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Types of Fake Diamonds: Unveiling Different Diamond Simulants

Types of Fake Diamonds: Unveiling Different Diamond Simulants


Have you ever been in a jewelry store, gazing at a stunning sparkler, and wondered if what you're looking at is real? In the world of glitz and glamor, it's not uncommon to come across diamonds that aren't... well, diamond. And for those dabbling in the fields of engagement ring planning, wedding planning, or simply seeking that perfect anniversary gift, knowing your stones can be more than just handy; it's crucial. So, what are these glinting imposters we often mistake for the real thing? The fake diamonds, of course! Dive in with me as we uncover the two most popular fake diamond names you're likely to come across: Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia (CZ).


The star of our fake diamond name list is Moissanite

The star of our fake diamond name list is Moissanite. Originally discovered in 1893 by Dr. Henri Moissan in a crater caused by a meteorite that fell to Earth, Moissanite is almost as old as the stars themselves. Made of silicon carbide, Moissanite is known for its dazzling sparkle, which can often surpass even that of a diamond.

But how does it stand as a fake diamond? For starters, its refractive index (which dictates how much a gem sparkles) is higher than a diamond. This means that in certain lights, a Moissanite can exhibit more fire and brilliance than its genuine counterpart. But don't be too quick to judge. Moissanite does come with its distinctions. One of the easiest ways to differentiate it from a diamond is its doubled refractive nature. When you look closely, you'll notice doubled facet edges, which is not a feature in real diamonds.

One of the biggest advantages of Moissanite is its ethical production. Since most Moissanites are lab-grown today, there's no mining involved, making it an environmentally friendly choice for those conscious about their carbon footprint.

Cubic Zirconia (CZ)

ever-popular Cubic Zirconia, commonly referred to as CZ

Next on our fake diamond name journey is the ever-popular Cubic Zirconia, commonly referred to as CZ. If Moissanite is the star, then CZ is the superstar of the fake diamond world. Its affordability and close resemblance to the real thing make it a go-to choice for many.

Made from zirconium dioxide, CZ is a crystalline material that offers a decent amount of sparkle. However, when placed side by side with a diamond or even a Moissanite, its lesser brilliance and fire become apparent. CZ is softer than both diamond and Moissanite, making it less durable in the long run. This means that over time, a CZ might get scratched or lose its shine.

Yet, the allure of CZ lies in its price tag. For those looking for the diamond look without the diamond budget, Cubic Zirconia provides a viable and attractive option. Plus, like Moissanite, CZs are lab-grown, providing an ethical and sustainable alternative to mined stones.

White Sapphire: The Ethereal Beauty

White Sapphire, a gem often overshadowed by its colorful siblings, deserves a spotlight of its own

White Sapphire, a gem often overshadowed by its colorful siblings, deserves a spotlight of its own. This diamond simulant doesn't just mimic the diamond's radiance; it boasts a distinct shimmer that's ethereal and mesmerizing.

Benefits of White Sapphire

Natural Origin: Unlike many synthetic diamonds, white sapphire is a natural stone, making it an ideal choice for those who appreciate organic beauty.

Durability: Ranking 9 on the Mohs scale, it's a resilient choice for everyday wear.

Affordability: Typically less pricey than diamonds, it's a wallet-friendly alternative for those significant moments.

Synthetic Diamonds: 

Synthetic diamonds, sometimes dubbed lab-grown or cultured diamonds, are the epitome of modern luxury. Born in laboratories under conditions mimicking the Earth's mantle, these diamonds are virtually identical to natural ones, both in sparkle and composition.

Benefits of Synthetic Diamonds

Ethical Choice: Without the need for mining, synthetic diamonds offer an eco-friendly alternative.

Purity: Being lab-grown, these diamonds often have fewer inclusions, giving them a pristine appearance.

Price Point: They typically cost less than their mined counterparts, allowing for a bigger or better-quality gem for your budget.

Moissanite vs. Cubic Zirconia: A Closer Comparison

Now, let's talk about two of the most popular diamond simulants: Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia. While they may seem similar at a glance, a closer comparison reveals their distinct characteristics.


Origin: Originally discovered in a meteor crater, Moissanite is now primarily lab-created.

Brilliance: With an exceptional refractive index, Moissanite sparkles with a fiery brilliance, often surpassing even diamonds.

Durability: Ranking 9.25 on the Mohs scale, it's a hardy gem ideal for everyday wear.

Cubic Zirconia (CZ):

Origin: Entirely lab-created, CZ is a crystalline form of zirconium dioxide.

Brilliance: While CZ possesses a lovely sparkle, it doesn't quite match the fire of Moissanite or the classic shimmer of a diamond.

Durability: With a rating of 8-8.5 on the Mohs scale, it's slightly less durable than Moissanite.

When choosing between these two, consider your priorities. If you're after an almost diamond-like brilliance and durability, Moissanite might be your gem. On the other hand, if you're seeking a more affordable diamond simulant, Cubic Zirconia could be the one for you.

