Recently, a diamond mine in Australia had to close down due to the lack of its famous, but rare real pink diamonds found Down Under.
Consequently, the cultivation of fake diamonds on the other is likely to grow further exponentially because with a fraction of the price you can get a sparkling diamond engagement ring which otherwise you wouldn’t be able to afford.
Fake diamonds are artificially created simulants possessing, at least for the non-gemologist, similar appearance, hardness, and thermal conductivity like a natural diamond. However, there is a stark material property difference, between real and fake diamonds like CZ or moissanite.
Let’s jump in briefly and discover the best faux diamonds for your buck and what to look for when comparing and purchasing a fake diamond ring that lustrously looks real.
Fake Diamond Name Explained
Fake diamond is a general name for non-diamonds in terms of:
- material (real diamond is found in nature and considered a precious stone)
- chemical composition formula (natural diamond’s formula is C)
- hardness scale (authentic mined diamond are naturally the hardest gems and material on earth, with a Moh’s hardness scale 10 out of 10)
- thermal conductivity (real diamonds are extremely effective thermal conductors, no fake diamond can replicate 100%)
To distinguish premium diamonds from non-natural gemstones like cubic zirconia or moissanite, the jewelry industry has exactly defined labels, terminology, and most importantly physical properties that separate real from artificial stones worth getting familiar with before you buy a precious emerald or ruby.
What is A Good Fake Diamond Called (Chart)
There are over 9 diamond imitations. However, only two have really made inroads into our jewelry stores due to their qualities, affordability, and customer demand.
|Cubic Zirconia (CZ)||Hardness ~8.3|
Moissanite Diamond Simulant
The synthetic gemstone that possesses the most similarity to natural diamonds and is popular today is called moissanite.
What is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a lab-grown diamond with amazing properties like:
- hardness scale of 9 (nearly as hard as a real diamond)
- refractive index of RI 2.6 (degree of light bend once penetrating a stone, whereby natural diamond is RI2.4)
- thermal conductivity nearly as good as pure diamond stones
- appearance and style close resembling shiny diamonds made by mother nature
These are truly excellent diamond qualities that have led to a moissanite jewelry boom, ranging from moissanite rings to simulant necklaces and glowing synthetic stud earrings.
Drawbacks of Moissanite
Though a great alternative to flawless crystal diamonds, moissanite cannot be mistakenly for real when taken for a test by a gemologist or grading laboratory.
Real diamonds inclusions consist of minimal crystals that are mined with a fine diamond and moissanite lacks that, it is lab-grown, therefore does not possess these internal diamond properties typical for a real gemstone.
Final Moissanite Verdict
In conclusion, though moissanite is close to a remarkable pure colorless diamond stone, the colorless gemstone may appear sometimes dull compared to a “fire” white diamond with a brilliance cut second to any stone as well hardness unmatched.
Ultimately, the high price of natural perfect-graded diamonds excludes many of us from even thinking about a $10.000 transparent shinning princess cut wedding ring outside of ring financing.
Moissanite is of course also great as an inexpensive birthstone fake diamond ring or simple bracelet fashion jewelry to gift yourself or the one you love.
Cubic Zirconia Fake Diamond
The second most valuable synthetic diamond in the market is cubic zirconia, also known by its jewelry stamp CZ. Actually, it is the most widespread synthetic diamond jewelry in the marketplace.
What is CZ Jewelry?
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is a lab-created stone with the following properties associated with it:
- hardness scale around 8.3 out of 10 (compared with about 9 for moissanite or 10/10 real diamond)
- refractive index of nearly 2.2 (compared with 2.6 moissanite and 2.4 pure diamond)
- thermal conductivity of cubic zirconia is low (compared to a natural graded diamond or fake gemstone moissanite)
- the appearance of this artificial simulant is typical brightness that, under light, exposure might look to the eye too bright and lifeless, though some like it
In short, cubic zirconia may not be as excellent as obviously real diamonds, nevertheless, it has its place within the synthetic diamond category and consumer jewelry.
Benefits of Cubic Zirconia (CZ)
Lab-grown cubic zirconia is one of the most affordable diamond jewelry simulants.
You can get yourself an entire diamond-like cubic zirconia collection for a low budget that still looks great on your ring finger, ears, and neck like it was a real mined diamond.
Drawbacks of CZ
One of the disadvantages of cubic zirconia is unfortunately the fact that this lab-manufactured gemstone is not of the highest quality like a real one, meaning CZ might scratch, wear, and tear after some time.
Moissanite imitation diamond on the other is less likely to do so, due to its harder property, though both can break when undergoing a diamond destructive test.
