Simulated diamond engagement rings are becoming an increasingly popular alternative. They’re cheaper, easier to find, and just as beautiful.
Engagement rings using natural mined diamond are a major investment. With average costs ranging from $3,518-$10,241 the balance between expectations and your financial situation can be challenging.
Read our guide to find out what simulated diamonds are, what sets them apart, and where to get one?
1. What Are Simulated Diamonds?
A simulant is a replica of a gemstone. It is created in a lab using manufactured and/or natural materials.
The goal of creating a simulant gemstone is to make it resemble its genuine counterpart. It should have similar characteristics such as cut, color and clarity.
A simulated diamond is a stone that looks similar to real diamond and shares some of its characteristics. Although simulants are used as diamond imitations, they have a different chemical structure from real diamonds.
Some simulated diamonds occur naturally. Examples include white topaz, white sapphire and zircon. Other simulated diamonds are created artificially. Examples of popular created diamond simulants include cubic zirconia, moissanite, rhinestone and crystal.
For more information on simulated diamonds, check out our page on high quality diamond simulants.
PHOTO 1: Various diamond simulants can be found in simulated diamond engagement rings. The most common simulant is cubic zirconia. Photo above is the a silver engagement and wedding ring set from Luxuria®.
2. Simulated vs. Synthetic Diamonds
Simulated diamonds are also not the same as other types of man-made products known as synthetic diamonds. Synthetic and simulated may sound like identical terms, but there are important differences.
Both types are created by people in a lab. The difference is in their chemical and physical properties. Synthetic diamonds have all the same properties as real diamonds, while simulated ones do not.
The difference in properties doesn’t make simulated diamond engagement rings visually inferior, as most people can’t tell they aren’t an actual gem.
Simulated diamonds are not the same as synthetic diamonds. Although both materials are produced in a laboratory, synthetic diamonds have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural diamonds. The simulants do not.GEMOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF AMERICA INC.
3. Fake Diamonds vs. Real Diamonds
One major difference between simulated and genuine diamonds is how they are created. Both synthetic and simulated diamonds are created in a laboratory by human hands. Real diamonds come from the ground and have to be mined.
Another major difference is price points. All types of simulated diamonds are cheaper than their genuine counterparts. This applies to man-made materials like cubic zirconia and natural gemstones which look like diamond such as white sapphire.
For further insight you might like to read the Difference between Synthetic Diamonds & Diamond Simulants.
4. Types of Simulated Diamond
There are various types of simulated diamond engagement rings. Some of the most common are cubic zirconia, Gadolinium gallium garnet or GGGs, colorless sapphires, moissanite, rutile, and Yttrium aluminium garnet or YAG.
There are similarities between the major types. They are all less durable than genuine diamonds and tend to reflect more colors of light. They are also all created artificially in a lab.
It’s also important to understand the differences between these options. They differ in terms of fire (the ability to split light into different colors), durability and other characteristics.
Choosing a gem for simulated diamond engagement rings is a matter of personal preference. It depends on how you want it to look and how durable you need it to be.
PHOTO 2: Simulated diamond engagement rings use different materials with cubic zirconia, crystal and moissanite being the most popular. Seen above is a 4 carat cushion cut fake engagement ring from Luxuria® which uses CZ as simulated diamond.
5. Pros and Cons
There are numerous reasons why simulated diamonds are popular. They are cheaper, serve as a placeholder for a real diamond, and are less likely to be stolen.
There are also pros and cons to each type of simulated diamond when compared to their genuine counterparts. They’re all less durable than genuine diamonds, the hardest substances on Earth, but can be just as beautiful. Cubic zirconia is almost as brilliant as a diamond but less durable. GGG’s have a diamond-like fire. Colorless sapphires aren’t as bright or firey but are more durable than other simulated options.
PHOTO 3: Sterling silver simulated diamond engagement rings are popular because of their affordability. Diamond simulants like cubic zirconia are vastly more affordable than natural diamond. As long as high grade CZ is used, they can also be just as beautiful visually. Photo above of the Luxuria REGIS cubic zirconia halo engagement ring set.
