Man Made Diamonds
Comparing Simulant, Synthetic Rings

lab diamonds

Man made diamonds are perfect for couples looking for affordable, 100% conflict free and environmentally friendly engagement rings or wedding bands. Here you will find how lab diamonds measure up to real diamonds, different types of lab created diamonds and their pros and cons, the differences between simulant and synthetic diamonds, plus info that will help you to decide which diamonds are the best man made diamonds for your rings

(*If you want to see how the different types of lab created diamonds compare to real diamonds take a look at the table below).

And if you have any questions, comments, reviews or pics to share about man made diamonds and simulant or synthetic diamond rings, just use the handy comment box at the end of the page!

There are two main types of diamonds which are man made - synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants:

Fast Fun Facts About Created Diamonds!

The first successful synthetic diamond creation occurred in the late 1800s.

Natural white sapphire is sometimes considered a diamond simulant.

Colored synthetic diamonds are much cheaper than colorless (white) synthetic diamonds.

man made diamonds

Simulant diamonds look similar to real diamonds, but they are chemically and physically different from diamonds. Simulant diamonds have been available since the 1970's in the form of cubic zirconia, and in the past decade in the form of moissanite and Nexus simulants. Well over one hundred years ago, cut glass, zircon and white sapphires were used as diamond simulants particularly in Victorian engagement rings.

The top lab created diamond simulants include Nexus diamonds, moissanite and cubic zirconia. In terms of durability, Nexus diamond simulants and moissanite gemstones are much stronger and more durable than cubic zirconia. In terms of cost, moissanite is generally the most expensive followed by Nexus diamonds and then cubic zirconia.

'Diamond Nexus Simulants' are made of carbon mixed with additional ingredients. These simulants are extremely durable and come with a triple lifetime guarantee.

Nexus Engagement Ring Starting at $899

  • Take a look at EWR's Diamond Nexus page to find out more about what you can expect from wedding and engagement rings made with a Nexus diamond and how these simulants compare to CZ, moissanite and natural diamonds. 

'Cubic Zirconia Simulants' are created from zirconium dioxide and are the least durable of all diamond simulants, but they also come with the lowest prices.

'Moissanite Lab Created Gemstones' are famous for their flash and fire, and these simulants are synthesized from silicon carbide. Moissanite is an extremely strong simulant, but comes with the highest price tag - moissanite also has its own look which is a bit different than a diamond.

  • Check out What is Moissanite? to find out more about moissanite gemstones and to compare moissanite to diamonds.

  • Take a look at Moissanite Wedding Sets to see pros, cons and shopping tips for moissanite rings plus top picks for moissanite engagement rings and bridal sets!

Synthetic diamonds
, also known as cultured or created diamonds, HPHT diamonds, and CVD diamonds, are 'grown' in a laboratory and they have physical and chemical characteristics which are practically identical to real diamonds. (Laboratories which produce these diamonds microscopically inscribe them with a number so they cannot be identified as 'real' diamonds for insurance or reselling purposes).

Eco-Friendly Lab-Grown Diamonds

Visit EWR's comprehensive page about Lab Created Diamonds to find more about synthetic diamonds and synthetic man made diamond engagement rings and wedding bands.

  • HPHT (high pressure high temperature) synthetic diamonds mimic conditions in a laboratory which are needed to form real diamonds in nature; CVD (carbon vapor deposition) creates conditions which cause hydrocarbon gas to crystallize and form diamonds.

  • Synthetic lab diamonds are new to the market, and became more accessible to shoppers in the last five years. Fancy color synthetic diamonds are easier to produce than white (colorless) synthetic diamonds, and so there is a much wider selection of fancy synthetic diamonds. Synthetic fancies are also much more affordable than colorless synthetic diamonds.

  • Synthetic diamonds can be purchased loose or set in synthetic diamond rings, and they are available in a wide range of cuts and shapes including the brilliant round, Asscher, radiant, princess and cushion cuts.

