One of the most common questions that gemologists are asked is how to tell the difference between a real diamond and a fake stone.
Test At Home
1. Look at the diamond and setting through a loupe.
A loupe is a magnifying glass that you can buy at any jewelry store and will let you take a closer look at your gem and setting. When you’re looking at a diamond, there are a few things you’ll notice, first, the majority of diamonds are made in nature so that means you’re going to see some imperfections in the carbon. A fake stone would be perfect — absolutely perfect. Second, observe the diamond’s edges. When you’re taking a look at a diamond through a loupe, a real stone is going to have sharp edges, and a fake stone will have rounded edges. Lastly, look at the mounting and etchings, especially any marks that signify what metal was used. If the metal is gold plated or silver, chances are it’s not a diamond because why would you put a nice stone mounted in such a cheap metal? Most diamonds are mounted in gold or set in platinum. Also take a look at the mounting itself and how that diamond is set. If the setting looks like it’s of poor quality, that probably means it’s not going to be a real diamond either.
Be Cautious: Most consumers have difficulty using a loupe and spotting inclusions: unless you have some experience looking at diamonds, the reflections and facet junctions can make it difficult to see small inclusions. Also, some diamonds are flawless and you will see no inclusions!
2. Do the fog test.
Breathe hot air on your diamond the same way you would if you were fogging up a bathroom mirror. A fake diamond will fog up for a short period of time whereas a real diamond will not because it won’t retain the heat.
Be Cautious: This test cannot be replicated with consistent results.
3. Hold it in the light to see how it sparkles.
The way that diamonds reflect light is unique: Inside the stone, the diamond will sparkle gray and white (known as “brilliance”) while outside of the gem, it will reflect rainbow colors onto other surfaces (this dispersed light is known as “fire”). A fake diamond will have rainbow colors that you can see inside the diamond. People have a misconception that diamonds sparkle like a rainbow, but they don’t. They do sparkle, but it’s more of a gray color. If you see something with rainbow colors [inside the stone], it could be a sign that it’s not a diamond.”
Be Cautious: When gemologists refer to a diamond’s sparkle, it means something very specific: scintillation. In addition to sparkle, scintillation also refers to the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond. Scintillation is only one aspect of a diamond’s appearance; other factors are brightness (the internal and external white light reflected from a diamond when it is viewed face-up) and fire (the scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow). It’s the combination of these factors that give diamonds their unique visual appearance.
4. Look at the stone’s refractivity.
Diamonds are so sparkly because of the way they refract and bend light. Glass, quartz, and cubic zirconium may mimic a diamond’s brilliance, but they have much lower refractive indexes. This means that if your stone isn’t in a setting, you can place it over a newpaper and the light will scatter inside the real diamond and prevent a black reflection. A fake diamond will let the black shine through, and you may even be able to read a word depending on the size of the fake stone. If your diamond is mounted, make sure you can’t see through it to the mount itself — that’s a very bad sign.
Be Cautious: Many variables can affect the results, for instance lighting conditions and surroundings, whether the stone is clean or dirty, the placement of the stone on the newspaper, the tester’s eyesight, the shape and proportions of the gemstone being tested, and/or whether it is mounted.
Test With Tools
it’s important to use the tools of a jeweler to test for genuinity. These tools can determine almost immediately if a diamond is real or fake.
1.Examining Using a Microscope
With a 1200x magnification on a power microscope, a jeweler or gemologist is able to scrutinize the stone in detail. At this level of magnification, they’ll be able to see inclusions and small differences in real diamonds compared to moissanite.
2. Get an x-ray examination
how-to-tell-if-a-diamond-is-fake. To have the internal, molecular qualities of a stone reviewed, send it to a professional diamond lab for testing. Their x-ray machines will be able to tell if the stone has a radiolucent molecular structure or a radiopaque molecular structure. Diamonds are radiolucent while fakes like cubic zirconium and crystals have more radiopaque features.
IS THE SCRATCH TEST RELIABLE TO ENSURE A DIAMOND IS REAL?
