The truth about the Diamond Nexus cubic zirconia (CZ)
The Diamond Nexus "diamond simulant" has been subjected to variety of tests by 5 different independent gem and materials labs to determine the true nature and properties of the Diamond Nexus "diamond simulant". The summary of the testing can be summarized as follows:
  • Composition of stone: The DN jewel is an ordinary cubic zirconia. Most of the elements claimed by DN in the composition were not detected (except for those elements that are found in common CZ)
  • Existence of claimed coating: The DN CZ's tested did not have a corundum coating
  • Hardness: the claim of 9.1 Mohs hardness is not true as the DN CZ is "easily scratched" by a tool of 9.0 hardness
  • Optical Properties: The refractive index of the DNL CZ is 2.19 which is right in the expected range of a CZ, and well below the RI of diamond: 2.417. The refractive index is a measure of a gem's potential brilliance.
  • Weight:The specific gravity of the DN CZ matches that of ordinary CZ. It is not heavier as DN claims (Specific gravity is a way to express the relative density of a gemstone and is a well known and important tool in gemstone identification)
These tests were commissioned by a variety of entities including:
  • JCK, the jewelry industry's premier magazine publication as part of research for an article on diamond simulants
  • a former Diamond Nexus customer who suspected something was amiss once the DN CZ's started chipping and scratching with regular wear
  • a gemology school in Texas and consumer advocate, Interntional School of Gemology
  • two independent corporations who are leaders in the diamond alternative industry

Test #1 by Gem Certification and Assurance Lab - X-Ray Flourescense, Scratch Test & Specific Gravity - 2014

Test #1, June 2014: GCAL: Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (http://gemfacts.com)

About GCAL: Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL) is a diamond research and identification laboratory specializing in guaranteed diamond grading:
  • Employs some of the top experts in the diamond grading industry
  • Equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and instrumentation, including the DTC DiamondSure, DTC DiamondView and FTIR Infrared Spectrophotometer
  • GCAL is the only diamond grading company with a "Zero Tolerance" Consumer Grading Guarantee that provides cash-back for any error in grading or identification of the certified diamond
This test was commissioned by JCK magazine. Jewelers' Circular Keystone (JCK) is the jewelry industry's leading trade publication and industry authority for independent jewelry retailers.

JCK commissioned the report as part of an article written for June 2014 publication concerning diamond simulants. From the article:

Earlier this year, JCK bought a 0.76 ct. Venus Diamond Nexus simulant pendant. With shipping and an optional grading report from Los Angeles-based lab American International Gemologists (AIG), the item cost $193 total. It arrived within one week. We took the stone to Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL), a well-regarded New York City gem laboratory.

"When we performed X-ray fluorescence testing, we came up with 93 percent zirconium," says vice president and chief operating officer Angelo Palmieri. Although some of the other elements DN talks about, like hafnium, are present, he adds, "we also performed the same analysis on various cubic zirconia stones of varying sizes and shapes, finding an almost identical chemical composition, including the presence of hafnium. It could be they have a slightly different composition, but it's not clear what difference that makes."

Experts at GCAL found the stone's specific gravity to be 5.97, which is within the range of a typical cubic zirconia. While the stone's hardness is listed as 9.1 on the report, GCAL found that the sample could be easily scratched by a 9-hardness pencil. Palmieri says there "doesn't appear to be a coating!'

Test #2 by Anderson Materials - XPS Analysis - 2007 and 2012

Test #2: Anderson Materials (http://AndersonMaterials.com) - XPS analysis

Summary of the XPS analysis of the Diamond Nexus CZ:

"The principal elements of the gemstone are Zirconium, Yttrium and Oxygen, so the gemstone is a common cubic zirconia". No Hafnium, Iron, Nickel or Cobalt were detected despite Diamond Nexus Labs listing them as being present in the FAQ's page of their website. No corundum coating or many of the other elements listed by DN as part of the supposed composition were found.
Link to full report:
Click here to read full report

