What they don't tell you

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources" - Albert Einstein.

Why Do People Wear “Fake” Diamonds?

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A few years ago, a customer (who for obvious reasons will not be named) came in to have her ring cleaned. She is a very wealthy owner of an important diamond, a stone so big that it would look right at home at the Smithsonian. She spends a lot of her time going to war-torn countries  doing charity work, and she had just returned from an aid mission overseas.

“Leon,” she said, “I don’t know why I even need this diamond anymore.”


The ring she had brought in was a copy set with the exact replica of her multi-million dollar stone. The real diamond was worn only occasionally here in New York. Both rings were identical to allow her to choose when to wear her priceless diamond.

“It seems like everyone thinks it’s the real stone anyway.“ She smiled. “I might as well sell the real diamond and keep this clunker!” 

“Look how beautiful it looks!” she said as she admired her freshly cleaned ring. “Just like my diamond, only six figures less!”  She was actually modest about the value of her diamond; it would probably fetch seven figures at Christie’s or Sotheby’s.

The harsh winter sun bounced off her stone in my direction, sparkling in a rainbow of color.

“Wait a minute!”  I said as I grabbed the ring. “Let me just see something….”  It took me a moment to get over my disbelief. It WAS the real diamond!

Suddenly, I realized what had happened. Sometime in the past, she had switched the two rings, and all these years she had been wearing the real diamond while the replica stayed locked in her safe deposit box.

“But I wear this ring all the time! I could have been robbed!!” She was mortified.

“Simple,”  I replied. “Criminals sense your vibe. Since you think it’s fake, they think so too.”

Let’s face it - willingly or unwillingly, we all engage in stereotyping, like guessing someone’s social status by their appearance and manners. It’s simply human nature.

 Why people wearing fake diamonds

Perhaps you would not be surprised if I told you that identifying the value of a diamond simply by looking at the person who wears it is extremely unreliable. Telling the difference between a $100,000 diamond and a $5 CZ from a few feet away is next to impossible. Ordinary people rely on other minute clues to tell the social status of someone wearing a diamond; maybe there is a price tag still attached to the dress she is wearing, or her nail polish hue makes the wrong statement.

In my line of work, we often see wealthy people buying cheap simulants. We also see the reverse - low income clients splurging on some fabulous bling that is seemingly beyond their means.

There are more people who purposely wear “fake” diamonds - simulants - than you think. In fact, there is a huge online community with chat rooms dedicated exclusively to all sorts of “sims,” as they are lovingly called. And of course, the online fan forums are crawling with various  “sims” pushers actively steering sims fans towards a particular type of the stone they happen to be selling.

There are five reasons why people would buy a diamond simulant:

  1. To save money;
  2. As a temporary placeholder to be replaced in the future with a real diamond;
  3. To follow a tradition despite a dislike of jewelry;
  4. Because of deceptive advertising. With names like “Diamonique,” “Asha,” or “Amora,” it’s hard to tell the difference between real and fake; or
  5. As a “backup” copy for travel.

Leon Mege fake diamonds and moissaniteAre these simulants able to fool everyone? The answer, surprisingly, is “yes.” And that is  because:

  1. Any diamond simulant, even a glass replica, cannot be distinguished from a diamond by a regular person from a few feet away, especially in poor lighting.
  2. Most people don’t want to offend someone by questioning the authenticity of a diamond. Even when someone exclaims, “Is this REAL??? IT’S HUGE!!!” we all know that the rhetorical question is simply meant as a compliment.
  3. What is the point of questioning? You can’t prove anything anyway. No one would drag his or her friend to an appraiser without appearing like a seriously disturbed, jealous jerk.
  4. Most people are gullible and simply take your word for an answer. And the answer is,”Of course it’s real!”

So, should we stop wearing natural gems in favor of “Frankenstones”? The answer is “No.”

As we learned from my story above, simulants can be useful sometimes, but when the time comes to express your eternal love, don’t reach for a sugar pill hoping for the placebo effect!  Get a natural gemstone instead.

Natural gems are rare and unique. They were created by Mother Nature and their supplies are limited at best.

And if you must get a simulant, opt for the cheapest and best diamond stand-in - a Cubic Zirconia (CZ).

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