Difference Between Lab Grown Diamonds and Imitation Diamonds

As lab grown diamonds and imitation diamonds continue to rise in popularity, this growing interest brings an increased number of questions! There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information about the difference between the two. Despite what you may have heard, imitation and lab grown diamonds are completely different.

To help you sort through any confusion and better understand your options, we have created a complete guide to understanding the difference between both groups of diamonds.

What Are Natural Diamonds?

Diamonds are minerals composed of pure carbon that create a crystal. A naturally mined diamond is formed from high temperatures and pressures beneath the earth’s crust.

It is one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals on earth, meaning that a diamond holds up exceptionally well over time and is highly resistant to surface scratching and breakage. This durability makes a diamond ideal for an engagement ring center stone.

Diamonds are valuable because they are rare. The gemstone is only found in a few countries worldwide. But today, it is possible to manufacture diamonds using technology. Imitation and lab grown diamonds can be produced in chemical labs, and they are unambiguously similar to natural diamonds. But imitation and lab grown diamonds are not the same – they have their differences.

What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are created from the tiny carbon diamond seeds of existing diamonds. Advanced technology – either using extreme heat and pressure or a special deposition process known as CVD – mimics the method of natural diamond formation. It is said that among the methods, HPHT produces the best lab grown diamonds without any trace of strains.

Lab created diamonds have the same optical, chemical, and physical properties as natural mined diamonds. Even when using professional gemological equipment, lab grown diamonds are nearly impossible to differentiate from natural diamonds and can only be identified using specialized equipment.

Lab grown diamonds are more affordable than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality and are a sustainable choice for a diamond engagement ring as they require no new mining.

About: Lab diamonds are grown in highly controlled lab environments using an advanced technology that duplicates the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop. Lab grown diamonds have the same optical, chemical, and physical properties as natural mined diamonds.

Appearance: To the naked eye, lab diamonds emit the same sparkle and optical properties as natural diamonds. The only way to differentiate the two of them is by using specialized equipment that can detect traces in crystal growth.

Cost: Lab grown diamonds offer excellent value and are slightly more affordable than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality. They are more affordable for couples to create their dream ring without sacrificing their design preferences or budget.

Ethics: Lab diamonds are sustainable as they require no new mining.

What Are Imitation Diamonds?

Imitation diamonds are gemstones manufactured to look like diamonds but are both visually and compositionally different than diamonds. Such as cubic zirconia (CZ) or moissanite, look like diamonds but are not real diamonds.

Imitation diamonds do not have the same chemical and physical properties as diamonds and sell at a lower price point. They can be distinguished from natural or lab grown diamonds using only the naked eye due to their fiery sparkle.

Many popular imitation diamonds on the market today are highly durable and suitable for everyday wear. It is essential to research the different properties of each imitation diamond to determine which is most ideal for your unique lifestyle.

About: Today, imitation diamonds such as cubic zirconia and moissanite are synthetic stones manufactured in laboratories. They are made to simulate diamonds but are compositionally and optically different from diamonds and can be made from several different materials and gemstones.

Appearance: Imitation diamonds can be differentiated from diamonds due to their optical properties. Moissanite, for example, is double-refractive, while a diamond is singly refractive.

This causes the moissanite to emit a fiery rainbow sparkle that can be easily differentiated from a diamond with the naked eye.

Cost: Many popular imitation diamonds are often much lower than both natural and lab diamonds. Imitation diamonds are an attractive cost-friendly option for many couples as you can create your dream engagement ring without veering outside your budget or compromising center gemstone size.

Ethics: As most popular imitation diamonds are lab-grown using advanced technology, they require no new mining to produce and are a sustainable option.

What’s The Difference Between Simulant Diamonds and Lab Grown Diamonds?

Unlike imitation diamonds, lab grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural mined diamonds and are considered real diamonds.

Lab diamonds are visibly indistinguishable from natural diamonds without specialized equipment to detect minor traces in the difference in crystal growth.

Imitation diamond simulants such as moissanite or cubic zirconia (CZ) are physically, chemically, and optically different from lab diamonds. They are visually distinguishable from lab diamonds with the naked eye due to their rainbow refractions and fiery sparkle.

Lab diamonds rank ten on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Making them one of the earth’s hardest and most durable minerals. Moissanite ranks 9.25, and cubic zirconia ranks 8.5. Making them durable simulants suitable for everyday wear but more susceptible to surface scratching and wear over time.

Lab diamond engagement rings are an affordable alternative to natural diamonds as they cost 30% less on average than natural diamonds of similar size and quality.

Lab grown diamonds are graded and vary in price based on shape, carat, cut, color, and clarity. Imitation diamonds, such as moissanite, are lower in price than lab-grown and natural diamonds. Vary in price only based on size and whether the stone is Premium or Super Premium.


Imitation diamonds can look like real diamonds to the naked eye. But they lack the remarkable durability and brilliance of real diamonds. Alternatively, lab grown diamonds are just as real as diamonds that took millions of years to form.

Moreover, lab diamonds are real because they share the exact physical, chemical, and visual properties of natural diamonds.

Diamonds are among the most expensive gemstones. So it is recommended that buyers are sure of what they are buying. The only way to ensure this is to buy from reputed diamond jewelers.