Sunday, April 25, 2010

DiamondAura: Faker Than Fake

Recently, I started to get interested in jewelery. No, it is not because I am thinking about getting married. I will nip that rumor in the bud. It is because I am a scientist, and when I see a challenge like this, I can’t say no.



Most people have heard by now that gem-quality diamonds can now be created in a lab. Several years ago, there was much hype that the day of affordable high-quality diamonds was about to roll in, and that DeBeers was doing everything it could to fight it. The ad certainly goes out of the way to hype up its new lab process. And the diamonds are certainly cheaper than the real thing. So are these the hyped up, lab-created, gem-quality diamonds we have been waiting for? The ad seems designed to make you think so, but what are the Cold Hard Facts?

I was rather suspicious that these were actually real synthetic diamonds. The reason being, and jewelry companies do not want you to know this, is that synthetic jewelry is just as expensive as mined jewelry. Why shouldn’t it be? If it can’t be distinguished, who’s going to know the difference? Thus, even though rubies and sapphires have been made in labs for the past hundred years, they are still rare and valuable. And even though, Kino no longer has to risk life and limb, cultured pearls are still out of you price range. It is simply more economical to maintain the monopoly and sell to the rich, than to flood the market and sell to the poor. The rarity is now artificially generated, but it is still there. I would not be surprised to learn that DeBeers now makes many of its diamonds in a lab, and just hides that fact. Since these diamonds are way cheaper than real diamonds, it seemed likely to me that they were fake. But could I prove it?

The first way to distinguish real diamonds from fakes is the tried and true flame test. Contrary to what you may have heard, diamonds are not forever. They are actually unstable with regards to oxidation, or in layman’s terms, they burn. Fake diamonds, on the other hand, are pretty much forever. So one way to tell the difference between a real diamond and a fake is to heat it. The diamond will disappear in a puff of smoke, and the fake will be unharmed. Now I was sorely tempted to actually do this, but two things dissuaded me. 1) Diamonds don’t burn easily in only 20% oxygen. So in order to do the experiment properly, I would need to get the DiamondAura quite hot, possibly by way of using an oxidizer and something like a thermite reaction. This would make exercising that money-back guarantee rather awkward, once I blew the setting, but not the DiamondAura, to hell. 2) To properly conduct the experiment, I would need a control, and blowing up my mother’s engagement ring, struck me as a rather bad idea. Actually, if any relatives happen to read this, this whole paragraph was just a joke. I never even considered doing this. In fact, Mommy, just ignore that I ever wrote it.

So flame tests were out. How about hardness? Diamonds are well-famed for their ability to scratch glass. These DiamondAura are prominently advertised to do the same. Does that make them legit? Not really. Many things scratch glass, including sand and cubic zirconia, so no proof there. A better test would be to see if it could scratch a ruby or another diamond, but again, destroying another gemstone was out.

So is there a non-destructive way to tell? There actually is, and if any readers actually have any DiamondAura stuff, I urge you to try this. True diamond conducts heat incredibly well, better than metal even. A real diamond will generally feel cold to the touch, unless it is hotter than your body, in which case it will burn like crazy. Using a playground slide made of diamond would be a bad idea. So if you touch a diamond with your finger, and then touch the other end to an ice cube, the cube will melt appreciably. If you do the same with a fake, it won’t*. Something called the thermister test works on the same principle, but is more accurate. And unlike the first two tests, this one won’t destroy the DiamondAura or the control. SO, I could technically order a DiamondAura object, test it, and send it back within 30 days for the rebate. By all rights, I should have done that before writing this post. But the whole idea of spending hundreds of dollars, even temporarily, did not strike me as a good one.

Therefore, I decided to search the internet literature on DiamondAura to see if I could avoid testing things myself. Unfortunately, no one else did the test, either. But I found the smoking gun in one of DiamondAura’s own ads. (Click "Description") “We will not bore you with the incredible details of the scientific process, but will only say that it involves the use of rare minerals heated to an incredibly high temperature of nearly 5000˚F.” Did you catch it? Read it more slowly. “the… use… of… rare… minerals… heated…to… an” As anyone who has even used a pencil can attest, carbon is NOT rare. But Zirconium metal is, or is somewhat rarish anyway. So that was one clue. The other clue was that much touted shininess, the fact that it outdoes nature. This is do to something called fire, which is the ability of the material to act like a prism, turning white light into many colors. If DiamondAura were actual diamond, it should be as fiery as normal diamond. But it isn’t. The ad specifically tells you it outdoes diamond. Want to know what else outdoes diamond? Yep, Cubic Zirconia. So this is a blatant attempt to mislead. And now, you know the Cold Hard Facts. This just makes me wonder about the “some jewelers,” who fell for it. Perhaps they were paid?



*Technically, this test could fail if the materiel of DiamondAura is something called Silicon Carbide or synthetic Moissanite, which is almost as thermally conducting as real diamond, enough to fool an amateur. But luckily, it still fails the next paragraph. Moissanite is even more fiery than Cubic Zirconium. Enough, that the naked eye can tell the difference without much trouble.

88 comments:

Eli said...

It's possible that it's synthetic diamond. The technology to make the stuff is pretty solid (CVD, etc.) See http://www.apollodiamond.com/.
Interestingly, though, the Wikipedia article on DiamondAuro redirects to the cubic zirconia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DiamondAura
Not sure?

cultured diamonds said...