The original testing was done in 2007. In 2012, Dr Anderson was hired by a customer of Diamond Nexus to perform a new analysis of the Diamond Nexus CZ. She suspected that the jewelry she had purchased over the years from the company was made of cubic zirconia and she commissioned the analysis. Dr Anderson noted that the results had not changed from the test done 5 years prior in 2007. Click here to read full report

Test #3 by Innovatech Materials Analysis - EDS and ESCA analysis - 2010

Test #3: Innovatech Materials Analysis (http://InnovatechLabs.com) - EDS and ESCA analysis

Summary of the EDS and ESCA analysis of the Diamond Nexus CZ:

"EDS analysis detected mainly zirconium, oxygen and yttrium with some hafnium and carbon. No coating was detected."

"ESCA showed oxygen, zirconium and yttrium and carbon. No evidence of a sapphire coating."
Note that hafnium is a common impurity with cubic zirconia. Therefore it is not a surprise that it appears in any CZ stones.

Per Innovatech: "The ESCA data will almost always show the presence of carbon on any as-received sample" due to hydrocarbons in the air.

Link to full report:
Click here to read full report

Test #4 by Evans Analytical Group Materials Analysis - Raman Spectroscopy - 2009

Test #4: Evans Analytical Group Materials Analysis (http://eaglabs.com) - Raman Spectroscopy

Summary of the Raman Spectroscopy analysis of the Diamond Nexus CZ:

"Raman spectroscopy did not detect the presence of sapphire (corundum, Al203) on the "Diamond Nexus Labs" gem, which was indeed Cubic Zirconia (CZ)."
Link to full report:
Click here to read full report

Test #5 by ISG, International School of Gemology - Jemeter Digital 90 reflectance meter - 2008

Summary of the analysis of the Diamond Nexus CZ performed by the Jemeter Digital 90 reflectance meter:

"The Diamond Nexus Lab gemstone tested with a refractive index of 2.197. Far below the expected refractive index of a natural diamond, and right in the range of a cubic zirconia. There is not much else in the way of a colorless gemstone that is single refractive in this RI range except a cubic zirconia."

"We found that that the Diamond Nexus Lab gemstone has a specific gravity of 5.70. Far above the specific gravity of a diamond, but right in the expected range of a cubic zirconia."

Summary: the Diamond Nexus simulant was "nothing more than a cubic zirconia in fancy packaging"

Link to full report:
Click here to read full report

Concerning chain of custody for all tests

Note that IPCyberCrime.com was hired to purchase two of the Diamond Nexus stones (for EAG Labs and Innovatech Labs testing) in order to preserve the details of the testing at the strict level required for use as evidence in legal proceedings (chain of custody, etc). For the Anderson Materials test and the test peformed by ISG, Dr Anderson and ISG purchased the stones directly from Diamond Nexus. Therefore in all cases, chain of custody was established and we can be confident that a DN stone was tested.

History of Diamond Nexus' evolving claims

2005: in the beginning Diamond Nexus stated their simulant was ZrO2. Although the name "cubic zirconia" was not used, this is the formula. The Mohs hardness of 8.5, brilliance (refractive index) of 2.20, and dispersion (fire) of 0.060 were all approximately correct and in line with cubic zirconia (the correct RI for CZ is a little lower, 2.15 - 2.18). However Diamond Nexus did claim that the CZ had a diamond-like carbon coating (similar to DN's competitor: Asha). The pages can be viewed here and here.

2006: the Diamond Nexus science begins to change. The atomic composition is no longer only ZrO2, but also consists of the following molecular compounds: YO2, CaOx, MnOx, TiO2, and C. The Mohs Hardness has increased from 8.5 to 9.1 with no explanation for the change (but suspiciously now matches the hardness of a competitor's gem: Asha). The dispersion (fire) also shot up to 0.104 from 0.60 with also no explanation (but now suspiciously is the same dispersion as another competitor's gem: Moissanite). The page can be viewed here.

