Real (Natural/Mined) Diamonds vs Lab Created vs Moissanite vs Cubic Zirconia vs Simulated vs Hybrid vs Synthetic vs Man Made vs Fake vs Enhanced vs Cultured/Cultivated Diamonds: A Description Of Each Diamond Type

There are different names for the different types of diamonds on the market.

In this guide, we’ve explained what each type of diamond is on one simple and easy to read page.

 

Summary – The Different Types Of Diamonds, & Different Names For Different Types Of Diamonds

Mined diamonds – real diamonds that come from below the Earth’s surface

Lab grown diamonds – grown in a laboratory from a seed of real diamond material, and is essentially the same in every way as a mined diamond

Moissanite diamonds – a simulant diamond – contains no real diamond material

Cubic Zirconia diamonds – a simulant diamond – contains no real diamond material

Simulated diamond – created to mimic the look of real diamonds, but contain zero diamond material, and are non precious. In addition to CZ and Moissanite, White Topaz is another example

Hybrid diamonds – a blend of lab created diamond and diamond simulant technology

Synthetic diamonds – a form of fake diamonds

Man made diamonds – made via human processes as opposed to geological and natural processes

Fake diamonds – simulant diamonds

Enhanced diamonds – a type of diamond that uses advanced technology to improve the appearance of low grade or low quality real diamonds

Cultured diamonds – another name for lab grown diamonds

 

What Are Real/Natural/Mined Diamonds?

Natural/mined diamonds are made of crystallized carbon.

These are diamonds that have spent millions and billions of years forming underground under the right pressure, temperature and with the right chemical reactions.

Volcanic eruptions bring them close to the Earth’s surface, where they are eventually mined.

Because of the time it takes for them to form, and the factors and conditions that need to align to create natural diamonds that are worthy of being gem quality, they are a finite resource that is considered rare, with each one being unique.

 

What Are Lab Created/Grown Diamonds?

Lab created diamonds are also crystallized carbon.

They are like real/natural/mined diamonds in every way physically, chemically and from a visual/optical standpoint.

The only difference is in the way they are made – they are created in labs by expanding ‘seed’ diamonds under pressure, temperature and with the right chemicals.

The only way to tell the difference between a lab created diamond and a mined one is with a special instrument/detection device that emits an ultraviolet light.

Lab created diamonds are anywhere from 20-40% cheaper than mined diamonds, but tend to have a much lower re-sell price, and not hold their value as good as real diamonds.

Read a comparison guide between lab created and naturally mined diamonds here:

 

What Are Moissanite Diamonds?

A type of simulant diamond that is created to mimic the look of natural diamonds, but contains zero diamond and is non-precious.

When analyzing it’s refractive properties, moissanites are usually double refractive and real diamonds are usually single refractive.

Moissanite diamonds are not true carbon crystals. Simulants do not have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds.

Moissanite diamonds have thermal conductivity properties that differentiate them from natural diamonds when tested with a handheld diamond tester.

Usually much cheaper than mined/natural diamonds.

 

What Are Cubic Zirconia Diamonds?

A type of simulant diamond that is the most popular simulant on the market.

It is created to mimic the look of natural diamonds, but contains zero diamond and is non-precious.

CZ are not true carbon crystals. Simulants do not have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds.

CZ have thermal conductivity properties that differentiate them from natural diamonds when tested with a handheld diamond tester.

Usually much cheaper than mined/natural diamonds.

 

What Are Simulated Diamonds?

Simulated diamonds are created to mimic the look of natural diamonds, but contain zero diamond and are non-precious.

Examples of diamond simulants are Cubic Zirconia (CZ), Moissanite and White Topaz.

They are not not true carbon crystals, and may have different physical, chemical and visual properties to natural diamonds.

They may be tested to have different thermal conductivity, refractive, harness, clarity and other properties to natural diamonds.

Simulated diamond are usually much cheaper than mined/natural diamonds.

 

What Are Hybrid Diamonds?

  • [A blend of] … both lab-created diamond and diamond simulate technology.
  • [starts with a] porous crystal core that is not diamond, and then infuse a form of lab-created diamond (carbon) on the outer layer.
  • Because it’s not pure crystallized carbon and not 100% chemically identical to the earth-mined diamond it is still classified a simulant.
  • We call it a “Hybrid” because it is using a blend of lab-created diamond and diamond simulate technology

– miadonna.com

 

What Are Synthetic Diamonds?

A ‘synthetic’ diamond can be a confusing term used in the jewelry industry, mainly due to the marketing used by different retailers and sellers.

The word synthetic is usually used to describe a man made product that imitates a natural product.

So, synthetic diamonds should really be fake diamonds such as CZ and Moissanite diamonds.

Lab grown diamonds are not technically synthetic diamonds because although they are man made, they are the same physically, chemically and visually as natural/mined diamonds.

So, be careful when you see the word ‘synthetic’ used to describe diamonds – check what sort of diamond it really is.

 

What Are Man Made Diamonds?

Diamonds made by human processes as opposed to geological and natural processes.

They can include lab grown diamonds, simulants like CZ and Moissanite, and hybrid diamonds – just to name a few. 

 

What Are Fake Diamonds?

Fake diamonds are simulant diamonds like CZ and Moissanite that are not true carbon crystals, and have different chemical, physical or optical properties to real diamonds.

 

What Are Enhanced Diamonds?

[Diamonds that make use of] advanced technology … to improve the visual appearance of lower grade diamonds by the process of laser drilling or fracture filling. (israeldiamond.com)

So, these diamonds are not the same as buying a real or natural diamond – you are getting a modified product.

 

What Are Cultured/Cultivated Diamonds?

Cultured or cultivated are terms usually used to refer to lab grown diamonds.

Some people disagree with the use of this term because lab grown diamonds are man made

 

How To Make Sure You Know What Type Diamond You Are Getting

The best way is to do your research beforehand, make sure you ask your jeweler as many questions as you need to so you are sure they are knowledgeable themselves and use quality suppliers, and make sure you get a certificate (from a recognised third party inspection organisation) that has all the relevant details you need to know about the diamond.

These details may include (but aren’t limited to) where the diamond was mined or formed/created, the hardness, the clarity, the color, the carats, the cut and any tests (refractory for example) done on the diamond.

Regardless of the type of diamond and where it came from, the cut can really set apart different diamonds in terms of how they look.

You may also want to visually inspect the diamond before purchasing, or if purchasing online, make sure it comes with some type of return policy in case you are dissatisfied. 

 

Sources

1. https://www.brilliantearth.com/lab-created-diamonds/

2. https://www.miadonna.com/pages/stone-guide-compare-stones

3. http://www.israeldiamond.com/buyer-beware

4. https://www.diamonds.pro/education/lab-diamonds/

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