Given the value of real high quality diamonds, it’s no surprise that diamond imitations and treatments have become fairly common. Below are some of the most common types of diamond simulants and enhancements found in today’s marketplace which are useful to know when planning to sell diamonds.
Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone which closely resembles a diamond. As a result of its diamond-like appearance and inexpensive price it is frequently used in jewelry as a cheap alternative to diamonds.
In 1998 moissanite was introduced to the market. Moissanite does occur as a natural mineral, but it is extremely rare and is found in tiny quantities, mainly in meteorites. All of the moissanite sold in today’s market is synthetic. It has recently surpassed cubic zirconia as the most popular diamond simulant due to the fact that its properties are much closer to those of a natural diamond.
There are two types of clarity enhanced diamonds. Fracture filled and laser drilled.
- Fracture filled diamonds have had an inclusion filled with a substance that mirrors the natural appearance of the diamond. This means that they have unnatural properties and gemological labs refuse to grade them.
- In the case of laser drilled diamonds a microscopic drill hole is made in order to remove a prominent inclusion. They are graded by gemological labs because the natural components of the diamond have not been altered. This characteristic will be clearly identified in the certificate.
Color enhanced diamonds are exposed to extremely high levels of radiation in order to achieve a fancy color or to improve the color density in a fancy colored diamond. Color enhancements can be used to achieve colors across the color spectrum. Many of the smaller fancy color diamonds used in today’s jewelry are color enhanced.
The main purpose of diamond treatments and simulants is to mirror the appearance of a high quality natural diamond. This makes it very difficult to differentiate between the two.
Thankfully, US market regulations require all reputable stores and dealers to clearly mark all unnatural diamonds. This makes it very unlikely that you will be sold a treated or synthetic diamond without being informed beforehand. But, you should always inquire about the presence of any simulants or enhancements before purchasing diamond jewelry.