What Are Simulated Diamonds: Are They the Same as Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Alicia Briggs | October 26, 2023

Simulated diamonds are often called synthetic or fake diamonds, and are largely confused with lab-grown diamonds. This can make it difficult to understand exactly what simulated diamonds are and whether or not they are real. Use this guide for everything you need to know about diamond simulants and why they are not the same, or as good, as VRAI's lab-grown diamonds.

What Are Simulated Diamonds?

Simulated diamonds are essentially fake diamonds. Simulated diamonds are made from different gemstones (moissanite or cubic zirconia) that visually resemble a diamond until they are examined more closely. However, they are not real diamonds and have an entirely different chemical composition and appearance.

Simulated diamonds are used in jewelry as an affordable alternative to real diamonds, but the difference between the two is easily distinguishable.

Pros and Cons of Simulated Diamonds

Simulated diamonds have several pros and cons that should be considered before buying.


  • Affordable. Simulated diamonds are considerably more affordable than real diamonds. 75 carats of cubic zirconia costs the same as one diamond carat while moissanite is 1/10th the cost of a diamond. The low cost of simulated diamond jewelry can be appealing, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

  • No Mining. Just like lab-grown diamonds, simulated diamonds aren’t mined. For many shoppers, simulated diamonds appear to provide a more ethical alternative to mined diamonds. Keep in mind that simulated diamonds are not necessarily more sustainable than mined diamonds, as they use significant carbon emissions.


  • Less Durable. Simulated diamonds do not have the same properties or structure as a diamond. They are considerably less durable and are more prone to scratching or chipping over time.

  • Less Brilliance. A simulated diamond will have its own unique sparkle, but it does not reflect light like a diamond does. Simulated diamonds have more light dispersion and emit a rainbow of colors that is quite different from a real diamond’s coveted brilliance.

  • Not a Diamond. At the end of the day, simulated diamonds are not diamonds. They do not have the value, quality, or beauty that a real diamond has. If you love diamonds, a simulated diamond is not a viable or valuable alternative.

What Are Simulated Diamonds Made Of?

Simulated diamonds are made from a variety of materials, often man-made gemstones. The most common material for simulated diamonds is moissanite.


The most common material for simulated diamonds is moissanite. Moissanite is a crystal made from silicon carbide. While moissanite is a natural mineral, it’s very rare, so most moissanite is lab-created. Due to its ability to resemble a diamond and its affordability, moissanite is a popular choice for synthetic diamond jewelry.

Moissanite is always significantly less expensive than real diamonds, but the price of moissanite depends on the size and color grade (Premium or Super Premium).

Cubic Zirconia

More simulated diamonds are being made from cubic zirconia. Cubic zirconia is a naturally occurring mineral called baddeleyite but the cubic zirconia used for simulated diamonds is man-made from zirconium dioxide.

Simulated diamonds made from cubic zirconia will vary in price based on the carat weight and cut. Cubic Zirconia is popular for simulated diamonds as it's very affordable, but it’s harder than other gemstones. While cubic zirconia is not as hard as a diamond, it provides a more durable option for simulated diamonds.

Are Simulated Diamonds Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Many people refer to lab-grown diamonds as simulated or synthetic diamonds, but this is incorrect. The FTC officially recognizes lab-grown diamonds as real diamonds. Both lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are made using the same formation process and materials. They only differ in origin. Lab-grown diamonds are graded in the same way as mined diamonds and look identical.

Simulated diamonds, as established above, are not real diamonds. They are not the same as lab-grown diamonds or mined diamonds. Simulated or synthetic diamonds are made in a lab setting but from entirely different materials. While they resemble a diamond, simulated diamonds will have an entirely different type of brilliance and light reflection. You can easily see the difference between a simulated diamond and a lab-grown diamond side by side.

Why You Should Choose Lab-Grown Diamonds Instead of Simulated Diamonds

While diamonds are beloved for their undeniable beauty and value, for many people, diamonds have not been accessible. Shoppers generally choose simulant diamonds over real diamonds due to their low price tag, and/or because they don’t involve the unethical consequences of diamond mining. But you no longer have to choose between a real diamond or a simulated diamond for these reasons. Lab-grown diamonds offer the best of both worlds.

VRAI created lab-grown diamonds are unmatched in both sustainability and quality. Our diamonds are grown in the world’s first zero-emission foundry, powered by 100% renewable energy. VRAI created diamonds are cut and polished by our master craftspeople, with 30 one-of-a-kind VRAI created diamond shapes Cut for You™.

Thanks to our vertically integrated supply chain, we’re able to offer lab-grown diamonds for less. Our diamond prices are the most competitive in the industry. With VRAI, quality, sustainable, lab-grown diamonds are now accessible to a wide range of budgets. With VRAI, you can have a certified, lab-grown diamond with no environmental or human toll.

Simulated Diamonds FAQs

Consider the following for any remaining questions you may have about simulated diamonds.

Are Simulated Diamonds Worth Anything?

Simulated diamonds are not valuable like real diamonds, nor do they hold their value over time. While simulated diamonds provide an inexpensive alternative to real diamonds, they do not have much resell value or worth.

How Long Do Simulated Diamonds Last?

Simulated diamonds do not have the same durability or strength as lab-grown diamonds. While people may buy them as engagement rings or jewelry, if you plan on wearing a simulated diamond daily, note that it most likely won’t last longer than three years (up to 10 years if only worn occasionally).

Does Simulated Mean Fake?

Simulated diamonds are fake diamonds. They are not the same as real diamonds but are designed to appear as such.

Do Simulated Diamonds Test as Real?

No simulated diamonds will not pass a diamond test or test as real diamonds. Simulated diamonds and real diamonds have entirely different chemical compositions.

Simulated diamonds are also not graded in the same way that real diamonds are. Real diamonds are evaluated based on the diamond 4Cs, but simulant diamonds cannot be graded the same way. Simulated diamonds made from moissanite and cubic zirconia have their own set of criteria to evaluate their quality.

Do Simulate Diamonds Get Cloudy?

As simulated diamonds age, they can show signs of cloudiness and dullness. They are more prone to scratches and less durable. Wearing simulated diamonds daily will increase the chances of cloudiness.

Discover VRAI Created Diamonds

Explore our full inventory of expertly crafted certified lab-grown diamonds. With VRAI, you no longer have to choose between quality, sustainability, or accessibility. Our Carbon Neutral Certified VRAI created diamonds are always beautiful, brilliant, and made to last.

virtual appointment with diamond expert meeting with potential customers over a call on a computer
virtual appointment with diamond expert meeting with potential customers over a call on a computer

Consult with a diamond expert

Speak with our diamond experts and enjoy:

  • Personalized guidance to select your ring
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Speak with our diamond experts and enjoy:

  • Personalized guidance to select your ring
  • In-depth diamond 4C education
  • Exclusive in-store fittings or virtual try-ons
  • Custom design options