Synthetic Diamond Engagement Rings

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When I read this question about “fake” engagement rings, I was pretty surprised. Essentially a young man wants to get his girlfriend a nice engagement rings but can’t afford a “real” diamond yet so he was going to buy her a synthetic diamond and then make the swap later. What he wants to know is whether he should tell her or just make the Indiana Jones type swap when she’s not paying attention. Okay, I may have laughed when I read how ludicrous of a question this was, in part because of the deception and in part because of the emphasis on “real” vs. “fake” (synthetic).

Obviously the experts tell him to be truthful with his girlfriend, you had to have seen that coming (especially since it’s a column about ethics), but I want to address the idea of synthetic diamonds. By synthetic diamonds, I mean diamonds that are lab created and not nature created; I don’t consider actually fake diamonds, like QVC’s Diamonique®, to be synthetic. Lab created diamonds are actual diamonds except they are absolutely perfect and generally cheaper than naturally occurring diamonds.

Considering that the concept of the diamond engagement ring was a creation of De Beers, does it really matter, I mean when it really comes down to it, how much it costs? That’s really the only distinguishing feature between a synthetic diamond and a real diamond – the cost. Does your love mean any more or less because the diamond was created by a guy in a lab coat or eons of pressure? Probably not.

Your fiancee’s (or your) friends will still oogle over the ring, oblivious to its actual origin (no one will ask for the diamond’s birth certificate because no one will care) because that doesn’t matter. Most are just caught up in the excitement of another engagement and ultimately, the ring is only a small part of the bigger picture.

Personally, I didn’t get a synthetic diamond because it never entered my mind as an option, probably because De Beers and the diamond cartel has me, along with a whole bunch of other people, thoroughly brainwashed. 🙂

{ 43 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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43 Responses to “Synthetic Diamond Engagement Rings”

  1. dong says:

    Actual synthetic diamonds are as expensive if not more expensive than “real” diamonds. I feel like the guy was trying to pass off cubic zirconium or something.

  2. Anonymous says:

    First, the creation of actual synthetic diamonds have not been perfected in order for the price to be more attractive than a real diamond created by nature. Second, I would strongly not recommend any type of synthetic, enhanced or most certainly not a CZ for an engagement ring. Leave the cheap stones for Valintine’s Day or other events in your life. Otherwise, you’ll regret it for the rest of you life. Especially, when someone with a train eye notices a CZ in your brides ring!

  3. Patrick says:

    I wouldn’t have any problem buying a synthetic diamond, as it is still a diamond. But I would also be honest with my fiance about the situation and tell her that for the same money, I could buy her a nicer stone. Or give her the option of having a smaller ‘real diamond.’ Many women are understanding and care more about the fact they are getting an engagement ring than what the stone rating is – as long as it looks nice! 😉

    That said, I would stay away from CZ unless that is all you can afford. Then, your fiance just has to understand the situation. If she doesn’t, then it might be time to reconsider buying any ring.

  4. pfodyssey says:

    I saw that same question from that guy…too funny. Anyway, I’ve been married for quite awhile now and with hindsight, I sometimes think I should have gone ahead and bought my wife the cubic zirconia (or better facsimilie) and saved the money we spent on the ring. My wife feels the same way. We cherish the symbolism of the ring…not the rock itself (although it is shiny and pretty).

  5. Tyler says:

    Hey that is a good way to start out a marriage, with a lie! What the hell? I wish all females did not care about real vs. fake but there is so much prestige put upon the ring. When the day comes, I will have saved and probably buy a modest real ring. It is just too important to most women to fake. Kind of shallow huh?…it is only a piece of rock out of the ground. Oh how we love traditions.

  6. Ron White says:

    “Diamonds — it’ll shut ‘er up” – Ron White.

  7. This reminds me of a friend’s wife, who couldn’t wear her engagement ring while she was pregnant so she picked up an inexpensive CZ and got rave reviews from family and friends. I think she kept wearing it after she gave birth!