Other Simulated Diamond Types

Before diving into the cz vs moissanite debate, it's essential to recognize the vast array of simulated diamond options out there:

Cubic Zirconia (CZ): The most widely recognized diamond simulant. It's affordable, but its sparkle and durability don't quite match up to some other alternatives.

Moissanite: A beautiful gem in its own right. It offers nearly the brilliance and fire of natural diamonds and is more durable than CZ.

White Sapphires: These are less brilliant than other simulants but are a natural stone and provide a different kind of shimmer.

Lab-created Diamonds: Not technically a simulant because they are real diamonds. They're just grown in a lab instead of being mined.

Others: There are other lesser-known simulants like YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) and GGG (gadolinium gallium garnet), but they aren’t as popular in the jewelry market.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Simulated Diamonds

So, you're probably wondering, how do you choose between these options, especially when considering cz vs moissanite? Let's break down the most vital factors:

Budget: CZ is often the most budget-friendly option, but if you can stretch a bit, moissanite provides a closer look and feel to natural diamonds.

Durability: If you're looking for something to wear every day, like an engagement ring, consider moissanite. It's second only to diamonds in terms of hardness, making it resistant to scratches.

Sparkle and Fire: While moissanite is known for its fiery sparkles, sometimes even surpassing diamonds, CZ can occasionally look slightly duller, especially over time.

Ethical Considerations: Lab-created diamonds and moissanite are free from the ethical dilemmas associated with mined diamonds. They’re also environmentally friendly, making them a choice many environmentally-conscious individuals gravitate towards.

Longevity: Think about how often you'll wear the piece and for how many years. CZ might lose its luster after a few years, while moissanite and lab-created diamonds will stand the test of time.


In the realm of sparkling stones and glinting gems, knowledge truly is power. Whether you're on the hunt for an engagement ring, planning a wedding, or searching for that anniversary gem, knowing the difference between real diamonds and their simulant counterparts can save you money, time, and potential heartbreak. While Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia are both fantastic in their own right, understanding their characteristics and where they stand in comparison to real diamonds is key.

So, next time you find yourself mesmerized by a sparkling jewel, remember the names Moissanite and Cubic Zirconia. By doing so, you'll be one step ahead in the glamorous game of gems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

  1. What exactly are fake diamonds?

Fake diamonds are stones that look like genuine diamonds but are made of different materials. They're also known as diamond simulants. These stones mimic the appearance of a real diamond but don’t have the same physical, chemical, or optical properties. They’re popular for those who want the diamond look without the diamond price.

  1. Are all diamond simulants the same?

No, not at all. There are several types of diamond simulants available in the market. Each fake diamond name represents a different kind of material and offers unique characteristics.

  1. Can you list a few popular diamond simulants?

Certainly! Cubic zirconia (often abbreviated as CZ) and moissanite are among the most popular. However, there are others like white sapphires, glass, and even some synthetic materials specifically designed to mimic diamonds.

  1. CZ vs moissanite – which one is closer to a real diamond?

Great question! Both CZ and moissanite are popular diamond simulants, but they differ in their properties. Moissanite is closer to a diamond in terms of hardness and brilliance. On the Mohs scale, where diamonds score a perfect 10, moissanite comes in at a commendable 9.25. CZ, on the other hand, ranks around 8-8.5. In terms of sparkle, moissanite's refractive index makes it even more brilliant than a diamond, whereas CZ, while sparkly, doesn't quite match up.

  1. Why would someone opt for a diamond simulant instead of a real diamond?

There are many reasons! Cost is a significant factor; diamond simulants are much more affordable. Some also choose simulants for ethical reasons, avoiding the controversies that sometimes surround diamond mining. Plus, with today's technology, some fake diamonds are virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye.

  1. Is it easy to distinguish a real diamond from a simulant?

For the untrained eye, it can be challenging. However, jewelers and gemologists use specialized equipment and techniques to differentiate them. Factors like brilliance, hardness, and heat conductivity can help professionals identify the real deal.

  1. Are there any downsides to choosing a diamond simulant?

While diamond simulants can be stunning and wallet-friendly, they might not always hold their sparkle as long as genuine diamonds. Over time, some, like CZ, might become cloudy or scratched. However, with proper care, they can still remain beautiful for years.

  1. Can you use diamond simulants for any jewelry type?

Absolutely! From engagement rings to earrings, pendants, and more, diamond simulants can grace any piece of jewelry. Just remember, like all jewels, they deserve care and love to ensure longevity.

  1. What's the best way to care for fake diamonds?

Regular cleaning with mild soap and warm water, using a soft-bristled brush, can keep your diamond simulants shining. Avoid harsh chemicals and protect them from hard knocks and scratches.

  1. In conclusion, are fake diamonds worth it?

For many, absolutely. Whether you're seeking an ethically sourced stone, trying to save on costs, or simply in love with the look of a particular simulant, fake diamonds offer beauty and versatility to suit any taste.

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