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How To Tell If a Diamond Is Fake

With a decent number of diamond simulants available on the market, you could unknowingly land yourself a sparkly simulant instead of the real thing. A diamond simulant mimics the appearance of a real diamond but does not have the same chemical composition as diamonds. Today we’ll help you answer the all-important question, “How can you tell if a diamond is fake?”

The following methods are all ones you can employ right from the comfort of your own home. Before you try any of these, you’ll need to have a jeweler’s magnifying glass, known in the trade as a “loupe,” to closely examine your stone.

The first and most sensible way to tell if your diamond is real is to look at it through a loupe. A loupe magnifies an object through its lens by ten times. When you loupe your diamond, chances are you will more likely than not notice internal (and occasionally external) flaws that occurred as the diamonds were formed (and even after formation) thousands of miles beneath the earth. While internally flawless diamonds are of course a real possibility, they are not very common. Unless you know you purchased or are looking at an internally flawless diamond that comes with a diamond report from a reputable gemological lab, such as the GIA, err on the side of caution and trust your inner voice that the so-called diamond you are looking at might be fake. Do note, though, that lab-grown diamonds (which are actual diamonds but are man-made rather than natural) can be flawless. In that case, if you’re shopping for lab-grown diamonds but want to ensure you are actually dealing with a diamond and not a diamond simulant, then the best thing to do is to have a gemologist look at it. You may also want to examine the stone’s edges – a real diamond will have sharp edges whereas a non-diamond will have round edges.

jeweler's diamond loupe

The most straightforward way to tell if your diamond is real is to ‘loupe’ it – view it and its telltale characteristics through a jeweler’s magnifying glass like the one pictured here.

If the stone in question is already mounted, loupe the mounting to see that it has certain engravings that state the type of metal the mounting consists of. Diamonds are nearly always set in gold or platinum. The standard stamps found on jewelry metals are 950 for platinum, 999 for 24K gold, 916 for 22K gold, 750 for 18K gold, 585 for 14K gold and 417 for 10K gold. If you encounter metal stamped with 925, be wary – diamonds are almost never set in sterling silver.

You can also test the authenticity of your stone by inspecting its refractive qualities with relative accuracy. Diamonds by nature are highly refractive – any light entering them will be sharply bent. To confirm this property of your stone, if your stone is loose, put it on top of a piece of paper with printed or written text, such as a newspaper article or page of a book. If you can see the text through your stone, we hate to tell you, but it’s most likely not a real diamond. If your stone is mounted in jewelry, upon close examination, if you can see the metal/setting through the stone, you also don’t have a real diamond on your hands.

The text under this ‘stone’ is clearly visible all the way through, which can mean only one thing – it’s not a real diamond, unfortunately. (This is actually a large cubic zirconium we use to illustrate the facet pattern of The Eighty-Eight.)

If you still have even a shadow of a doubt after trying these tests yourself, the only truly certain way you can be sure your diamond is indeed real is to bring it to a trained professional gemologist who has years of experience examining diamonds. The gemologist can tell you once and for all if your diamond is real and dispel any lingering doubts you might have.

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