2007: The atomic composition of the gemstone has changed. It no longer consists of several molecular compounds but of the following elements: Carbon, Oxygen, Sulfur, Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Yttrium, Zirconium and Hafnium. The dispersion (fire) has now decreased significantly to 0.046 with no explanation. Also the claim that the DN CZ has a diamond-like carbon coating has disappeared. The pages can be viewed here and here.

2008: no significant changes were made except they now claim an "annealing agent ... as well as additional finishing forms an exponentially harder and less porous stone". The page can be viewed here.

2009-2014: the atomic composition has changed yet one more time. It now contains Calcium and Gadolinium. The full atomic list is C, S, Fe, Ca, Co, Ni, Y, Zr, Ga, Ha. It is now claimed that the Diamond Nexus CZ has a corundum (sapphire) coating

Summary: the claims have changed and evolved over the years without explanation. However although the claims evolved, the 6 different tests that were performed over the years by 5 different independent gem and materials analysis laboratories, all yielded the same results which are starkly different than the claims made by DNL, especially those claims it makes today.

Diamond Nexus Patent Application (for corundum coating CZ)

Diamond Nexus has applied for a patent for coating a "diamond simulant" with a corundum coating. The patent application can be viewed here.

If the Diamond Nexus "diamond simulants" were really something special and unique that "match the physical and optical qualities of flawless, grade D mined diamonds to near perfection, differing only in their elemental composition" as they have claimed on their website in the past and in press releases such as this one, you would think the creation of the unknown crystal core would be patented because it would be a miraculous scientific breakthrough. We get this instead:

The purpose of the patent application: "A method of forming a diamond simulant, comprising: forming a gemstone from a composition consisting essentially of yttrium and zirconia; and applying a coating of Al.sub.2O.sub.3to the gemstone. "

The diamond simulant "consisting essentially of yttrium and zirconia" you say? This simulant is more commonly known as cubic zirconia (CZ).

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article about cubic zirconia. In the third paragraph down it explains that yttrium is introduced as a stabilizer when CZ is synthesized. CZ will not stay in its crystal form at room temperature without a stabilizer such as yttrium to hold it together.

Additional information about Diamond Nexus and its founders

To learn more about the founders of Diamond Nexus, Gary LaCourt and Robert Joseph (Febre?), and their past criminal fraud convictions, see the link below:

To read an article written by the Jewelers Ethics Association concerning Diamond Nexus' false advertising, see the link below:

Diamond Nexus threatens legal response for this webpage

Given the great lengths that Diamond Nexus has gone to convince the public that it sells something more than an ordinary, common CZ, as one can imagine, they don't appreciate this webpage because it has made the truth accessible to anyone who is interested. As a result on September 10th, 2010, we received a legal letter from an attorney representing Diamond Nexus demanding this webpage be taken down. It stated we had 10 days to comply or a lawsuit would be filed seeking damages, legal fees, etc. The letter can be downloaded here.

If the results of numerous independent scientific tests were inaccurate, one would think that Diamond Nexus would pursue legal action against the laboratories who performed the tests. But no, they want to silence the messenger.

Our company responded within one business day. We requested that they file the lawsuit immediately. There was no need to wait 10 days. We also informed them of our intention to file a counter lawsuit under the Lanham Act for Diamond Nexus' false advertising and unfair competition. Our response can be downloaded here.

After DNL's lawyer received our response, we never heard from Diamond Nexus again.

True testimonials by Diamond Nexus' customers you won't find on their website

The following testimonials have been gathered from online, primarily from WeddingWire.com

"I purchased a loose stone from Diamond Nexus (this is before I had a chance to do some research on simulants) and brought it to my jeweller (who has a gemologist on staff) to overlook the stone. Quickly he could tell that is was a machine cut CZ. Nexus claims they have some sort of Nexus coating on the stones but they could not tell at all. They compared the stone to a generic CZ that they keep in stock and it was pretty much identical to it. The facets were also not nicely joined and the cut mediocre. At that point I had already purchased the stone so had it reluctantly set on my setting. Within a few months of my wife wearing it daily, you could already see fine scuffing on the top of the stone. My jeweller had a look and said it was the drawback of purchasing a CZ stone with 8.5 hardness. It will scratch easily. "

