- 7 years ago
- Wedding: June 2011
OMG! There is so much sensitivity on these boards about the whole “real diamond”, “fake diamond”, “alternatives to diamonds” issue.
My personal opinion – your e-ring represents the love and commitment that you share with your Fiance. It can be made of tin – it’s still a beautiful thing. One bride’s choice of one kind of ring is no better or worse than another bride’s choice. Period.
I’m a scientist (who writes articles on popular science), so forgive me. Can’t help myself. LOL. What follows is going to be a science lesson. There will be no math and no quizzes. Just information in case you want it.
Diamond. Diamond is a gemstone made of pure carbon atoms. Most diamonds form about 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface where the carbon is under high pressure and high temperature. This makes carbon atoms line up and form the unique crystal we call diamond. These diamonds would stay way under ground if not for volcanos that push them closer to the surface. By the way, have a graphite pencil nearby? Graphite and diamonds are both made of carbon atoms. Only difference is that graphite forms under much lower temperatures and pressures. The diamond crystal has a couple of properties that make it do the sparkly things on fingers we like so much…(1) it takes enterng light and breaks it into a wide rainbow that displays all the colors. Many crystals do the same, but the rainbows aren’t as broad so the colors aren’t as distinct (2) it very sharply bends light that enters it and bounces it all over the interior. Other crystals also bend and bounce light around, but not as effectively, (3) it is a hard stone, which makes it durable and good to use as a ring. Some crystals are very brittle and not good for rings.
Diamond Synthetics (a diamond that is manufactured in a lab): Since diamond is basically just graphite under really high tempertures and pressures, can’t we make a diamond in the lab and do it much faster than nature can? Yes we can and we’ve made synthetic diamonds for years. Mostly these are used in industry and are not gem quality. Mostly, these lab diamonds are yellowish in color because of the nitrogen atoms that get trapped inside. It’s hard to avoid trapping nitrogen, although you can. When you do, you get colorless lab made diamond.
Diamond Simulants (a non-diamond that looks like a diamond and is manufactured). Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is the most common and well known of these. CZs are actually made of “zirconium oxide”…a molecule made of zircon and oxygen atoms. When you manufacture a crystal made of zirconium oxide, you end up with a crystal that shares virually every characteristic of a diamond. A CZ makes the same rainbows, bends light just as sharply, is just as clear, and is almost as hard as a diamond (they scratch a little easier). So when you cut them for jewelry, CZ’s and diamonds are almost impossible to tell apart. BUT, not all CZ’s are made the same. Different additives are added to stabilize the crystal so it doesn’t crumble. These additives can lead some CZ’z to cloud up over time or look a little creamy under UV light. Some manufacturers coat CZ’s in lab created diamond to make it less likely to scratch. Other manufactures use additives that don’t cause discoloration or cloudiness.
Which to chose? No right answer to that. You decide. Which is “better”? No right answer to that either. You decide.
Hope that helps a bit. PLEASE stop being critical of over people’s choices though. There are great reasons to pick any of these.
Oh…and there are lots of other wonderful choices too. Want me to write about those as well? LOL.