Diamonds by any other name

Okay so I know there’s a recession going on (only too well, unfortunately) and that we’re all cutting down on life’s luxuries. But surely sometimes it’s better to go without than to make do with cheap alternatives, especially when it comes to diamonds?
Honestly, I can do without designer clothes and shoes – especially when so many massive fashion names are designing high-street ranges for knock-down prices anyway. But when it comes to the ultimate gemstone – and let’s face it, they really are a girl’s best friend – I’m not so sure.
The reason I’ve brought this up is because I’ve just come across Brilliant Inc, which has two stores in London – one in Canary Wharf and the other just off Sloane Square (well, where else?). They sell a very specific type of jewellery – that is, jewellery made from ‘simulated’ (a posh word for fake) diamonds. These ‘diamonds’ are very precisely ‘grown’ in labs, and according to the company’s website, gemmologists have declared them ‘the finest diamond simulants ever’. Praise indeed.
These ‘diamonds’ are expertly cut and set in sterling silver, plus 9k, 14k and 18k gold. And yes, they look amazing, all glittery and glistening, just like the real thing. According to Vogue, it’s ‘nigh impossible’ to tell them from real diamonds with the naked eye. They can even cut through glass, just like real diamonds, and, because they’re not mined, they can be termed ‘ethical’.
Oooh, perfect for the credit crunch, I thought initially. Their prices are hardly Primark-bargain level though, but for that level of craftsmanship they are still jaw-droppingly less expensive than real diamonds (£185 for a 1ct emerald-cut solitaire set in white gold – bargain!).
Then I thought, but why would you? I love diamonds as much as the next person – probably a lot more, actually. But I don’t think I’d be tempted to buy a fake, not even an incredibly good one. And it got me thinking about why I like real gemstones so much. It’s something about the fact that they came out of the earth. I mean, such beauty, such dazzling colours and textures, and all completely natural (well, in truth many natural gemstones are heat treated and even dyed to enhance their colours, but we all need a little bit of cosmetic enhancement from time to time, and at least they weren’t grown in a lab).
In fact, raw diamonds are my real passion. Diamonds that haven’t been cut or polished to within an inch of their lives. That’s real beauty, if you ask me.
Someone did once tell me that I loved gemstones because I had a need to feel connected to the earth, and – despite the New Age blitheringness of that remark, I think he was dead right. Rok Chix jewellery only uses real gemstones – no glass, fakes or man-made crystals – many of which are raw and uncut. And, for me at least, there’s obviously a deep-rooted reason why.
So as far as amazingly good ‘simulants’ go, credit crunch or no credit crunch, I think on this occasion I’ll pass.