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What Is a Simulated Diamond?

When you shop Melinda Maria jewelry, you will notice that the gemstones in our Better than Diamonds Collection are referred to as “simulated diamonds”. If you have ever wondered what that means, read on to learn more about the diamond alternative.

A simulated diamond is a gemstone that looks like a real diamond but is chemically or physically different. It is also known as a diamond simulant or diamond alternative. There are several types of simulated diamonds, each with its own characteristics:

4 Types of Simulated Diamonds

Cubic Zirconia (CZ): Cubic zirconia is one of the most popular diamond simulants. It is a synthetic crystal made from zirconium dioxide and is optically very similar to a diamond. CZ is less expensive than a genuine diamond typically is and comes in various colors.

Moissanite: Moissanite is another popular diamond alternative. It is a naturally occurring mineral (silicon carbide) but is typically lab-created for use in jewelry. Moissanite is known for its brilliance and fire, and it can be difficult to distinguish from diamonds, even by professionals.

Synthetic Diamonds: Synthetic diamonds, also known as lab-grown diamonds, are real diamonds but are created in a laboratory rather than being mined from the Earth. These diamonds have the same chemical composition and physical properties as natural diamonds and are not considered simulated diamonds. However, they are often marketed as more ethical and environmentally friendly alternatives to a mined diamond.

Diamond Coatings: Some materials, like cubic zirconia or white sapphire, can be coated with a thin layer of diamond-like carbon (DLC) to enhance their appearance and make them more diamond-like. These coatings can wear off over time, revealing the true nature of the underlying gemstone.

Simulated Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds: Which is Better

While often appearing indistinguishable from natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds are typically much more affordable than natural diamonds. This makes this style of gemstone an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers or for use in fashion jewelry.

There are several reasons why someone might choose a simulated diamond jewelry over a natural diamond, and these reasons often relate to personal preferences, ethical considerations, and budget constraints.  When purchasing jewelry with simulated diamonds, it's essential to be aware of what you're buying and to consider factors like durability, appearance, and budget. 

9 Reasons to Buy Simulated Diamond Jewelry

Here are some common reasons why people opt for simulated diamonds:

  1. Cost-Effective: Simulated diamonds are generally much more affordable than natural diamonds. They offer the look of a real diamond without the high price tag, making them an attractive option for those on a budget.
  2. Ethical Concerns: Some individuals have ethical concerns about the diamond mining industry, which has been associated with issues such as conflict diamonds (also known as blood diamonds) and environmental damage. Simulated diamonds, particularly a lab grown diamond, are often seen as more ethical alternatives because they don't involve the same ethical and environmental concerns.
  3. Environmental Impact: Lab grown diamonds, which are a type of simulated diamond, have a smaller environmental footprint compared to traditional diamond mining. Lab diamonds also require fewer resources and result in fewer carbon emissions.
  4. Customization: Simulated diamonds come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, allowing for more customization options. This can be appealing to individuals who want a unique and personalized piece of jewelry.
  5. Brilliance and Sparkle: Some simulated diamonds, like moissanite, are known for their exceptional brilliance and fire. They can actually exhibit more sparkle than natural diamonds, which can be a selling point for those who love the sparkle of diamonds.
  6. Backup or Travel Jewelry: Simulated diamonds can be a practical choice for people who want to wear something that looks like a diamond but don't want to risk losing or damaging their expensive natural diamond jewelry. Simulated diamonds are often used as travel or backup jewelry.
  7. Experimentation: Some people choose simulated diamonds as a temporary option to experiment with different styles or sizes of jewelry before committing to a natural diamond purchase.
  8. Occasional Wear: For special occasions or events where wearing an extravagant piece of jewelry is desired, simulated diamonds offer an affordable way to achieve a glamorous look.
  9. Symbolic Jewelry: Simulated diamonds can be used in symbolic jewelry, such as an engagement ring or anniversary gifts, where the focus is on the sentiment and symbolism rather than the diamond's monetary value.

How to Care for Simulated Diamond Jewelry

Caring for simulated diamond jewelry is similar to caring for other types of fine jewelry, but there are some specific considerations to keep in mind. Here are some tips for maintaining and preserving the beauty of your simulated diamond jewelry:

Regular Cleaning:

Knowing how to clean jewelry regularly at home can help remove dirt, oils, and residues that dull their sparkle. These tips apply to all types of bracelets, chains, earrings, and more.

Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a jewelry cleaning cloth to gently wipe the jewelry's surface.

You can also soak the fine jewelry in warm, soapy water for a few minutes and then use a soft brush, like a toothbrush, to gently scrub away any dirt or grime. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals:

A synthetic diamond is not as hard as real diamonds and can be more sensitive to harsh chemicals. Avoid exposing them to chemicals like chlorine, bleach, or strong detergents, as they can damage the setting and affect the appearance of the stone.

Safe Storage:

Store your simulated diamond jewelry separately from other pieces to prevent scratching. Consider using pouches, individual compartments, or a jewelry box with fabric-lined sections.

It's also a good idea to store your jewelry in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, as excessive heat and sunlight can affect the color and appearance of certain gemstones used as simulants.

Avoid Impact and Scratching:

Simulated diamonds, while durable, can still be chipped or scratched by harder materials. Avoid activities that could expose your jewelry to sharp objects or hard surfaces.

Be cautious when wearing a simulated diamond ring during activities that might result in impact, such as sports or heavy lifting.

Regular Inspection:

Periodically inspect your simulated diamond jewelry for loose stones or damaged settings. If you notice any issues, have them repaired by a professional jeweler promptly to prevent further damage. 

Avoid Ultrasonic Cleaners:

While ultrasonic cleaners are commonly used for cleaning jewelry, they may not be suitable for all types of simulated diamonds. Some simulants can be sensitive to the vibrations and heat generated by ultrasonic cleaners, so it's best to check with the manufacturer or jeweler for specific cleaning recommendations.

Gentle Handling:

When putting on or removing your jewelry, handle it gently to avoid bending prongs or other delicate parts.

Maintenance by Professionals:

Consider having your simulated diamond jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected at least once a year. A jeweler can check for any issues and clean your jewelry more thoroughly.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Materials: 

Do not use abrasive materials like steel wool or abrasive pads to clean your jewelry, as they can scratch the surface.

Read Manufacturer's Recommendations:

Always follow any care instructions provided by the manufacturer or retailer of your simulated diamond jewelry, as different materials and settings may have specific care requirements.

By following these care guidelines, you can keep your simulated diamond jewelry looking its best and prolong its lifespan. Remember that while simulated diamonds are durable, they may not be as resistant to wear and tear as natural diamonds, so proper care is essential for maintaining their beauty.

Whether you are attending a fancy event or traveling on vacation, simulated diamonds are a great and cost-effective way to make your look sparkle and shine! As always, we believe that luxury is not defined by price, so let yourself get luxurious without breaking the bank.

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