The scratch test was a once widely used technique that aimed to determine the hardness of a gemstone’s mineral. The test involved scraping the loose gemstone along a mirror to see if it would scratch the mirror or the stone.
While a diamond is formed with very strong materials, fakes like cubic zirconia and moissanite are quite durable and scratch-resistant as well. For these reasons, the scratch test is not accurate. You are better served to use other tests such as a thermal conductivity test or having the diamond inspected with a professional loupe tool.
Test With A Gemologist
Once you’ve done all your home/tool tests, it’s time to take your jewels that could be diamonds to a gemologist. the most reliable way to authenticate your diamond is to consult a trained gemologist or send it to an independent gemological laboratory for analysis.
What it could be instead of a diamond
White topaz — Topaz is a mineral that is usually tinted yellow, red, brown, or pale gray, but can sometimes be white or appear colorless. Diamonds are much harder than topaz, however, which can wear down and scratch over time making it dull or cloudy.
How to Recognize White Topaz
While a white topaz may look like a diamond at first glance, several characteristics separate it from a real diamond. The exterior is softer than a diamond and is easily scratched by other materials. You can also look closely at a white topaz using magnification to see if there are any scratches on the surface. Diamonds will not have scratches because of their durable composition.
White sapphire — We usually think of sapphires as being blue, but this gem can also be white. Just like topaz, sapphires are prone to more damage than diamonds and do not have the same fire and brilliance of a true diamond.
How to Recognize White Sapphire
Sapphires are commonly available in blue and a wide range of colors including white, which looks clear to the naked eye. White sapphires are often posed as diamonds but don’t offer the diamond’s signature sparkle and contrast of dark and light areas. If the stone seems more blurred in coloring—meaning it doesn’t have distinct light and dark parts—it is likely to be a white sapphire.
Cubic zirconium — Mass-produced since 1976, cubic zirconium scratches easily and does not have the same fire and shine as diamonds.
How to Recognize Cubic Zirconia
A cubic zirconia is one of the easier fake diamonds to test for authenticity. By using the sparkle test, for example, it’s relatively easily gauge the amount of sparkle and fire a stone is giving off. In addition, cubic zirconias reflect orange tinted light. They also weigh more than a real diamond and generally don’t have imperfections or inclusions. Real diamonds will have inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye or under a diamond expert’s microscope.
Moissanite — Moissanite is harder than cubic zirconium and these stones are visually dazzling. The main difference is that moissanites have a different brilliance than a diamond where you can see rainbow colors within the stone, giving it a disco ball effect.
How to Recognize Moissanite Perhaps the best actor in the fake diamond world is the synthetic moissanite. Distinction between the two is usually difficult for the naked eye and requires the expertise of a diamond professional.
An electricity conductivity test will indicate if the gemstone is a moissanite or a true diamond. Note that the thermal conductivity test is not a valid technique for recognizing moissanite because they have nearly identical thermal conductivity as diamonds.
Lab grown — Lab-grown diamonds are technically “real” diamonds both chemically and physical, but they will not fetch for the same price as a mined diamond.
How to Recognize Lab Grown Diamonds
With an increasing prevalence of synthetic diamonds, it’s important to know how to tell the difference between lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds. Synthetic diamonds have similar chemical and molecular components to real, natural diamonds. Because of their intricate internal qualities, we recommend having the diamond reviewed by an expert. They can run the conductivity test and look at the stone under high magnification. Even when it’s unclear to the naked eye how a synthetic diamond differs from a natural diamond, it is crucial for resale and insurance values. So the next time you run across something you think is just cheap costume jewelry, it’s important to test it — just in case.
CONCLUSION: Many of the tests in this guide, like the fog test and the thermal conductivity test, can help determine if a diamond is real. But due to the number and complexity of synthetic gemstone materials, we recommend consulting a diamond expert or jeweler to review the pieces you already have in your home. These experts are trained in knowing how to spot a fake diamond.
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