A natural diamond, a synthetic diamond, a man-made diamond, a cultured diamond, a created diamond, a diamond substitute or a diamond simulant. What do they all mean and how do you know your diamond is ‘the real deal'?
Basically there are three different diamond terms.
A ‘diamond', without further comments, is a diamond produced by Mother Nature and has taken one to three billion years in the creation.
These diamonds have identical properties (gemological make-up) as a natural diamond but are created by man in laboratory controlled conditions from tiny slivers of natural diamonds.
The difference between a mined diamond and a synthetic diamond is not just an age issue (a billion years or more), it is also a price issue. A natural diamond and a comparable synthetic diamond are priced differently. Synthetics are much less expensive.
Your International Diamond Laboratories diamond grading report clearly states whether your diamond is a natural or a synthetic diamond.
(For further information on synthetic diamonds visit our Research and Development Section)
The difference between a diamond simulant (also known imitation diamond) and a synthetic diamond is that a synthetic diamond is an actual diamond with the same material properties as a natural diamond.
A diamond simulant is a stone that, to the naked eye, has the same appearance of a diamond but does not possess the diamond's material properities. Diamond simulants are much less expensive than natural, mined diamonds and are not graded by gemological laboratories. The most common stones that full under the grouping of diamond simulants are: Moissanite, Cubic Zirconia (CZ), White Sapphire and White Topaz. A trained gemologist is able to distinguish a diamond simulant from a natural diamond just by a quick visual inspection. There are also simple tests using appropriate equipment that can be undertaken to identify simulants from natural diamonds. Cubic Zirconia, for example, weighs approximately twice that of a diamond, so if what appears to be a one carat stone in size weighs approximately 1.80 carats, chances are it's Cubic Zirconia.