Friday, November 09, 2012

further about diamonds: Imitations, Synthetics and Treatments

Diamond: Why is it so precious?
There is a big difference between a lab-created diamond, imitation diamonds and natural diamonds. To read about the advantages and disadvantages of buying these imitations, synthetics and treated diamonds, please visit
There are 2 things that we talk about in gemology... Imitation (look-alike) and synthetics. Both are totally different things as the names say it pretty clearly.

A 'Synthetic' or 'lab-created' or 'man-made' or 'created' diamond or any gemstone is the one that was created by human intervention usually in a laboratory. The chemical and physical properties are consistent with those of a natural gemstone.
A synthetic diamond of gem quality is graded in the same way as a natural diamond. The key factors are the 4 Cs - Cut, color, clarity and carat besides the others. It tests positive on standard diamond testers and the obsolete scratch test. It scores 10 on the Moh's scale for hardness.
There visual difference between a flawless, near colorless and colorless synthetic diamond and natural diamond is negligible. In case of slightly included diamonds, the synthetic diamond can be distinguished from a natural one by looking at synthetic inclusions such as carbon residue, metallic inclusions etc.
The other distinguishing characteristic  of a synthetic diamond is the hourglass pattern for which a keen eye, magnification and experience. The value of a synthetic diamond can be as low as 30% of its natural counterpart.
Purchase of a synthetic diamond is your personal choice. The only important thing is the revelation of the true value of that product. You should only have to pay for what you buy. Before you decide to pay for your diamond, make sure you get certification from an accredited body and study the report carefully. Besides just the quality of your diamond, read about the treatment and whether it is synthetic or not.
A lab created diamond can also be further 'treated' the same way as a natural one, to enhance color and 'erase' inclusions. So watch out for such treatments since this can reduce the price considerably.

A SYNTHETIC diamond is a man-made or lab created version of a real diamond. It is exactly same in the chemical as well as physical properties as a natural diamond. So it is obviously the hardest known substance (10 on the Moh's scale) and its refractive index and other properties are the same as a natural diamond.
An imitation diamond could be any other gemstone that looks like a diamond such as cubic Zirconia, colorless sapphire, synthetic moissanite and other diamond imitations. These imitations are simply colorless stones with properties VERY DIFFERENT than a natural diamond. Any of these are lower in hardness and get scratched fairly easily as compared to a diamond. Some of them are more brilliant (syn moissanite) and others are lesser in brilliance than a real diamond. The prices are always lower than that of a real diamond.
The price difference of an imitation as compared to a natural diamond could be anything from a few cents onwards to several hundred dollars.