Moissanite is the most durable and has even more fire (some think too much) than a genuine diamond. Rutile is brilliant with plenty of fire. The YAG has sufficient hardness but lacks a distinctive sparkle.
Check here for more benefits of fake diamond engagement rings.
6. Spotting Simulated Diamond Engagement Rings
Another reason why simulated diamond engagement rings are popular is that they are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. There’s no obvious way for casual shoppers to tell them apart, but there are methods that can help.
There are various at-home tests to determine a diamond’s legitimacy.
You can use a loupe, a powerful magnifying glass available at most jewelry stores, to examine the stone. You can rub it with sandpaper to see if it will scratch or breathe on it to see if it fogs up. Finally, it is also possible to check a stones sparkle and refractivity.
A real diamond has a distinctive look, can’t be scratched, won’t retain heat, and doesn’t reflect as much light as simulated options. These are the qualities the at-home tests are looking for.
If none of these tests provide a satisfactory answer, it’s best to take the ring to a gemmologist. These scientists specialize in stones and can identify a real diamond when they see it.
The goal of buying an engagement ring is to get the highest quality piece for the best price. This is why professionals assign grades to gems, with a higher grade meaning better quality.
Genuine diamonds are graded on qualities known as the four C’s. This stands for color, clarity, cut, and carat.
Simulated diamonds are graded differently. For example cubic zirconia is graded on a scale from A to AAAAA or 5A.
A low-grade simulated engagement ring appears inferior to its genuine counterparts. Check out our collection of high-quality cubic zirconia engagement rings that look like the real thing.
ILLUSTRATION: Look for simulated diamond engagement rings that use Hearts & Arrows CZ (“H & A”). With any diamond or diamond simulant, it is the cut of the stone that produces the brilliance and sparkle.
While 5A is the best grade among machine-cut CZ, keep an eye out for hearts & arrows pattern CZ. Commonly referred to as H&A CZ, these round stones are more expensive but offer the best brilliance and fire.
Keeping simulated diamond engagement rings clean is an important part of their care. Since simulated diamonds are less durable, they need to be cleaned in different ways.
Steam and ultrasonic cleaning are two methods that are used to keep genuine diamonds sparkling. Most simulated varieties can usually withstand both of these methods, but it should be done with care to avoid scratches.
Rutile needs to be cleaned by hand because it’s less durable. Any simulated diamond can be shined with brushes and soap to avoid damage.
9. Tips for buying simulated diamond engagement rings
The idea of purchasing fake diamond engagement rings may bring up images of back-alley conmen trying to pass off rocks as real gems. There are plenty of genuine salesmen that will sell you high-quality simulated diamond engagement rings at a fair price. It’s just a matter of finding them.
Retailers should always disclose the fact that they are selling fake diamond rings. It affects price and care.
PHOTO 4: Sterling silver simulated diamond engagement rings can sometimes be set with semi-precious or synthetic gemstones. The above is a 1.4 carat lab created emerald ring from the Luxuria® jewelry brand. This ring combines synthetic emerald gemstone with white diamond simulants.
It’s perfectly legal to sell and buy simulated diamonds. They’re cheaper and serve as great temporary pieces to hold a place in a ring with genuine gemstones in the future.
Among the most important tips for buying simulated diamond engagement rings is always narrow the search to reputable suppliers. Reputable suppliers will hold various industry memberships and accreditations. Such suppliers will clearly state the grade and quality of the simulated diamonds used.
For more tips on buying simulated diamonds, check out our other articles.
Where to Buy Simulated Diamond engagement rings?
Luxuria® Diamonds sells engagement rings made from various materials. We use natural diamond, synthetic gems, moissanite, cubic zirconia and various semi-precious gemstones. The bottom line is that simulated diamond engagement rings are perfect as placeholder / temporary engagement rings or travel rings. While significantly cheaper than natural diamond they are to the naked eye equally beautiful.
There is nothing wrong with buying diamond imitations as long as you are aware that they are not real diamonds. The main attraction of diamond simulants is that they are a lot cheaper than the real deal. In that sense they could be considered a low risk purchase. We have plenty of beautiful simulated diamond engagement rings available.
Want to learn more?
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