How to Tell a Fake Diamond from a Real Diamond – 8 Different Ways

Real diamonds vs Fake diamonds

How to Tell a Real Diamond From a Fake Diamond in 8 Different Ways

Have you ever wondered how to tell a real diamond? How do you know if a diamond is real or fake?

How to spot a real diamond from a fake diamond

Different kinds of diamond fakes

A real and fake diamond look very similar. There are simulant and synthetic diamonds.

Many ‘fake’ diamonds look alike. In our post today we’re going to show you some very clever ways how to tell a real diamond from a fake.

By using just one of our tests, you will learn how to tell if your diamond is real. Or is your diamond a worthless imitation? Some of the following tests need the stone unset from the ring mount.

What are Synthetic Diamonds?

A synthetic diamond is also known as a lab-grown diamond. Other names include a cultured diamond, or a cultivated diamond. They are produced artificially, unlike natural diamonds formed in the Earth.

Please note that our tests will not identify lab created diamonds. Most lab grown or created diamonds include a tiny inscription identifying them as lab grown for this reason. You might see small writing on the girdle of a real diamond or on a lab-created diamond.

What are Diamond Simulants?

Diamond simulants fall into the category of imitation diamonds—stones with gemmological features similar to diamond. Diamond Simulants differ from synthetic diamonds. In contrast, Synthetic Diamonds are actual diamonds having the same material properties as natural diamonds. For this reason, most of our tests help to identify a diamond simulant from a real diamond.

The following make perfect tests at home for testing fake diamonds. Some tests suit loose diamonds, whilst others suit diamonds already set.

1. The Line Test

How to tell a real diamond from a lookalike diamond - the line test

The line test involves placing the stone on a single black line drawn on paper. This is a great way how to tell a real diamond from a fake. The line appears much more visible through a fake diamond. When a real diamond is placed over the line, it cannot be seen. White light bends when passing through a diamond. For this reason, the line becomes less noticeable.

2. Check the weight and size of your diamond

A diamond of any given size will achieve a fairly typical carat weight. For example a 5mm round diamond will weigh close to 0.50cts (give or take a few points.) A CZ of the same size tends to way far heavier and this is a very simple sign that the stone is not a diamond. You can check the size and weight of your diamond against our online size chart.

 

round diamond sizes compared

3. The breath or fog test

Some diamond experts use a breath test to spot a real diamond from a fake. When you breath heavily on the surface of a diamond, moisture beads finely over the stone, disappearing very rapidly. This is on account of thermal conductivity. Fog disappears slowly from a non-diamond. This makes diamond a suitable material for electronics.  Lab grown wafer thin diamonds make ideal thermal conductors for circuitry. Diamonds are the best thermal conductor on Earth.

4. Touching a diamond with your tongue

Not strictly tasting the diamond, but some seasoned experts can tell a real diamond by touching it against their tongue. The cooler feel of the diamond on account of the thermal properties is very subtle and difficult to detect. A diamond will take heat away from the surface of your tongue. Diamonds are very good at dispersing heat. For this reason, lab-grown diamond wafers make great thermal conductors for electronic circuits.

5. Does your diamond look too perfect?

Here, we must be careful, since perfectly white, flawless diamonds do exist. Many synthetic/simulant diamonds imitate perfectly white clear diamonds free of any inclusions. If the stone appears very white and free of any small marks, you could have a fake. Or, you might be holding a very expensive diamond! CZ’s often appear almost purple-white compared to diamonds. For this test you need a 10X loupe or a magnifying glass. We grade diamond colour using a scale starting at D colour. Some imitation diamonds appear too good in colour. However, some gemstones set into Yellow Gold pick up colour from the metal colour, appearing less white. For this reason, most gemstones are colour graded loose.

6. How sharp are the facets on your diamond?

This is very difficult to judge. Compared to diamonds, many replica stones, such as Cubic Zirconia have more rounded edges to each facee. Diamonds appear sharper and keep this sharpness. Compare a diamond to a CZ under a 10X jewellers lens and upon looking closely this will be noticeable.

Lila engagement ring with heart shaped underbezel

The Lila engagement ring in white gold set with a large simulant for display purposes. (From the SD showroom.)

7. Is there lots of wear on your diamond?

Diamonds rarely wear. Diamonds can sometimes appear ‘smoked’ when a stone is literally burned under high temperatures. This produces a skin on the stone which requires polishing to remove. As a result, a smoked diamond reflects light in a reduced way with a dull surface.

Diamonds tend to keep their sharp, perfect polished facets for life. This is one of the reasons they are so popular for engagement rings. Cubic Zirconia and other replica stones wear more easily. Non-diamonds wear on the joins between facets. This can be seen with a jeweller’s lens or magnifying glass. Do not confuse wear with chips, polish marks or natural inclusions on the surface of the diamond.

Most people know that it takes a diamond to scratch another diamond. In fact, diamonds rarely pick up scratches unless it is from a diamond. On Mohs scale of hardness, diamonds are 10 on top of the list.

Rough materials such as sand-paper scratch diamond lookalikes, but not a real diamond. We do not advise this test to be carried out on any item unless there is no fear of damage. Most precious metals scratch easily, so be careful when considering this test.

8. Does your diamond have small marks?

Most natural diamonds have marks within the diamond. We refer to these as inclusions. If you can see small marks within your diamond the chances are that your diamond is real and not a fake. Diamonds are graded under 10x magnification to grade their clarity. Many items of cheaper jewellery feature diamonds with heavier inclusions. Some might call these common diamonds, or diamonds of a commercial grade.

GIA and IGI clarity grades compared

Ask an expert if you can’t tell a real diamond from a fake diamond

If you’re passing our showroom in Ryde, feel welcome to drop. We’ll be glad to test your ‘fake diamond’ to see if it is real. We test third-party ‘diamonds’ often. If your gemstone is real, or not, we can set your stone into one of our designs. We must, however, identify your stone before any work starts. Please just get in touch for a quote to set your stone into one of our many settings.

Why does a diamond glow under UV light?

When a diamond glows under UV light, this does not mean you have an artificial or fake diamond. Put very simply, some diamonds reflect UV light in varying degrees. As a result, some diamonds appear to glow under strong UV light. Read more on Fluorescence in our education section of the website.

Gemstone diamond lookalikes

For reasons of cost, some buyers search for lookalike diamond gemstones. Many clear white gemstones stand in for diamonds. Some cost far less than diamonds. But many lack the hardness and dazzle of a diamond. Here are just some gemstones used as diamond substitutes.

White Topaz

White Topaz costs far less than other gemstones. In addition, White Topaz can be cut into most shapes. Some buyers use White Topaz instead of a main diamond. Real diamond shoulders work well alongside Topaz. These add an element of ‘real diamond’ to a ring.

White Topaz one of the gem stones that look like diamonds

White Topaz gemstone looking very similar to a diamond. 

White Sapphire

Perhaps the best fake diamond substitute. Despite White Sapphires lacking the same ‘fire’ as a diamond, they are durable. Both Sapphires and diamond make tough gemstones, well suited to rings worn every day.

Moissanite

Moissanite was discovered in 1893 by a the Nobel Prize winning Chemist Henri Moissan. He discovered the natural form of this gemstone within a meteorite in Arizona. At first, mistaken for diamonds, he later established the crystals were formed from Silicon Carbide. Owing to the rarity of natural Moissanite, almost all Moissanite is lab grown. Furthermore, this diamond alternative appears similar to diamond, with visual differences. For example, the brilliance of both types of gemstone differ.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.