Like you blog and idea to investigate. As far as I know, DiamondAura is not a real lab-grown diamond, it's a simulant. It's similar as natural diamond however is a fake. There are actually not much laboratories which grow real diamonds including Gemesis, Chatham, New Age Diamond, Apollo and DNA2Diamonds. DiamondAura is not in the list. All these companies take carbon as source material and apply either HPHT technology (New Age and others) or CVD technology (Apollo), however the result is equal - real 100% diamonds, not like the one you've investigated. Try these ones)

Anonymous said...

it was so hard to find this post via google. one thing is for sure, the marketer behind the whole diamondaura is no stranger to planting reviews and forum articles. after some extensive search, i noticed that every positive review on diamondaura sound exactly the same!

i once saw a CZ diamond ring the size of a lollipop! sadily that framed my perception on CZ. i'm planning on proposing to my gf soon, aside from the money, i'm morally opposed to buying a diamond. Given the close proximity of physical characteristics of CZ to diamond, one could imagine that a expertly cut cz would look as good as a diamond ring to an untrained eye.

given these likelihood and the difference in price, I ordered a diamondaura ring. it'll arrive in a week.

i did consider a lab grown diamond (CVD technology) but have found them to be very lacking, mainly because the size is too small. a one carat cvd diamond costs 80% of real diamond. where's the saving in that!

notElon said...

Anony, as long as you know what you are getting, go ahead. And, yeah, it is annoying that CVD diamonds cost almost as much. But that is because profit is made off expensive diamonds. No one wants them to be cheap as zirconia.

Don't forget to do the thermal resistivity test on your girlfriend's ring. And if it actually passes, I will eat my words.

One further word of caution: Do not use a company called"DiamondNexusLabs". They sell diamond simulants, and they claim they are a proprietary secret material, but they provide no evidence. The evidence they do provide is falsified. They are so evil and disreputable, that they cannot advertise through normal channels. Thus, I did not even hear about them till after I wrote this.

s_hm_ul said...

for all of you wondering if diamondAura is worth it i am here to say hell yeah! i just bought my girl a ring from stauer that will be her wedding ring and it is amazing! i paid $150 for a ring that easily compares to one worth $30,000. everybody wants to know who i killed for it. the diamondaura stone is 4 carats and it is twice as fiery as a real diamond. so really, what does it matter if its not natural and acts differently in these pointless tests? we are completely satisfied and glad we didnt have to spend a fortune and strongly recommend stauer for everyone!

Dr. Fagot said...

Another way that you can tell that it is fake is one website under the "Highlights" it says that the diamondaura stones have a 8.5 Hardness on the Mohs Scale.

http://www.stauer.com/item/DiamondAura-14K-Yellow-Gold-Centotto-Ring/W5308%2006/15

This pretty much confirms that it is a Cubic Zirconia which also comes in at surprise surprise 8 on the Mohs Scale. Diamonds have a solid 10 on the Mohs Scale. That means that means that it Diamondaura could be scratched by many substances including Chrysoberyl, Chromium Corundum, Carborundum (SiC), Tungsten carbide, Titanium carbide, Stishovite, Rhenium diboride, Tantalum carbide, Titanium diboride, and Boron. I found all of this on wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

If one takes the time to go to the Staur website, one will find the description of DiamondAura to be that of CZ. Isn't really that hard to find...

Aidan Karley FGS, BSc said...

Hmmm, well having bumped into the Stauer advert in American Scientist (I may not be American, but I am a scientist), I'd red-flagged on the "dispersion = 0.066" claim, the "rare minerals", and the "5000degF" claim, and I'd pretty much come to the conclusion that it's cubic zirconia.

Now, what's the comparable price for a good CZ stone? There's nothing wrong with CZ. But it's not diamond. (Did I say that the science I work in is geology?)

big Z said...

I purchased the Diamondaura ring as a substitute for a real diamond. We wanted to get engaged, but I wanted to buy a house before spending $7k on a ring. The diamondaura stone looked good at first, but over time it began to lose it's luster and now, a year later, it is scratched and dull. It was a good substitute ring, although it's kind of silly how big it is (1.5 carats supposedly) and the side stones are smaller that the real 0.5 carat stones we have now. I recently replaced it with a beautiful, real diamond ring.

Stauer wasn't interested in standing by their product after one year either, FYI.

Lesson Learned said...

The center stone of the Stauer, DiamondAura ring was badly chipped after two years. The ring itself was discolored after about two months, so we set the DiamondAura stones in a platinum ring which cost about $600.

Long story shortend, The DiamondAura failed to serve its purpose as an affordable, temporary engagement ring substitute. I have now purchased a beautiful REAL DIAMOND engagement ring with a matched wedding band from a REAL JEWELERY STORE! She will sell the platinum ring minus the DiamondAura GARBAGE!

IF IT SOUNDS/LOOKS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - IT ISN'T TRUE!!!!!!

Boston Jewelry said...

I have read your post. Nice info on the diamond jewelry. Thanks for sharing a wonderful information. Its helpful and also useful to the visitors to the know more about the diamond jewelry.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if it's fake or not, it's cheap. I could see why someone would experiment on them if they were just as expensive as the real deal, but they're not! In my opinion this guy is just another dweeb with internet access and too much time on his hands living in "mommy's" basement.

notElon said...

Cheap is 10 bucks. These are 100. That's not that cheap for a grad student. Why don't you take a hundred dollar bill and light your cigar with it, Mr. Uncle Pennybanks?

Goose said...

Now you're being unrealistic. 100 dollars is not cheap, when real diamonds cost thousands? Give me a break, I don't care if you've never actually had to work, and have lived off of what mommy and daddy give you. In the real world, 100 bucks is not expensive.

And to the guy who said that CVD diamonds cost 80% of real diamonds, and where's the saving in that? Uh... 20% savings, duh! Just like a typical sale at any store.

