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How to identify if your diamond is natural or synthetic
Jan 15, 2021

Today, we have many diamond variations and alternative in the market. And people like to term them real, fake, synthetic or simulated based on their understanding.

In that case, it is very important to have right information about these used terms. You see, according to GIA (Gemological Institute of America), lab made diamonds can also be referred as synthetic diamonds. Which means, synthetic diamonds are NOT fake as coined by some people.

The simulated diamonds are stones that only look like diamonds. Some of them are Cubic Zirconia (CZ), White Sapphire, Moissanite, Zircon, Rutile, Spinel and Synthetic Garnet. They are NOT fake (diamond), they are just NOT diamond.

Along with different terminology and understanding, people also claim to know different diamond testing methods. Amusingly, most of these tests are myths.

In that case, along with discussing the right ways to know if your diamond is real, we will also discuss the popular DIY diamond testing myths and the facts behind it.

DIY Diamond Testing Myths and the facts behind it:

Statement 1: Jeweler’s loupe can tell you if the diamond is real or synthetic. Apparently, the real diamond must have inclusions whereas synthetic diamonds will be perfect.

Fact about this statement:
A lot of common people can’t use a loupe or even worse, can’t find inclusions. Moreover, a lot of diamonds won’t have any inclusions and will still be real.

Result: This statement is a complete myth.

Here’s why:

  • Inclusions are the result of a gem’s crystal growth process.
  • Moreover, the inclusions do help gemologist to verify the realness or the imitation in a diamond. But, it is the type of inclusions (and not their absence) that makes the difference.
  • On the other hand, glass imitations can have gas bubbles, which could look like natural inclusions to an untrained eye.
  • Many natural stones have synthetic counterparts with the same chemical composition, crystal structure as well as optical and physical properties.

Statement 2: A real diamond will have sharp edges. Apparently, a fake diamond has brittle ends.
Facts about the statement:
This statement stands true, but only for the diamonds made in mould.
While it is true that natural diamond have sharp edges. But at the same time, any imitated diamond or
any gem, natural or synthetic may have the same.
Result: This statement is majorly a myth.

Statement 3: You can spot a real diamond by the quality and metal of its setting.
The metal set does not define the quality of diamond. Many people prefer gold and platinum to set their diamonds. While, due to their rising prices, a lot of people set their diamonds in silver and any other mixture of metals.

Result: The statement is complete a myth.

Statement 4: Rub the gem with sandpaper. If the stone is real, the stone will not sratch.

Facts about this statement:
Myth or not, you must never use this technique,

Here’s why:
The hardness of sandpaper is somewhere in between 7 to 9. In that case, using it on a softer stone or metal will damage it and degrade it’s value.

Result: The statement is a complete myth.

Statement 5: Do the fog test.

How’s it done?
Breathe on the gem. If the diamond is real, it will not fog.

Facts about this statement:
This test cannot be replicated with consistent results.

Here’s how:

  • You don’t know how long to breathe on the gem.
  • How large should the surface area of the gem has to be for the fogging to set.
  • More importantly, the surrounding humidity may affect the result.
  • Worse, synthetic and real diamond will react the same way to fogging.

Result: The statement is plainly a myth

Statement 6 : A real diamond sparkles
Different people have different definition of sparkle. Moreover, to an untrained eye, any gem stone will sparkle.
All that glitters is not gold. Just like that, all that sparkles is not a diamond.
Moreover, different diamonds with different cuts, sparkles differently.
For example, an emerald cut diamond does not shine as much as an oval cut diamond. But that does not mean, emerald cut diamond is any less of a diamond.

Does the sparkle have any specification?
Yes, gemologists have a definite reference to sparkle of diamond: scintillation . It refers to the patterns formed by the light and dark areas caused by reflection within the diamond.

The scintillation of a diamond depends upon the style and quality of cut, number of facets, lightning and cleanliness.

Besides, scintillation is only one factor of diamond. Other factors are brightness and fire.

What is the brightness of a diamond?
The internal and external white light reflected from a diamond when it is viewed face-up is the brightness of a diamond.

What is the fire of a diamond?
The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow is the fire of a diamond.

The combination of scintillation, brightness and the fire of diamond come together to give diamond their unique visual appearance.

Result: The statement is a complete myth

Statement 7: Perform newspaper test- You can’t see the type through real diamond

Facts about the statement:

A well-cut modern round brilliant diamond is highly refractive. Which means, as light passes through it, the light slows down and bends. As you look through the diamond to the newspaper, the refraction causes a visual distortion, making the newsprint unreadable.

On the other hand, what about the variables involved in the test? For example, the surrounding lighting conditions, the cleanliness of the stone, the position of the stone on the newspaper, the tester’s eyesight, the shape, cut and proportion of the gemstone being tested, the mounting of the gemstone, if it exist.

Result: This statement is a complete myth.

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.

So how to know if the diamond is real or not?

Simple. Get is tested by a certified gemologists or gem testing lab. There is not DIY method to know if your diamond is real unless you are a certified gemologist. The most reliable way to identify if your diamond is real is to consult a gemologist. You can also send your gem to an independent gem testing laboratory for testing. Also, note that any above mentioned or other DIY way could destroy your gem.

A credible lab, like GIA, have the right knowledge and technology to distinguish between natural diamonds, diamond simulants (or imitations), and synthetic diamonds and to detect diamond treatments.

If your diamond already has a verified report from GIA or any other such credible lab in your region, then stay assured; You have a real diamond.

These reports give you a quality assessment based on 4C. i.e: Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Along with that, you also know if your diamond has gone through any prior treatments.

Before you get your diamond tested, note that synthetic diamonds are NOT imitations. They are as real as natural diamonds. They have the same physical and chemical properties.

How to get an assessment report for your diamond?
You can visit your trustworthy jewellers and ask them to send your stone to a verified gem testing lab like GIA. Our team Dharam will also help you with the task. Contact us today.