"I fell for the sales pitch 3 years ago and purchased an engagement/wedding band from DN believing that the "man made diamonds" were brilliant and durable for generations. I regret that my wife had to watch me place her wedding ring into a box to be shipped across the USA because the stone had become cloudy and the facets were chipped and scratched... I think DN has a good product but it definitely does not posses the timeless durability of a diamond. "

"I have had mine 2 weeks and already it is scratched! THEY DON'T CARE! I had mine reset and called them first to say it was ok and when i called them about the scratch they conveniently threw all their "read the small print bull****"... "They replaced the stone that had scratched, with my new setting. The only thing I had to pay for was an additional $125 (when I was quoted $50-$80 originally)"

"Because I was such a loyal fan & repeat customer, I was in shock/disbelief when I saw chips/damages to my DNL rings/pendants after a clean/examination of the pieces w/ a jeweler's loupe in Jan 2012."

"We purchased my engagement ring 6 months ago. Both my fiancÚ and I are in school, so we couldn't afford a real Diamond. I decided to try this company out. I have had my ring for 6 months and the center stone is already scratched. I called to complain and all they said is they could put new stone in. Am I going to have to keep sending my ring in every 6 months? The ring looks horrible now, I got so ashamed of wearing it because of the scratches, that I preferred to take it off. Now I have a useless ring, and I'm out 900 dollars which we couldn't really afford to begin with."

"I was proposed to 2 weeks ago with a DN ring (Myra) and within 2 days I noticed a chip, loose stone, side panel of diamonds is missing gold to hold a diamond in and the metal material (white gold) is scratched easily. I only do paperwork and typing at work so I feel that quality of the ring is poor and it saddens me, we have contacted DN and were told that we would recieve a call back but no call has been issued. Very disturbing and we feel misled. "

"I purchased a loose stone from Diamond Nexus. The material that was made from was not durable at all. The gemstone was chipped within a year. Called customer service and they do not backup their own products. Overall poor customer service and the associate who assisted me had an attitude and hung up on me. Regret ever doing business with them. I guess you get what you paid for."

"DNL claims to have "real" man-made diamonds, but the stones they sell look just awful after a day of wearing them.... I think they're just a CZ.. which I'd be fine with, if I didn't pay so much. From reading their site and viewing their videos I expected so much more. I'm very disappointed. "

"Dont waste your time or money! We ordered our engagement ring because it was fairly well priced and looked good on the website ..OMG what a dissapointment! After two months the gold already began to wear and the stone started to scuff on the edges. I then started noticing just how cheaply make the ring was. "

"Do not buy from diamond nexus. The jewelry looks good int he beginning then starts to look like garbage after a few months. of course their money back promise is only good for 30 days. I wish I could get my money back for it. I kept the ring and got a new real diamond. Don't mess around with this terrible product. I am out of the money I paid for this gemstone which looks terrible and cant do anything about it. terrible. "

"When i took my rings in for thier checkup so to speak they found that my dnl stone had scratches in it on the surface. So i had my jeweler remove the stone so that i could return it to dnl. I called them today and they said they won't do anything about replacing the dnl stone. But, they will be happy to place a new stone in my ring for me when i purchase another dnl stone for a price. I have purchased a couple of stones from dnl. Well i won't make that mistake again. Thanks for the lack of help dnl. No longer a customer in the future."

"Horrible customer service! Would not recommend. Took the ring to a jeweler and they said it was a cz stone. And a poor one at that. I know i was buying a simulated diamond but at least it could be a good simulated diamond. Not an overpriced cubic zirconia. They would not issue a refund because they said it was a custom order...... How is it a custom order if i bought it from the site??? This is a shady company! Wish i would have bought from another company."

Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is optically and physically inferior to Moissanite

Please follow this link how incredibly inferior CZ, including Diamond Nexus CZ, is compared with Moissanite. CZ is a perfect stone for silver and fashion jewelry, but is a temporary stone at best.
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