Diamonds are worthless chunks of rock pulled out of the ground by poor, overworked, underpaid Africans. They are not particularly rare. Their supply and cost are entirely controlled by the diamond companies. Until De Beers came along, only the rich and royalty exchanged diamond rings, because those were the people with the kind of disposable funds to afford vanities and trivialities, and the sense to spend it on such. It's De Beers who told you, starting in the 20th century, that it's customary to buy her a diamond engagement ring. The whole vanity diamond industry is ripping you off, and you're upset at these small guys who offer a cheap substitute. Get real.

notElon said...

You seem dense beyond all belief.

"Give me a break, I don't care if you've never actually had to work, and have lived off of what mommy and daddy give you. In the real world, 100 bucks is not expensive."

Um, if I never had to work, and could mooch off my parents, why would I care how much 100 bucks is? 100 bucks is expensive, because it represents a few hours spent working, because it could buy a decent amount of food, because there are a whole lot of more useful things I could do with it than buy a ring, simply to blow it up and find out that while the stone isn't physically destroyed, it is scorched and now worthless. And also that it was worthless before, as I suspected.

Besides, you miss the point. DiamondAura is not awesome because it is cheaper than diamond, which may well be overpriced. It is a ripoff, because it is no better than other CZ, yet they make it all mysterious sounding and sell it for more.

If it came down to it, yes I could buy one and show how worthless it is, but I didn't have to, because research was able to accomplish the same.

Read the commenters before you. It scratches and dulls within year, because Stauer can't even bother to attempt to place a scratch-resistant coating on it.


DiamondAura is a ripoff, because it is lousy cubic zirconium sold at a premium. Nothing wrong with buying a diamond simulant if you know what it is. But why buy one from the sleazy catalog, when you could go to a trustworthy jeweler and get a better one for the same price?

Anonymous said...

I bought a ring 5 years ago from them and it's not faded or scratched. I don't know what kind of women you guys are dating. And all jewelry needs to be maintained.

PhillyFlyer said...

@notElon, reading some random persons review does not equal fact. And $100 is cheap. Get a better job.

GingaDude said...

Found this site via Google and im thanking everyone for the reviews, im currently in Iraq and was looking up cheap rings for the gf when i remembered seeing a Stauer add in a 4x4 mag so I checked it out and found some great deals and boy am I glad I didnt order a DiamondAura ring! I will NOT go fake! However.....I found a Caged Raw Diamond Necklace at 2 1/3 CTW costing $295.00 on the same site, is it to good to be true? Send some feedback, it would make an awesome late valentines day gift for a beautiful girl back home! ~ Hodge

Sheryl J said...

Thank you for this post. It was really helpful, since I was contemplating buying the loose stones for my current ring setting. I would have been such a waste of money!

Anonymous said...

i have bought many of their diamond aur profucts for years now and I always use their coupons and i bargain at checkout typically i can get them to take an additional 50 percent off an order initially. and add free shipping and stone replacement for free as extra incentive. dont go for gold plated items go for either 14k solid white or gold their silver and gold plated tarnish within a few months. Their solid 14 k items last like any other gold item and the diamonds look very real but dont like to a wife or girlfriend let them know they are high quality cz because these are not man made diamon or moisonite they are just cubic zirconia. and since gold values are high even if you renived stines you could get close to what you paid from a melt shop on gold weight alone.... Jay

Anonymous said...

I've been shopping for an engagement ring not too long ago and was pleased to hear that true synthetic diamonds were not available.

Here's the catch though: they're yellow. Yellow like canari diamonds, not like cheap diamonds, so if you're in the market for a Canari diamond it might be a good choice. If you're in the synthetic market to save a buck, then you're out of luck. They're maybe 50% of the price of the real deal, which makes it really expensive anyways!

But in a few years I won't be surprised to see more and more synthetics diamonds on the market.

Emily said...

So glad this site exists. I was reluctant to take the DiamondAura diamonds seriously because I saw the advertisement in a magazine, so I ran a quick search and arrived here.

Thanks for providing a great resource so people don't get scammed. You're awesome.

The ring is expensive. CZ set in sterling silver should not cost $145. As to the guy saying "get a better job," you're in for some major disappointment when you grow up. But go ahead and let your income determine what you pay for things. That's definitely the way to watch your savings grow. /eyeroll.

Anonymous said...

Well of course diamond aura is CZ!
Of course it is! It costs a tiny fraction of what a mined or cultured diamond costs, making it a pretty great deal.
When someone wears a flashy CZ ring in public, no one can do an instant test on it to determine that it is fake, and meanwhile, everyone wonders because it looks pretty good!
I would say it is a good option, and for the price, can be replaced easily.
Yes, I love real diamonds, but even the colored, cultured diamonds are VERY expensive.
I am glad that fake is so attractively available!

Stauer Rep said...

We’ve reviewed your post regarding Stauer’s DiamondAura® products and would like to take this opportunity to correct what appears to be some misconceptions on your part regarding our advertising. It appears that your blog post was intended to uncover the differences between what are called “synthetic diamonds” and real, natural occurring, diamonds.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) defines “synthetic diamonds” as those “grown in a laboratory and have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure and physical and optical properties as natural diamonds,” while “diamond simulants” only look like diamonds, they “can be natural or synthetic, have chemical compositions and physical and optical properties that are different from those of diamond.” (Please see the GIA website for additional information explaining the difference between “synthetic” and “simulated” diamonds, at www.gia.edu).

