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While treatments can improve a stone’s Color or Clarity, the presence of such enhancements may affect the diamond’s value – particularly if the price reflects its appearance after treatment. Buyers have a right to know whether a stone is natural, a diamond simulant or a diamond created in a lab, and whether or not the stone has been treated to enhance its appearance.
While the appearance of diamond simulants is similar to that of natural diamonds, they are not diamonds. Common diamond simulants include glass and cubic zirconia (CZ), both of which are completely unrelated to diamond at the atomic level. Simulants are generally less expensive than the real thing. They allow consumers to enjoy the flash and dazzle of diamond-like jewelry and to inexpensively complement the latest fashion trend. But no matter how convincing the illusion, all diamond simulants have optical and physical characteristics that can be identified by a trained gemologist.
A lab-grown diamond (sometimes called man-made or synthetic diamond) is the result of a technological process, as opposed to the geological process that creates natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical and physical properties of diamonds found in nature. Most lab-grown diamonds are categorized as either high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds, depending on the method of their production. Since HPHT and CVD diamonds grown in a laboratory are virtually identical to natural diamonds, differences only become clear when they are analyzed in a gem laboratory.