- Simulated diamonds are also known as diamond simulants and include things like cubic zirconia (CZ), moissanite, and YAG. They can also include some natural clear gemstones like white sapphire, white zircon or even clear quartz.
- Synthetic diamonds are also known as laboratory-grown diamonds, laboratory-created diamonds, cultured diamonds, or cultivated diamonds. They are real diamonds but not grown by Mother Nature.
There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information about diamond simulants and lab created (also called “cultured”) diamonds. Despite what you may have heard, simulant diamonds and lab created diamonds are not the same.
We want to help you sort through the confusion to better understand the options available, and more importantly, what you are actually buying.
Diamond simulants are manufactured to look like diamonds but are composed of very different materials. Although simulants share some similarities in appearance to a diamond, they are generally readily identifiable as stand-ins. The most well-known option is cubic zirconia, or CZ, which is a crystal form of zirconium oxide.
Moissanite is an alternative to CZ, and is both durable and low cost. This simulant is newer, boasts slightly more sparkle, and is composed of the crystal carbide.
It is important to note the vast distinction between simulant diamonds, such as those mentioned above, and lab diamonds. Lab diamonds are man-made diamonds that consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. Simulants do not have the same chemical and physical properties as diamonds, and merely imitate the appearance of a diamond. Therefore, simulants sell at much lower prices than cultured diamonds.
If you love a particular setting and/or have your heart set on a certain size diamond, wallet-friendly simulants may allow you to have a ring that you adore without having to wait. You can always upgrade with a diamond—cultured or mined—when the time is right for you.
Additionally, if you travel frequently, for work or leisure, having a ring set with a simulant may come in handy. You can leave home without worrying about having your diamond engagement ring lost or stolen.