Differences Between Fake & Real Diamonds
in Jewelry Blog

Differences Between Fake & Real Diamonds

Of course you are aware that a real diamond will command a better price than a simulated one, for obvious reasons. But is it really worth it to pay the higher price for the real thing? The answer depends on you and your purpose in buying the ring.

Are you buying the ring for yourself so you can flash some bling? Or are you buying this ring for another person you may live with for the rest of your life? Different situations, possibly different answers. Here are some considerations.

What Are Fake/Simulated Diamonds?

You have seen a few of these items, I’m sure:

  • Cubic zirconia
  • Moissanite
  • White Sapphire
  • Zircon
  • Rutile
  • Spinel
  • Synthetic Garnet

All of the above are considered simulants, and not synthetic. The difference is that synthetic diamonds are made in a laboratory, while the list above is composed of gems that already exist in nature. They are not made from carbon, as synthetic diamonds are.

The Clarity of Fake vs. Real Diamonds

Clarity refers to number and placement of the flaws occurring in the gem. All but the best and most expensive diamonds have these flaws. Simulated diamonds, because they have been modified in a lab, have fewer or no flaws. These include cubic zirconia, synthetic moissanite, synthetic rutile, and synthetic garnet.

So if a gemstone is very clear and has no noticeable flaws, you can assume it is a simulant fake. The price should inform you also if it is relatively cheap.

NOTE: a synthetic diamond would also be clear, but because it is similar in composition to a real diamond, its price would be closer to a real diamond.

Durability Comparison

All the synthetics are less durable than diamonds. The Mohs scale of gemstone hardness has diamond at the top. It’s a 10 out of 10. Cubic zirconia is 8.5 on the scale, so it has significantly less hardness. This means it can be scratched more easily than a diamond. Moissanite is a 9.5 and white sapphire is a 9.

Brilliance Comparison

Some simulants sparkle even more brilliantly than diamonds – cubic zirconia and moissanite, for example. They have more color in their brilliance, however, so may be distinguished from diamonds in this way.

Color Comparison

In general, fakes and simulants are on the colorless side – so much so, in fact, that a diamond of the same color grade would be very rare and expensive. Cubic zirconia and white sapphire are the most colorless of the simulants. Moissanite has a yellowish tint to it, which an highly graded diamond would not have.

Price Comparison

Here there is truly no comparison. The fake simulant will be less expensive. That’s another way you can tell it’s not a real diamond. So, if you are looking for the real thing and what are seeing has the obvious signs of a simulated diamond, including the cheap price, well, you know what to do.