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What Are VVS Simulated Diamonds: A Detailed Guide

on Jun 27, 2024

Diamonds are incredibly valuable gemstones characterized by dazzling brilliance and excellent light performance. While diamonds are visually appealing, they are also quite expensive and not everyone can afford iced out jewelry. This is when simulated diamonds come into play.

So, what are VVS simulated diamonds and how do they differ from natural or lab-grown diamonds?

Well, simulated diamonds may look like natural diamonds, but they have completely different chemical, physical, and optical properties. That being said, understanding the differences between simulated and real diamonds is key to distinguishing between these gemstones.

In this comprehensive guide, we explain what VVS simulated diamonds are while comparing them with natural and lab-grown diamonds. You can also find the pros and cons list and some buying tips to help you make a well thought-out decision.

Understanding VVS Simulated Diamonds

Let’s take a closer look at what simulated diamonds are and how the term “VVS” is used to describe their clarity.

Definition of Simulated Diamonds

vvs simulated diamonds clarity

Simulated diamonds, also known as diamond simulants, are naturally occurring or man-made gemstones that look like real diamonds but have different physical and chemical properties. A diamond simulant is any gemstone that can be used to imitate a diamond.

There are multiple diamond simulant options, each having unique properties. Therefore, comparing real diamonds with imitation diamonds as a whole doesn’t make sense. Instead, we should explore specific examples, their compositions, and characteristics to highlight the similarities and differences between simulated and real diamonds.

You'll Also Enjoy: Flawless vs. VVS Diamonds

Common Diamond Simulants

common diamond simulants

Common diamond simulants include glass rhinestones, cubic zirconia (CZ), white sapphire, white topaz, and moissanite.

Glass Rhinestones

Rhinestones are among the cheapest man-made diamond simulants that were originally made with quartz stones, but they are currently manufactured using glass, acrylic, or plastic materials.

While diamonds have exceptional clarity (even those with a lower clarity grade), rhinestones tend to have numerous visible inclusions and bubbles.

In terms of brilliance, rhinestones do sparkle, but their sparkle is not quite as bright and intense when compared to diamonds. This is because diamonds have a much higher refractive index, allowing light to easily travel through the gemstone.

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia is another man-made diamond simulant that is composed of zirconium oxide and has a cubic crystal symmetry.

While it's more expensive than rhinestones, cubic zirconia is still quite affordable.

The reason why cubic zirconia is a popular diamond alternative is that it has somewhat similar brilliance and clarity.

That being said, it can be difficult to tell cubic zirconia and diamond apart at first glance. Still, cubic zirconia is generally less brilliant due to lower refractivity.

Another difference is that when CZ is observed under natural light, it gives off rainbow light dispersion. Diamonds, on the other hand, sparkle gray and white inside the gemstone while reflecting rainbow colors onto other surfaces.

White Sapphire

White sapphires are natural or lab-made gemstones composed of the mineral corundum, the crystalline form of aluminum oxide.

White sapphires tend to be more expensive than rhinestones and cubic zirconia, but way more affordable than diamonds.

While white sapphires and diamonds are entirely different, they give off a similar look.

To highlight the differences, white sapphire exhibits less brilliance due to its lower refractive index. These gemstones appear paler and may offer some color variation, such as a tint of pale blue.

White Topaz

Made up of silicate minerals, white topaz is another natural diamond simulant.

Just like diamonds, some white topaz stones may have internal imperfections and internal inclusions, while others may look flawless to the naked eye.

From a visual standpoint, both white topaz and diamond are characterized by a transparent color and remarkable brilliance. Still, white topaz reflects less light, meaning that they give off less sparkle.


Moissanite is a naturally occurring and lab-grown gemstone made up of silicon carbide.

As its occurrence in nature is pretty rare, moissanite commands a higher price than the diamond simulants mentioned above.

In terms of hardness, moissanite is rated as 9.25 and diamond is rated as 10 on the Mohs scale. Moissanite also has very high thermal conductivity, which explains the fact that it passes common diamond testers that measure a stone’s thermal conductivity.

