Besides the trustworthy words of your jeweler, do you know how to tell if a diamond is real? And if it’s an antique diamond that’s been passed on through the generations, do you know how to determine if it’s truly a diamond?
Everyone believes you should question the authenticity and value of a diamond since it’s a purchase that will likely cost you months’ worth of your paychecks. But the meaning behind the gesture of the diamond ring is a lot more important than the premium price that you’ll pay to own such a precious gemstone.
Besides the value of the diamond and the ring setting itself, you know that this gemstone is a symbol that goes beyond money. It’s a symbol of your future and your future wife will fall head over heels in love with this beautiful ring. But you certainly don’t want her to learn that you accidentally purchased a fake because that would crush her.
4 Tests That You Can Use to Determine If You’re Buying a Genuine Diamond or Not
- The Fog Test – this test works by breathing on the diamond, but know that your results could be different depending on the conditions of your environment. Overall, you’ll take a soft cloth and clean the diamond to remove dirt and oil from the surface. Afterward, put the diamond in front of your mouth holding it with tweezers and breathe on it. Heat and moisture will cause the diamond the fog. If the fog takes more than a few seconds to begin dissipating, it’s possible that it’s a fake. On the other hand, if the fog disappears swiftly it is a real diamond. Diamonds are conductors of heat, so they immediately disperse heat.
- The Water Test – this test works by putting the diamond in a glass of water. Because diamonds consist of a high density, you can drop it in a glass of drinking water filled three quarters of the way. If it’s a real diamond it’s going to sink directly to the bottom. If the “diamond” begins to float on the surface, you aren’t in possession of an actual diamond but a fake cubic zirconia. But this test isn’t enough to confirm if a gem is a diamond or not. In some cases cubic zirconias and moissanites will also be heavy enough to sink.
- The Heat Test – this test is really scary because it seems like it will cause serious damage. But if you have a genuine diamond you don’t have anything in the world to worry about. Real diamonds are the strongest gemstones in the world. In fact, they are so strong that they can cut through glass and do not melt or crumble in high temperatures. To perform this test, fill cold water into a glass. Grab the diamond with pliers and then hold a lighter under it for 40 seconds. Afterward, drop the diamond into the water. If your diamond is real nothing will happen. If you have a fake diamond, it will definitely break or crack because it’s made of much weaker material than a diamond in its truest form.
- The Sparkle Test – diamonds are well-known because they have a beautiful sparkle. So if you’re looking for a way to test a diamond by looking at it with your eyes, determining if there is scintillation, fire, and brilliance will help you decide if the stone is real or not. Put your diamond under a lamp and see how the white light bounces off of it. Also look for the color reflections. If the diamond is real it will sparkle incredibly and it has much more brilliance than cubic zirconias, as an example.
Diamond Look-Alikes and Other Lab Created Diamonds
- Cubic Zirconia – because a cubic zirconia doesn’t have any inclusions, it’s a massive indicator that it is not a diamond since all diamonds have imperfections. In some cases you can see them with the naked eye and in other cases you can see the imperfections looking at them with a loupe. A cubic zirconia also has an orange noticeable tint and it doesn’t have the same brilliance as a diamond.
- White Topaz – this synthetic gemstone is much softer than a diamond so it actually scratches a lot easier. If scratches are all over the surface of your stone, it’s possible and probably likely that it is a poor cut diamond that isn’t polished right or even more likely that it is a White Topaz. You don’t want either so steer clear.
- White Sapphire – most people know sapphires because they are multicolored like red and blue and others, but they also have White Sapphires as well and many attempt to pass them off as diamonds. But there is a stark difference when you compare a diamond and a White Sapphire side-by-side. A white Sapphire has a very blurry look whereas a true diamond has incredible brilliance and the light and dark parts contrast as well.
- Moissanite – when you look at the stone you’ll see that it is definitely the closest thing to an actual fake diamond. When you test it, you’ll learn that it’s complicated to tell the difference. Ultimately, to determine if this gemstone is different than a diamond you have to use an electrical conductivity test. But the results are on the tricky side as well, so have a professional determine if your gemstone is actually a Moissanite.
- Lab Created Diamond – while there’s really nothing wrong with lab created diamonds – it is still a diamond after all. But because they’re grown in the lab, they aren’t made in Earth’s mantle like a real diamond. They contain all of the molecular components of a diamond, yet to tell the difference between the two you must perform an electric conductivity test.
- Real Diamond – a real diamond is in a class of its own and it has the brilliance, scintillation, and fire to prove it. When you look at one under 20 X magnification, you’ll see why no other gemstone can compare to a diamond.
Using a Diamond Loupe
You’ve spent some time learning about diamonds and you even understand the 4Cs. You could take a closer look at the scintillation, clarity, and composition of a diamond if you have a solid magnifying glass in your house.
You’ll be able to tell if it’s a cubic zirconia or other fake diamond if it looks too flawless. Under a microscope, natural diamonds have visible flaws as we all know. If you do not own a loupe or you aren’t 100% positive that you performed the test right, speak with a diamond specialist to get their expert opinion.
Check with Diamond Grading Labs and/or Appraisers
It feels good being able to authenticate your diamond without hiring a professional, but if you’re uncertain it’s definitely the smart way to guarantee the best results. GIA and AGS are highly respected gemological labs that possess the best equipment in the world. They can identify copycats and fakes.
These appraisers are trusted and highly valued. In fact they are considered the main authorities on grading diamonds throughout the world and they can tell you if a diamond is legitimate or not. Even more important, a grading report from AGS or GIA is a major honor and it will help you sleep at night.
Purchase from Reputable Online Retailers
If you purchase a diamond, make sure you buy it from a place that has authenticated it with AGS or GIA. And make sure they’re a reputable online diamond retailer. Our favorite recommendation is James Allen because he provides HD videos of all his diamonds and pictures that zoom in at 40 X.
Although somewhat effective, the tests above will not necessarily conclusively prove whether or not you have a diamond. Consult with a reputable shop or someone with training who knows what he or she is doing.
At the same time, it’s fun to create these experiments at home. They are safe, easy to do, and exciting. But if you really need to prove whether or not your diamond is a fake you should definitely trust the experts.