Stauer does not advertise its DiamondAura® products as “synthetic diamonds.” In fact, on the DiamondAura® Collection page, Stauer clearly identifies its product as a diamond simulation, describes the nature of this product in comparison to natural diamonds, and provides a link further describing DiamondAura® and what it is made of:

“DiamondAura® is a laboratory created substitute for a naturally mined diamond. The physical characteristics of DiamondAura®, such as a hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s Scale, a dispersion (fire) of .066 that exceeds a diamond, and a high refractive index (brilliance) of 2.176, establishes it as true “perfection from the laboratory”. And like a mined diamond, DiamondAura® will also cut glass. It is a beautiful diamond simulation that is durable, inexpensive and visually indistinguishable from a mined diamond except by an experienced technician utilizing the proper equipment.”

While Stauer appreciates your interest in its products and supports truthful advertising, your post seems to imply that Stauer has wrongly advertised its product as a “synthetic diamond,” or intends to deceive its customers. This is not the case.

Stauer works hard to provide accurate information about its products. Because there are various qualities of diamond simulates, our advertising attempts to identify those features that outperform our competitors’ products. DiamondAura® has not only more dispersion, or fire, than a natural diamond, but it can also cut glass and has a Mohs hardness rating of 8.5. Therefore, our DiamondAura® products are superior to many other diamond simulates on the market, but we do not advertise them as anything more than they are – diamond simulates.

As you may be aware, the content of jewelry advertising is heavily regulated in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission in a body of administrative rules called the “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries,” (the “Guides”) codified at 16 C.F.R. pt. 23. The Guides provide objective criteria for the evaluation of jewelry advertisements and define specific uses for jewelry terms consistent with the FTC’s mission to prevent unfair or deceptive advertising. Stauer is committed to complying with these regulations, thus it considers assertions that its advertising is deceptive very seriously.

We believe your tests would be more appropriate for those goods actually advertised as “synthetic diamonds.” In the interest of the “The Cold Hard Facts,” Stauer kindly requests your cooperation in correcting the information in your post and preventing any further misconceptions about our advertising.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. Thanks for your cooperation.

Sincerely,
Stauer Customer Service

Anonymous said...

After reading Stauer's reply, all I can say is "RIGHT ON!!!" I have purchased different pieces of jewellry from Stauer, have always been satisfied, and have always understood that what I buy is either the real thing, or a man-made item...Bottom line, if you want a real diamond, or any other real jem, then spend the money...If you want something that looks good, and you ain't about the prestige, then buy a man-made (fake) and quit complaining! Only you will know the difference!

Bridget Rossi said...

Whoa, true enough, we should be wary of fake diamonds out there. Hmm, a true diamond can't possibly last forever because it can easily be affected by different factors, most especially if it is not taken care of. As buyers, we should also do our research to avoid complications. True enough, diamonds mean elegance. So buy genuine ones! :)

Anonymous said...

I have just received a pair of Stauer "diamond" earrings as a gift and I love them! I used to think that diamonds proved how much a man loved you by the price tag, but after I learned about what goes into mining a diamond, I can safely say that I will never buy another mined diamond. Overpriced, people's lives lost for minimum wage, a huge profit for companies that rip off unknowledgeable people. Diamonds are for a "status" mark in society. It follows the same line as a "hallmark holiday." Companies invent the "idea" to profit. I hope I get a Stauer engagement ring! Thank you Stauer for being honest.

Jonathan said...

OK, so "Stauer" says they advertise honestly... If this is true, what gives with the ad in the September 2011 edition of Smithsonian which claims you are getting "A Fantastic 30 Carats of Genuine Rubies!" for $129.00, plus another 30 ctw for free? Umm... 60 Carats of "Genuine" rubies for $129.00 USD?

Jonathan said...

awesome - you are the first hit for: diamondAura
anyway, nice post

Anonymous said...

The only reason this site is the first hit when you look up DiamondAura is because of the title!!
So much for your derogative webpage. I purchased a real diamond engagement ring for my girlfriend a few months ago for $1,800.00. Of course it was beautiful & she loved it, but she made me take it back!
Not because she said 'NO', but because she said I spent too much!
I recently purchased a DiamondAura ring for her & she is ecstatic!
She loves the way it looks,& better yet, the fact that it was not mined nor an overpriced synthetic!
I mean you no offense my friend,but I do feel that you could have picked a better battle...

Anonymous said...

Two questions----I have been very satisfied with my Stauer jewelry. I know it's not the 'queen's' choice but it is very lovely. If you look for the bargains you don't have to pay even $100.00. Why all the complaints? Then this is a question about cubic zirconia---I thought it was a mined stone. Enlighten me.

Peg H.

notElon said...

Because Stauer stuff is overpriced for cheap cubic zirconia. Will all you random anonymous people stop comparing their product to diamond, and instead, compare their product to the stuff it actually is. And as Yoni said, I am sick of their "Poor Moroccan Guy Sold us Giant Genuine Rubies for a Pittance" ads in Science. Not sure what is going on, but outside of movies that sort of thing doesn't happen. As soon as I figure out exactly what is up with those ads I will blog about them, too.

Alexis said...

I just bought the Diamond Aura 3 stone ring and received it in the mail. It is pretty and decent quality for the money. I have seen CZ rings that look more like natural diamonds than this ring, but those are more expensive. This ring has a lot of facets and the way they are arranged make it really obvious it isn't real, but hey...it's not. It sparkles and looks good so I am not disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you, Stauer. Before I ordered a DiamondAura necklace for my girlfriend I asked the customer service rep if it was manufactured from pure carbon and she said it was. Educate your representatives so that they don't deceive your customers.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about the Agape lab-created diamonds?

FMeister said...