In addition, moissanite has a higher refractive index, making it even more brilliant than diamonds.

Considering the similarities and differences between moissanite vs. diamond , moissanite is the best diamond simulant available on the market.

What Does VVS Mean

VVS is a clarity grade developed by GIA that is used to characterize natural and lab-grown diamonds in terms of quality and value.

VVS stands for Very, Very Slightly Included, which indicates the number, size, and visibility of inclusions and blemishes in diamonds. Accordingly, VVS diamonds are high clarity grade gemstones, the inclusions and blemishes of which are extremely difficult to observe under 10x magnification.

Although the VVS classification is inapplicable to simulated diamonds, you may still come across the diamond simulants graded as VVS. This just means that a given gemstone has minor imperfections and appears eye-clean.

Characteristics of VVS Simulated Diamonds

Despite the fact that simulated and real diamonds appear quite similar to the naked eye, there are some major differences you should keep in mind before buying one.

Visual Appearance

In terms of visual features, some simulated diamonds (e.g., cubic zirconia and moissanite) look more similar to real diamonds than others (e.g., rhinestones and white sapphire).

What gives simulated and genuine diamonds a slightly different appearance is the level of clarity and color.

Diamond simulants can have a high clarity level and a near colorless look, just like diamonds. However, some diamond imitations have major imperfections and may also feature colorful tints, along with lower refractivity.

Materials Used

No matter how similar simulated and real diamonds look, their chemical composition is completely different.

  • Diamonds are made of only one element, carbon. This gives diamonds high thermal conductivity, exceptional hardness (10 on the Mohs scale), and a high refractive index (2.42).

  • Cubic zirconia is made by melting zirconium oxide and adding minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. It’s generally colorless and relatively hard (8-8.5 on the Mohs scale), with a lower refractive index (2.15-2.18).

  • Moissanite is made up of silicon carbide, making it a quite hard gemstone (9.25 on the Mohs scale). It also has a comparable thermal conductivity. Moissanite’s refractive index (2.65-2.69) is even higher than that of a diamond. 

As these are two of the most popular diamond simulants, understanding the differences between moissanite vs. diamond vs. cubic zirconia is key to choosing the right option for you.

Durability and Wear

As for durability and wear, most diamond simulants tend to be less durable and more prone to scratches than diamond. This is due to their lower hardness on the MOHS scale.

However, moissanite has a comparably high level of hardness, making it quite durable and scratch-resistant.

When it comes to care and maintenance, you should regularly clean simulated diamonds and jewelry using some warm water and mild cleaning products (e.g., dish soap) to maintain their sparkly appearance.

Comparison with Natural and Lab-made Diamonds

lab made and natural diamonds

Simulated diamonds are often used as budget-friendly alternatives to both natural and lab-grown diamonds. Let’s explore the key similarities and differences between VVS simulated diamonds and real diamonds.

Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are created over a period of time below the earth’s mantle under natural conditions, such as very high pressure and temperature. Natural diamonds are then mined and refined to achieve that dazzling sparkle.

Due to their formation and rarity, natural diamonds are extremely valuable and expensive.

When compared to simulated diamonds, natural diamonds are at least 10 times more expensive.

Lab-made Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds are created under conditions that mimic the method of natural diamond formation. They have identical properties as natural diamonds, with no visual differences whatsoever.

However, lab-grown diamonds are readily available and cost between 60% and 85% less than natural diamonds.

Still, lab-created diamonds are more expensive than simulated diamonds as their production requires more resources.

Advantages and Disadvantages

When choosing between simulated and real diamonds, it’s important to address the advantages and disadvantages of each.

VVS Simulated Diamonds

VVS simulated diamonds are affordable and offer superb visual appeal. With the naked eye, the differences are hardly noticeable.

However, simulated diamonds have different physical properties, making them slightly less durable.

Besides, VVS simulated diamonds have a much lower resale value, and they are rarely purchased for investment purposes.