  8. LuckyLily says:

    I have a “high-quality” CZ that cost $7 on a platinum mounting. High-quality because I didn’t buy it from Wally World or QVC, but from a jeweler who specializes in fake gems, and it’s precision cut with the same tools used on a “real” diamond.

    A few times, I’ve got it cleaned at different national chain stores, and they gush about how beautiful my “diamond” is. You should see the look on their faces when I tell them it’s CZ.

    I can’t justify spending that kind of money because of silly marketing brainwashing and fabricated traditions. In fact, it’s such a hot button with me that I did a whole presentation for one of my MBA classes about DeBeers and diamonds — have to give them props for their marketing tactics, though — pure genius!

  9. Blaine Moore says:

    Thankfully, I did not have to worry about what to buy for my wife when I proposed because I was able to give her a family diamond that used to belong to my mother.

    It was much nicer than anything I could have afforded, whether natural or synthetic, and my wife loves it.

  10. Slinky says:

    My engagement ring gets rave reviews from everyone. It’s neither a diamond, nor “real”. It’s a ‘created’ sapphire. Only one person has ever asked anything about it. My fiancee’s aunt who lives in a rather ‘posh’ neighborhood asked what part of the world it came from. I told her I hadn’t asked. (true)

    I love the stone more then I ever could a real diamond, and we got a fancier setting that is absolutely gorgeous. (The band cost more than the stone.) My fiancee and I both think it’s kind of cool that they can create stones, and we got the exact shade of blue that we wanted.

  11. Kevin says:

    Maybe it is because I am a scientist but I love the idea of synthetic diamonds. The idea that they are of less quality only has to do with the level of pressure put on the carbon during its creation. In nature diamonds are created in the absence of atmospheric gases such as nitrogen, but when they are created in the lab nitrogen is readily available. Nitrogen causes diamonds to turn yellow. Naturally occurring diamonds that are yellow are very expensive, but synthetically they are much less expensive. Over time as the technology improves synthetic diamonds will be even less expensive then they are today.

    Anyone that tells you synthetic diamonds have more impurities than natural diamonds are full of crap. DeBeers created a machine that determines a natural diamond from a synthetic one, but the way it determines natural diamonds is to look for impurities! Physically there is nothing different between natural occurring and synthetic diamonds except that the latter is much cleaner birthplace.

    I have always thought of diamonds as an industrial commodity for drill bits but girls like shiny things. I plan on getting my girlfriend a CZ ring and eventually changing to a synthetic diamond stone because of my awe in the refraction of light though a diamond.

  12. Eric says:

    I like to joke that I’ll buy my fiancee a wrought iron ring, as a symbol that our love is not for show.

  13. Cindy says:

    It is not what it costs – it is what it is about – love – quality would not be important to me – quantity (love) would be! I am in fact shopping right now for a ring as I am planning a wedding and there is no way we are spending what I have spend in my previous marriage on a ring. As I said it is what it is about – where it came from is – from the heart!

  14. Chris says:

    I think theat it is more important that the ring be something that the woman chooses and is affordable to the man than if it is a real diamond or not. I recently proposed to my fiancee, who went with me weeks before and chose the ring she wanted, which I believe is more important than what the rock is made out of.

  15. The ring that’s best is the one you can both agree on.

    Buying an engagement ring used to be what one did only if there was no family ring available.

  16. dakboy says:

    My wife’s ring is tanzanite, with 2 very small diamonds flanking it. She didn’t want me to spend a lot of money, and I was totally on board with that idea).

    Plus, it’s her favorite color.

    As for synthetic vs. “real” diamonds, if the price difference is negligible, there may be some value to the buyer in knowing that the stone wasn’t sourced from a mine in a 3rd-world country using slave labor, etc. Yes, there are clean diamond mining operations as well, but you do have to shop carefully to get one from such a source.

  17. Angry Dinosaur says:

    Reading the comments, I was surprised that nobody touched on the ethics side of this issue, especially with all the recent publicity on how the diamond market fuels violence and terrorism abroad. Anyone who has read Blood Diamond, or even seen the movie, should realize that De Beers doesn’t “deserve props” for anything.