From Stauer website: Technically, DiamondAura® is an oxide of the metallic element zirconium and the finished simulated diamond is approximately 87.5% zirconium oxide and 12.5% yttrium oxide. To produce DiamondAura®, our extremely modern laboratory must heat the rare mineral baddeleyite (ZrO2) to nearly 5,000 degrees F in some very expensive equipment, which causes the mineral to become isometric. A substantial number of other scientific laboratory procedures are then necessary to finally produce the gorgeous simulated diamond known as DiamondAura®. The finished product is clear in color, unlike most mined diamonds that contain impurities and inclusions.
As with any jewelry, oils from the skin and dirt need to be removed frequently. DiamondAura® can be cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft cosmetic brush (like the type used to apply eye shadow). An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner may also be used and will not damage the stone. When using soaps or detergents, the stone should be thoroughly wiped dry to prevent a film from forming that will dull its brilliance.
• More Fire than a Mined Diamond
• Will Cut Glass
• High Refractive Index
• 8.5 Hardness on the Mohs scale

notElon said...

That great news, then. They admit what is in it now.

Anonymous said...

But it's still quality for a fake and that, you can appreciate!

Anonymous said...

I have one for sale in a size 6 for if anyone is interested. It runs a little big and that's why I am selling it. I just never got around to returning it. I will check back on this site daily to see if there are any takers. $80.00

Anonymous said...

OOPS should have noted that the item for sale is a 3 stone ring

Cheap WOW Gold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It seems that the ones who tend to bash Stauer and their diamond arura are the jewelers who are vested in selling you a very overpriced gem dug out of the ground.

I was very skeptical about ordering from Stauer, a good deal usually isn't. However, I am happy to report in this case the good deal is just that, a good deal. I purchased my wife's engagement ring from them and it was beautiful. The "diamond" (put in quotes for those of you who think otherwise) was brilliant, well cut and looked great. We had discussed this prior to the purchase and both agreed that the thousands saved would be better in our savings account than in DeBeer's pocket. I am not a big jewelry person so I certainly can't tell a difference between the Diamond Aura and a mined stone, but neither can anyone else that has seen it. Not once, never the only thing she has ever gotten was compliments on the ring.

For our first anniversary I purchased her a Diamond Aura tennis bracelet for under $500. A mined diamond bracelet of equal kind would have been a few thousand dollars. The bracelet looks outstanding and the color sparkle when the light hits it is amazing. Once again, I cannot tell a difference and neither has anyone else.

Now, with that said I will tell you that if you are thinking of ordering from Stauer use your head when doing so. The simple rings and things like the tennis bracelet are great, but the oversized rings tend to look tacky and no matter how good the diamond aura looks, if you purchase a 5 carat ring from them but make $30k a year everyone will know it isn't a mined diamond because how in the world could you afford it?

And to answer someone who posted before me complaining about Stauer's testimonials: While I have no knowledge of where the majority of them are from I can tell you that they are from actual people who purchased their items because I wrote a "review" and it was posted word for word.

Bottom line: The Diamond Aura is a man made diamond. It looks great and is indistinguishable from a mined diamond. If you are so ego and status driven that the thought of wearing a diamond that didn't come from an African mine will bother you, then feel free to part with many of your hard earned dollars and purchase a mined one. But for those of you like myself who value your dollar the Stauer Diamond Aura will not disappoint you.

And one last thought to the writer of the article. While I find it interesting that you are attempting to show the difference between a DA diamond and a mined one I just don't get your superior attitude when it comes to a mined diamond. If it looks just as good and shines as good if not better who cares? Does anyone except a gemologist really care if the atomic weight is spot on or if the DA won't burn up in a fire? Other than to pad the pockets of jewelry stores and DeBeers what difference does it make in this world? I just replaced the brake pads on my car with an aftermarket set, not OEM. They look and perform just as good. Does that make them faker than fake as well? Just wondering. Of course you will go on to tell me how the value in mined diamonds are the fact that they are so rare. In which I will respond that if they are so rare, why does every jewelry store have hundreds and why are there many jewelry stores located in every town with hundreds of diamonds if they are so rare? If, because they are so rare they are worth so much, then why if I purchase one and take it to be sold right away I can't get a jeweler to give me 1/2 of what I just paid for it? It's because they are not as rare as we have been lead to believe and DeBeers has done a great job of marketing creating value where none really is. Diamond Aura might not be mined, it might be fake in your eyes, but for those of us with more brains than money it is more than good enough.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the feeling that the author of this blog has a superior attitude toward anything - it's a simple case of a grad student raising some questions about the science behind a particular diamond simulant.

A colleague at work has a flashy cultured eco diamond engagement ring set in palladium. It does look way too perfect. But, the important thing is that it makes her happy :)

Neat post, thanks notElon.

Anonymous said...

Many people are saying DiamondAura is a perfect way to buy an expensive looking wedding ring for under $200, but there IS always a catch. The hardness of the substance used by Stauer is only 8.5, so it will chip and scratch with everyday wear. I would also advise against any plated silver ring as an everyday wear (especially a wedding ring) because the plating will begin to rub off. There is a reason that a white gold or platinum diamond ring costs more; it will last longer and is easily repaired or altered down the road. Not everyone needs to buy a diamond, but you should know what you're buying before you give up any amount of your money.

Rich D said...

jonathan asked about "A Fantastic 30 Carats of Genuine Rubies!" for $129.00, plus another 30 ctw for free? ---
---
The rubies are either raw or tumbled to round the edges. Either way, they are real, but flawed. Cabochons are generally rounded and polished oval-shaped stones flat on one side. The man-made rubies are just that - genuine ruby crystal made carefully in a lab. I worked years ago on equipment that makes them for LASER crystals. They are indistinguishable chemically from natural rubies except that they are flawless in order to function as LASER crystals. I still have the end of a boule approximately 1 cm long.

