Diamonds have several “fake” equivalents and are easily mistaken for the real thing. Various lab-created stones resemble real diamonds. White sapphire, white topaz, and colourless zircon are some natural gemstones resembling diamonds. They are YAG (yttrium aluminium garnet), GGG (gadolinium gallium garnet), CZ (synthetic cubic zirconia) and synthetic moissanite.
The expert advises being aware of the many sorts of diamonds. The biggest misunderstanding is that there is only one kind of “fake.” There are several fake diamond alternatives and stimulants available. Some of these alternatives are desirable in and of themselves, while others are worthless. Some qualities of a real diamond cannot be faked.
1. What is a Diamond?
Pure carbon makes up a mineral known as diamond. It is the most popular gemstone, and the hardest naturally originated substance. Diamonds are very hard and have a variety of major industrial applications.
The diamond is the April birthstone and symbolises enduring love in gemstone symbolism. Diamonds are worth the stones due to their hard nature, brightness, and sparkle. Diamonds measure in carats, 200 milligrammes, and points, which equals 0.01 carats. In addition to gem-quality stones, industrial diamonds come in various forms, and since 1960, synthetic diamonds have been created on a large scale.
Three deposits contain diamonds: kimberlite pipes, glacial tills, and alluvial gravels. Kimberlite pipes, which bring diamonds, other minerals, and rocks from the core, are formed by magma intrusions into the Earth’s crust. Such pipes are found in Kimberley, South Africa. Diamonds must have been liberated from the kimberlite matrix by glacial or fluvial erosion, and subsequently, they must have been returned to the soil in glacial till or in rivers.
Diamonds can be transparent, translucent, or opaque and range from colourless to black. The majority of diamonds used as jewels are clear and practically colourless. The most valuable stones are colourless or pale blue, but these are uncommon; most gem diamonds have a yellowish tint. The body colour of a “fancy” diamond is distinct; red, blue, and green are the rarest, while orange, violet, yellow, and yellowish green are prevalent. Most industrial diamonds are grey or brown, transparent or opaque, yet superior industrial stones subtly degrade into inferior gems. Diamonds can have their colour altered by heat treatment or severe radiation exposure.
The diamond’s exceptional brilliance results from its extremely high refractive power. A well-cut diamond will reflect more light into the observer’s eye than a gem with lower refractive power, giving it a more brilliant appearance. Diamonds have a significant degree of dispersion, resulting from separating white light into its component colours as it travels through the gemstone.
Each carbon atom in the atomic structure of a diamond is connected to four equally spaced neighbours throughout the crystal, according to research using X-ray diffraction techniques. The properties of diamond, the other form of native carbon, are very different from those of graphite due to its close-knit, dense, and tightly linked crystal structure.
2. Mounted and Loose Diamonds
Testing a loose stone or one that hasn’t been placed in a setting is the simplest way to check for authenticity and find any defects. Frequently, mounting a mounted diamond can conceal any faults, cracks, or chips. Additionally, mountings reflect light into the diamond, making it challenging for anybody other than a competent jeweller to determine the stone’s clarity, colour, or carat. When buying a mounted diamond, you might ask the jeweller to take the stone out so you can examine it in detail while free.
You can try various tests on a loose diamond and a real diamond, but it is easier to distinguish between real and fake diamonds if you have a loose diamond.
3. How to Tell if a Diamond Is Real
It is strongly advised to consult a respected jeweller if you have doubts about a diamond’s authenticity. However, there are certain ways to determine a fake or a real diamond with some at-home tests.
3.1) The Fog Test
Hold the diamond in front of your mouth and use your breath to fog it up like a mirror to see whether it is genuine. The stone is probably a fake if it continues to be fogged for a few seconds. Since the condensation doesn’t adhere to the surface of a real diamond, it won’t be as easy to fog it up.
3.2) With the Magnifying Glass
By holding a magnifying glass up to the diamond, you may check to see if it is genuine. Look for flaws in the stone itself. The diamond is probably a fake if you are unable to find any. Inclusions are flaws that are present in most genuine diamonds. There are flawless diamonds, but they are either lab-created diamonds or quite expensive, given the unusually high grade.
3.3) The Black Light Test
For this one, you’ll need a black light (also known as a UV light). When you’ve got it, turn out the lights and place the diamond in front of the black light. Under a black light, most diamonds will exhibit blue fluorescence; as a result, you will notice a medium to intense shade of blue, indicating that the diamond is genuine. The gem is probably not a real diamond if you don’t detect the blue colour but observe a slightly green, yellow, or grey fluorescence. But remember that not all genuine diamonds will exhibit a blue fluorescence. Therefore this test is not conclusive.
3.4) The Test With a Loupe
A loupe is a compact magnifying tool that jewellers use to view minute details up close. The only real distinction between a loupe and a magnifying glass is that a loupe has an attached handle and a slightly more conical lens frame. Most jewellers use loupes to check the quality and clarity of diamonds. Once you have one, use the loupe to browse through it and search for inclusions. Small, inherent flaws in mined diamonds typically serve as proof that the stone is genuine. Next, look for minute mineral specks or subtle colour alterations. The diamond is most likely real if there are indications of minute colour variations and flecks.
Take into account the fact that some natural diamonds are perfect. You may not necessarily be dealing with a fake stone if there are no defects or imperfections, but you are likely dealing with a rare perfect diamond. Don’t use this strategy to make your ultimate decision, even though most diamonds frequently have flaws. Since lab-grown diamonds are created in controlled circumstances, they often don’t have any flaws.
