Over time, the journey of jewelry shopping has become rich with variety and beauty. Diamonds in particular have been a consistent favourite throughout the past few centuries, but in today’s world, we are truly spoilt for choice.
Simulated diamonds are only one of several different diamond types available on the current market, each of which possesses unique pros and cons that render each one special in its own way.
However, the interest in simulated diamonds has significantly picked up over the past decade. This is due to its flawless beauty that can be beheld without costing the environment (or our pockets) as much as the traditional diamond choices.
Let’s dig into this iconic gemstone and weigh out the details of how, what, and where simulated diamonds come to life.
What Are Simulated Diamonds?
Simulated diamonds (also known as diamond simulants) are man-made diamonds created in a lab. While they do not have the same chemical composition of a traditionally mined diamond, simulated diamonds are designed to mimic their authentic counterpart in every possible way.
The look, feel, and weight of a simulated diamond can typically only be determined by a diamond specialist, which is why so many people are happy to purchase a lab-made stone as opposed to a real one.
Despite their being lab-made, diamond simulants are still considered beautiful, precious, and expensive enough for consistently high demand.
Are Simulated Diamonds Real Diamonds?
No, simulated diamonds are not exactly real diamonds, but they do hold many of the same properties. In fact, some synthetically produced diamonds can actually be of a higher quality and value than traditionally minded ones.
This is due to the precise control that lab-made diamonds are approached with. Lab workers can involve themselves in every step of production to manipulate the gem into the clearest, brightest, hardest and most flawless stone possible.
Many natural diamonds are made imperfect by yellowed coloration or small fissures that degrade their overall value despite their authenticity. Diamond simulants are created with only perfection in mind, making them a great engagement ring alternative.
What are simulated diamonds made of?
Most simulated diamonds are made from carbon crystals or cubic zirconia, also known as crystalline zirconium dioxide. Cubic zirconia is a synthetically produced stone made from a gritty mix of mineral powders that are heated up to 5000 degrees Fahrenheit.
During this alchemical process, the blend of zirconium dioxide and other minerals produces a crystal-clear gem that sparkles brightly.
Lab-created diamonds are also referred to as diamond alternatives or moissanite, or the prolifically branded Nexus Diamond alternatives (which are created with an originally patented chemical formula, making them compositionally different from other simulated diamonds).
Simulated diamonds vs lab-created diamonds vs natural diamonds
There are several different ways how to tell if a diamond is real or synthetic. Even though these diamond types are all highly valued and sought-after, there are small differences to each which contribute to their uniqueness. Let’s summarize:
- Simulated diamonds: simulated diamonds are found gems that have either been made to look and feel like natural diamonds or have been synthetically produced from nothing. Because of the work that goes into producing them, they tend to be as close to perfection as possible.
- Lab-created diamonds: lab-created diamonds are diamonds that have specifically been made from scratch inside a lab. They are built from mineral powders or cubic zirconium and provide producers with the ultimate level of control and precision over the end result.
- Natural diamonds: as the name indicates natural diamonds are diamonds that have formed in the earth naturally and been extracted by miners. Because they form organically, they may be prone to yellowness or lack of clarity. However, they are still regarded as the most prestigious diamond type due to their authenticity.
Each of these diamond types remain popular choices for engagement rings and other occasional jewelry items. However, simulated diamonds come with a particular advantage that sets them apart from the others – let’s find out what it is.
Pros And Cons Of Simulated Diamonds
One of the biggest pros associated with simulated diamonds lies in their ability to be produced in a more ethically and environmentally conscious manner.
Conventionally mined diamonds are often reliant on high levels of pollution, corruption, and strip-mining which are bad for both the earth and the people working in the mines. Simulated diamonds are created in a lab, which means people can purchase them with a clearer conscience.
The only con of diamond simulants is that they are not considered authentic by gemstone purists. No matter how identical or beautiful a simulated diamond may be, some consumers simply prefer the authenticity associated with natural diamonds.
What Are Simulated Diamonds Worth?
Due to their consistency of quality and flawlessness, simulated diamonds can be very pricey. However, they tend to be much cheaper than natural diamonds because of how much less intensive the production process is.
Do Simulated Diamonds Get Cloudy Over Time?
No, just like natural diamonds, simulated diamonds will not get cloudy over time. In fact, simulated diamonds are less likely than conventionally mined diamonds to become discolored over time due to the highly controlled clarity that a lab provides.
Are Simulated Diamonds More Ethical?
Weighing up both the ethical concerns and carbon footprint associated with extracting natural diamonds, it can be concluded that simulated diamonds are indeed a more ethical choice.
Not only do diamond simulants result in a significantly lower carbon footprint and pollution rate, they are also divorced from the corruption of the blood diamond trade and often unethical treatment of traditional miners.
What Is The Future Market Outlook Of Simulated Diamonds?
The market for simulated diamonds is booming. Valued at $18.36 billion in 2020, the consumer demand for a simulated diamond is predicted to increase by 7% before 2026.
Due to the rapid production of super abrasives used for cutting diamonds in Japan, India, and China, simulated diamonds are most popular in the Asian and Pacific regions of the world.
However, the ethical and environmentally-friendly benefits that come with simulated diamonds are predicted to gain consistent consumer traction in the upcoming years.