Simulated Diamond Jewelry Buying Guide

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Simulated Diamond Jewelry Buying Guide

Buying simulated diamond jewelry is a good way to enjoy the look of diamonds without paying higher prices. Some people confuse simulated diamonds with synthetic diamonds. While simulated diamonds do not have the same physical properties as real ones, synthetic stones are made from the same elements as real diamonds. Simulated stones are made using different elements.

Tips for Buying Simulated Diamond Jewelry

When shopping for simulated diamond jewelry online, there are several important steps to take. Not all simulated stones are made from the same materials, so it is helpful to know a few of their characteristics. It is also important to consider the metal used to set the simulated diamond. Buyers must understand a few common types of metal in order to decide which option best suits individual needs. Buyers should also consider their personal preferences for sizes, colors, and shapes of the simulated gems.

Common Stones Used for Simulated Diamond Jewelry

Although many diamond simulants are artificial, some occur naturally. There are also simulants that are made from a combination of natural and artificial processes. While simulants may not share all of the physical properties of diamonds, they do have some that are similar. Some of the most common simulants are outlined in the following chart.


This is a natural diamond simulant. It has been used since ancient times. While quality quartz may look similar to a diamond from a distance, its refractive index is not as good. This means quartz will not sparkle as much as a diamond.


In the 1700s, glass replaced quartz as a common diamond simulant. Its dispersion qualities and better refractive index made it popular. However, glass cannot withstand high temperatures the same way a diamond will. In addition to this, glass is easier to scratch and may become dull over time. It is still used today in jewelry but is not as common as cubic zirconia.

White Sapphire

This simulant gained popularity in the early 1900s. Since it was much harder than glass, it was used in many pieces crafted until about 1950. A white sapphire is an artificial simulant but is known for lasting longer than glass. With a good refractive index, its glittering qualities are similar to a diamond's.


This artificial simulant appeared in the 1920s and was popular for several decades. While it is not as common as some modern simulants, it may be used by some manufacturers wanting to sell tougher gems.


In the late 1950s, most manufacturers started using rutile. It is somewhat hard and has a good refractive index. Some manufacturers still use rutile today. However, it is common in mid-century vintage pieces. Rutile is brighter than most diamonds. Its appearance is more similar to an opal than a diamond. However, people who enjoy a sparkling gemstone will certainly appreciate rutile.

Strontium Titanate

This is another substance that was common in the 1950s through the 1970s. While it has a good refractive index and dispersion rating, it is not nearly as hard as some of its simulant predecessors.


While the dispersion rate and refractive index are lower for this type of artificial simulant, a stone with a brilliant cut will appear very similar to a diamond. YAG was used mostly in the 1970s for its durability and scratch resistance. However, it is still manufactured today.


GGG is similar to YAG. They both surfaced at approximately the same time in history. However, GGG has a better refractive index and dispersion rating. It is almost as hard as YAG. However, the materials used to produce it are slightly more expensive, so a GGG simulant will likely cost more. It is not as common today but can be found in many vintage pieces.

Cubic Zirconia

This simulant appeared in the late 1970s but is still the most popular stone used today. The materials used to create this artificial simulant are very inexpensive. Cubic zirconia stones look almost identical to flawless diamonds. They come in a variety of colors and can last several years. However, they do lose their luster over time and may crack or break under extreme pressure.


While this simulant is the most similar to a diamond in every aspect, it is not widely used. Moissanite is more expensive than many other simulants but has similar aesthetic and material properties as a true diamond. Of all the simulants, moissanite is the hardest. It also has high thermal conductivity, so it is able to withstand extreme temperatures.

Simulated Diamond Jewelry Settings

Different metals are used for different styles and jewelry pieces. There is no right or wrong type of metal to choose. To make a wise purchase, buyers should consider the durability of the metal in relation to its price.

Sterling Silver

This is a soft metal that is commonly labeled as .925. Since it oxidizes over time, the surface will tarnish. These discolorations can rub off on the skin, so it is necessary to polish silver jewelry frequently.


While it is not the most common metal used for simulated diamond jewelry, copper is often used for jewelry pieces that are meant to look rustic. It does fade and tarnish over time, which results in discoloration on the skin. However, copper can be cleaned with lemon juice or copper jewelry cleaner. It is an affordable element and is often used as a base metal for plated settings.

Yellow Gold

In pure form, gold is very soft. However, it is commonly blended with metal alloys to form a more solid substance. Gold is measured in karats. The karat marking, which is labeled as "K" on the setting, indicates how much gold is in the piece. Smaller numbers mean there is less gold. However, the smaller numbers also indicate greater strength. Gold is often used for finer jewelry pieces.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is a combination of yellow gold and copper, which results in a reddish color. It is also measured in karats. Rose gold is used for some cubic zirconia jewelry pieces.

White Gold

Although white gold is not a common metal used with simulated diamonds, it may be found in rings or earrings. It is also used with moissanite. White gold is measured in karats and may be plated with platinum in some instances.


Most jewelers do not use a solid platinum setting with a cubic zirconia stone. However, rings with strands or multiple bands may contain some platinum. It is the most costly and the most heavy precious metal.

Gold-Plated Metals

If a jewelry piece is labeled with GP, this means it is gold plated. Copper, silver, or a blend of inexpensive metals are commonly used in cheaper jewelry. Since gold is a soft metal, the plating will wear off over time. Rings that do not have "K" or .925 stamped on the inner band are likely gold plated. Since it is so inexpensive, it is a popular choice for people who like to wear new jewelry frequently.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel may not be as cheap as gold-plated metals. However, it does not tarnish and maintains a grayish-white color. It is also harder to scratch than some other metals.


This durable material is affordable. It is often similar in price to stainless steel. It is a common choice for men's jewelry.


Palladium is very attractive and durable. It may be used to plate some rings, and its hardness is comparable to platinum. Since mining of palladium is restricted, it is not widely available. However, it is a metal that comes at a great value for its desirable physical attributes.

Tungsten Carbide

This material is very hard and can be tinted with various colors. It is scratch resistant and affordable. It is commonly used in rings.

Finding Simulated Diamond Jewelry on eBay

Start on eBay's Jewelry & Watches category page. Click on the Fashion Jewelry link to see pieces that are made from inexpensive metals and gold-plated jewelry. To see simulated diamond jewelry pieces that are made with high-quality metals, click on the Fine Jewelry link instead. Alternately, buyers may browse Handcrafted, Artisan Jewelry.. To search for vintage pieces, select the Vintage & Antique Jewelry link. After choosing an option, type the word "simulated" into the search bar to see the relevant results.


Since every person has different preferences for simulated diamond jewelry pieces, the process of choosing one or more items will vary for each person. However, taking the time to find quality simulants and settings will be worth the effort.

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