Synthetic diamonds and their variations are a good alternative to mined diamonds and are a fraction of the cost. I don’t know how young people afford real diamonds for engagement and wedding rings. There are so many more important priorities for a new couple to concentrate on before going into debt over diamond rings. Enter – synthetic diamonds.

* Variations on the Same Theme *

There several different types of synthetic diamonds. There is cubic zirconia, Moissanite, enhanced cubic zirconias, diamond hybrids, cultured diamonds, and enhanced diamonds. These synthetic diamonds come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. A two-carat synthetic diamond runs from $6.50 to thousands of dollars.

* Cubic Zirconia — A Dazzling Deception! *

Cubic Zirconia or “CZ” is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). It is visually flawless, durable, inexpensive, and can be cut into a variety of shapes of sizes to bear a close likeness to a diamond. Most people are unable to tell a diamond from a CZ. Cubic Zirconia was first developed in 1977 and has been expanded to not only resemble white diamonds, but also citrine, ruby, perdot, zircon, and sapphire. A CZ sparkles more than glass or crystal, and while CZs will cut glass, only a diamond will scratch a CZ. Cubic Zirconia stones are 60% heavier than diamonds.

* Cubic Zirconia’s Biggest Competitor: Moissanite *

Moissanite is a mineral that was discovered by Henri Moissan while examining rock samples from a meteor crater. He mistakenly mistook them for diamonds. Later it was learned that these “diamonds” were actually the mineral form of silicon carbide, which is where we get the name “Moissanite.” In addition to being found in meteorites, Moissanite can also be mined, although it is quite rare. Because of this, a synthetic form was developed and perfected. Moissanite sparkles more than diamonds and cannot cut glass. It is very resistant to scratching, chipping and breaking and can be cut to look nearly identical to a diamond. The cost for Moissanite is higher than CZ. These stones can range from $6.00 to over three thousand dollars and come with a lifetime guarantee.

* Is a “Simulated Diamond Hybrid” a Diamond? Well, Sort Of! *

A Simulated Diamond Hybrid is created from an amorphous diamond (lab created) which is then layered over the top of a crystal core. The process can be compared to that of a man-made, cultured pearl. Of all the synthetics, the Hybrid is the closest to a diamond in refraction and appearance. It is twice as hard as a CZ, and the coating will never cloud, detach or wear off. A diamond hybrid has a base price of $100.00, adding an additional $100.00 for each quarter-carat.