Diamonds have always attracted great interest among buyers, especially women. Most future brides choose this gem for their engagement rings because of its beauty and exclusivity. Even though you want to be one of them, you may change your mind because of the amount of money you have to set aside for only one stone.
A composite diamond ring can be an appropriate solution that fits your budget and still meets your needs. It looks radiant and glamorous, but the question is do you know what is a composite diamond. Let’s discover that together.
Diamonds are minerals made up of pure carbon. Besides being the most popular gems, they are also the hardest substance found in nature.
Due to their extreme hardness, these stones are not only parts of jewelry but have several essential applications in the industry. Nowadays, you can also find synthetic diamonds on the market. Their commercial production started in the 1960s.
The primary diamond measuring unit is carat that equals 200 mg. You can find these beautiful stones in three deposit types:
- Alluvial gravel
- Glacial tills
- Kimberlite pipes
Pure diamonds are transparent and colorless, but structural defects and interstitial impurities can cause discolorations. Therefore, you can see these stones in a few variations, including:
- Steel grey
In most cases, diamonds naturally occur in the brown and yellow variety, while other colors are rare. Specifically, only a few diamonds of 100,000 found will be colored. The best option to notice their unique shades is to look at them while facing them up.
The most desirable characteristics of these precious stones are their extraordinary brilliance, shines, and highly refractive power. Only a properly cut diamond reflects a significant amount of light and looks bright.
Composite diamonds are multiple small gems placed together to look like a large diamond. Sometimes these stones are firmly pressed together to give the appearance of a single diamond, while some jewelry designers carefully combine them to highlight each stone’s brilliance and beauty.
Composite diamonds are often a doublet (two diamonds fused together) or a triplet (three fused diamonds). However, many composite diamond rings contain more than three stones of the same or different sizes.
Rings with composite diamonds are of a different style than traditional ones that contain one central stone. Interestingly, you can also find cheap composite diamond jewelry with a few combined stones that simulate precious gems, such as:
- Strontium titanates
- Cubic zirconia
Carat Total Weight
While searching for diamond jewelry online, you have probably noticed the term CTTW (carat total weight). It often appears along with cut, color, clarity, and carat weight when it is about composite diamonds.
CTTW is used to measure the total diamonds’ weight in a particular piece of jewelry. Sometimes, you can see it written separately, like CT TW or only CTW.
CT is an abbreviation for carat, a traditional unit used to determine the diamond weight. TW is the designation for the total weight of all diamonds embedded in one piece of jewelry.
Keep in mind that CTTW never measures the weight of other gems added to the same jewelry. It is always used only for measuring diamonds, whether natural or artificial.
CTTW vs. Carat
Carat weight doesn’t refer to the diamond size but only its weight. One-carat diamond weighs exactly 200 mg and has a diameter between 5.60 mm and 6.60 mm, depending on its cut grade.
On the other hand, CTTW refers to the carat total weight of all diamonds in a particular piece of jewelry.
CTTW and Diamond Price
Diamond prices increase significantly with the stone’s carat weight. Since large diamonds are rare, they are always more prized and expensive than smaller ones, even though they are of the same quality.
However, you can’t apply this to the jewelry carat total weight. Even though the total jewelry value rises by adding the carat weight of all added diamonds, there is no exponential relationship between the carat total weight and the price.
One more thing! If you have a limited budget, it is an excellent idea to rely on a higher carat total weight when buying jewelry. Even better, you can pick out a ring with a smaller central stone surrounded by small diamonds. Such a combined ring can look nice but won’t cost you too much.
Pros and Cons of Composite Diamonds
There are many advantages and downsides of choosing composite diamonds compared to the classic diamond ring design.
The initial composite diamonds appeal is their affordable price. As I have already mentioned, the solitaire diamonds become disproportionately expensive with the carat weight increasing.
For instance, one 2-carat diamond never costs the same as two 1-carat stones. In fact, you need to pay up to four or five times higher price with carat doubling.
That is the reason why customers decide to buy jewelry with numerous smaller diamonds. For example, you can buy four 0.50 carat diamonds for about $1,500 each instead of paying at least $25,000 to $30,000 for a 2-carat diamond.
In other words, you will get the same carat weight for $6,000 instead of paying more than $25,000 for one stone.
It looks like a single diamond
Tightly bound composite diamonds of the same color can successfully mimic the large stone look. At first glance, it is almost impossible to notice that this piece of jewelry contains a bunch of tiny diamonds instead of one stone, especially from a distance.
Possibility of combining
The possibility of combining with other gem types besides natural diamonds is another advantage of composite diamonds. Such a ring can contain different diamond simulants such as moissanite or cubic zirconia. They cost less, but their appearance matches the diamond look.
Variety of designs
Usually, the composite diamond ring consists of at least two
or three colorless diamond stones. However, you can find a few different
designs that include various colors and ways of placing diamonds.
In most cases, it is not an idea to mimics the large diamond look at all costs. One of the most popular designs includes a central colorful gem surrounded by small colorless diamonds.
Composite diamonds are more casual in style than classic ones. However, there is no need to choose between these pieces of jewelry when you can combine styles. For example, you can add a little color by adding composite diamonds to a classic engagement ring with one solitaire colorless precious gem.
Unfortunately, buying composite diamond rings also has a few disadvantages. It is crucial to be fully informed about what to expect.
Future repair costs
You can expect that your composite diamond will need cleaning and some repair during its lifetime. Each diamond requires cleaning and maintenance, but the uniqueness of composite diamond is pretty challenging, which increases overall costs.
Such a design requires the careful insertion of each gem into the jewelry setting. If you lose one stone, it will be difficult to find another one that will fully replace the lost one. Therefore, you will need to pay more for cutting a new diamond of the appropriate size.
It is easier to clean one large diamond than the small one, so it will be challenging to clean a piece of jewelry with numerous small gems. Plus, dirt will collect in space between them quicker than in the ring with a single diamond.
Keep in mind that cleaning such small surfaces is highly demanding. Therefore, it is better to ask a professional to clean your composite diamond piece of jewelry occasionally.
Lack of certificate
Jewelers generally provide certificates for their diamonds because that gives the customer confidence in the jewelry quality. On the other hand, these certificates cost money, and many jewelers won’t bother taking them for diamonds less than one carat.
As you can guess, composite diamonds are small enough not to justify the need for certification. So the buyer can’t be sure of their color, clarity, cut, or any other measure used to determine precious stones’ quality.
Although composite diamonds can be positioned to maximize their light performance and brilliance, they still can’t be compared to the brilliance and reflection of a single gem.
The large stone surface allows better light reflection, refraction, and scattering. Composite diamonds are too small, so they only can reflect light.
Composite diamonds won’t retain their value
Even big diamonds are not the right choice if you want to invest. It is unlikely that you can sell them for the same amount of money you have given for them.
On the other hand, your composite diamond ring won’t retain its value for sure. There is little market for this jewelry type, and single gems are not valuable enough for selling them separately.
Composite diamonds are a more affordable alternative to the traditional diamond ring. The best thing is that you will get the same CTTW but pay much less than for one stone.
Plus, using these gems is an excellent way to get a unique design that is equally suitable for casual and formal wearing.