Natural and Lab-made Diamonds

Natural and lab-created diamonds, on the other hand, are even sparklier and may appear more luxurious. Due to their quality and rarity, real diamonds also have a much higher resale value and investment potential.

The main disadvantage of natural and lab-created diamonds is that they are at least 10 times more expensive than imitation diamonds.

Buying Tips

vvs simulated diamonds buying tips

Here are some buying considerations to keep in mind when choosing between simulated and real diamonds.

Budget and Purpose

VVS simulated diamonds are budget-friendly alternatives to real diamonds. They are also quite versatile, making them suitable for different types of jewelry, including fine jewelry and temporary engagement rings.

However, the long term value and resale potential of VVS simulated diamonds is lower when compared to natural and lab-created diamonds.

Certification et authenticité

Note that simulated diamonds are not the same as certified natural or lab-created diamonds.

Still, diamond simulants often come with certifications and grading reports.

Whether you’re buying simulated or real diamonds, make sure to ask for certification to authenticate the value and quality of the gemstone.

Ideally, you should buy gemstones certified by reputable gemological laboratories, such as GIA, AGS, IGI, and GRA.

Ethical Considerations

As a matter of fact, natural diamonds are not ethically sourced as they are mined by underpaid and sometimes underage workers in harsh and dangerous conditions.

Therefore, natural diamonds are often associated with environmental and ethical concerns.

Contrarily, lab-grown and simulated diamonds are more affordable and ethical alternatives to natural diamonds.

Exemples concrets

To better understand what VVS diamonds are, we should examine a few real-world examples of how they are used in different types of jewelry.

Exemples de comparaisons

As simulated diamonds look quite similar to real diamonds, they are often used in temporary engagement rings. If you’re on vacation and you’re worried about losing your precious diamond ring, opting for a temporary engagement ring with a less expensive gemstone is a perfect choice.

As VVS simulated diamonds are quite versatile, they are commonly incorporated into various jewelry designs, including chains, bracelets, and earrings.

For example, Icecartel’s moissanite chain collection features exclusive pieces that are more affordable, pass the diamond tester, and offer enhanced brilliance.

Benefits of VVS Simulated Diamonds

The reason why VVS simulated diamonds are so popular is associated with their unique benefits. Here are some of them.

Aesthetics and Practical Benefits

VVS simulated diamonds offer high clarity and brilliance, with minimal imperfections.

While some simulated diamonds are slightly less sparkly, moissanite is even more brilliant than diamond.

Besides, VVS simulated diamonds offer versatility. They suit various styles, from classic cubic zirconia earrings to exclusive moissanite watches .

Financial Benefits

VVS simulated diamonds are also cost-effective, offering a flawless appearance at a significantly lower price.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to enjoy the look of luxurious jewelry, opting for simulated diamonds might be the right choice.


Real diamonds are absolutely gorgeous, without any doubt. However, they can be quite expensive, especially when incorporated into intricate jewelry designs. Luckily, there are more affordable alternatives, such as simulated diamonds, that can look just as good.

So, what is a simulated diamond?

VVS simulated diamonds are naturally occurring or man-made gemstones that mimic the appearance of diamonds, but have different physical and chemical properties.

Some common imitation diamonds include rhinestones, cubic zirconia, white topaz, white sapphire, and moissanite.

When choosing between real and simulated diamonds, it’s important to address the physical and chemical characteristics of given gemstones.

Additionally, make sure you consider your preferences, budget, and intended use of a gemstone to select the suitable option for you.

Whether it’s a natural, lab-grown, or simulated diamond, don’t forget to verify its authenticity and grade through a reputable source.

Joosep Seitam

Joosep Seitam

Joosep est né à Tallinn, en Estonie, un petit pays d'Europe du Nord. Il est entrepreneur et l'un des cofondateurs d'Icecartel. Joosep travaille dans le secteur de la bijouterie depuis 2019, année où il a créé la marque à partir de zéro. Au cours de ces années, Joosep a appris tout ce qu'il y a à savoir sur l'industrie de la bijouterie et il est ici pour partager tout cela !

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