Experience with Synthetic Diamonds?

OK dopers, I’m looking for some advice.

I’ve been looking for a wedding ring for my SO and after being shocked at the prices for real diamonds on the Toronto Diamond Exchange I started looking at Synthetic Diamonds after reading the Wired article (which I found out about from the SDMB).

I found a site (russian brilliants) that sells high quality synthetic diamonds for a very nice price (from $3K CAN per caret down to about $500) and I’m very interested picking one up.

Now, the question really is, how good are these diamonds? I know the Russians practically invented synthetic diamond technology so I’m sure the quality is great but is it good enough to fool a jeweler? Are they, for all intents and purposes, perfect diamonds?

My GF has no preference but loves anything shiney (she has dozens of $10 glass trinkets) and so I want to get the shinest twinkly diamond I can find.

I know there’s a slight stigma on “fake” diamonds but I’m more worried about the quality of the diamond to the eye. I will tell her it’s fake but I’d love to get it appraised at a jeweler (without telling them it’s fake) and seeing how much it might be “worth” (and no, I’m not talking about fraudulantly selling the diamond, just want to get an idea of it’s “value” if I had bought a real one).

I’m willing to shell out $3K CAN on this so it’s either I get a 0.75 c. “real” diamond or a 2 c. synthetic diamond for the same price.

What do you folks think?

Depending on the process, it could be anything from too perfect to average. Straight from the Wired article, here’s the section on Apollo diamonds:

The Gemesis stones use a different process, and are perhaps of a lower quality, or at least tend to be easier to identify (using specialized techniques). Just my 2 cents.

Yeah, I remember reading that one of the only methods of detecting synthetic diamonds is to view them with a black light. Because the structure of the diamond is too perfect it glows.

Is there a diamond growth method that’s impossible to detect? I looked at pricing through the Wired article but it was too pricey (on the order of $3K US). I’m more interested in smaller, jewellery quality stones.

Go with the fake diamond just to stick it to Debeers and their decades old price inflating monopoly.

There is no stigma on fake diamonds to the general public because no-one can tell, and no-one else will really even care! Unless of course you go for the 2 c fake. Then all your friends will know without a doubt that it is fake, since you would not be able to afford the real one!

BUt seriously, can’t resell real diamonds for anywhere near what you paid for them, so the only real criteria is if fiancee likes it.

Synthetic diamonds are NOT fake. They’re real, honest-to-goodness diamonds, with the same chemical composition and crystalline structure as the natural product. They’re just made in a lab instead of the dirt. Calling them fake is like saying that industrially created NaCl you put on your dinner is fake salt.

My advice? Don’t worry about the size and all that crap. Just look for something you think she’ll love and you can afford, whether it’s $20 or $2000. If she loves it and will enjoy wearing it for the rest of her life and you can afford it, who cares what it’s made of?

I do not know a whole lot about synthetic diamonds, but I’ve some experience with “lab-created” sapphires, rubies and emeralds and if these diamonds are made in similar fashion, I’d guess they were pretty high-quality stones. If I were you I’d just get the highest quality stone I could afford in a nice setting.

As an aside, I know that some semiprecious gems are “harvested” and cut under less-than-stellar working conditions in third world backwaters. I don’t know much about diamond mining, but if that’s the case there too, a lab-created stone may be a more responsible choice (if such things matter to you.)

I wholeheartedly recommend cubic zirconium. They look just like diamonds, are nearly as hard (meaning they will last just as long), and you can get a a one carat stone for under $30.

When my fiancee (now my wife) and I got engaged, we went to a jeweler in NYC and picked out a really nice white gold setting for her engangement ring that cost around $200. Then, we had them stick in a one carat CZ stone for an extra $20. She got to show off a flawless “diamond” to her co-workers without worrying about losing it or having it be stolen, and we were both thrilled that we could put the money we saved toward our honeymoon (eight days in Vegas at The Venetian).

