Diamond simulants, imitations or diamond alternatives, do you know what these terms really are? Let’s go into details and find out what simulants are made of and how they compare to real diamonds.
What Are Diamond Simulants?
In plain words, a diamond simulant, also known as simulated diamond, fake diamond, faux diamond, diamond imitation and diamond alternative, is a stone that looks similar to a real diamond.
They are used in jewellery to imitate diamonds, however, they have completely different chemical structure.
Some diamond imitations occur naturally, while others are created artificially in labs.
Simulants vs Lab-Grown Diamonds: What’s the Difference?
Many people confuse diamond simulants with synthetic diamonds, however, these two are completely different terms.
Synthetic diamonds have the same chemical composition as natural diamonds. The only difference is that they are created in labs artificially.
These diamonds are also referred to as lab-grown, lab-created, cultivated, cultured or man-made diamonds.
People often think that because a diamond is grown in a lab, it is actually fake. That’s not true. The only determinant whether a diamond is fake is its chemical composition and not how it is made.
How to Recognize a Diamond Simulant?
Below are the characteristics on which diamond simulants differ from real ones:
This is one of the most important differences between simulated and real diamonds. Simulants can never come close to real diamonds in terms of hardness. They scratch, crack, chip and break much more easily.
Since simulants are created artificially, they usually don’t have internal flaws. In comparison, real diamonds have inclusions within their structure which are part of their nature.
Most diamond simulants are colourless. If you put a simulant next to a real diamond, the first will look very bright and white in comparison.
Simulants are usually set in cheaper metals. You would hardly find cubic zirconia set in platinum. It will most likely be set in silver, or if set in gold, it will be rather plated than solid. Of course, a simulant doesn’t need to be set in cheap metal. But let’s agree, the biggest selling point of a simulant is its low price and it doesn’t make sense to use expensive metal to raise the price of the piece.
Perhaps this is the most obvious sign that a stone is a simulant. You would never find a colourless 1-2 ct diamond for a couple of hundred dollars, but it is totally possible to find a simulant for that price.
Is It Worth Buying Simulants?
There is nothing wrong with buying imitations as long as you are aware that they are not real diamonds.
Just keep in mind that imitations are less hard and durable than real diamonds. You will be able to see signs of wear with time: the stone will definitely scratch and become dull at some point.
Now when you are aware of all the pros and cons and the price tag is the main attraction, you can decide if an imitation works for you.