Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Different Diamond Alternatives for your jewelery

"Synthetic" and "simulant" are terminology used by the USBM for laboratory grown gemstones. Others in the gemstones industry may use different terms to refer to laboratory grown gemstones. Laboratory grown synthetic gemstones have the same appearance and optical, physical, and chemical properties as the natural material that they represent.  Laboratory grown simulants have an appearance similar to that of a natural gemstone but have different chemical properties.

Below you will find some detailed information about many of the different diamond alternatives available, including their benefits and drawbacks.  We hope you find this information useful.

Cubic Zirconia (CZ)
... not necessarily a "four letter" word!!!

Just like "Water" is also known as H20, "Oxygen" is also known as O2, and "Hydrochloric Acid" is also known as HCl, "Simulated Diamonds" (or at least by far the most popular form of them) is known as Cubic Zirconia, or CZ.  It is simply the name of the compound that IS what it IS.  Because there's so much stigma around not having a "real diamond", CZ's have got a bad rap.  Just like there's bad water and bad air sometimes, there are also bad CZ's out there.  When you go to the mountains and breathe that fresh air and drink that mountain water, just think of it as a AAAAA CZ ... high quality!  (or at least the highest quality you can get without spending $10,000 a carat!!!)

Here's a bit a info on CZ's:
‘Diamonique’, ‘Diamonelle’, ‘Russian Ice’, ‘Russian Radiance’, ‘Signity’, ‘Absolute’  
They are ALL Cubic Zirconia! 

All are CZ's.  Just like Diamonds (for a different reason) there are varying qualities of CZ.  A diamond that's cloudy, full of inclusions and a horrible color, is still a diamond ... just not a very nice one!  Same with CZ's.  A "grade A" CZ is a cheaply manufactured stone, where as "grade AAA to AAAAA" are much more likely to last longer and have more sparkle.

  • Cubic Zirconia, or CZ is a Man made stone, that looks very much like a diamond but is relatively inexpensive.  As suggested above, it comes in 5 grades:  A, AA, AAA, AAAA, and AAAAA
  • Fairly tough, resists scratching with normal wear.  Several brand names are familiar:  ‘Diamonique’, ‘Diamonelle’, ‘Russian Ice’, ‘Russian Radiance’, ‘Signity’, ‘Absolute’, etc.  Just as all of the stones Inquisitive Designs Jewelry carry are at least AAA or higher, are these brands names above.
This is important!  Please listen up because there's quiz later ... ... ... ... ... (just kidding)

  • Regardless of the brand name of a Cubic Zirconia, at the end of the day, it's still a Cubic Zirconia.  A "Xerox" machine is still a copy machine;  A "Cyclone" fence, is still a fence; and a "Hoover" is still just a vacuum!!!  The only difference is the marketing company's practice on what grade CZ they buy to attribute to the brand.  


  • What's funny is no one has caught on to using this for Diamonds!  If I sold diamonds and I told you these are not just any Diamonds, they are "Inquisitive Designs Diamonds" ... you'd look at me with a perplexed look and probably reply ... "yes, but they're still Diamonds, right?"  I'd have to admit, "yes they are."  Maybe I only choose to buy high quality diamonds (because believe me, there are diamonds out there that make scummy  pond water look clear) ... but they are still "diamonds" by definition.  Hopefully the point is made.
Inquisitive Designs Jewelry buys only rings, pendants and bracelets with AAA or higher grade CZ's.   Therefore, they are comparable in quality to the above brand names.
For loose gemstone orders, we can provide any grade AAA or higher.  We do not buy A or AA grade.  These lower grades are prone to clouding and we simply don't want to be associated with the lower quality CZ's.

  • The higher end CZ’s, like ours and  the brand names above, are better cut and polished than the CZ’s you will find in department stores.  They have incredible luster and sparkle.  It is important to keep in mind that a CZ, regardless of name, will still eventually fade in brilliance.
  • Average Cost:  Depending on brand name, the cost can range between $0.99/ct to $50.00/ct. for the stones used in these rings (or when purchasing loose gemstones).

    Russian Diamonds (Jewels) 
    Including Russian Brilliants, Russian Stars and others, they are in fact nothing but high quality cubic zirconias. This is not mentioned prominently on their web sites and they will only cop to it when pressed, but that is the fact. Russian diamond simulates are priced around $280 per carat.
    Russian Diamonds are a fine jewelry selection and are usually mounted in quality precious metal settings.


    • Moissanite is originally born from a star, though the crystals on earth were far too small to make anything with.

    • Synthetic moissanite was recently introduced and is still popular, though very costly.

    • Characterized by its slight yellow tone and weight.  Moissanite is lighter than a diamond of the same size.

    • It is impossible to get a perfect D color moissanite.  Most are in the GHI color range.

    • Average Cost:  Cost can range between $300.00 – $400.00/ct.

    Natural Diamonds

    • Created by mother nature

    • Available in colors, both natural and irradiated (color added, or induced)

    • Nearly all sizes available

    • prices vary, availability fluctuates

    • Average Cost/availability:  Varies


    • NOT to be confused with Cubic Zirconia (above).  ZIRCON is a NATURAL gemstone.  Formed in the Earth.

    • Possibly the best NATURAL diamond simulant there is!!


    • Several colors are usually available, but sizes and availability do fluctuate. Zircon has long had a supporting role to more well-known gemstones, replacing them when they were unavailable.  In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. The name probably comes from the Persian word zargun which means "gold-colored," although zircon comes in a wide range of different colors.
      Natural zircon today suffers for the similarity of its name to cubic zirconia, the laboratory-grown diamond imitation. Some don't realize that there is a beautiful natural gemstone called zircon.
      Zircon occurs in a wide range of colors but for many years, the most popular was the colorless variety which looks more like diamond than any other natural stone due to its brilliance and dispersion.

       Today the most popular color is blue zircon. Most blue zircon, which is considered an alternate birthstone for December, is a pastel blue, but some exceptional gems have a bright blue color. Zircon is also available in green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange.

      Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Australia, and other countries.
      Zircon is one of the heaviest gemstones, which means that it will look smaller than other varieties of the same weight. Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully because although zircon is relatively hard, it can abrade and facets can chip. The wide variety of colors of zircon, its rarity, and its relatively low cost make it a popular collector's stone. Collectors enjoy the search for all possible colors and variations.

    • Average Cost/availability:  Varies.
    Now that you're totally confused ... let's Shop!

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