Lab-Growns & Simulants
Lab-Grown (Synthetic) Diamonds
Given the rarity and value of diamonds, it’s not surprising that some would seek ways to replicate their beauty. In recent years, laboratory-grown or synthetic diamonds have become more common, more advanced, and harder to distinguish from natural diamonds.
A synthetic diamond is the result of a technological process, as opposed to the geological process that creates natural diamonds. Synthetic diamonds have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical, and physical properties of diamonds found in nature. Most synthetic diamonds are categorized as either high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds, depending on the method of their production. Since HPHT and CVD diamonds are virtually identical to natural diamonds, differences only become clear when they are analyzed in a gem laboratory.
While the appearance of diamond simulants is similar to that of natural diamonds, they are not diamonds. Common diamond simulants include glass and cubic zirconia (CZ), both of which are completely unrelated to diamond at the atomic level.
Simulants are, of course, less expensive than the real thing. They allow consumers to enjoy the flash and dazzle of diamond-like jewelry and to inexpensively complement the latest fashion trend. But no matter how convincing the illusion, all diamond simulants have optical and physical characteristics that can be identified by a trained gemologist.