    For me, I would rather buy a synthetic stone and know that I did not finance some warmonger who chops the limbs off of African children. What kind of symbolism is that??

  18. plonkee says:

    I would rather have a platinum ring with ‘insert stone of your choice here’ in, than a diamond and say gold or silver ring. (Actually if someone got me a yellow gold engagement ring I think the answer would be ‘no’, not because they aren’t nice but because its not me at all).

    I think that synthetic diamonds are fine (and probably more ethical unless yours is second-hand) but you have to tell the person wearing it that its synthetic. Its pretty cool that they can create diamonds in a lab really and I see no reason why De Beers should get any money.

  19. I have both a real diamond and a synthetic diamond. I wear the synthetic one most of the time because I like the look of the setting. I worked in a jewelry store for a while, so I can usually tell the difference in a real and synthetic diamond. In fact, one time I was at an auction and they told me that a diamond was real and I told them it wasn’t. They insisted it was. Finally, they came back to me and apologized and told me it wasn’t. lol

  20. P.S. When I looking for a synthetic diamond, I made certain to get one at 1 carat or smaller. So many times people are looking for czs and other lab created diamonds that are huge. The huge ones scream that they’re fake.

  21. Oops, I meant to put lab created in there instead of synthetic. Sorry.

    I’m amazed that synthetic diamonds don’t cost much less than real diamonds. Seems like I read that they only cost about 15% less. You can usually talk a diamond jeweler 25-30% down off their price.

  22. Dean says:

    do synthetic diamonds cost less than real diamonds now? I didn’t know that, they used to be more expensive.

    I don’t see what the difference is between synthetic diamond and mined diamonds. A synthetic diamond is not a fake diamond, it’s a real diamond. When people buy gold jewelry, do they differentiate between whether it came directly from a mine, or melted down from “recycled” gold?

  23. Tim says:

    Dean, no but it takes a seed to do lab diamonds. so lab v. natural is more like the difference between cultured and natural pearls rather than the gold example you gave.

    lab diamonds are still pricey in the larger sizes; moreover, manufacturing them hasn’t become too cost effective right now.

  24. lildaisy says:

    I am really considering a synthetic ring. I love the fact that it is make by scientists. My main issue with buying a real diamond ring is the simple fact of all the suffering for a stupid ring, that doesn’t even symbolize how much my significant other loves me. It’s not the money we are worried about, it’s more the thought of how many families go through strife for our happiness in the states. We have also considered diamonds from Canada, but i really just love the fact that the diamond is made in a lab. So all those women who say the diamonds shows how much he loves me, Whatever. It shouldn’t be about the money it should be how much you two love each other. Now u can ask my boyfriend I am very pricey.

    • noneya says:

      I hope you get dumped! That is a sick and mean thing to do. I dumped my boyfriend when he gave me a fake ring and then told me its because he wanted to buy another car. GUYS ARE ALL SELFISH!

      • Yemmey says:

        You hope she gets dumped b/c she’s okay with a synthetic diamond and isn’t concerned with the cost? I’d say you were the one who deserved to be dumped. Synthetic rings are still expensive, you know. It isn’t a CZ for Christ’s sake! I have told my boyfriend that I would actually prefer a synthetic diamond for environmental and social reasons, not to mention he’ll probably be able to get me the 3/4 of a carat I wanted as opposed to the 1/2. I think they’re great! Good for you, lilDaisy!

  25. Katie says:

    We have been looking at purchasing synthetic diamonds since our first trip to “look” at rings. I saw how expensive the real diamopnds were and taking into account the fact that I have alien-like fingers, I thought we were never going to be able to afford a real diamond ring that would be large enough to look nice and not like a chip. We have been doing research and looking at different retailers and sites and have been really happy with what we have seen so far. We haven’t purchased any rings yet but we know for sure they will be synthetic diamonds!

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