Cubic Zirconia Verdict
This fake diamond is great costume jewelry due to its resemblance to a real 1-carat round cut diamond gem, though occasionally the appearance exaggerates the brilliance polishing and fiery associated with a real round or cushion piece of jewelry.
Moreover, the low price and especially its variety from jewelry designers have made it one of the sought-after artificial gems in general.
Other Faux Diamond Names
With faux diamonds (fake in French) we refer to jewelry stones that look like a real diamond and even possess some typical properties like high thermal conductivity, brilliant appearance, and solid hardness, but indeed are not chemically similar.
|White Sapphire||Low hardness of 6, low conductivity|
|Rutile||Low hardness of 6, low conductivity|
|Spinel||Mid hardness of 8, low conductivity|
|Strontium Titanite||Low hardness of 5, low conductivity|
The above table consists of all old faux diamonds used somewhere between the 1900s up to the 1950s, before the discovery of lab-grown moissanite and cubic zirconia diamond-like stones.
The old manufacturing as well their properties compared to, for example, desired fancy diamond prongs settings on a ring resemblance just didn’t live up to the expectations and consumer demands.
This was the downfall and at the same time rise of substitute diamond names like CZ and moissanite which provided the most wanted regarding appearance, quality, and price points up to today.
Natural Diamond Simulants
Next to synthetically manufactured diamonds like moissanite and cubic zirconia there are naturally found stones that resemble real diamonds, however, they possess different chemical properties.
|Natural Diamond Simulant||Properties|
|Topaz||hardness 8, low thermal conductivity|
|Zircon*||hardness ~7, low thermal conductivity|
|Scheelite||hardness ~5, low thermal conductivity|
|Cerrusite||hardness 3.5, low thermal conductivity|
|Quartz||hardness 7, no thermal conductivity|
|Sphalerite||hardness ~3, low thermal conductivity|
|Demantoid Garnet||hardness ~6.5, low thermal conductivity|
|Source:Litawear.com, Wikipedia, *not to be mistaken for artificial cubic zirconia (CZ)|
This is an incomplete list of natural stones that look like precious diamonds but belong to other chemical property groups.
Some of them like the demantoid were quite popular and quite pricey, like the lustrous green Fabergé adamantine with its relatively middle hardness scale of around 6.5 to 7.
Mostly though these natural diamonds look alike are brittle, difficult to polish due to their relatively low Moh’s scale which makes them too soft to be set in jewelry rings, although they may have stunning brilliance.
Moreover, these naturally created stones are usually rare to find and mine, therefore not really scalable for mass jewelry production.
Nevertheless, these naturally created stones too are fake diamonds, and some of them like the demantoid garnet gemstone actually hard to detect by diamond testers.
Fake Diamonds Names Conclusion
What all faux diamonds have in common, be it synthetic or natural simulants, is that they look like a colorless or yellow, blue, or green real diamond, but they aren’t one.
Neither chemically nor in brilliant appearance, when under professional laboratory jewelry check. However, they have fashion and preference values.
The official 4 C´s and Faux Diamond Grading
Not to mßention the famous 4´cs which determine the quality of a clean diamond, whereby the four C´s stand for:
- Carat (mass of a diamond, 1 carat equals 200g)
- Clarity (inclusions of foreign crystals typical for most natural diamonds)
- Color (from high graded colorless to fancy colored diamonds and common yellow-brown)
- Cut (classic round brilliant cut to fancy cuts like cushion, princess, or baguette and radiant or hear, oval, marquise and more)
A faux diamond does not fulfill the above 4 C´s internationally accepted quality and shape requirements. At least not as introduced by South Africa’s De Beers (the world leader in diamond sales) and perfected by the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) grading and NY’s Rapaport source price system.
And they, the simulants, do not have to fully adhere to the stringent requirements set by De Beers, GIA, and the diamond industry.
Like cultured pearls, fake diamonds usually offer an affordable diamond jewelry alternative, though they’ll never be as precious as a pure diamond.
However, can be worthwhile as a trendy and memorable gift for years to come, while every so often some rare natural diamonds may even be high-priced investment collectibles.
Why Are Diamond Imitations Popular?
Artificial simulants like moissanite are popular, because of their striking similarity with real mined diamonds in terms of property, appearance, while more affordable. These lab-grown diamonds are offered at varying quality grades and price points as cubic zirconia ring, moissanite chain, etc.
Is There A Fake Diamond Tester?
The best fake diamond tester is, next to a gemologist expert, a jeweler, or a diamond testing kit, though the latter may fail you since sophisticated replicas are hard to detect. To be 100% safe you may need to undergo a fluorescence, destructive, and visual natural diamond inclusion test.