How to Tell If a Diamond is Real or Fake

How to tell if a diamond is real or fake? Can you spot the phony ones or are you easily fooled?

How to Tell If a Diamond is Real or Fake

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

I’m going, to be honest with you. If you’re reading this article I’m assuming that you’re buying a diamond ring. You’re looking to buy the real deal because a fake diamond is not an option. It’s also important that it is certified, although there are many ways around this certification too. So, what happens if you see an amazing deal on a diamond ring and you simply can not resist it? The best way to determine if the diamond is real or fake is to do so yourself.

Hold The Diamond in Your Hand and See How it Feels

  • The first step is to hold the diamond in your hand.
  • The weight and feel of a diamond are unique. 
  • Diamonds feel heavy and cool when held in your hand.
  • Fake diamonds feel light and warm in your hand.
  • If the stone is mounted on a ring, you won’t be able to feel its weight as accurately, but you can still feel how it feels when it rests on your skin.

Look at The Diamond Through a Loupe

  • Look at the diamond through a loupe. 
  • Hold a 10x-power magnifier up to your eye and examine the stone, both the top and bottom of it. 
  • If you don’t have a loupe, use a magnifying glass or microscope. 
  • Check for imperfections, wear or tear on the stone, double refraction (two distinct images when light passes through the diamond), and any stamps on it that indicate its origin from manufacturers like “GIA” or “AGS” (the two most common). 
  • The absence of such stamps is not proof that a gem’s fake since not all diamonds are stamped by their manufacturers. But if there are no stamps of any kind, you might be looking at something else entirely.

See How The Diamond Reflects Light

Diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth, so this test should be performed very carefully. Diamonds will reflect light in a way that other materials won’t. 

Look at the diamond and observe how it sparkles–this is called “fire.” The diamond’s sharp angles cause it to reflect light back to you in a brilliant display of colors as you move it. 

Simulated diamonds (fake ones) do not put off fire like real diamonds do because they are made out of glass or cubic zirconia.

Test The Hardness of The Diamond With a File

If a diamond is real, it cannot be scratched with a regular metal file. Let’s say you want to test the hardness of your “diamond.” Find a metal file and rub the stone against it. 

A real diamond will not scratch or become damaged by rubbing against a metal file so if the “diamond” sustains any damage, it is not real. Scratch marks on the file indicate that your jewel is not real.

Watch The Diamond Move When You Shake it

When you try to shake a diamond, it should not move. A real diamond has weight and density to it, so it won’t shake or wobble in the setting. If you hold your diamond up and give it a bit of a shake and see that it moves in its setting, that’s a sign your stone is fake!

Check For Fogging by Breathing on The Stone

If you have a diamond, you should be able to breathe on it and see the fog of your breath disappear instantly. If there is no fog or if the fog lasts more than a couple of seconds, then it is probably not a real diamond. You can test other gemstones in the same way as long as they are not too porous to hold any moisture.

This works because diamonds are excellent conductors of heat. When you breathe on them with your warm breath, it takes away some of their heat and makes the surface of the stone much colder than room temperature. 

The cold stone will instantly make any moisture from your breath turn into the fog as it comes in contact with the stone; however, since a diamond is such an excellent conductor of heat, once you stop breathing on it, it will transfer all that heat back into itself so fast that it condenses all that fog back into water droplets and causes them to fall off from its surface almost immediately!

Put Your Diamond in a Cup of Water to Test its Density

If you have access to a scale that measures in carats and are able to weigh your diamond before and after submerging it in water (you’ll need to do this in airtight, room-temperature conditions), you can determine the density of your stone. 

Compare the stone’s weight in the air with its weight in water, which will be lower due to its displacement of water. Diamonds are denser than most other materials, therefore a fake piece will not displace as much fluid as a real diamond will. If the difference is exceedingly minute, or if the stone sinks completely, it probably isn’t authentic.

Dip Your Ring in a Glass of Water to Assess its Sparkle

Dip your ring in a glass of water to assess the sparkle.

A real diamond will sparkle more brilliantly than a fake one, so this is a good way to assess whether it’s real or not. After all, diamonds are cut precisely so that they can reflect light as much and as brightly as possible. 

The most brilliant-looking cut is the cushion cut, though this is not always the most popular option.

When you examine a diamond out of the water, try to get it in direct sunlight if possible. This makes it easier to pick up on its sparkles because there will be no competing sources of light around it. 

When assessing brilliance, think about how much light appears to be reflecting off the stone and how many facets are showing in different positions. The more facets that appear to be sparkling at once, the more brilliant the diamond is likely to be — which also means you have less reason to doubt its authenticity!

The Best Way to Find Out if a Diamond is Real

The best way to tell if a diamond is real or fake is to bring it in for an appraisal by a trained professional. The jeweler will look at it under magnification and look for the common tell-tale signs of a real diamond as outlined in our article.

Related Blog: How to Buy Brown Diamonds

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