Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds: What's the Difference?

There are bound to be more questions as the interest in lab diamonds and diamond simulants grow. And with our decades of combined diamond expertise, we’re here to help.
It is unsurprisingly difficult to distinguish between lab-created diamonds and diamond simulants due to a lot of confusing and conflicting information available. There is a big difference between diamond simulants and lab-created diamonds despite what you may have heard.
Benchmark LCP2 Large Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Benchmark LCP2 Large Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Synthetic diamond was first manufactured experimentally in the early 1950s. Until very recently, there has been little significant commercial production. In the present day, several companies including Whiteflash are manufacturing lab grown diamonds.
In order to help you navigate any confusion, we've created a complete guide to understanding lab diamonds and diamond simulants, as well as their opposition to the allure of natural diamonds.
  • What Are Simulated Diamonds?
  • What Are Lab Created Diamonds?
  • Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

What Are Simulated Diamonds?

The term diamond simulant refers to gemstones that mimic diamonds but are different both in their appearance and composition. Diamond-like simulated products, such as cubic zirconia (CZ) and moissanite, are not actually diamonds.
There is no doubt that cubic zirconia is one of the most popular diamond simulants. It’s a man-made, crystalline form of zirconium dioxide and Moissanite is a form of silicon carbide crystal that’s synthesized in a lab.
The naturally occurring version of these gems are extremely rare, so the version we see today is a lab-grown, colorless crystals that resemble a diamond when cut and polished.
Simulated Diamond
Unlike diamonds, simulants do not possess the same chemical or physical properties and therefore cost less. A simulant's fiery sparkle can be distinguished from a natural or lab-grown diamond with only the naked eye - but they lack the remarkable durability and brilliance of real diamonds.
Simulants of diamonds can be an attractive alternative to diamonds depending on your budget, but since they are not optically and compositionally identical to diamonds, they do not have any residual value.
Top Tip: You should pay close attention to the wording used by sellers when purchasing non-natural diamonds. These simulants and man-made diamonds differ in their properties, thus carrying different values. As an example, a 1.00ct lab grown diamond might cost around $1,400 today, whereas a 1.00ct cubic zirconia might cost less than $20.
As most of us know, diamonds are the hardest natural substance and are rated 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. As far as the scale is concerned, Moissanite ranks at 9.25, while cubic zirconia is 8.5. Despite pretty decent hardness, diamond simulants are more susceptible to damage.
It is important to note, however, that simulants often do not possess the whiteness and icy clarity of colorless diamonds. In some cases, moissanite sellers are attempting to differentiate between the colors of their stone, offering 'whiter' stones for a higher price; however, since moissanite does not have a governing or grading body, nothing can be guaranteed.
In terms of wear, cubic zirconia being softer has a much shorter lifespan. Generally, they won't last longer than a few years with daily wear. Cubic zirconia is thus only a "for now" stone; you can wear it until your dream diamond replaces it.

Advantages Of Diamond Simulants

  • Since simulants cost significantly less than both natural and lab diamonds, they are a good option for many couples on a budget.
  • A simulant does not need to be insured and can be more easily replaced if lost or damaged.

Disadvantages Of Diamond Simulants

  • Simulants may be suitable for everyday wear but aren't as durable as diamonds and are more prone to surface scratches and wear.
  • There is a noticeable difference between diamond simulants and diamonds because many diamond simulants have inferior optical properties. In general, the larger the size of the simulant gemstone, the more noticeable it is that it is not a natural diamond.
If you are interested in a diamond, but are uncertain about the price point, we at Whiteflash can help find the perfect size and quality for you. The ultimate advantage of diamond jewelry is that it's versatile, ensuring everyone can have a beautiful, natural diamond, no matter what their budget is.
Find the diamond of your dreams among our selection of loose diamonds or contact us for expert advice.

What Are Lab Created Diamonds?

As their name suggests, lab grown diamonds are created in laboratories through a variety of processes. Using controlled conditions, the temperature and pressure that create natural diamonds in the Earth's core are recreated in labs.
The method of natural diamond formation is mimicked by advanced technology - either through extreme pressure (HPHT) and heat or through a special chemical deposition process called CVD.
Diamond seed crystals (usually HPHT crystals) are the basis of CVD. A vacuum chamber is filled with gas, which is then broken down by microwaves - carbon atoms pile up on the diamond seed, making a synthetic diamond.
The production of lab diamonds can take between two weeks and two months. There is a significant difference in timeline (compared to a natural diamond) that results in differing characteristics including fluorescence and strain patterns. And of course, synthetics are less expensive than natural diamonds and will continue to get cheaper over time as production becomes more efficient.
Lab-created diamonds, therefore, possess the same basic physical, optical, and chemical properties as natural mined diamonds. A lab-created diamond cannot easily be differentiated from a natural diamond, even by jewelers. Only gem laboratories with specialized scientific equipment can make a definitive separation.

