What’s the Difference between Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Synthetic Diamonds


Very often, when consumers use the term synthetic diamonds, what they’re actually talking about are diamond simulants. Whichever term they use, the substances that tend to get lumped into this category are Cubic Zirconia, Moissanite, White Sapphire and YAG. We’ve addressed the confusion between lab-created diamonds and mined diamonds, so let’s now illuminate the differences between lab-created diamonds and these other diamond-like materials, and explain why Gemesis does not agree with the use of the term synthetic in reference to lab-created diamonds.

While “synthetic” is often used, Gemesis believes it can lead consumers to think the diamonds are fake, artificial or simulants such as cubic zirconia, which is inaccurate. The FTC agrees. In a recent finding, the FTC has acknowledged the term can be misleading to the consumer when describing man-made diamonds. According to the FTC, “the term is a potentially confusing term, i.e., consumers associate synthetic gemstones with imitiation stones.” The FTC determined that “these other terms (‘laboratory-created,’ ‘laboratory-grown,’ ‘[manufacturer-name]-created’) would more clearly communicate the nature of the stone.”

Furthermore, synthetic, as an adjective, is defined as: “made artificially by chemical synthesis, especially so as to resemble a natural product.”  The term synthesis is defined as: “the formation of compounds through one or more chemical reactions involving simpler substances.” Lab-created diamonds are NOT created by a chemical reaction of two or more simpler substances, but by crystal growth process, atom by atom, the same as in nature. Therefore, by definition, lab-created diamonds are not synthetic.

So, what’s the takeaway? There are diamonds, which are either mined or lab-created and have identical physical, chemical and optical properties – and then there’s everything else.