Mineral Review

What is the name of the stone instead of a diamond?

In the modern world, not everyone can afford rare and expensive precious stones, such as diamonds. Therefore, their artificially grown analogues continue to be very popular. The most famous and best-selling are cubic zirconia and moissanite – synthetic stones that imitate the appearance of diamonds, but are very different in essence. Also, many differences can be found between these two artificial stones, so before purchasing jewelry, it is advisable to understand how cubic zirconia and moissanite differ from each other and how to recognize them. After all, some stores mislead customers with incorrect names and characteristics, and the jewelry of some jewelry houses, on the contrary, can boast of high quality and price even if these non-precious stones are used. This article is intended to dispel all rumors and speculation regarding imitation diamonds and sort out the differences between their different versions.

cubic zirconia

The main difference between cubic zirconia and diamonds is their origin. Diamonds are natural precious minerals, their quantity is limited by natural conditions. Cubic zirconias are grown artificially. That is why their cost is much lower, even despite the optical properties similar to diamonds and high refractive indexes of light. Cubic zirconia was originally synthesized for use in laser sources. This happened at the Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences. Lebedev (FIAN) in 1970. As we can see, the place of creation gave the stone its name. To date, several technologies have been developed for the production of “synthetic imitation diamonds” of various qualities, but the best stones are still cubic zirconias created using Soviet technologies. Cubic zirconia (or cubic zirconium oxide) is an imitation of diamonds. And here we are faced with a typical misconception and deception of many jewelry stores. Inexpensive jewelry is often labeled with the name “zirconium” or “zirconia,” although zirconium is simply a metal mined from zircon. In turn, zircon or zirconium silicate is a natural mineral that is very rarely found in retail trade in the form of a gemstone. But cubic zirconium oxide or cubic zirconia is an artificial analogue of natural zirconium silicate, which is very similar in properties to diamond. That is, the popular and expensive Swarovski stones are actually not stones at all, but artificial analogues of imitation diamonds. At the same time, despite all of the above, it is possible to distinguish a diamond from a high-quality cubic zirconia only in laboratory conditions.

Cubic zirconia colors

  • Yellow. Created by adding copper, it is used to replace citrine.
  • Blue. Replaces sapphires.
  • Brown. Made by adding titanium
  • Pink. Neodymium and erbium impurities are used.
  • Lavender. There are no natural analogues.
  • Black. Similar to a carbonado diamond, known for its high value.

There are also about 4 types of cubic zirconia colors with a color changing effect. This makes it possible to imitate the very rare gemstone alexandrite.

Expensive cubic zirconias

Of course, the main advantage of artificial stones over natural ones is their cost. However, cubic zirconias also have a certain gradation of quality and are divided into groups from A to AAAA. In retail trade, cubic zirconia of average quality AAA is most often used – they are distinguished by proper shine, purity and an affordable price.

But there are several companies focused on creating jewelry using high-quality and expensive artificial stones of the AAAA group. The most famous is the Swarovski company, in which stones of insufficient grade are sent for processing and only then, having achieved the proper quality, are used in products.

Despite the similarity of cubic zirconia to diamonds, there are several important differences. In addition to their natural origin, diamonds have significantly greater hardness and durability than cubic zirconia.

But there is an artificial stone that approaches diamond in these parameters, much closer than cubic zirconia. This is a more expensive analogue of synthetic stone – moissanite.

Lifetime warranty on moissanite

The Bright Spark company is the first seller in Russia of real moissanites from the American brand Charles & Colvard. All stones that are sold wholesale and individually or used to create jewelry have quality certificates. Plus, they come with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. Since 2016, in addition to Charles & Colvard stones, our company has been offering moissanites under its Bright Spark brand, which have a unique cut that makes them indistinguishable from a perfect diamond.

Moissanite is the common name for a family of silicon carbide (SiC) crystals. Grown in the laboratory, they are a worthy alternative to diamonds and demonstrate the best optical properties. At the same time, a stone of similar size, shape and cut costs 10–20 times less than a diamond. Do I need to overpay?

The beauty of gemstones lies in sparkle, white and colored flashes, and intricate play of light. Moissanite has a refractive index of 2,65–2,69, which is the only property superior to diamond (2,42). Due to this, the crystal looks like a diamond, and does not resemble a cheap imitation. Moissanite has a light dispersion of 0,104 versus 0,044 for diamond, so it exhibits more rainbow-colored flashes. The crystal fascinates with the play of light and radiance in any light.

