well-known concept among many individuals, yet the precise understanding of gemstone hardness often eludes them. It is commonly believed that a gemstone with a low hardness rating is prone to chipping or breaking, but this notion is erroneous.

The hardness scale primarily serves as an indicator of a mineral’s resistance to the abrasion caused by dirt and dust. Minerals that are too soft can be easily scratched by such particles.

Once a gemstone sustains scratches, it undergoes a transformation, rendering it cloudy and irreparable. Consequently, certain gemstones are not well-suited as center stones for engagement rings due to their susceptibility to scratching.

Outlined below are the hardness levels of various popular simulated diamonds, offering a comprehensive understanding of their durability.

Diamond Simulants Cleavage

The ability to resist breakage, chipping, or shattering is governed by the cleavage properties of a gemstone. Cleavage represents a vulnerable point within the crystal structure, and it is present in most faceted gemstones.

Diamonds, despite possessing the highest level of hardness, are not exempt from having cleavage. Any stone that exhibits cleavage is susceptible to chipping or breaking if subjected to a sufficiently forceful impact exploiting the atomic frailty of its crystal arrangement.

Caring for and Cleaning Simulated Diamonds

Many local jewelry stores often promote commercial jewelry cleaners conveniently placed near the cash register. However, using these cleaners without proper knowledge can potentially harm your simulated diamond center stone.

It is important to note that certain gemstones cannot be submerged in water and require swift drying. Ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners are commonly advertised as effective tools for jewelry enthusiasts, but they may not be suitable for gemstones that cannot tolerate such methods.

Therefore, the recommended cleaning process for engagement rings is straightforward and uncomplicated. All you need is water, mild dish soap, and a soft-bristled brush like a toothbrush. Simply rinse the ring under running water, apply a small amount of soap to the toothbrush, and gently brush away any loose dirt. If your gemstone permits submersion, you can leave it in a solution mixture for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Red Flags for Simulated Diamonds

Fake Diamonds

Encountering a simulated diamond ring unintentionally is not an uncommon occurrence. In certain instances, simulated diamonds are intentionally misrepresented as genuine diamonds or even as more popular types of simulated diamonds.

If deceit is at play, reputable jewelers are less likely to engage in such practices. Conversely, platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and eBay serve as common sources where individuals may come across various types of faux diamonds.

The production of diamond imitations frequently takes place within gem markets located in foreign countries. Gem merchants often offer counterfeit stones to unsuspecting tourists, assessing their knowledge to gauge potential sales prospects.

These customers typically seek natural or synthetic diamonds but are instead presented with a more affordable simulant.

This serves as a significant reminder to exercise caution when making online purchases from these platforms.

Misleading Descriptions and Titles

One of the major challenges I’ve encountered while searching for colorless simulated diamonds revolves around the indexing methods employed. For those who may not be technologically inclined, kindly bear with me for a moment.

Allow me to provide you with an example. Suppose I wish to purchase an engagement ring adorned with a laboratory-created diamond. I enter this specific query into my Etsy application, and numerous results flood the screen. However, out of the initial 20 options displayed, only around 6 of them genuinely feature a lab-created diamond.

This situation arises because sellers strive to optimize their product rankings by associating them with both relevant and irrelevant terms. Their primary aim is to secure a prominent position, irrespective of whether it aligns with the customer’s preferences. Consequently, the word “diamond” frequently appears in listings for simulant diamonds.

It is crucial never to place blind trust solely in titles. Always ensure that the title and description align with one another. If any ambiguity persists, consider reaching out to the seller for clarification. It is astonishing how often such discrepancies go unnoticed, and it is important to note that sellers are not accountable for any misconceptions resulting from the buyer’s oversight.

Leave a Reply