Advantages Of Lab Created Diamonds

  • With the naked eye, lab diamonds are indistinguishable from natural diamonds due to the fire, scintillation, and sparkle they emit.
  • A lab diamond costs less than a natural diamond of similar size and quality.
  • There is no new mining required to produce lab diamonds.
  • In terms of composition and durability, lab diamonds are identical to natural diamonds.

Disadvantages Of Lab Created Diamonds

  • Even though lab diamonds have similar characteristics, they have no intrinsic rarity and many people don't see them as unique or special as compared to mined diamonds.
  • Like simulants, lab diamonds do not retain value like natural diamonds do. Natural Earth-mined diamonds retain significant value and are more likely to increase in value over time than any other gemstone.
Man has achieved an incredible feat with lab grown diamonds; however, as with any new product, consumer concerns have been raised over the claims made by sellers of man-made diamonds.
It is common for lab-grown diamonds to be sold as an ethical alternative to natural diamonds. It is understandable that consumers have concerns about the diamonds' sources due to the past of the diamond mining industry.
There are some companies that sell lab grown diamonds and imply that the past of diamond mining represents the present; however, this is simply not true. It is estimated that 99.9% of natural diamonds available on the market are conflict-free. These important facts need to be explained clearly to buyers by natural and lab-grown diamond vendors.
Top tip: No matter what type of diamond you are looking for, GIA/AGS certification ensures reliable grades. Don't settle for less or be misled.

Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab Created Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

"Diamond" is a very specific form of crystalline carbon. Despite the fact that there are other forms of carbon, diamonds are distinguished by their specific atomic configuration. And their undeniably captivating history and beauty.
Natural Diamonds
There is a maximum of four possible bonds between carbon atoms - and in diamond, all four possible bonds are filled by other carbon atoms! There's no doubt about it, it's all carbon. In turn, this produces a gem with incredible stability, exceptional hardness, and amazing sparkle.
A diamond's durability is one of the reasons it is the go-to stone for engagement rings, which are worn daily for decades at a time. They are not just a pretty face.
Simulant and lab-grown diamonds are both cheaper than natural diamonds. Natural diamonds are expensive due to their scarcity and the difficulty involved in recovering them from the Earth.
In contrast to natural diamonds, which are extremely rare, man-made diamonds are readily available - they need not be bought second-hand. Furthermore, although we encourage our customers to pursue their desires, lab grown diamonds have little to no resale value for those seeking to invest.
When it comes to ethical and eco concerns, we offer transparency and peace of mind. Amidst dubious claims of sustainability by sellers of synthetic diamonds, Whiteflash will remain a voice of rationality and truth.
Ultimately, natural diamond mining has the power to improve the lives of millions of people, many of whom live in the poorest countries and would not otherwise make a decent living.
In unfairly demonizing the natural diamond mining industry, moissanites and other synthetics are marketed as 'ethical alternatives’. Synthetic diamond sales may benefit entrepreneurs, investors, and high-tech companies, but natural diamond mining contributes to the development of whole communities around the world.
Founded in 2003, the Kimberly Process has ensured that all Whiteflash diamonds are from legal, legitimate, and ethical sources. Whiteflash's social responsibility can be found here.
A natural diamond is intrinsically linked to emotion; as rare and unique as a snowflake, they mark important moments in our lives and are treasured for generations. They have been a part of the Earth's rich history for millennia and promise to be treasured far into the future.
Our customers want to know exactly what they are getting for their money, and we believe it is crucial to let them know. Every diamond on our website is certified by GIA and AGS and comes with an advanced performance report and imaging.

If Nothing Else Will Do… Natural Diamonds!

Gemstones with billions of years of history are unmatchable by simulated or lab-created stones. The decision is a very personal one based upon budget and the desire to own the “best of the best”.
With diamond quality as our core ethos, we never settle for anything less than exceptional, and neither will our customers. We are proud to offer the highest quality diamonds, A CUT ABOVE® Collection Series,
By providing buyers with facts and education, Whiteflash empowers them to make the best choice for themselves. When it comes to finding a balance between cost and beauty, our experts can advise how to make the most of a modest budget.

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