Diamond Synthetics & SimulantsGiven the demand for quality diamonds - and therefore the price for good quality stones - a lot of work has gone into finding ways of producing them artificially. Today's artificial diamonds fall into two main groups: synthetics and simulants.
SyntheticsSynthetic diamonds are man-made versions of the real thing with the same chemical make-up. They have been produced for industrial purposes for decades and in recent years the process has improved sufficiently that synthetic stones can achieve gem quality.
A synthetic diamond is a real diamond, the difference is simply that it's been produced in a laboratory by man rather than in the ground by nature. To the lay person, a good synthetic diamond can be indistinguishable to a natural one, however professional jewelers and gemologists have techniques and tools to help them tell the difference.
SimulantsDiamond simulants are not strictly speaking diamond at all - instead they are made from different materials in a way that gives them a similar look and feel to the real thing. Such simulants are often referred to as diamante. Well known simulants include Cubic Zirconia (CZ) and Moissanite. Although not "real" diamonds, these simulants can still look very attractive in their own right.
Paste "diamonds" (Rhinestones) are simulants made from cheap materials such as glass or plastic. They shine (especially under lights) but have little else in common with real diamonds. These are often used when maximum glitter is required over a larger area, for example a stage costume.