High-quality moissanite is characterized by crystal purity, perfect transparency and colorlessness. This allows the stone to be used in white gold jewelry – it does not look yellow against the background of the metal. Cheap options of dubious origin may have defects in the form of carbon nanotubes directed along the crystal growth, as well as a clearly visible brownish or greenish tint.

It is worth noting that two polytypes of silicon carbide crystals are common. One of them (6H-SiC) exhibits yellow fluorescence (glow when exposed to ultraviolet rays), which makes the stone yellowish and cloudy in sunlight. The other one (4H-SiC), which recently went on sale, has no fluorescence and is indistinguishable from diamond in this property.

With gemstones, size matters! If we compare two crystals of 1 and 2 carats, the second one sparkles 8 times more. Small diamonds in jewelry look faded and it is almost impossible to see flashes of color in them. For the same amount you can buy jewelry with moissanite weighing from 1 to 3 carats.

Another advantage of moissanite over cheap imitations is its high hardness, in which it is only slightly inferior to diamond (9,5 and 10, respectively), being the second hardest colorless mineral. In everyday conditions, a difference of 0,5 does not matter, since during an unlimited period of wear the surface of the crystal is not scratched and the edges are not erased.

Natural origin and mass production

The first natural moissanite was discovered by French explorer Henri Moissan while studying meteorite fragments in the Arizona desert. He denied that several tiny crystals were diamonds. The new stone was officially named after the scientist. Behind the scenes, he was called a heavenly messenger and a cosmic gift.

Moissanites are extremely rare in nature. Grains up to 4 mm in size are found in meteorites – they form near large, carbon-rich stars. On Earth, the mineral can be found in natural accumulations of sapphire corundum, kimberlite rock, and inside diamond nuggets. To date, approximately ten deposits are known where single gems have been mined. However, scientists have found a way to artificially grow magnificent large gem-quality crystals from silicon carbide.

Chemists obtain different types of stone:

  • colorless;
  • yellow, green, black and cognac colors.

The weight of artificial moissanites typically ranges from 0,01 to 14 carats. The smallest stones are used to create graceful paths and sparkling halos. Large ones serve as spectacular central inserts in pendants, earrings, and rings.

Subtleties of cutting

Stone processing is highly skilled manual labor. Due to differences in optical properties, moissanites will not sparkle when treated like diamonds. Therefore, cutting is carried out in accordance with unique, specially designed 3D patterns. Precise work and impeccable calculation allow you to fully reveal the potential of the gem, achieving ideal shine and a bewitching play of light.

The most popular is the round shape, which corresponds to a brilliant cut of 57 facets. There are also princesses, baguettes, cushions, radiants, drops, and hearts.

According to reviews from jewelers, moissanites always have an impeccable shape. At the same time, this is extremely rare among diamonds. Masters deliberately deviate from calculated angles in order to preserve carats. And sometimes, due to the low optical properties and small size of the diamond, there is simply no point in painstaking work.

Bright Spark is a manufacturer of high quality, unique diamond cut moissanites and gold jewelry. All stones have a lifetime guarantee.

Benefits of moissanites from Bright Spark

Refractive index of light

For diamond, the indicator value is 2,42, and for moissanite – 2,69 units. Thanks to this, artificial moissanites are not inferior to diamonds in appearance and sparkle. Cubic zirconias, on the other hand, have a “glassy” luster – a cheap analogue can be seen from afar.

In this indicator, moissanites are twice as fast as natural stones (0,104 versus 0,044). This means that artificial gems display all the colors of the rainbow even in dim lighting.

Purity and color

Bright Spark moissanites, unlike Asian stones, have excellent clarity and color (from 4/3 to 1/2), corresponding to prestigious and expensive premium diamonds.

Diamonds and cubic zirconias do not always have an impeccable shape. In the first case, jewelers deliberately deviate from the desired angles so as not to lose carats. In the second case, due to the low optical properties of the stones, there is simply no point in painstaking work. Bright Spark moissanites always have an impeccable cut that fully reveals their optical properties.

Bright Spark moissanites have values ​​of 9,25–9,5, quite comparable to the characteristics of diamonds. Thanks to this, scratches do not form on their surfaces for an unlimited period of time. Cubic zirconia has a hardness of 7,5 to 8 and therefore quickly becomes cloudy and loses its original appearance even with infrequent wear.

Another advantage of elite synthetic stones is the price. A huge moissanite, perfect in color and shape, can be bought for the cost of a small, dirty diamond. Thus, the motto of our company is “We make dreams more accessible!” completely justified.

In 2016, Bright Spark launched a line of moissanites made in the USA under its own brand.

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