Diamond is one of the most valuable substances traded around the world. Like with many other valuables, the market is always trying to answer the demand with imitations of the actual product.
“The two most well-known imitation diamonds are the cubic zirconia (or simply zirconia) and synthetic moissanite.”
As is the case for all imitations of diamond, the characteristics of the imitation stone do not compare well to those of natural diamond. Even when all imitation stones faded into dust, diamonds will still exist thousands of years. What is more beautiful than a natural diamond with unique qualities that comes with a certificate, is there any such thing?
Diamonds used in the jewellery by DiamondsByMe are bought from the greatest diamond traders in Antwerp. Every piece of DiamondsByMe bespoke jewellery comes with a certificate. Whenever a diamond is bigger than 0.30 ct, you will receive an additional high grade GIA or HRD certificate. For more on our GIA or HRD certificates, click here.
If you would like to have an imitation diamond set in your own bespoke jewellery, whether it is a synthetic moissanite or another beautiful stone, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] , or team of experts will be glad to help you out.
People often do wrongly assume Lab Created Diamonds to be imitation diamonds. Lab Created Diamonds are real diamonds that were created with an artificial process. For more information on Lab Created Diamond click here.
Cubic Zirconia, more often known as zirconia is one of the most commonly used imitation stones in the jewellery world. This synthetic imitation entered the market around 1976, it came in a wide variety of colours and sizes and arrived in large quantities. People often wrongly assume that zirconia is the same thing as the natural gem zircon (see zircon below).
In contrast with diamond, zirconia has some problematic properties. For example, it can turn dull over time. Despite its reasonably high hardness it scratches easily. Additionally, zirconia is known amongst experts to often be less expertly cut. The corner facets of the zirconia are often rounded as opposed to the straight cut sharp corners of a diamond. This difference is not visible with the better shaped zirconia to the naked eye and requires a lens of at least 10x magnification.
This is an imitation diamond whose properties most closely resemble that of an actual diamond. Because of its high level of hardness, synthetic moissanite can be cut much more precisely than other imitation stones. The facets can even be cut in shapes almost identical to diamonds. Synthetic moissanite is not used very often because larger stones often contain irregularities. When synthetic moissanite is created in large sizes there is a chance it will display a minutely green or blue sheen. This sheen can only be discerned as a kind of coloured fog running through the stone.
“ Synthetic: does not occur in nature (is not produced by a natural process) ”
Glass, also known as Swarovski crystal, is one of the many available imitations for diamond. Sadly, as you can witness yourself on Mohs scale of hardness, it is much softer than diamond. Because it is much softer it is more likely to get scratched or even break. It may turn dull as well if worn regularly as part of a piece of jewellery, though it doesn’t contain the brilliance of a diamond to begin with. This beautiful light effect, also called fire, is the play of colours within the diamond, which often consists of rainbow-like shades.
Brilliance / Diamond fire: The brilliant spectacle of colours in a diamond
Glass can be made in every colour imaginable. This is why it may be used to imitate gemstones of carious colours. This means it is not just used to imitate diamonds. This is something to be mindful of when you are on a holiday. In the Netherlands product naming regulations are very strict. In some holiday destinations the same rules do not apply and glass may be sold as a valuable gemstone.
Because of the introduction of synthetic moissanite and cubic zirconia synthetic spinel has become an increasingly rare imitation diamond. Synthetic spinel is a man-made imitation. Through smelting those same particles that are normally found in spinel are gathered, these are then smelted, the product is shaped into a pear-shape. While the structure of this artificially created spinel is completely different from that of natural spinel, the same particles occur in both variations. In conclusion: The small particles (molecules) are the same as the ones in the natural stone, but its physical properties and crystalline structure are usually different. Physical properties: Visible properties, for example: colour, inclusions, growth lines, etc.
Synthetic spinel can be produced in any number of different colours. In addition to white, the variant used for imitation diamonds, there are many differently coloured smelted spinel stones available. For example: red, brown, green, pink, and blue spinel.
Synthetic corundum is similar to synthetic spinel. Not only are both of them used as imitation stones in the diamond trade, they are also crafted in remarkably similar manners.
In addition to white corundum, used for imitation diamond, there are many other colour varieties. Like in the case of the synthetic spinel, these many differently coloured synthetic corundum stones are used to imitate a variety of gemstones.
Most people will be unfamiliar with the YAG imitation. This stone was only used to imitate diamond for a short period in history. Even though the name does not mention it, this stone too is synthetic.
Every synthetic stone is made with the help of a chemical formula belonging to its natural counterpart. This is not the case for YAG, as it does not have a natural counterpart. Hence, this stone was created for the sole purpose of imitation. YAG was already being developed in 1950 but was not used by jewellers until much later. The stone had a reputation of a man-made diamond imitation. At the time it was the best imitation available, though its fire was not nearly as beautiful as a natural diamond’s. Just after YAG became famous, cubic zirconia entered the market. Because of its higher hardness and more beautiful colouration, cubic zirconia quickly replaced YAG. As a result, this imitation has become somewhat of a rarity.
This naturally occurring gemstone is often confused for cubic zirconia (or just zirconia). The main difference is zircon’s natural origin as opposed to zirconia’s synthetic origin. Zircon is a beautiful stone and available in a wide range of colours. Sadly, it is not at all a tough stone and often found littered with inclusions, which make it vulnerable to breaking when being set in a piece of jewellery. This is why zircon is rarely, if ever, used as imitation diamond.