Synthetic LAB Diamonds vs Simulated "Diamonds"
Moissanite - Simulated Diamond - Hardness 9.3
Cubic Zirconia - Simulated Diamond - Hardness 8
White Sapphire - Natural Gemstone - Hardness 9
Cut Glass - Simulated Diamond - Hardness 5.5
Lab Diamond - Synthetic Diamond - Hardness 10
Synthetic Lab Grown vs Simulated Diamonds
Some of my clients have told me that feel they've been tricked into buying what they believe is a synthetic lab diamond, when in fact it is a simulated diamond. Synthetic lab diamonds are in fact real diamonds that have been created in a lab through CVD (chemical vapour deposition) or HPHT (high pressure high temperature) - vapor deposition being the prefered method as this most closely mimics the natural processes of the earth. . They are also composed of pure carbon and nothing else. They are virtually indestructible with a "moh's scale" hardness of 10.
Simulated "diamond" is in fact not diamond at all, it does not shine the same, nor do they have the same hardness of diamond(often less hard than even sapphire). Moissanite is slightly harder than a sapphire and are the best and least expensive option other than Diamond or Lab diamonds. Cubic Zirconia is extreemly inexpensive but very soft and easily breakable.
This picture from the GIA website shows the different simulated diamonds. Click on this picture to take you to the GIA website that explains this in more detail:
Image Source: GIA.EDU