The popularity and cost of diamonds has inspired an entire industry of copycat gemstones that are designed to mimic the real thing. The problem with this is that it becomes difficult to tell if your pricey gemstone is fake or original just by looking at it. To solve this challenge, any lover of gemstones should know how to tell if a diamond is real or not.
Buying a diamond is an emotional process, so you will want to master how to tell if a diamond is real before you sign on the dotted line. You cannot afford to lose your hard-earned money on a copycat gemstone.
How to tell if a diamond is real
Learning how to tell if diamonds are real or not is crucial because both look very similar. If you are not careful, unscrupulous traders can rip you off by selling you copycat gemstones at the same price at which authentic ones would cost.
If you have jewelry pieces that you wish to verify, we will provide you with at-home tests that you can use. They are simple, and no special equipment is needed.
1. The line test
How can you tell if a diamond is real at home? You can use the line test. It involves placing the stone on a single black line drawn on paper.
For a real diamond, the black line will disappear because white light bends when passing through an authentic diamond. The line appears much more visible through a fake diamond.
2. The water test
How do you test a diamond with water? The first thing you should do is to get a normal-sized drinking glass and fill it ¾ of the way with water.
Carefully drop the loose stone into the glass. If the gemstone sinks, it is authentic.
Will a fake diamond sink in water? No, it will not. If it floats underneath or at the surface of the water, you have a fake on your hands.
When learning how to test a diamond with water, you should understand that a natural one has high density, so the water test shows if your stone matches this level of density.
3. Use a magnifying glass
How can you tell if a diamond is real using a magnifying glass? To do this, hold a magnifying glass up and look at your gemstone through the glass.
Look for imperfections within the stone. If you are unable to find any, then your gemstone is most likely fake.
A majority of natural diamonds have imperfections which are known as inclusions. The real ones have sharp edges while regular stones tend to have rounded edges.
It is necessary to note that there are flawless real diamonds out there, but they are either lab-created or pretty pricey.
4. The fog test
How can you tell if a diamond is real or fake? You can use the fog test. Simply hold the gemstone or ring between two fingers and breath on it with a puff of air.
A light fog will form on the surface of the gemstone because of the moisture and heat in your breath. If the fog dissipates right away, it is authentic.
If it takes several seconds for the fog to disperse, it is likely a fake one. Natural diamonds effectively conduct heat and therefore disperse heat quickly, so no condensation can stick to the surface longer than a second or two.
Have you ever asked yourself how to tell if a mounted diamond is real? If so, this is one of the best ways to check the authenticity of your rings, earrings, necklaces, and other mounted gemstones.
NB: Before attempting the test, make sure that the stone is clean and not covered with any oil.
5. The sandpaper test
This is an extremely easy test because all you need is sandpaper and a little elbow grease. Simply rub the gritty side of the sandpaper against the stone.
Do not be afraid to do this as the grit on sandpaper usually has a hardness between seven and nine on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
Natural diamonds are one of the world’s hardest materials, so an authentic one will not be affected by the sandpaper, and should remain in perfect condition. However, a fake stone will get scratches.
If you do not have sandpaper, you can grab a knife and gently scratch the top of the stone. An authentic one will not scratch from stainless steel.
NB: Do not try the "how to tell if diamond is real using sandpaper or knife" test if you are not ready to lose your precious stone if it turns out to be fake.
6. The read-through/newspaper test
The read-through test, where you attempt to read some text through the gemstone, is the best test for loose or unmounted gemstones.
The first step in this test is getting a sheet of paper with plain black text on it. Alternatively, you can use a newspaper.
Turn the gemstone upside down and look through the upturned gemstone to read the words on paper. It is impossible to read through an authentic one because it will refract light so intensely that you cannot see through it.
A fake one, on the other hand, will allow you to make out the words printed on the page.
7. The sparkle test: How to tell if a diamond is real with a flashlight
Place your stone under a regular lamp or flashlight and simply observe the way the light reflects off of the stone.
Natural diamonds are great at reflecting light and provide exceptional sparkle. They are known for their brilliance, fire, and scintillation.
If you are holding an authentic one, you should be able to notice bright shimmers of white light bouncing off the diamond and colorful light reflections.
The white light that is bouncing off is known as the diamond’s brilliance whereas the rainbow light that is reflected is called its fire.
With light reflection, you should look for shades of gray. Synthetic stones, such as cubic zirconia, sparkle with more iridescent colors.
On the other hand, an authentic diamond reflects light in more grayish hues, so if yours is a stone of many colors, it is probably synthetic.
8. The heat/fire test
Do you know how to tell real diamonds using fire? To do this, expose a loose gemstone to an open but controlled flame, such as a lighter, for about 30 to 45 seconds.
Be careful with your fingers, and try to hold the stone with a pair of tweezers with a rubber base so there is no risk of getting a burn. Immediately after heating, put the gem in a container of cool water.
The authentic one conducts heat well and diffuses it evenly throughout the stone, while fake gemstones cannot withstand heat. The latter tend to shatter to pieces.
This will happen because weaker materials are not able to handle the rate of expanding and then contracting, unlike authentic diamonds that are formed under intense heat and pressure billions of years ago.
NB: Bear in mind that the extreme heat and sudden switch to the cool water will ruin anything other than authentic diamonds, so do not do this home test unless you are willing to ruin a fake diamond.
9. The ultra-violet test: How to tell a real diamond using ultra-violet light
Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation on earth, so you can use it to test if your gemstone is authentic or not.
A real diamond in sunlight or underneath ultraviolet light will fluorescence and turn blue. It is important to know that this will only happen with about one-third of all real diamonds.
A fake stone, on the other hand, will almost never look blue under black or UV light. This is not the most reliable test for those who would like to know the true status of their diamond.
The above at-home-tests are simple and pretty accurate when it comes to checking if a diamond is authentic. If you are still struggling with how to tell if a diamond is real using the above tests, visit a professional and reliable jeweler for assistance.