One of the most common questions that diamond experts get is how to tell if a diamond is real or not authentic. Real diamonds and non-authentic diamonds such as Cubic Zirconia vary greatly in their value, yet many people aren’t able to differentiate between the two. Naturally, they’re curious about the value of their stone and want a quick way to figure out if it’s real. Many people will also ask this question when looking to buy diamond jewelry, wanting to ensure they’re getting what they’re paying for. Whatever your reason, there are a number of tests to help discover whether or not a diamond is real. While some of these tests can be done at home, the most definitive tests are better left to diamond experts who have a full understanding of a diamond’s structure and components and are trained to accurately appraise a diamond’s value.
While different experts have different methods for testing a diamond, these are the five I recommend.
Have your diamond checked by an expert
While plenty of tests can suggest whether or not a diamond is real, we highly recommend having a diamond expert help you. Basic tests like the fog test or water test can rule out some non-authentic diamonds, but the methods are far from reliable. A diamond expert like Rob Bockstruck has the expertise, experience, and resources necessary to definitively tell if a diamond is real. Bringing your diamond to a professional is generally a quick and easy process, and they have the tools necessary to find out for certain if a diamond is not authentic.
Check the Mounting
A general indicator of a real diamond is a stone that is set in high-quality jewelry. Because diamonds are expensive, they likely won’t be paired with cheap metal. A real diamond is most likely to be set in metals like platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and set in mountings with side diamonds.
To see whether or not the jewelry’s setting is legitimate, check for markings on the inside of the shank. The stamps are used to mark gold and platinum metals. Platinum will be marked with either “PT” or “Plat”. Gold will be labeled with “10K”, “14K”, or “18K”, or numbers such as “585”, “770”, or “950”.
If you ever see a stamp or engraving labeled “C.Z.” the gemstone is cubic zirconia, meaning it isn’t an authentic diamond. Checking the mounting is generally reliable, but not definitive.
Use a Thermal Conductivity Meter
You’ve likely seen a gemologist use a tool called a loupe to view diamonds. In addition to the tool, gemologists will also use a thermal conductivity meter. This tool helps determine the thermal conductivity of a gemstone. Because diamonds are heat conductors, a real diamond will disperse heat immediately after being exposed to warmth. If the stone doesn’t immediately disperse the heat, the diamond is not real.
Diamond experts will have high-quality conductivity meters, but cheaper versions are also available online. They aren’t nearly as reliable as the high-end tools but have been effective for plenty of people trying to tell if their diamond is real. This tool will work well to identify cubic zirconia, but other non-authentic diamonds such as synthetic moissanite stones are not easily detected. This is because these stone have very similar heat dispersing properties.
Jewelers who have experience measuring carat weight will usually have a precision scale for measuring. A real diamond is highly compact, so it will weigh less than a non-authentic diamond of equal size. In order to perform this test, special scales are needed. A non-authentic diamond of equal size and shape will also be needed to act as a comparison. If you have the proper equipment, this test is generally reliable. Still, it takes training to understand how much a real diamond will weigh based on its size.
Recognizing Cubic Zirconia
Diamond experts will likely all agree that cubic zirconia is one of the easiest non-authentic diamonds to identify. Basic tests like the “sparkle test” can gauge the brightness of a stone relatively easily, especially for someone who has looked at many real diamonds. Cubic Zirconias also reflect orange-tinted lights, which real diamonds do not.
Using a microscope, real diamonds will almost always have visible inclusions, as natural diamonds form under intense pressure and develop imperfections. Cubic Zirconia don’t have these imperfections.
The Best Way to Tell if a Diamond is Real
Diamond experts will generally test a diamond using a variety of methods that require special expertise. While a variety of methods can suggest whether or not a diamond is real, definitive answers are best left to professionals.
If you want expert equipment, expert advice, and expert care when finding out if your diamond is real, leave the job to a diamond expert.