A diamond expert is able to discern a loose diamond from a simulant just by eye alone, and is unconcerned with the following tests to separate the various impersonators, but we have included some of the differences for interest.
Many jewellers use some of the tests for their own piece of mind, and no doubt you will already have seen a jeweller using one of the many diamond testers available on the market, the most common being the thermal tester. This is however unable to distinguish between diamond and the new simulant Moissanite, and can occasionally fool the inexperienced appraiser.
Diamond simulant has the same meaning as imitation and refers to any material that has the appearance of diamond but does not posess the characteristics, atomic structure, chemical composition or physical properties of natural diamond. Simulants commonly include Cubic Zirconia, Colour less Synthetic Corundum (sapphire), Synthetic Spinel, Strontium Titanate, Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (YAG), Gadolinium Gallium Garnet (GGG), and Glass (Paste).
Diamond simulants categories
We can split simulants into five further sub categories:
These are natural stones having the appearance of diamond. Stones include Sapphire, topaz, Beryl, Quartz, Zircon; all in their colourless forms.
These are manufactured stones that have the same chemical composition, atomic structure, and physical properties of a natural counterpart. They are man made and include: Synthetic Rutile, Synthetic Sapphire, and Synthetic Spinel. The term cultured is starting to be applied to synthetics.
These are the manufactured stones that have no natural counterpart and include: Strontium Titanate, Yttrium Aluminate (YAG) and Cubic Zirconia.
Glasses of differing densities, often referred to a paste.
Stones were often constructed from more than one stone to enhance particular properties. Glass for example is very soft and to prevent the surface from scratching a layer of harder material was bonded to the surface. These stones are often referred to a doublets.