Why artificial diamonds are better than fake diamonds: 200 shocking truths

If you are reading this article, I can definitely guess 2-3 things about you. Surprised?

Well, you should not be. You are most probably planning to buy diamond jewelry. I know that you have done some research about diamond online, probably would have discussed it also with some friends. And, you are slightly confused between the natural diamond, the artificial diamond and imitation diamond or the fake diamond.

Well, this article will help you in clearing your doubts about various types of diamonds available in the market, difference between them and why artificial diamonds are better than the fake diamonds.

What are natural diamonds?

Natural diamonds or nature made diamonds or real diamonds are all the same. Diamonds are purely Carbon and one of the hardest materials known to the mankind.

They have been produced by the mother earth over millions of years by natural processes of pressurization under extremely high temperatures. These conditions are generally found 150-200 kms inside the earth’s surface.

Again over millions of years of volcanic eruptions, these are pushed near earth’s surface embedded in large chunks of rock. These chunks are then mined, cleaned, graded and go through other processes and are then presented to us in the jewelry stores.

What are artificial diamonds?

Artificial diamonds, manmade diamonds, lab grown diamonds are different names of the same type of diamond.

The naturally found diamonds were very expensive to be mined. Scientists were curious whether they can produce diamonds in the laboratories with similar conditions of high pressure and high temperature and other controlled variables. In 1950s their efforts became successful and thus, the synthetic diamonds were created in the laboratory controlled environment.

These artificial diamonds are essentially the same as naturally found diamonds. Artificial diamonds are also purely Carbon and they have the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical and physical properties as those of naturally occurring diamonds. Visually, they appear the same.

The difference just lies in the fact that they have been cultured in the lab rather than produced by the mother earth.

 On commercial scale, these artificial diamonds are produced by 2 methods and they are named accordingly: HPHT diamonds (high-pressure, high-temperature) or CVD diamonds (chemical vapor deposition).

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Which is more expensive- the natural diamond or the artificial diamond?

An artificial diamond can be generally 30-40 % cheaper than the natural diamond. However, not all artificial diamonds are cheaper than the natural diamonds.

A synthetic diamond which is D-F in colour is considered as rare and can be as expensive as a naturally mined diamond.

Also, the prices of artificial diamonds have not yet settled for long term since their use in jewelry is relatively quite new. More advanced technology is being deployed to lower the cost of production of these diamonds and hence, it is quite possible that these artificial diamonds become further less expensive than the natural diamonds.

On the contrary, it is also possible that as awareness amongst consumers increase, the demand for these artificial diamonds also increases and thus, their price may go higher.

How to differentiate between a natural diamond and an artificial diamond?

Out of 2 pieces kept, a layman cannot differentiate which one is natural or which one is artificial. The main difference lies in the inclusion. The inclusions are nothing but internal marks (like feathers, clouds, and pinpoints) in a diamond and they are diamond’s birthmarks. These inclusions affect their clarity. Both types of diamonds are given rating on this parameter.

The nature of inclusions in a natural diamond differs from the types of inclusions found in an artificial diamond. These inclusions may or may not be visible by a naked eye and special kinds of equipments are required to check those inclusions.  However, do not get disappointed.

Whether the diamond is natural or artificial is mentioned in the grading report and thus, you can see the same in it (Grading reports are mostly available with the jeweler and you may ask for the same; also it is advised that you should not buy a diamond unless and until a grading report is available since you cannot judge whether the diamond piece being sold to you is real or fake).

Are natural diamonds and artificial diamonds same?

The chemical composition, crystal structure, optical and physical properties are all same for both natural diamonds and artificial diamonds. They both are graded across the 4C parameters, visually they appear and sparkle like the same, they both can be found in same types of color, clarity and you may ask for them in the same sizes and shapes.

And, artificial diamonds are just as hard as Natural Diamonds.So, the scientists believe that the artificial diamonds are also real.

As mentioned earlier, the only difference lies in the fact that natural diamonds have been produced by the mother earth over billions of years and the artificial diamonds are prepared in the laboratories under the controlled environment. So, you may take the pride in wearing a naturally mined diamond that it has gone through an incredible journey for eons of years before adorning your finger.

Certain other minor differences are that most of the naturally mined diamonds contain tiny amount of nitrogen in their chemical structure; however lab manufactured diamonds do not contain any nitrogen. This is one way by which gemologists are able to differentiate between natural and artificial diamonds.

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Do natural diamonds and artificial diamonds look the same?

Yes, natural diamonds and artificial diamonds look exactly the same. Look wise, they are absolutely identical. Both these types of diamonds come across all types and shapes when you look for option in them across 4 Cs- Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight.

Both can be colorless, or near colorless or can come in variety of candy colors. Similarly, both of them can come in variety of standard shapes- round, princess, oval, marquise, pear, cushion, radiant, emerald, and asscher.

Which is more sustainable- the natural diamond or the artificial diamond?

The natural diamond is mined from the rock called as “kimberlite” deep in the Earth. The gemologists say that around 100,000 tons of rock has to be dug up and searched through to find a single crystal which could yield a 1.00ct D/Flawless diamond.

