artificial diamonds; A buyer’s guide
It seems almost impossible to watch television or open a newspaper without seeing something about man-made diamonds. For hundreds of years, science has tried to create the perfect synthetic diamond. Finally, 21st century technology has made that prospect a reality.
There are many reasons to buy synthetic diamonds instead of the mined variety. The prices charged for mined diamonds are, at best, wishful thinking. To put it bluntly, Cecil Adams, in his award-winning newspaper column “The Straight Dope,” says, “Diamonds are a scam, pure and simple.” Diamond prices are largely controlled by the DeBeers diamond cartel, and are not a true reflection of diamond scarcity. Additionally, studies show that one in three diamonds sold in the US today have been altered to artificially increase their value. Other studies have shown that, on average, a couple pays 40% more for their diamond engagement ring.
Beyond the misleading prices, there are the problems of “blood diamonds,” forced child labor, and a myriad of other disturbing facts about diamonds.
Recently, socially conscious celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Minnie Driver, and Angelina Jolie have made a vocal theme of wearing only synthetic diamonds at the many black-tie events they attend.
Good synthetic diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from the mined variety, but without the baggage, and they cost thousands of dollars less. But which synthetic diamond is the best choice?
There are many types of artificial or synthetic diamonds available. Options are numerous, but unbiased information is scarce. Here is an overview and comparison of synthetic diamonds that are not currently available on the market:
The grandfather of simulated diamonds, zircons are widely available. In their best examples, CZs are actually a pretty decent replica diamond. Unfortunately, commodity availability and wide differences in quality have made the stone synonymous with inexpensive fashion jewelry. It may be a good choice for cheap jewelry, but not for fine jewelry. There are many sources available, a decent one is: http://www.czfantasy.com
Including Russian Brilliants, Russian Stars and others, they are in fact nothing more than high quality cubic zirconia. This is not prominently mentioned on their websites and they will only copy it when pressed, but that is the fact. Russian simulated diamonds are priced at around $280 per carat.
Russian diamonds are a fine jewelry selection and are usually set in quality precious metal settings.
Russian Brilliants is one of the oldest and best sellers of “Russian Diamonds” available at: http://www.russianbrilliants.net
Moissanite is a lab-created mineral that is a very good diamond simulant. Moissanite has been on the market as a fine jewelry option since the early 1990’s and has gained quite a few fans. Moissanite is a hard mineral that, like diamond, cuts glass. However, there are a couple of minor drawbacks to moissanite. First of all, it is quite expensive (although still cheap compared to diamonds) usually priced around $500 per carat for good specimens.
Second, moissanite does not have the same optical qualities as diamond and there are several indicators that make it easy for an experienced practitioner to spot with the naked eye. Pure white moissanite is difficult to produce, and they often appear slightly green when viewed in natural light. Additionally, moissanite have significantly higher lightness and brilliance factors than natural diamond, making them appear “too sparkly” to some. Overall though, moissanite is a beautiful synthetic diamond choice.
“Moissanite From the Sky” at http://www.fromthesky.com is a good source for fine moissanite jewelry.
Diamond Nexus gemstones are the result of a relatively new scientific advance in processing technique and have only recently become available in the United States.
Diamond Nexus gemstones are excellent diamond simulants and closely match the properties of mined diamonds in many different benchmarks. They cut glass, being virtually identical to diamond on the Mohs scale (hardness). They refract perfect “hearts and arrows” and have brilliance and brilliance readings extremely close to that of a flawless diamond.
Best of all, they’re currently priced to launch for the US market and are a steal at $79 per collation. Diamond Nexus gemstones are only available in solid gold and precious metal settings.
Diamond Nexus is only available from Diamond Nexus Labs at: http://www.DiamondNexusLabs.com
Sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond. They are, unlike the others in this review, a natural stone. However, its brilliance and brilliance are not up to diamond standards. However, quality white sapphires priced around $220 per carat are a good alternative to diamond.
A quality source is: http://www.TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com
Gemisis Cultured Diamond
Gemisis diamonds are beautiful and near perfect replica diamonds. Unfortunately, they are not available in a transparent white color, so they are not a good fit for traditional diamond settings. However, if a yellow, orange or pink diamond is what you crave, Gemisis offers amazing options in beautiful precious metal settings and fine jewelry.
Gemisis Cultured Diamonds are only available at: http://www.gemisis.com
Synthetic diamonds offer many advantages over the mined variety. You can shop with confidence, knowing you’re getting exactly what you paid for and haven’t been the victim of diamond price scams. If you care about the world around you, you can have a clear conscience, knowing that your money has not contributed to sustaining an abusive and unethical industry.
However, there are many synthetic diamond options, with varying grades of quality. Take a little time to review the seller’s information to get a clear idea of what the science is behind the gemstones he is purchasing.
For my money, I think the best options are quality Moissanite stones or the new diamond-simulating gemstones available from Diamond Nexus Labs.