How To Spot A Fake Diamond
In the world of luxury jewellery and precious gemstones, diamonds hold a timeless allure. While they may not be the rarest gemstone on the planet (that honour goes to Painite, with only around 1,000 specimens in the world), there’s no denying the beautiful aura of a diamond and its symbolism of eternity.
Because of their timeless appeal, diamonds unfortunately fall victim to fakes and forgeries. For those interested in an investment such as a pink diamond or even a piece of heirloom diamond jewellery, it’s important to be able to distinguish between genuine diamonds and their imitations to ensure you aren’t falling victim to any scam. This is why we would like to guide you through the process of identifying a real vs fake diamond. From safe at-home tests to the more comprehensive procedures performed by professional jewellers, we can help you ensure the authenticity of diamonds and make the best purchasing decisions.
Step One: Observe The Stone’s Appearance
One of the first steps in detecting a fake diamond is to carefully examine its appearance. Genuine diamonds possess unique properties that set them apart from imitations, making it easier to identify a real vs fake diamond.
Genuine diamonds exhibit exceptional brilliance due to their refractive properties, creating vibrant flashes of light. A lot goes into determining a diamond’s brilliance, including internal reflection, total internal reflection, cut quality and facets, so studying these can give you a clue as to whether or not you’re dealing with a real diamond. The brilliance of a genuine diamond is unmatched by imitations, making it a crucial characteristic to observe when trying to decipher a diamond’s authenticity.
Natural diamonds typically contain small imperfections called inclusions, which are often absent in fake diamonds. Diamonds of absolute flawlessness, devoid of any inclusions, are exceptionally scarce treasures, so if you are being sold a “flawless” diamond, be very careful. However, there are diamonds with such minute and inconspicuous inclusions that they remain invisible to the naked eye and require magnification to be spotted, so don’t assume your diamond is fake if you can’t immediately see any inclusions.
Real diamonds come in various shades, from colourless to fancy colours including pink, yellow, chocolate, blue and red, but imitations may display unnatural hues or excessive colour saturation. You should also pay attention to the colour of light refracted from your stone – gemstones such as moissanite tend to throw “rainbows”, whilst a diamond exhibits more of a monochrome (but no less brilliant) refraction.
Australian Pink Diamond from Argyle Jewellers
Step Two: At-Home Tests You Can Try
Although not foolproof, some simple tests can be performed at home to help identify fake diamonds. Keep in mind that these tests are indicative and should be used in conjunction with other methods for a more accurate assessment.
This is one of the best tests you can perform at home, being safe, effective, and able to be used on both loose diamonds and diamond jewellery. To conduct the fog test, breathe on the diamond, creating condensation. If the fog dissipates immediately, it is likely a genuine diamond. This is because diamonds are quite conductive, so they are able to disperse heat quickly. However, if your foggy breath lingers for an extended period, it may be an imitation.
Another simple and effective test that won’t damage your diamond, the water test is another reliable means to identify a real vs fake diamond. Drop the diamond into a glass of three-quarters filled with water. A genuine diamond will sink to the bottom due to its high density, because as we all know diamonds are formed by carbon placed under extreme pressure. An imitation such as quartz or glass might float or sink slowly.
Step Three: Consult A Professional
To ensure the highest level of accuracy, it’s best to consult a professional jeweller or gemologist who can perform advanced tests and provide a conclusive assessment. Jewellers often use a diamond tester tool which measures thermal conductivity or electrical resistance, meaning they can rather quickly distinguish between a real vs fake diamond. In addition to this, they may also use a high-powered microscope to examine the diamond’s internal structure, inclusions, and other characteristics that might indicate authenticity (or lack thereof)
A Reminder: Paperwork Matters
If you’ve ever heard a phrase along the lines of “you’re buying a diamond, not the paperwork”, you’re most likely dealing with a seller that is trying to scam you. Genuine diamonds often come with grading certificates from reputable gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA). These certificates provide detailed information on the diamond’s quality and authenticity.
At Argyle Jewellers, all of our diamonds include such certificates.
What Gemstones May Be Used Instead Of Diamonds
There are a range of gemstones that are often used to mimic diamonds, whether it be for nefarious purposes, or simply to offer a beautiful alternative to a pricey diamond. These can include:
- White zircon
- Cubic zirconia
- White topaz
- White spinel
- White sapphire
- Lab-grown diamond (still a true diamond, but created under different circumstances)
We hope this article helps you make a more confident and informed decision in the future! If you have any questions about our diamonds or diamond jewellery, please get in touch – or, you’re welcome to visit us in-store and see our stunning specimens for yourself.