As it is easy to imagine, if you have to do so much work and move that much earth and rocks on a regular and continuous basis, it might be possible that mining natural diamonds become very difficult (far more difficult than it is now) and the mining process may stop altogether. Thus, in future mining natural diamonds from the mother earth may not be a sustainable practice.

Artificial diamonds like natural diamonds are made from carbon in an artificially controlled environment in the laboratories. This process takes from a few weeks to few months depending upon the size of the diamond required and the method which is being used to create it.

  • High pressure, High temperature (HPHT) process: In this method, the scientists keep the naturally occurring graphite in a large machine under conditions of high pressure and high temperature which crushes it and the graphite gets turned into diamond. The naturally occurring diamonds are formed with the same extreme conditions of temperature and pressure.
  • Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process: This is more common method of preparing synthetic diamonds. In this method, the scientists put a diamond “seed crystal” in a small chamber filled with common gases. When heat is being given, these gases form layers of carbon (one by one) onto the seed crystal, making it grow.

Thus, it can be suggested that artificial diamonds are more sustainable in future compared to natural diamonds.

Is the certification same for both natural and real diamonds?

  • Customers should choose GIA (Gemological Institute of America)  for Natural Diamond Certification.
  • Those seeking a Lab Diamond should choose GCAL (Gem Certification & Assurance Lab) or IGI (International Gemological Institute) for Certification.

Do I get color option in both natural and artificial diamonds?

Artificial diamonds are presently prepared in these colors- white, yellow, blue, pink and green. And, their color grading ranges from D to K.

Natural diamonds are found in almost all kinds of colors. These colors are nothing but the impurities which get trapped inadvertently in the diamond when it is being formed. Generally, in the market you would find natural diamonds in white color. If you specifically ask and go for expensive pieces, you will find natural diamonds in yellow, pink and blue color in the market.

Resale value of natural and artificial diamonds

Wearing diamond jewelry represents class and exquisite wealth. One purchase diamonds for its visual appeal and aesthetic qualities. Now, when you have spent so much in buying them, sometimes you must be wondering how much you would get back while reselling them.

Diamonds as such give no returns rather negative returns if you resell them because the difference between the purchase price and the resale price of diamonds is quite high.

Natural diamonds still retain value and can be sold in the market. However, in case of artificial diamonds, they have little resale value and thus, are of no use if you are considering reselling them.

In this regard, natural diamond scores more than the artificial diamonds.

Fake Diamonds

Fake diamonds are stones that have different chemical composition from real diamonds. These are imitation jewelry and can be either synthetic or natural.

Fake diamonds are different from artificial diamonds in the way that the chemical composition of artificial diamonds is still same of the real diamonds and they share same other properties as well with natural diamonds.

Fake diamonds do not require any certification since they are not diamonds at all.

Fake diamonds are simply look alike the natural or artificial diamonds. They are used as substitutes in the jewelry industry and are often bought when the people do not want to spend so much on buying the expensive natural/artificial diamonds.

Types of fake diamonds

Cubic Zirconia (CZ): Cubic Zirconia is a stone which was first made in laboratory in 1976. It is one of the most popular diamond substitutes in imitation jewelry. Cubic Zirconia is very cheap compared to real diamonds, and they are not as hard as them. Hence, they tend to wear off and show scratches after being worn for some time and loose their brilliance and sparkle.

Moissanite: It is a mineral which is found in nature however its occurrence is rare and thus, it is produced in the laboratories for imitation jewelry.

Moissanite is quite harder than CZ but still softer than real or synthetic diamonds. They are quite similar to natural diamonds however exhibit more sparkle when exposed to light than real diamonds. It is considered to be a good alternative to natural/synthetic diamonds which are quite expensive.

White Sapphire: White Sapphire is a gemstone which is not as hard as diamonds but is still very hard as compared to other gemstones. It is quite durable also and colorless and thus, its demand is quite high in imitation diamond markets.

Rutile : Naturally occurring Rutile is a mineral mostly found in brown and red color. Rutile is much softer than diamond and scratches easily.

The colorless variety of Rutile is manufactured in laboratories and it is used as a diamond substitute in the fake jewelery market. 

Other fake diamond options: Other materials being used in imitation diamond jewelery are Spinel and Synthetic Garnet. They look quite similar to real diamonds and are generally hard but softer than the real diamonds.

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Why artificial diamonds are better than fake diamonds

Artificial diamonds are same as natural diamonds as discussed earlier in this article. The only difference lies in them being produced in laboratories than mined from earth. Their chemical composition and other properties are similar to those of natural diamonds. So, you get the same feel as wearing natural diamonds. There is emotional attachment with them.

Fake diamonds are nowhere comparable to natural diamonds. They are not made up of Carbon (diamonds are purely carbon) entirely rather other metals and minerals.

In terms of hardness you can’t compare them with diamonds because they are soft compared to them. The similarity is just that they mostly look the same as real diamonds. You do not get the feel of wearing real diamond since they are imitation or fake jewelery.

Also, the artificial diamonds have resale value in the market compared to fake diamonds which have absolutely zero value when you resell them.  They are just like use and throw items which are not expensive and can be bought again and again once you are tired of the same imitation jewelery.