Whether you’ve inherited your grandmother’s jewelry and want to know if they’re authentic diamonds or you’re looking for a conflict-free and ethical engagement ring, you’ve probably stumbled across several varieties of “fake” diamonds.
There are a multitude of imitation diamond variants. The types of fake diamonds can range from natural minerals to lab-grown gems. Faux diamonds come in an assortment of prices, styles, and durability, with each having a unique property to it.
If you’re looking for a diamond substitute, we can help clarify what are fake diamonds called and which one will deliver the quality and glamor of a genuine diamond.
So-called fake diamonds genuinely do make for an excellent engagement ring option without the price tag, potential ethical concerns, or forced conformity to traditional cultural norms.
From fake diamond mineral options like white zircon to the cubic zirconia so often considered the classic “fake diamonds” there are many diamond alternatives out there.
The classic so-called fake diamond name that most people are familiar with is the cubic zirconia. They’re so commonly used as a diamond look-a-like that many people will cite that all non-naturally occurring diamonds are fake diamonds are called cubic zirconias.
Cubic zirconia is a lab-made synthetic substance composed of zirconium dioxide. Man-made cubic zirconia diamonds were invented in Soviet Russia to build lasers.
While those unfamiliar with the many properties of a natural diamond, cubic zirconia can often pass for one without much scrutiny.
However, the tell-tale sign that you’re handling fake diamonds is that they will be easier to mar and scratch, as they are rated between 8.0-8.5 on the Mohs scale (natural diamonds are rated as a 10.)
Cubic zirconias have an advantage over natural diamonds. They are typically priced at a fraction of the cost and can equal a diamond in terms of brilliance and fire. Where it can’t compare to a diamond or other superior gemstone is in its resilience and its ability to maintain its shine over time.
Cubic zirconia should not be confused with synthetic diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are lab-grown and chemically identical to naturally occurring 3.3 billion-year-old diamonds. Depending on the quality and process used, they can be indistinguishable from a natural diamond without specialized equipment.
Not every diamond substitute is synthetic. There are many mineral alternatives to choose between when selecting your next piece. One of the most common is the zircon. While the white zircon is the most likely candidate to simulate a diamond, these gems can come in a wide range of colors.
White zircons have a long history of being used as a diamond alternative due to their brilliance and fire dispersion. Out of all the naturally mined minerals, the white zircon has the added benefit of being the closest to a diamond regarding appearance.
Topaz doesn’t usually come to mind when seeking out an imitation diamond. Topaz is typically associated with gold to amber color. However, topaz can come in an assortment of colors, ranging from deep blues, fiery reds to a stunning colorless white.
Similar to zircon, topaz is a natural gemstone that offers a great, enticing sparkle. While it’s a precious gemstone that will look beautiful on any blushing bride, it’s not suitable for everyday wear as the facets can dull, and it may chip over time.
Sapphire has made a name for itself thanks to the radiant blue it’s typically found in, but this natural diamond alternative isn’t limited to it. White sapphires can be readily seen, and despite being used as a diamond substitute, they are usually at a lower price point than their blue variant.
While these white sapphires can be mined, there are lab-made alternatives available. When looking for fake diamonds, white sapphires offer a good option due to their excellent resilience. However, they won’t be able to compete with diamonds in terms of scintillation.
Spinels are one of the more uncommon stones used as a diamond substitute. While a pure spinel is colorless (referred to as a white spinel,) these gems can be seen in various colors, such as red, pink, and black.
White spinels are typically used as diamond alternatives, while red variants will frequently be used as substitute rubies.
Quartz (Rock Crystal)
Quartz (also known as rock crystal) is one of the most common gemstones. The frequency at which quartz crystal veins are mined makes these gems an inexpensive imitation diamond.
The beauty and shine of quartz can be polished to near perfection, with the results often outshining a poorer diamond. However, due to its low durability, it can quickly develop scratches and surface imperfections.
Currently, the most sought-after fake diamond stone name in the industry is the moissanite.
Moissanite has developed a reputation for being the best alternative to natural diamonds since they can rival them in brilliance.
Unlike the other faux diamonds listed, moissanite has a hardness of 9.25 to 9.5 on the Mohs scale. This level of durability means that you can wear it every day without fear of chipping or scratching.
One unique feature of moissanite is that it’s a mineral that can be found on Earth. However, it’s so rare that it needs to be synthetically created in a lab for people to have access to it.
Lab-grown moissanite should not be confused with lab-grown synthetic diamonds that are real diamonds.