Lab Grown Diamonds: The Budget-Friendly Gem Alternative

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Rings have always been the preferable method to showcase a physical embodiment of a magical bond shared between two lovers. As ethereal and beautiful as it is, you cannot run away from the truth: these rings, especially those with mined stones, are downright expensive. Most couples would rather do away with a ring than having to break their wallet. You may have decided to turn your back on sporting a ring on your finger but what if we tell you, you don’t have to?


In comes diamond simulants. These gems are gemologically similar to those of mined diamonds, which means they too have an elegance flair despite having different material properties. They come in different forms but we’ll go through some of the popular diamond simulants that have been rocking the market.

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is the most sought after diamond simulant in the market, which has great clarity since it has no inclusions. Instead of carbon, they are made from zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). Despite the different chemical composition, it possesses colour and clarity that have attracted numerous people. That said, if you’re looking to get the closest alternative to a mined diamond, this may not be it. CZ has a lower refractive index as compared to diamonds – it does not capture light in the same manner as a diamond, resulting in a lower brilliance. And the bigger the carat of CZ stones, the more noticeable the level of brilliance is lacking as compared to how captivating a diamond can be.

The downside to the cubic zirconia is the fact that it’s not meant for long-wear. Since cubic zirconia is not made out of carbon, it scores an 8 on the Mohs scale. It is not as durable as an actual diamond and is prone to scratches or chips. You may have been attracted to the cubic zirconia due to its brilliance, but this same brilliance will dwindle overtime due to dirt accumulation.


Rhinestones are another diamond imitations that you may want to consider. These stones come in many forms: from crystal stones, glass stones and even plastic ones. Their material alone has made it very accessible to the masses and the qualities of a high-grade stone don’t fall short to the other diamond simulants.

Of course, the qualities of these rhinestones don’t come close to the actual thing. Despite being able to reproduce the brilliance of a real diamond under the sun, they have the propensity to turn yellow easily, especially when exposed to high temperature or moisture. Unfortunately, Singapore’s weather checked both boxes. Since these stones are also not as durable, scratches can easily accumulate over time.


One of the more prominent diamond simulants, moissanites are a recent addition to the market. These gems are made from silicon carbide (SiC) and their material allows for a high level of brilliance and refractivity. Scoring a solid 9.25 on the Mohs scale, moissanites gems are much more durable than cubic zirconias.

Similar to the other two diamond simulants, moissanites have their own drawbacks as well. Even though moissanites are deemed ‘colourless’, they can still project yellow or greyish hues under certain light conditions. They also reflect light very differently than a diamond would, emitting a fiery flash of rainbow that some might consider as gaudy.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Let’s take it up a notch. Far from being diamond simulants, lab grown diamonds offer a better option. Lab grown diamonds have the same chemical composition and gemological characteristics similar to mined diamonds. Since they are also made entirely of carbon, they also score a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale.

You might’ve noticed that mined diamonds have a nuanced clarity and colour grade range of grade D (colourless) to grade Z (light yellow or brown). This is due to the impurities that were trapped in the lattices as they spend the billions of years growing underground. No two diamonds are alike. Similar to mined diamonds, lab grown diamonds can also possess impurities, giving them an array of varying hues and saturation levels. And just like mined diamonds, lab grown diamonds have a colour range from D to K grades – an absence of colour will determine its quality and value. As such, you can expect lab grown diamonds to also emit a high level of brilliance and sparkle that’s desired from mined diamonds.

With similar qualities, the only difference that set them apart is their origins. Supported by technology, lab grown diamonds are created in a lab and thus, don’t require any digging into the Earth. Therefore, they make for a more sustainable choice for consumers.

This diamond is perfect for millennials who are price sensitive and are looking for a cheaper alternative. S$3,000 will get you a 0.4 carat mined diamond, but with the same amount, you can easily get a 1 carat diamond ring at the Star Carat Shop. Not only are they relatively inexpensive, but they are also top-notched quality. All our diamonds not only meet all the requirements under the stringent 4C diamond grading, but they are also classified under Type IIA! This category of diamonds are so scarce, they only make up 2% of the world’s mined diamonds.