Gemstones and Jewelry



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Lab-Created Diamonds

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Lab-Created, Synthetic and Simulated Diamonds 

What are Synthetic Diamonds? What are Lab-Created Diamonds? What is a Cultured Diamond? 

Actually the three terms, synthetic diamonds, lab-created diamonds and cultured diamonds, are interchangeable.  A lab created/synthetic/cultured diamond is created within a laboratory environment and has the same chemical composition and structure as a natural diamond.  In fact, gem-quality lab-created or synthetic diamonds have been created in many countries for a number of years.

Lab created and synthetic diamonds may also be referred to as HPHT or CVD diamonds, referencing the two methods (high-pressure high-temperature synthesis and chemical vapor deposition) by which synthetic diamonds are created.

Is a Synthetic or Lab-Created Diamond a Good Diamond Jewelry Choice?  Should I Buy a Lab Created Diamond?

Buying a lab-created or synthetic diamond can be an excellent choice for you.  Depending upon the manufacturing method, synthetic/lab-created diamonds can match and sometimes exceed the properties we love in naturally-formed diamonds – hardness, brilliance and beauty.  As a matter of fact, the processes by which lab created diamonds are made has improved in such a degree that special standards and reports have been created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to address proper testing and documentation for lab-created and synthetic diamonds. 

moissanite earringsLab-Created Diamonds versus Natural Diamonds - Which is Cheaper?

Buying high quality lab-created diamond jewelry, as of this writing, doesn’t show substantial cost savings over that of natural diamond jewelry of the same calibre.  The easiest way to see this for yourself is to do an online search for loose diamonds, both natural and lab-created. Find one of each with similar-to-identical cut, clarity, carat size and color.  The difference in cost is quite marginal.

There is a human cost factor to consider, however.  Buying a lab-created diamond ensures your diamond jewelry purchase in no way supports or condones the conflict-diamond (‘blood diamond’) industry. 

What is a Simulated Diamond?  Is Simulated Diamond Jewelry a Good Choice?

Unlike a lab-created or synthetic diamond, a simulated diamond is a material which can closely mimic a diamond’s properties but it is not, in fact, a diamond.  Some of the more well-known simulated diamonds are Cubic Zirconia and Diamonique (a branded name of the cubic zirconia simulated diamonds sold by QVC).Moissanite engagement ring

On the higher-end of the simulated diamond industry is Moissanite (MOYS-UH-NITE), a simulated diamond material created by Charles & Colvard of North Carolina, that registers a hardness greater than that of natural sapphires, rubies and emeralds, has a measurably greater fire and brilliance over natural diamonds and is second only to natural diamonds in hardness. 

Moissanite so closely resembles a natural diamond that the FTC warns that thermal testers used to distinguish cubic zirconia (simulated diamonds) from natural diamonds may register Moissanite as natural diamond rather than a simulated diamond. 

In other words, provided you receive full disclosure and know in advance you are purchasing a simulated diamond material such as Moissanite, there is no discernable difference for the average consumer in hardness, brilliance or durability between a high-end simulated diamond and a natural diamond. 

Moissanite Engagement RingsIs High Quality Simulated Diamond Jewelry Less Expensive than Natural Diamond Jewelry?  

In a word, yes.  Keep in mind, however, that whether you shop for lab-created/synthetic diamond jewelry or simulated diamond jewelry, there are both high quality and low quality lab-created diamond and high and low quality simulated diamonds just as there are high quality and low quality natural diamonds. 

A quick comparison between a high quality simulated diamond ring (a .5 carat Moissanite solitaire in 14k white gold) versus a natural diamond ring of the same style and size (a .5 carat natural diamond solitaire with a clarity grade of I2 and color grade of J in 14k white gold), shows the natural diamond ring at a cost of approximately $800 while the simulated diamond ring dents the wallet a mere $370.

One interesting thing to note with respect to simulated diamond jewelry:  The simulated diamond industry has advanced far beyond the old perception of the ‘cheap’ cubic zirconia.  Notice in our cost comparison above that the simulated diamond Moissanite solitaire is nestled snugly in a bed of 14k white gold.  Take a look around some well-known fine jewelry dealers; you’ll find simulated diamond such as Moissanite and others taking their place right next to natural diamonds and other costly gemstones.

Don't Stare, your diamonds will get jealous!

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