People who are considering buying a gemstone with the brilliance and fire of a natural diamond but can’t quite afford the real thing may have of heard of an Asha simulated diamond. An Asha diamond is made made of a layer of pure carbon over cubic zirconia, a synthetic gemstone. In later versions of the Asha diamond, an optical improvement layer is placed between the CZ core and the pure carbon layer. This article considers the differences and similarities of Asha vs diamond.
Difference in Color
The most sought after color for a diamond is white, or colorless. When it comes to Asha vs diamond, the Asha simulated diamond is also supposed to be colorless. Diamonds that are colored are called fancies, and the colors are the results of impurities. Impurities are not added to the Asha diamond to give it color, so they are white.
However, the Gemological Institute of America grades a well cut, colorless diamond as a D and an Asha diamond as an F. The difference when it comes to Asha vs diamond is not detectable by the human eye; it can only be seen if the two gemstones are placed together. Even then, it may take a look through a jeweler’s loupe to detect the slightest bit of color in the Asha diamond. Colorless diamonds should only be placed in bands or settings made of white or silvery metals, for gold can give the gemstone an unattractive yellow tinge.
Difference in Sparkle
When it comes to Asha vs diamond, Asha simulated diamonds may not sparkle with as much fire as natural diamonds. This is because they have a lower refractive index. The refractive index, or RI measures how much light is bent as it enters the gemstone.
The RI of a diamond is 2.418. Asha not only has a lower RI, but it is doubly refractive because it is made up of more than just carbon. The RI of an Asha simulated diamond is between 2.20 and 2.244. Diamond, made of pure carbon, is singly refracted, and the light is refracted equally in all directions. This contributes to its beautiful sparkle.
However, another quality that contributes to sparkle is dispersion. This is when light is split into its component spectral colors by parallel facets. The higher the dispersion, the greater a gem’s fire. The dispersion of diamond is 0.044, while the dispersion of Asha is less than 0.066. Because of this, the sparkle of the Asha diamond can be greater than that seen in a similarly cut diamond.
Difference in Brilliance
The brilliance of a stone is the reflection effect from the facets at the back and front of the stone after it has been polished. The difference in brilliance in Asha vs diamond may depend on how well the stone has been cut and polished. However, since diamond has a higher refractive index than an Asha simulant, a diamond might be more brilliant if it has a similar cut. Again, with a well cut and polished Asha simulant, the difference may be hard to see.
Difference in Hardness
Hardness measures how easily the gem can stand abrasion from wear, tear and scratching. Diamond is the hardest natural substance known. A diamond is a 10 on the Mohs scale. The hardness of Asha diamond simulate is between 8.5 and 9. This means it is harder than topaz on the low end and as hard as ruby or sapphire on the high end. Though these numbers look close together, it means that diamond is considerably harder than an Asha simulant.
Difference in Clarity
Both Asha and diamond are about as clear as the other. Many high quality gems are very slightly included, or VS1. This means they have flaws, or inclusions, but they can’t be seen by the naked eye. They are visible only with a jeweler’s loupe and are considered minor. Many jewelers won’t sell a gem with a visible flaw.
Difference in Cut
Diamonds and Asha simulants can have many different cuts. These include princess cuts, which are square cut diamonds with sharp edges that are best placed in prong settings, cushion cuts and football-shaped marquis cuts.
One cut that is popular with both gems is the hearts and arrows cut. This is a precise cut that gives the illusion of a circle of arrows in the crown, or top of a round-cut gem and hearts in the pavilion, which is beneath the crown. The hearts can be seen when the person holds the gem upside down and looks straight down. This is an exacting cut, for the hearts and arrows need to be perfectly symmetrical. It can take hours or even days for the lapidist to perfect this cut, and the resulting sparkle and brilliance are unmatched.
Difference in Price
The one thing that draws prospective buyers to the Asha simulated diamond is its price. A 6.5 millimeter eye clean Asha simulant costs about $189. Its equivalent would be a one carat, perfectly cut, eye-clean white diamond. This gem could cost as much as $10,000.
However, there are things to consider before buying an Asha diamond. They do not come with GIA certification, and they are not measured or judged the same way as diamonds. Consider that the above-mentioned Asha simulant was 6.5 mm, while the diamond was one carat, which is more or less the same size.
The Bottom Line
An Asha simulated diamond is a consideration for people on a tight budget who still want a gemstone that approaches the fire and brilliance and clarity of a diamond without the somewhat vulgar sparkle of a CZ. Some people liken the CZ sparkle to a disco ball, which gives it away.
Potential buyers should also understand that the Asha is not a “forever gem”. It is considerably softer than a diamond and can be scratched. Its edges can wear away over time. Some people buy an Asha simulant diamond as a sort of placeholder until such time as they can afford a natural diamond.