The Great Diamond Debate: Real, Alternative, or Fake?

Posted by Kelsey Forrest on 23rd Oct 2023

The Great Diamond Debate: Real, Alternative, or Fake?

Diamonds vs. Alternative Stones for your Engagement Ring

Updated: October 24, 2023

Presenting your one true love with a ring has become a global symbol of devotion. A diamond is recognized as the most sentimental and romantic symbol of love and marriage. As traditions take on new forms, and both partners want to be involved in the purchasing process, we believe that every couple should be well-informed on the ring they are purchasing and the selection of stones they have to choose from.

The Federal Trade Commission's amendment to the Jewelry Guides was approved with the intention of preventing deception in jewelry marketing. A Forbes article, The Jewelry Industry Grapples with the Real Impact of Lab-Grown Diamonds, refers the alterations of the original definition, "A diamond is a natural mineral consisting of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system," by comparing it to the new definition, "A diamond is a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system." This ruling, though it was meant to benefit the consumer, has resulted in confusion. There still remains a lack of consistency between the differing definitions of a Natural Diamond versus a Lab Grown Diamond. This translates to the consumer's pre-purchase anxiety, resulting in frustration and an elongated purchasing process. Simply put, whether it is formed within the earth and extracted or grown in a laboratory, a diamond is a diamond. However, since there is still a strong distinction within the industry between natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds, it is important that all consumers are empowered with the facts to make a well-informed and confident decision.


There are a number of ways jewelers will market their diamonds, whether it's natural or lab grown. Here are some of the buzz words you might see associated with each stone so that the lingo doesn't get you tripped up when trying to make an informed decision about your wedding rings.


Natural Lab Grown
  • Genuine
  • Authentic
  • Natural
  • Real
  • Rare
  • Mined
  • Brand made
  • Created
  • Cultivated
  • Cultured
  • Hybrid Diamond
  • Man made or manufactured
  • lab grown
  • lab made
  • HPHT Diamond
  • CVD Diamond

Gemstone Alternatives

Moissanite Cubic Zirconia
  • Crystal
  • Gemstone
  • Diamond substitute
  • Diamond stimulant
  • CZ
  • Fake
  • Glass
  • Diamond stimulant


Diamonds are knows for being one of the hardest substances found on earth scoring a 10 on the MOHS Hardness Scale. This goes for both natural and labgrown diamonds. Alternative gemstones such as moisannite and cubic zirconia (CZ) are a bit softer coming in at an 8.0-8.5 and 9.25 respectively. Something to keep in mind if you tend to be a bit rougher on your jewelry.


Diamond color is graded on a standard color scale extablished by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and can range from D (colorless) to Z (yellow). The more colorless the diamond, the more expensive it is, and this is the case with both natural and lab grown. Learn more about the diamond color scale.

Natural Mosinatie is tends to be very yellow in appearance, however, it has a lot of fire and scintillation, even more so than a diamond. Cubic Zirconia tends to be on the colorless to near colorless side of the GIA spectrum.


For natural dimaonds, the clarity can vary greatly with each stone and they typically have some sort of inclusions, those these can be minimized through the cutting and polishing process. The less inclusions the more valuable the diamond is. Lab grown diamonds are created in a more controlled environment and therefore have a consistent clarity typically between VS to SI. Learn more about the diamond clarity.

When it comes to clarity of moissanites, these clear gemstones can vary great from flawless to included. Cubic zirconia, however, typically remains in the VS1 to VS2 range.


Both natural and Lab-grown diamonds are valued for their cut. The better the cut the more valuable the diamond. Learn more about the differenty types of diamond cuts.

Moissanites are very similar to diamonds in that the cut varies dpenedong on its cost. Cubic zirconia, however, is cut to correct or subdue the refractive index that is twice as high as that of a diamond.


Of the four stones discussed, natural diamonds tend to be the most expensive, however, they also hold their value more than the others. Lab grown are slightly less expensive given the ability to create on demand but still be an expensive and intensive process. Moissanite and cubic zirconia are the cheapest, but might not be right for a person looking for a more authentic diamond look and feel.

Which one is right for you?

Depending on what you are looking for in your wedding rings, all of these options have their pros and cons.

Natural diamonds are for a sentimental and romantic indivisual with high standards for quality and a desire for one of a kind pieces that hold their value.

Lab grown diamonds are for the thoughtful, price conscious individual who is in-tune with trends and wants to know that their diamond was created within a laboratory.

Moissanites are for the individual who wants a gemstone with great brilliance that is lab created and generates a yellow-green iridescence.

Cubic zirconias are for someone who wants to wear a ring with a large statement stone, without the value or expense of a diamond.

My Trio Rings diamond ring in box

The discussion of man-made diamonds within the luxury jewelry industry has been a controversial topic of conversation for several years, being analyzed and debated by sources such as Forbes in the article Diamonds Disrupted: How Man-Made Diamonds will Disrupt the Mined Diamond Industry by Pamela Danziger. In this article, our industry experts here at My Trio Rings weighed in on the future of lab grown diamonds stating, "Lab-made diamonds are the result of a technological process which means their prices will drop like any other technological innovation, an effect described by Moore's Law. Our team predicts that as the prevalence of lab-created options increases in the market, their wholesale rates could drop 20-40% due primarily to the prospect of unlimited supply and increasingly lower production costs."

As jewelers start to offer alternatives to diamonds, it will be imperative that consumers remain well-informed on the fading fads, timeless styles, and the differences between the stones they can choose to set within their engagement ring and wedding bands. With this knowledge, you will be pleased with your final decision.

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