Consumers often choose to buy synthetic diamonds over mined ones for ethical or financial reasons. But what exactly are they, and how do they differ from the diamonds that take millions of years to form underground? Keep reading for the low-down.
Synthetic diamonds come in three types: cubic zirconia, moissanite, and man-made.
Cubic zirconia is a hard stone that looks very similar to a diamond but ultimately has a completely different chemical make-up. In some ways, it is a superior stone, being completely clear and colourless. However, it lacks the prestige of a diamond. If that doesn’t bother you, a cubic zirconia stone is as beautiful as a diamond and can be used in jewellery in much the same way.
Moissanite was originally discovered by Henri Moissan in 1893. However, because it only occurred naturally in very rare cases, scientists began researching how to manufacture it. Man-made moissanite therefore entered the jewellery market in 1998. Faintly greenish in colour, it often has little inclusions known as stretch marks. Because it is cheaper, it is a popular diamond alternative. Like cubic zirconia, moissanite is a diamond simulant.
While cubic zirconia and moissanite look identical to diamonds but differ in their chemical compositions, man-made diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds. They are much cheaper than mined diamonds because the cost of producing them is lower – they usually retail for about 20% – 30% less than mined diamonds. Some people are put off by the fact that man-made diamonds are made in days, preferring the idea of a stone forming over millions of years through an entirely natural process. However, if you have a problem with the ethics of diamond mining, then buying a man-made diamond is an excellent option. The only real drawback is that a colourless man-made diamond will, at most, be 1.50 carats due to manufacturing restrictions. However, if you’re looking for a diamond with some colour, bigger sizes are available. Man-made or “grown” diamonds have a much smaller carbon footprint than mined diamonds and are therefore more environmentally friendly. Because man-made diamonds are physically, chemically, and optically identical to mined diamonds, they are held up to the same standards. A grown diamond that has excellent clarity, for instance, will be more expensive than a mined diamond that has inclusions.
Liquid Fin is diamond buyer always looking for synthetic and mined diamonds, as well as natural ones, along with any other jewellery you might have. If you have an unwanted piece of jewellery, please visit our website at www.liquidfin.co.za to find out more about selling your diamonds no matter what type they are.
Image Credit: http://wonderfulengineering.com/this-is-how-diamonds-are-extracted/