How To Tell If A Diamond Is Real

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How to tell if a diamond is real

There are few things more beautiful in this world than a brilliant diamond. But diamonds are extremely valuable and expensive and sometimes people try to pass off a fake as the real thing.

There are a couple of stones that often replace diamonds for alternative bridal items, including white sapphire, cubic zirconia and moissanite (and even glass). But when trying to learn how to tell if a diamond is real, there are a few things to consider.

"When trying to determine if a diamond is real, I always recommend visiting with a diamond expert, especially because lab-grown diamonds are now in the marketplace and special equipment is needed to determine if a diamond is a natural or lab grown diamond. There is a large value difference between the two," says Kaeleigh Testwuide, owner of The Diamond Reserve.

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Experts know there are few tricks of the trade to determine if it's a real diamond. Says Testwuide, "We look for different kinds of inclusions/flaws within the crystal structure and where they are located. If the stone was a cubic zirconia or moissanite, it would most likely have no inclusions. Natural diamonds with no inclusion are very rare, so this would be an indicator it was not a real diamond.

Then there is feeling the polish of the diamond between the fingertips. Moissanite or cubic zirconia will have a plastic-type feel to it. Examining the diamond's faceting under magnification, if the faceting of the stone is strange it would be a sign it was not real. Another really great indicator is if the diamond's measurement-to-weight ratio is off; for instance, it has a measurement of 1 carat, but when put on the scale weighs in as 2 carat."

When you bring a diamond to a broker or jeweler, they will check if it is real by using a diamond tester.

"If the diamond tester reads positive as a diamond, then should use a tool to check if it is a lab=grown diamond. This tool checks for how pure carbon the diamond is; Type IIA diamonds contain very little to no nitrogen atoms in the crystal structure, making up only about 2 percent of diamonds found in nature, making them very rare. So if the tester reads Type IIA, it is highly likely it is a man-made diamond," Testwuide reveals.

To be 100 percent sure if a diamond is real, work with a private jeweler and have them send it to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for testing. This could run you a few hundred dollars, but would be 100 percent accurate. And if this all sounds too complicated, there are a few other ways to tell if it's real, all on your own.

1. Diamonds are extremely sparkly

They will sparkle even when dirt, oil and lotion get on them. White sapphires are a great example, because if they're dirty they won't sparkle.

According to Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer and Creative Director of Flourish Thrive Academy, “If you notice the sparkle factor or brilliance of the 'diamond' dimming if your diamonds are dirty, that might indicate that the stone is not real.”

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2. Blow on it

If you blow your breath on a diamond, it will fog up, but only for a second or two. “If you blow your breath on a stone that's not a diamond and the 'fog" lingers, you might have a fake stone,” Matthews warns.

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3. Spark a flame

“Intense heat and fire might shatter a glass or fake stone. If you put fire on a diamond for 30 seconds and it remains in tact, it's likely a real diamond,” says Matthews.

4. Remember that diamonds are the strongest stones on earth

“Diamond dust is used to cut and clean gemstones and glass and many other materials. If you have a loose diamond and a sheet of glass, you can cut glass with the diamond point,” Matthews suggests. That would indicate a diamond is real.

5. Do a floating test

Does it float? Grab a glass of water and throw that diamond in. “Diamonds will sink to the bottom of a full glass of water,” Matthews reveals. And fake gemstones will float.

6. Do a UV test

“Diamonds emit a blue-colored glow when placed under a UV light,” says Matthews. But fake diamonds or other stones will not.

7. Use a microscope

“A real diamond will typically have small inclusions that are detectable under a loop or microscope,” advises Matthews. A fake diamond might be "perfect" and have no flaws under a loop. So, yes, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

8. Take it for x-rays

“If you want to go really ninja, you can have the diamond X-rayed and you'll know if it's a fake!” Matthews suggests.

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at

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