Simulants, though only imitate diamonds in their looks and brilliance but are not diamonds at all, are increasingly becoming a vogue especially among the price sensitive consumers. Recent reports indicate that there has been higher uptake and sales growth of simulant stones.
Popular simulants are Cubic Zirconia (CZ), Zircon, Moissanite, White Sapphire, YAG (Yttrium Aluminum Garnet) etc. Some other simulants include Synthetic Rutile, Spinel, Strontium Titanate, GGG (Gadolinium Gallium Garnet), Diamonique, High-leaded Glass (Rhinestones) etc. Though a couple of these may have been found earlier in nature – meteorite crater, all simulants today are created in laboratories with processes like HPHT, CVD etc., similar as used in growing Lab-created diamonds.
And these amplified earlier confusions of difference between Lab-grown diamonds and simulants, which are now completely clear. Unlike Lab-grown diamonds, simulants do not have physical, optical, chemical or other properties identical to those of Earth-mined diamonds and hence they are not diamonds at any rate.
Nevertheless, simulants are outperforming the real stones, given that they cost only about 1/10th the price of Earth-mined diamonds. Charles & Colvard, which manufactures ‘Forever Brilliant’ moissanite, witnessed its annual sales grow by 27% while the average revenue of jewelry industry increased by only 7.7%. For Do Amore, an online jewelry retailer, moissanite rings composition of the total engagement ring sales is 45%, much more than the 25% for diamond rings. These indications are a cause of concern for the diamond industry.
But it is not only the price factor that has led to surge in simulants’ popularity. Consumers nowadays are opting for eco friendly and socially responsible products and services. Given the environmental damages that diamond mining causes, inhuman labor practices, issues of conflict diamonds and society exploitation, consumers are shying away from earth-mined diamonds and instead, are exploring alternatives. Some of the same reasons why Lab-grown diamonds is also marking increased adoption.
Being made in lab-controlled environments, simulants are ethical and ecologically sensitive, and at a fraction of cost, consumers are not minding to buy a sparkling stone even if it is not a diamond!!