The point is that NOBODY but you will know the difference (unless, of course, you go out and buy a three carat stone, at which point people might get a wee bit suspicious). Why waste all that money on a rock when there are so many better things to spend it on? Especially since the only reason people are expected to spend ungodly amounts on a diamond (“two months salary”) is because of an advertising campaign by the company that has a monopoly on the world’s diamond supply.



I don’t have experience with synthetic diamonds but I did work for a jeweler for a while and I do know about other synthetic stones, or ‘lab created’ stones. It’s really just an issue of personal preference. Many customers we had preferred the lab created stones because they were cheaper but more ‘perfect’, like you said. They also were more brilliant and sparkly than natural stones. This made them easy to distinguish from natural precious stones in the case of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, but I would say that it would indeed be harder to tell the difference with a synthetic diamond, since diamonds of wedding ring quality are usually brilliant and sparkly.

I would guess that a jeweler would be able to tell the difference, though. As you have heard, real diamonds have flaws. If you walked into a jewelery store with your diamond that did not have a single flaw and was completely colorless, that would be a giveaway (unless you seriously had one of the most precious and rare diamonds on earth. I doubt any jeweler would believe you would be able to find and buy a real diamond of that quality.) The very best diamonds I have ever seen still had perceptable flaws when viewed under a good scope. A good cut will hide flaws from the naked eye, though, so for regular viewing your diamond will indeed look like a very good real diamond.

If you and your fiancee like this option there is no reason not to go with it. You will end up with a very good looking ring, IMO.

I hear ya godzillatemple. Thanks for the advice folks! I’m not so concerned about not looking like I can’t afford a 2 c. diamond ($6K? I could but I’d be in debt over my head). I’d rather buy the next best thing and save 75% of that. I’m truely against Debeers and it’s monoply on diamonds which is why I’m looking at lab grown ones (CZ diamonds I believe are not the same as the newer diamonds created in a lab).

I don’t think Russian Brilliants is selling synthetic diamonds. Theirs seem to be “simulated” diamonds, which are made from different materials. Note how they brag that it can cut glass. This would not be a “surprise special feat” for a synthetic diamond.

The synthetic ones are made by Apollo or Gemesis, but I can’t seem to find any places that sell them.

Does anyone know how to buy Apollo or Gemesis synthetic diamonds?

As a part of Come Clean about Hypocrisy Week, I must confess that I did buy an actual real diamond for my wife 10 years ago. Was not as informed about the diamond situation as I now pretend to be, and wish I had had the option of an artifically grown stone.

I have since then purchased diamonds that were a much better value. They are embedded in the blade of my angle grinder.

dil, the FAQ doesn’t mention glass and they do mention it’s not a diamond but a:

I have no idea what the difference is between this and a Gemesis diamond is though (I do believe Gemesis diamonds are very pricey right now, nearly the same cost of a normal diamond due to start up costs etc).

CZs are not the same as lab-created diamonds. Lab-created gems are chemically identical to “real” gems, whereas CZs are imitation gems, often made of glass. And while there are many very nice CZs out there, they also vary considerably in quality. It’s been my experience that five years down the line is when the difference in quality becomes evident - poorer quality CZs turn greyish and lose much of their clarity. This is observational evidence only, but I’ve seen a LOT of bad CZs. Obviously, YMMV.

No, Cubic Zirconium is made out of zirconium oxide. Glass, on the other hand, is made of silicon.

Perhaps some people use the term Cubic Zirconium to refer to any “fake” diamond, including ones made from glass, but these people would be incorrect.


Sorry, it’s actually Cubic Zirconia, not Cubic Zirconium.

My bad… :frowning:

Synthetic diamonds? Or Are you talking about cultured diamonds? CZ’s are more like synthetic diamonds.

Cultured diamonds, are real, they just take days to make. Buy from the people who make them. A nice canary (very rare) is about $3,200 a caret.