What Is A Diamond Simulant?

Diamond cuts such as Asscher Cut Diamonds are trendy due to their shine, durability, and Diamonds are considered “godlike” stones; they have been worn by royalty and wealthy members throughout the ages and symbolize power, wealth, commitment, and fashion sense. However, not everyone can afford diamonds, raising the question: What is a diamond simulant? To answer that, you must understand the difference between a diamond and a simulant.

  • Traditional diamonds are mined
  • Simulants can be cubic zirconium, lab-made, or other materials
  • Simulants are much cheaper than traditional diamonds 
  • Simulants can be hardened glass in certain cases

What Are Diamond Simulants?

A diamond simulant is an imitation diamond, such as cubic zirconium. The term refers to an object with similar characteristics to diamonds (hardness, reflection, etc.). A simulant is close enough to be ground, shaped, and otherwise formed into a convincing imitation of a diamond. Diamond simulants are useful when stones must be on display and risk being tampered with or stolen. In such cases, a simulant such as cubic zirconium provides a perfect substitute, lending authenticity without the financial risk.  

Natural Diamonds Vs. Simulant Diamonds

The main difference between traditional and simulant diamonds is that diamonds are mined while simulants are lab-made. A simulant can be made from tempered glass in certain cases. More popular alternatives are cubic zirconium, moissanite, and rhinestone. These materials are favored due to their durability and similarity in appearance to actual diamonds. Simulants are much less expensive, while traditional diamond supply is heavily regulated to ensure exclusivity.

  1. Simulants are much cheaper
  2. Traditional diamonds are socially desirable
  3. Traditional diamonds are more durable, but the difference is minute


Diamond simulants are much less expensive due to their availability and ease of manufacture. Their chemical structure is much more common, so they can be sold at lower prices than traditional diamonds while providing a similar or identical appearance. Simulants are cheap, rough-cut or fully polished and set in a ring/necklace.  

Simulant Materials

There are many different materials for a diamond simulant. Some examples include topaz, cubic zirconia, quartz, leaded glass, and/or moissanite. Topaz is highly sought after for simulants due to its durability. Topaz is composed of aluminum and fluorine; this makes it durable but produces a slightly lower shine than regular diamonds. Leaded glass is a favorite due to its shine when properly polished. However, leaded glass tends to break, crack, or chip, making it a risky choice.  

Cubic Zirconia/Moissanite

Cubic zirconia is a trendy substitute for an actual diamond. This is due to the durability and similarity of the stone to a natural diamond. A jeweler can grind it to almost perfectly resembling a genuine diamond, barely detectable except by experts. Finally, moissanite is another popular diamond alternative. Moissanite is silicon carbide refined into the diamond cut of your choice. Moissanite occurs naturally in diamonds, but a craftsman can refine it into gemstones in large amounts. Moissanite is favored due to its extreme durability, hardness, and shine.  

Should I Buy a Simulant or Traditional Diamond?

Some say there is no substitute for natural diamonds. However, the above list of simulants proves that beautiful stones can be ground and set for you at a much more reasonable price. Additionally, a diamond simulant, properly ground and set, is virtually indistinguishable from a traditional diamond, except by an expert. Finally, a diamond simulant is just as durable and much cheaper to repair or replace than a traditional diamond. Contact SG Jeweler for expert consultation on fitting, setting, and price.   

Leave a comment