Sapphires are corundum, and can be any color except red from traces of chromium, when they are then called rubies. They are also man-made for windows, wristwatch crystals, and integrated circuits, again being more flawless than the natural stones.

Many gemstones are heat treated to change or deepen the color, and you will never know. The jeweler doesn't even know. Stauer makes it obvious in its ads when a diamond is mined, and never calls its synthetic product anything other than DiamondAura.

Anonymous said...

I have worn my Stauer ring for more than three years, and it is as beautiful now as it was then, and that is saying something, believe me.

At some point, I contacted Stauer and asked specifically about the makeup of the diamondaura stones. I believe I was answered honestly when I was told they are simulants, not 100% carbon, but also no CZ. They are something in between.

I don't understand all the outrage and bile in your blog piece. It's ring; a beautiful ring, given to me by the love of my life. The sparkle and defraction is awesome.

I never perceived Stauer as trying to convince anyone it is a diamond. I think you are a lunkhead.

notElon said...

"At some point, I contacted Stauer and asked specifically about the makeup of the diamondaura stones. I believe I was answered honestly when I was told they are simulants, not 100% carbon, But ALSO NO CZ. They are something in between."

See that? That's why the bile, because that is what we call a lie. I have nothing against simulates, and even nothing against CZ, provided that you know it is cubic zirconia. Calling it a trademarked material, when you can get the same CZ for half-price? That is where the problem is.

It's the same with the rubies. They might be genuine rubies. But the story about the port deluded villager selling them for nothing, and Stauer passing on the savings to you? That is what we call bupkis. The rubies are worth that much, because that is how much lousy quality rubies are worth.

Rich D said...

DiamondAura is normally known as YSZ, or yttrium stabilized zirconium oxide. This is a ceramic that is used in dental and grinding applications because of is toughness and lack of phase change at elevated temperatures.

notElon said...

And yttrium stabilized zirconium dioxide IS cubic zirconia. The "yttrium stabilization" is what makes the zirconium dioxide, also known as zirconia, cubic. Except everyone knows what cubic zirconia is, and only material scientists and geologists know what YSZ is.

I'm not denying it is a useful material or even that it makes a good gemstone. I just want you guys to be honest with the public.

Anonymous said...

I saw this ring in stauers ad about 5 years ago. My husband bought me the ring, and when it arrived in the mail it was the most beautiful I had ever seen in my life. I didn't to look like it did n the ad because I've ordered diamonique and some of the othersfrom hsn and qvc and they looked so fake when they arrived, but this ring...this ring brought tears to my eyes. It was like the ring that God would have given me if I were his bride. My husband bought me a real ring (and very expensive) afterwards so out of respect I stopped wearing my precious ring (for the most part). I thought I had put it away safely but three years later it was nowhere to be found. I've been heartbroken ever since. I am online searching for it Which led me to this page. I cried when I saw my ring. I would pay nearly anything to have it again. It was so beautiful I had the inclination to bite it..that's how lovely the stones were. I have loved plenty of jewelry, and lost it.. And never felt like this. It was a very rare find for me. The stones were flawless and extremely realistic. If they weren't diamonds, I cud care less. They were worth more than diamonds to me.

Anonymous said...

Ah, and let me just say... That I would not be caught dead wearing cubic zirconia... Umm I've had em and I think they look like crap and diamondaura looks nowhere close to zirconia because zirconia looks like candy...therefore so fake (pls do not buy zirconia for ur wife that is so crappy) And these have a stone Coldish clarity of ice, and the fire inside them is a very subtle mistery. I don't work for stauer.. I don't endorse there watches.. (Yeah I've bought some for my husband who loves them but for me I hear they aren't "fantastic" quality) and most of their jewelry isn't my style. I'm also LIVID that this exquisite ring is no longer available.

notElon said...

Glad you like the ring, but it appears that CZ is indeed what DiamondAura is. Someone at Stauer as good as confirmed it. You can read their comment on the blog here, yourself.

Also several geologists have since told me that I probably nailed the material.

The fact that Stauer convinced you that the ring looks nice, and therefore can't be CZ is exactly why I'm annoyed. Stauer knows damn well that people wouldn't buy cubic zirconia, so they called theirs yttrium stabilized zirconium oxide, trademarked a word for it, and sold the same jewelery at a high markup.

In truth, CZ is actually not a bad material. A little more fragile than diamond, but also significantly cheaper. But honesty in science is paramount, particularly when you have the gall to advertise in science magazines.

Anonymous said...

I purchased the stauer aura diamond and love it...its beautiful...and at a great price....ive gotten many compliments on it ...i am not sure why everyone is so mad about it....you know its not real...thatis why it is #100...I think it is a BEUATIFUL piece of costume jewelry for a great price....one of the best looking "fake" diamonds I have ever seen.....

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed the stealth ad by Stauer for "berzelian" in the latest Smithsonian? From the specs (RI 2.65-2.69, dispersion 0.104) in the ad, it seems to be moissanite (good wiki at "diamond stimulant") Also the ad photo is yellowish/brownish which is reportedly typical of synthetic moissanite. The ad does refer to Henri Moissan (if you read it closely) but I wonder what J.J. Brezlius had to do with it. Again they are being coy. They don't use the Stauer name in the ad but compare it to the diamondaura ad a couple of pages earlier and note the ad format and phone numbers. Not exactly misleading but not exactly not misleading. BTW: there are nice large cheap CZs available. Check stores that sell jewelry findings stores.

Anonymous said...

