How to Spot a Fake Diamond

Infographics on how to spot a fake diamond


One of the things we frequently see is the number of costume jewelry that is being passed off as “family heirlooms.” More often than not, the clients trying to sell them are unaware that they have fakes on their hands, and just believed that it is a valuable piece of jewelry passed on from generation to generation.

Some of these things are found in garage sales or thrift shops, while others got theirs at old fairs. Still, some of them have already spent some money trying to get to us, only to be told that their items are of no value.

To minimize instances like this from recurring, we’re sharing some home techniques which you can use to see if a diamond is real or not.

  1. The Breath Test – Take the piece of diamond in your hands and breathe into it as if you are trying to fog your bathroom mirror. Then, breathe into it again. If you see that the stone is turning cloudy and if it retains some of the moisture, it is most probably a fake. Diamond cannot retain heat, and so would remain clear faster than a fake would.
  2. The Sandpaper Test – You’ve probably heard that diamond is one of the sturdiest minerals. Rubbing sand paper on the stone shouldn’t damage it – if you see a single scratch, this probably means you’re dealing with a fake, such as cubic zirconium. This stone is mass-produced to look like diamonds, but are made of weaker materials, so it tends to be scratched easily.
  3. The Sparkle Test – Hold the diamond in the light and see how it sparkles. If you see that the inside of the stone shows rainbow colors, then you’re probably looking at a fake. While diamonds do sparkle, the inside of the stone has a white and gray brilliance, while it reflects rainbow colors onto other surfaces.
  4. Refractivity Test – If your stone is unmounted, then the easiest way to test its authenticity is to put it upside down on a piece of newspaper. If you can see the letters through the stone, the chances that you are dealing with a fake are very high. See, diamonds are renowned for their ability to bend light; you would therefore be hard-pressed to find a diamond that you can read through.
  5. The Mounting Test – Finally, and perhaps the most obvious, check the mounting. A valuable diamond would be unlikely to be placed in cheap metal. It is usually placed in either gold or platinum bands, with the karat or plat stamps visible in the inner part of the metal. If you can see a C.Z. stamp, then it’s probably another cubic zirconium and not a diamond. Also, if you can see the stone through the mounting, then it’s also a sign that it is not a valuable diamond.

Of course, the best way to determine the authenticity of a diamond is to have it brought to a gemologist. Try to find one in your local area or antique dealer, as they may have recommendations. However, if your little diamond fails one of your home tests, then you probably know the answer to its value.

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