Man Made Diamonds Compare to Real Diamonds

Cost Hardness No Flaws Colorless Brilliance Fire
Diamonds Highest 10.0 Rare Rare Higher High
Nexus Simulant Lower 9.10 Yes Yes Higher High
Moissanite Simulant Medium 9.25 Yes Slight Tint Highest Highest
Cubic Zirconia Simulant Lowest 8.5 Yes Yes High Higher
HPHT Synthetic Higher 10.0 Nearly Yes Higher High
CVD Synthetic Higher 10.0 Nearly Yes Higher High

Comparing Synthetic Diamonds to Real Diamonds

  • From the table, you can see that synthetic lab diamonds are extremely similar to real diamonds. The only difference: most fancy synthetic diamonds are less expensive than real diamonds (although colorless - white - synthetic diamonds are pretty much on par with the cost of real colorless diamonds), and they are nearly flawless whereas most diamonds have some inclusions and blemishes.

  • The only major con towards synthetic diamonds is the price; you can still save thousands of dollars with the purchase of fancy color synthetic diamonds, but synthetic diamond rings are still priced much higher than diamond simulant rings.

Comparing Simulant Diamonds to Real Diamonds

  • Simulant diamonds are not as hard as a real diamond, their brilliance and fire is not exactly like a real diamond, and unlike most real diamonds they are flawless.

  • The biggest pro towards simulant diamonds is their cost. A one carat colorless loose cubic zirconia is around $40.00, a one carat colorless loose Nexus diamond is around $100.00, and a loose one carat moissanite diamond is around $300.00.

  • The biggest con towards simulant diamonds is their difference in brilliance and fire. The Nexus simulant comes closest to looking like a real diamond, a moissanite diamond has the highest brilliance and fire which can create a 'disco ball' effect that is undesirable to some consumers (although couples looking for engagement rings with plenty of bling love the extra fire of moissanite), and the cubic zirconia has a lower brilliance, but higher fire, than real diamonds.

  • Another con: While Nexus and moissanite diamonds are so hard they cannot be scratched under most circumstances, the cubic zirconia diamond can scratch with long term wear and it has a tendency to absorb oils. As a result, a cubic zirconia diamond simulant ring may appear cloudy if scratches accumulate on the surface and if it is not regularly cleaned.

  • The moissanite diamond, like most real diamonds, is not colorless. These diamonds have a very light tint of yellow or brown which may or may not be visible to the naked eye.

wedding ring shopping tips

Shopping Tips for Man Made Diamonds

Before you purchase a lab created diamond, always check to see if the company offers a guarantee or warranty in case the diamond becomes damaged or lost.

Just like real diamonds, synthetic diamonds which have the same exact characteristics as real diamonds should come with a certificate preferably from a reputable laboratory like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - certificates with synthetic diamonds ensure that the diamonds purchased have quality cut, color and clarity grades and that they are authentic synthetics.

Affordable simulant or synthetic diamond rings can end up costing more down the road if they are not made with durable materials and quality workmanship. Avoid purchasing any rings that are plated (like the very cheap brass or copper cubic zirconia rings plated with rhodium) and try rings crafted with stronger metals. For every day wear man made diamond engagement rings, metals including 18k gold, palladium and platinum are best. For inexpensive but durable metals on diamond simulant rings, stainless steel, tungsten and titanium offer the best performance.

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Comments and questions from EWR visitors

Click on the links to see comments and answered questions...

Carat Difference in Size in Cubic Zirconia 
I keep buying cubic zirconia rings, and when they arrive they look huge! I would like a 1 - 2 carat ring, but what is the carat difference so I can make …

The Best Place to Buy Quality Moissanite Not rated yet
Where is the best place here in Chicago Illinois or United States to buy or order a good moissanite 1 carat stone diamond and is moissanite better than …

Where to Find a Synthetic Diamond? Not rated yet
Where would you buy a synthetic diamond? Hi Elle, Lab created synthetic diamonds - which have the exact same physical and chemical properties …

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