The devil is in the details really and depends on your definition of synthetic. I have no problem calling these stones synthetic diamonds for the following reason. I actually bought a diamondaura engagement ring from Stauer. Very nice 2 3/4 carat d clarity stone. Took it to kay jewelers and they appraised it at $10,000.00. I paid $300.00 for it! They had no idea the stone wasn't a "mined stone" until I told them. The only test that threw a negative was spectroscopy. The stone gave off no light like a mined diamond. My point is if the jewelers can't tell the difference between these synthetic diamondaura's and mined diamonds how will anyone else? If you want to save money and your future wife wants something that looks amazing without breaking the bank, I say go get a high quality diamondaura.

Anonymous said...

Also it is important to note that real Diamondaura is it's own category of synthetic. A REAL AURA IS NOT CZ LIKE STATED IN THIS ARTICLE. Here is a chart that shows the different categories of synthetic diamonds. DiamondAuras are the highest quality synthetic right under real diamonds!

Anonymous said...

http://phoenix-diamonds.blogspot.com/2008/09/diamond-auragive-me-break.html

Anonymous said...

I like CZ but I like it outrageously large. I don't wear it to simulate diamond. I just like big bright stones.

I would NOT buy a Stauer. It's way overpriced for what it is.

My engagement ring is a gorgeous heirloom genuine diamond. I don't think CZ looks like it. Diamonds still sparkle when dirty, CZs look frosty. Diamond is better for everyday wear because it looks good no matter what. The only time mine comes off is when I'm cleaning it. A CZ would not stand up to 24/7 wear.

Moissanite interests me because it looks beautiful and it's harder than ruby and sapphire. It's still too expensive to tempt me.

My favorite synthetics are the corundums. They're very durable. My most favorite gemstone is a synthetic transparent star ruby in a true shade of red.

Anonymous said...

My fiance bought a "lab created" diamond ring from Agape Diamonds thinking he was getting a lab created diamond. Turns out he paid $800 for a cz! It was pretty embarrasing when my jeweler shouted "did you know your stone's a cubic zerconia?" across her shop when I took it to be sized.

I actually didn't mind so much at first because I don't believe we need diamonds to ensure our marriage is forever but six months after I got the ring it started clouding up and the white gold band is turning yellow. Agape has a lifetime guarantee but it's voided because I had the ring sized locally rather than sending it back. My fault, I was so happy about our engagement that I couldn't part with my ring. Agape is a complete rip off and now I'm stuck with a ring I'm too embarrased to wear because people keep asking me why the stone is so scratched up.

anna phelps said...

I noticed that an earlier post was asking about "Berzelian" from a Stauer ad. I am tempted to buy one, because the ad says it outshines every other stone, and is Brilliant beyond words. I would like a look at one of these rings. Has anyone out there seen one in person? Please describe it or provide any info you may have on it. I am very curious.

Earnest Williams said...

A Diamondaura is a type of synthetic diamond. There are two basic benefits to purchasing a Diamondaura over a real diamond. The first is cost. Diamondauras retail for approximately half of real diamonds. Secondly, with a Diamondaura a consumer can be assured that the stone was not acquired through illegal means.

Terrence Murton said...

Diamond Aura might not be mined, it might be fake in your eyes, but for those of us with more brains than money it is more than good enough.

Buy Gemstones Delhi said...

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Anonymous said...

I also purchased a diamond ring from Agape. Right now the ring looks fantastic, but they made it to a bigger size than I ordered.

I waited quite a few months to propose and then found out they made it too large. They refuse to admit their mistake and claim I must have had it increased in size.

Also, to the poster above that purchased one and said their warranty is void, I have communication with this company that says it's impossible for the to tell your ring was re-sized elsewhere, so that isn't grounds to void your warranty.

Either way, I'm out $2,000 and I have a ring that she can't wear, because Agape Diamonds refuses to do anything about their mistake.

I would suggest contacting the Better Business Bureau about your issues with this company. I have a claim with them right now.

I would not recommend buying from Agape at all. I'm not sure of other places.

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Anonymous said...

If I took a fake ring that I paid $300 dollars for to a well known jewelry store, and they told me it was worth $10,000, I would offer to sell it to them for a few thousand. I don't know maybe the store mentioned above does not buy jewelry, but if they do, it wouldn't be dishonest to get as much as you could for it. Something is as worth as much as you're willing to pay for it.

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Inf said...

For the person asking how they can sell large carats of real gemstones for such cheap money -- it's all in the quality of the stones. Just like diamonds, rubies, garnets, emeralds etc have varying qualities from gemgrade the kind made into rings, to B-grade the kind usually made into earrings and other less focal points, to chip grade usually made into chip or baroque style bracelets and necklaces where the beauty is the profusion not the quality, and then there's garbage. There are diamonds that are unsuitable for anything but stereo needles and other more mundane functions. That's how the price can be so low, and conversely why a 1 carat diamond can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. What is true for diamonds is true for all stones. Cut, clarity, color ... it makes all the difference.

Tom Roscoe said...

I just ordered a Diamond Aura ring for my wife, in June '95 I bought a CZ for me, about $100 from Montgomery Wards, love the look, better than my daughter's $7000 ring, lived in a bad neighborhood, but did not haave to worry about it being stolen, Lynwood, CA. My wife has a real diamond ring, $1700-1800 in '98, white gold, Ben Bridge Jewelers at Cerritos Mall, was across from Robinson's (Macy's now?). I love white gold,or men's white with yellow for me. I looked at lots of diamonds in '96 when I fell in love, malls Stonewood, Lakewood, Cerritos, for my wife to be, hers was the largest one in the store, brightest. The only other was smaller. In '67, my mother's diamond was reset for Kathy M. Roscoe, old 1945 cut. After '76 divorce, she had it reset, I redeemed it cause of the diamond. Wasted $$. Love to see my wife's diamond, was worth it, she was too. Looked at some real "coal mines" of real, spend the $$ on the gold/white gold setting. - Tom Roscoe -Angeleno in Illinois.

