How To Tell if Your Diamond Is a Fake

Golden key with gem
When you head out to buy diamond jewelry, or receive it as a gift or as part of an inheritance, it is beneficial to get it checked and appraised, because in many instances, it is easy to get fooled by stones which are good lookalikes or out-and-out fakes. Ideally, the right way to tell whether the diamond is fake or not is to get it checked by a qualified appraiser. Also, there are certain checks which you can undertake yourself, though the chances of being misled are high. Listed below are ways and methods by which you can find out whether the diamond you possess is real or fake.

Step 1

Professional appraisal. While most jewelers are qualified to make an appraisal of the stone you're purchasing or already have in your possession, it is always better to get an independent appraisal from another source as well. Check out the contact details of qualified appraisers in your local phone directory or online. Ask some basic questions over the phone, or if you prefer, in person at their place of business. These should include the fees for their appraisal, whether the appraisal will be carried out in your presence or elsewhere and the time taken to complete the process. Usually, the appraiser should have no reason not to conduct the appraisal in your presence, so avoid appraisers who find it necessary to examine the diamond without you being present.

Step 2

Using a diamond tester. Use an electronic diamond tester to distinguish between real diamonds and lookalike fakes. This is not a 100% foolproof though, since some stones, such as moissanite are capable of fooling even the tester and showing up as a diamond. Therefore, using a tester should be one among various tests you subject your diamond to, not the only test.

Step 3

Checking for transparency. A diamond does not allow light to pass through by refracting light away from it. If you place your diamond on a piece of paper with writing on it, ideally you should not be able to read anything while looking through the diamond. If the stone you're testing allows light to pass through and enables you to read the print, then it is not a diamond.

Step 4

Checking under black light. When you use a black light source (ultra-violet light), a true diamond will usually fluoresce into various shades of blue, cubic zirconium, which is most often used as a diamond substance, fluoresces into yellow, while glass does not fluoresce at all. Therefore, you should be able to separate the real stone from the fakes.

Step 5

Cutting test. Diamond is commercially used for cutting other materials as it is a very hard substance. In fact, a diamond cutter is usually used to cut glass! A simple test you can do yourself, is to use the stone to make a cut on any piece of glass. If the diamond makes a mark on the glass, then the chances are high that the stone is real. However, even cubic zirconium also cuts through glass, so this test is also not foolproof.

Step 6

The 4 Cs test. This is a time-tested and guaranteed method of finding out if a diamond is real. The four Cs refer to - color, carat, cut and clarity.

Color - A standard grading system using alphabet letters from D to Z are used to categorize diamonds by color. Stones graded between D-J are colorless or nearly colorless stones and are more expensive. Stones graded K-Z vary in colors, shades and tints, usually yellow going up to darker colors such as brown or gray.

Carat - is a unit used to measure the weight of precious and semi-precious stones. A real diamond stone weighs between 1/3rd of a carat to a full carat. The higher the carat, the more expensive the diamond is.

Cut - Categorized under different types of cut, also classified into a standard grading system like color. The different cuts in which a diamond may be shaped are - brilliant, step and mixed. Good cuts (also more expensive) are about 53-64% of the stone's girth, the depth of the cut should be around 58-64%. Authentic diamonds come with certificates verifying the cut, issued by accredited institutions and associations.

Clarity - refers to the number and concentration of flaws which are found in natural diamonds, given their native environments and the effect of other minerals in the earth's crust. Clarity is rated under various categories - I1-I3, SI1-SI2, VS1-VS2 and VVS1-VVS2 - the latter two categories are reserved for rare diamonds which have no or almost no flaws. The former 2 categories which have varying degrees of flaws when seen under magnification and the prices may vary based on the number and incidence of flaws.

You are now armed with enough information which should help you make the determination whether your diamond is fake or real. However, it is always better to get a jeweler or professional appraiser to check the stone and always remember to look for the various certificates of quality which will accompany a genuine diamond.


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I learned a lot from this. Very informative. I could easily try no.3. Thank you!

By Anonymous

This is great as it makes me understand all the terms that appraisers use. Thanks.

By Mary Norton