A diamond is something that everyone recognises: a sparkly, clear gemstone, composed of carbon, created under pressure, and cut to reflect the light. It’s a widely held belief that diamonds are rare and precious, some will tell you they’re ‘a girl’s best friend’, or ‘forever’.
On a technical level, a diamond is composed of carbon, with the atoms occurring in a lattice held together with covalent bonds. This means that it’s scratch-resistant, and the hardest known naturally occurring mineral, measuring 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
Despite the name ‘diamond’ being derived from the Greek adamas meaning unbreakable, diamonds aren’t actually that tough. Toughness refers to the ease with which a thing breaks, and diamonds can cleave along the planes within the structure, with comparatively little force. This is how diamonds are cut from the rough and crafted into jewellery quality gems.
Diamonds occur naturally in conical deposits of an ore called Kimberlite, and can also be found in places where those deposits have been eroded, and the diamonds washed loose in the sediment. When these diamonds are collected or mined, many of them are stockpiled, rather than being sold straight away, so that the price can be maintained at an artificially high level, for the benefit of those who own diamond mines.
Let’s explore the differences and similarities that are available. There are two broad types – natural diamonds and synthetic or lab-grown diamonds. There are also gemstones called simulant diamonds, which are like diamonds but not quite.
DLC – Diamond-Like-Carbon 70 – 80% SP3 C-C (bonds weakly to CZ) Coated over CZ, weak and thin layer will delaminate. Soft & liable to scratch despite DLC layer
Mohs Scale of Scratch Resistance
9.5 – core 10 – mantle 30% tougher than diamond
8.0 – 8.5
8.0 – 8.5
How it’s made
New technology mCVD
HPHT naturally formed
New technology mCVD or HPHT
Old technology Crystalised from molten material
Old technology DLC sputtering technique thinly coated over CZ
Old technology Single crystallisation from molten SiC
Value for Money
Excellent value for money
Grossly overpriced due to marketing. Very poor value for money
Approx 30% less cost than diamond Moderately good value for money
Good value for money
Overpriced & poorly described Moderately good value for money if priced as a CZ
Good value for money
Serious ecological destruction & human rights issues
Less environmentally damaging
Created deep in the earth from carbon under huge pressure and temperature, over many thousands of years, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale. Diamonds are usually clear, but are sometimes coloured, which are known as fancy diamonds, and many have natural flaws in them, so they are graded by colour and clarity. D colour is the whitest, and Flawless is flawless!
Around 20% of mined diamonds are of sufficient high quality to be used in jewellery, with the rest going into industry.
Mined or extracted under conditions of immense environmental upheaval and destruction, often associated with human rights issues, such as slavery, enforced resettlement, and poor working conditions. Price and availability are artificially controlled, meaning many people are seeking a more ethical alternative to fit with their beliefs.
Synthetic diamonds created in a lab from carbon, under High Pressure and High Temperature (HPHT method) or using Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD method). HPHT is the precursor to CVD, and CVD is the more highly valued method of growing diamonds.
Chemically, optically and structurally identical to a mined diamond, but with controls in place to ensure that every diamond created is jewellery-quality. HPHT production uses enormous amounts of energy, and both this and its successor, the CVD process, take weeks rather than millennia to create diamonds.
The environmental consequences are minute compared to mined diamonds, as are the human costs. The price of lab-grown diamonds is around 30% less than the equivalent mined diamond, and tied to the diamond pricing structure.
IS A MARKETING SLOGAN CREATED FOR DE BEERS IN 1947.
MINED DIAMONDS ARE NEITHER RARE NOR VAULABLE.
THE IQ DIAMOND
A credible and lasting alternative to diamonds has long been sought, with various diamond simulants appearing on the market, for people who want the sparkle, but are reluctant to pay the price tag.
The IQ Diamond is a unique engineered diamond using a man made product of a very specific type of ceramic and very close in structure, composition and hardness to diamond. It is hand cut and polished, to exacting standards as mined diamonds are cut from the rough. A lab grown mantle of diamond is then grown onto the cut stones utilising advanced diamond technology.
As with laboratory grown diamonds, this process creates gemstones entirely for the jewellery market, which are of the highest quality, colour and clarity and independently certified by the GRI.
Optically identical to a mined diamond, the IQ Diamond matches it for brilliance, toughness and longevity, and can produce a positive test as diamond in standard industry tests.
The pricing is set according to manufacturing and retail costs, not according to the fixed diamond pricing structure, therefore it is significantly lower than the equivalent mined or lab-grown diamonds, making it excellent value for money.
The IQ Diamond is ethical and still up to 80% less than mined diamonds, where the cost benefits are exponential on the larger carat weights.
The IQ Diamond is certified by the GRI and guaranteed to stay perfect, forever. This is ensured by our lifetime guarantee.
Eco-friendly, because the IQ Diamond is not mined, and ethical, because the IQ Diamond does not cause any humanitarian harm.
Simulates a perfect diamond. Every IQ Diamond is colourless, flawless and has an ideal cut, also known as Hearts and Arrows.
Another diamond simulant, and the most popular diamond alternative on the market for many years. Cubic zirconia is man-made, and machine cut, meaning that it doesn’t have such crisp edges as a hand-cut gemstone. Also, being made from zirconium and oxygen, it is not as hard as a diamond (measuring only 8 on the Mohs scale), and prone to scratching. In addition, it is very porous, which means that it absorbs dirt, skin oils and other impurities very easily, leaving a cloudy appearance, relatively quickly. The cost is fair, for an alternative to diamonds.
A diamond simulant, moissanite is a brand name given to silicon carbide, which occurs naturally in meteors, but for jewellery-purposes is created in a lab. Moissanite is manufactured to appear more diamond-like by creating slight internal flaws, but has a faint greenish-yellow fluorescence in natural light. It also has a higher refractive index than diamond, meaning that it has more brilliance and sparkle, which can make it look cheap and artificial. The cost is fair, for an alternative to diamonds.