Tom Roscoe said...

Jumped thu those hoops, ok. tomcat bluepuma

Anonymous said...

Very sorry that happened to yall. Take it to another jewlery store and have it resized! I also have a ring from there, but no complaints.

Jolene51 said...

I purchased a 1.5 carat solitaire on 14K gold band with 14K white gold prongs (6) from Kenya Gems in Ventnor NJ in 1986. I paid $150 for it. It was still beautiful in 1998 when a "friend" took it to show her fiancé. I never saw her or the ring again. My father bought my stepmother a wedding set from Kenya Gem in 1970. My stepsister has them now and they are as gorgeous and fiery as they wre new.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I just took the time to read every single post - yawn. First of all as a Fine Jeweler I would not have a DiamondAura in my store as I am a FINE Jeweler. Please beware of any jeweler who is mixing these DiamondAura's in their store. There is nothing wrong with a DiamondAura piece of Jewelry as long as you know that it is. I have found Stauer to be a reputable company with a good product of what it is that they sell. Enjoy the price point, quality & effort it took to produce a DiamondAura. Just "Buyer beware" that's all.- NorthShore Boston Jeweler

Marco said...

From a lot of reading the past two days (about 8 hrs worth) I have gathered the following:

Simulants are Cubic Zirconia (CZ).
Companies offering Simulants:
Quorri
Agape
NueDiamonds
Aura

These companies may or may not be straight forward in how they describe what they offer. But they are CZ. I cannot attest to the quality of their rings/settings. They may be quite nice, but you are most likely getting a 5.00 CZ stone and paying between 500-1200 for the whole thing.

Man-Made Diamonds (NOT CZ)

This has actually been done for decades and mostly been used in industrial applications.

I have more research to do, but from what I have read so far, a handful of companies will create a lab-generated diamond. Its 100% the same chemically as a mined diamond. That is the key here and what sets this apart from a "simulant" which is CZ.

There may be proprietary formulas to put other materials together with CZ. I cannot verify if these are truth or devious advertizing. But chemically, not compare to a real diamond and non comapred to a lab generated non CZ diamond.

The catch with lab generated non CZ diamonds, are, price. They aren't much better when it comes to price. I would assume that the technology to do this is held close to the vest and probably has been acquired by DeBeers who wishes to maintain price control.

From research I found companies that MAY produce lab created non CZ diamonds.
Apollo was one, but they were bought out by SCIO. I went to SCIO Diamond website and it does not look like they offer gemstones for sale, at least not through their website.

I looked at Gemesis, and they look legit at least from a glance. However their lab generated diamonds are just about as ridiculous in price as real diamonds.

There is also New Age Diamond and DNA2Diamonds but I have no research on these yet.

What is funny to me about Diamonds, is that the market is entirely fictitious. It's a ponzi scheme. I would never buy a real lab created stone for 20% less, because real mined diamonds are about 900% overpriced as it is, so I have no desire to pay 720% markup.

Just my .02.

Marco said...

I want to add, that Diamonds are not rare. Even skillfully cut Diamonds.

There are over 80 million carats of Diamonds in the US alone..think about that.If 1/10 of those people put their Diamonds up for sale, the price of Diamonds would bottom out to what they are really worth...almost nothing. What you would really end up spending the money on would be the craftsmanship of the ring/setting and maybe the gold/platinum. (Which is overpriced right now, too.)

Some more about synthetic/simulants etc..

Diamonds are brought close to the Earth′s surface through deep volcanic eruptions by a magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Diamonds can also be produced synthetically in a high-pressure high-temperature process which approximately simulates the conditions in the Earth mantle. An alternative, and completely different growth technique is chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Several non-diamond materials, which include cubic zirconia and silicon carbide and are often called diamond simulants, resemble diamond in appearance and many properties. Special gemological techniques have been developed to distinguish natural and synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants.

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Anonymous said...

notElon, how do you even deal with all these blatant marketers?
Holy bovine, reading through all these comments saying, "DiamondAura is so cheap! It's such a good deal? Why do you hate good deals? You must hate saving money! And if you hate saving money, you hate people! I hate people who hate people! You should be ashamed of yourself! (et cetera...)" is like listening to a broken record of a salesman selling snake oil made from all-natural, animal-free petroleum extracts.

Good on you, mate! Keep it up!

lolgame said...

you know the Cold Hard Facts. This just makes me wonder about the “some jewelers,” who fell for it. Perhaps they were paid?
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Anonymous said...

As a scientist, it's odd to find *mis* information in your article:

"As anyone who has even used a pencil can attest, carbon is NOT rare."

Unless things have changed recently, the primary material in pencils is graphite; not carbon, not 'lead.'

notElon said...

Graphite IS carbon. A form of it anyway.

Susan Setley said...

So. You can't tell by looking at them. In other words, they look good, and apparently, maintain those good looks.

You know you're buying a fake, so what's the big deal? Talk about a flap over nothing.

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Anonymous said...

I've had a diamond aura ring for 4 yrs now. It still looks amazing and EVERYONE believes it to be real. The reason is because its amazing sparkle but I also think its because my husband can afford to buy the real thing! Seriously, if you cant afford the real one than most people will always question if its real, simplY because you cant afford something like it... you can go around advertising its man made. Who cares, same properties! AS FOR ME...ITS REAL!