Inventions have always paved a way for options. This is exactly what happened in the 1700s. Glassmakers discovered how to make glass more dispersive. Over the years these techniques developed and gave rise to diamond simulants. What is a simulant you may ask. A simulant is a diamond imitation. It is something that looks like a diamond but is not a diamond. It is a transparent gem, that can come from either the ground or be made in a lab. This is different than a synthetic or lab-made or cultured diamonds. The main difference between a stimulant and a synthetic is that the latter has all physical and chemical properties similar to a diamond. A stimulant merely looks like one. Often people in the trade do get it mixed up. The GIA Lab makes a very clear and comprehensive distinction about that. Over the years, you have had a lot of these synthetics and simulates made.
The purpose of a simulant is merely to replace a diamond. A CZ or cubic zirconia is arguably the most common simulant. Its appearance is relatively close to diamond. Along with that, its brilliance and durability make it a desirable gem. CZ is termed as synthetic cubic zirconia because it is made in a lab. Remember the term American Diamonds? A CZ is an American diamond. Note: Zircon is not the same as a CZ. The names do sound similar, but their anatomy, is very different and so is their way of origin. The latter is made in a lab while the former is mined from the earth.