3.5) The Sparkle Test
You can conduct the following test without a loupe. Hold it up to a light source to observe how the gemstone reflects white light. The way real diamonds glitter and shimmer is what makes them so lovely. In contrast, a false diamond will appear lifeless.
3.6) How to Tell if a Diamond Ring Is Real Based on Its Setting
Even though this is not a conclusive test, we recommend it as a simple way to tell if you are holding a fake diamond ring. Real diamonds are typically set in valuable metals like platinum, white gold, or yellow gold. The type of platinum or gold (10K, 14K, and 18K) is imprinted into the inside of the band. The stone is probably a fake if the setting does not indicate a precious metal.
3.7) Water Test to Check if a Loose Diamond Is a Real Diamond
If you have a loose diamond, this water test will be simple. It doesn’t matter what kind of water you use; get a glass and fill it with water. Place the diamond in the water-filled glass. The diamond is fake if it floats to the top or centre of the glass. A real diamond will float when thrown into the water because of the high density of diamonds. It’s just basic physics.
3.8) Heat Test to Check if A Loose Diamond Is a Real Diamond
Use a pair of pliers to grip the loose diamond while you warm it up with a lighter to do the heat test. Put it into a glass of cold water after 45 seconds have passed. Since a true diamond is one of the strongest materials on Earth and has high heat resistance, it won’t be harmed by the sharp temperature fluctuation. A false diamond made of glass or zirconium, however, will break.
3.9) The Dot Test for Loose Diamonds
Light refracts through a genuine diamond. This is what gives it glitter and brightness. Draw a tiny dot on a paper sheet to test your stone’s reactivity. Check to determine if you can see the dot through the diamond by placing it over it. If the diamond is real, the picture refracts, and you won’t be able to see it. A newspaper can also be used to carry out a similar test. If the black lettering is visible through the stone when the diamond is flat-side down, it is probably a fake. However, a real diamond will refract the picture, so if it is the actual thing, you won’t be able to see through the stone.
3.10) Using a Diamond Tester
You can use a thermal conductivity probe to conduct a test if you have the time or desire to acquire the necessary equipment (a.k.a. diamond testers). To ascertain whether your stone is a genuine diamond, use this equipment to test its conductivity. You’ll need to run a second electrical conductivity test to tell a real diamond from moissanite because both materials will get the same result.
4. How To Recognise Different Diamonds
4.1) Synthetic Diamonds
The Earth’s mantle is where the majority of real diamonds are found. Although most diamonds today were created by a natural process millions of years ago, synthetic diamonds are becoming more common. Understanding how to distinguish between lab-created and natural diamonds is crucial. Real or natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds are chemically and molecularly comparable.
It is advised to have the diamond examined by a professional due to its complicated internal characteristics. Both the conductivity test and a close-up examination of the stone are options. It is essential for resale and insurance values, even when it is difficult to tell with the naked eye how a synthetic diamond differs from a natural diamond.
4.2) Cubic Zirconia
One of the easiest fake diamonds to verify is the validity of cubic zirconia. For instance, the sparkle test makes it extremely simple to determine how much fire and sparkle a stone is emitting.
Additionally, cubic zirconias reflect light that has an orange tinge. They often don’t have flaws or inclusions, and they weigh more than a real diamond. Inclusions in real diamonds are spotted with the naked eye or under a microscope by a diamond specialist.
4.3) White Sapphire
Sapphires are found in blue and various other colours, including white, which appears clear to the unaided eye. If the stone’s colouration appears hazier and lacks definite light and dark areas, it is most probably a white sapphire. White sapphires are frequently sold as diamonds, although they lack the glitter and contrast between light and dark areas that distinguish diamonds from other gems.
Synthetic moissanite is the best performer in the field of fake diamonds. The ability of a diamond expert is normally necessary because the visual distinction between the two is typically challenging. An electricity conductivity test will provide this information if the gemstone is moissanite or a real diamond. As moissanite and diamond have almost comparable thermal conductivities, it should be noted that the thermal conductivity test is not a reliable method for identifying moissanite.
4.5) White Topaz
Although a white topaz first has a diamond-like appearance, it differs from a genuine diamond in several ways. Diamonds are extremely resilient so they won’t get scratched. The surface is less hard than a diamond and is easily damaged by other substances. A white topaz can also be examined attentively using a magnifying glass to check for surface blemishes.
5. Facts You Didn’t Know About Diamonds
5.1) Diamonds originate in the Earth’s interior throughout billions of years, making them almost as old as the planet itself. Only a small percentage of diamonds make it from the planet’s core to the crust, where they may be mined. No two diamonds are alike, and each has its special characteristics, including internal inclusions and hue.
5.2) The ancient Romans and Greeks regarded diamonds as the tears of the god or the shards of fallen stars. The Romans also thought diamonds were used as the tips of Cupid’s arrows (perhaps the earliest association between diamonds and romantic love).
5.3) Diamonds are almost entirely composed of carbon, their only component. The carbon atoms link in a certain way under the intense heat and pressure deep under the Earth, creating diamonds’ stunning and uncommon crystalline structure.
Pliny, a Roman naturalist, stated that diamonds were the most valuable item in the universe, not only among precious stones in the first century AD. 5.4) Since ancient times, monarchs and fantastical creatures have cherished and desired diamonds. There is proof that diamond trading and gathering began in India around the fourth century BC.
5.5) Over time, the dominant diamond-producing nations have shifted. Since the 1400s, when Indian diamonds started to be marketed in Venice and other European trade hubs, India has been the world’s primary supplier of diamonds. Following a fall in India’s diamond production in the 1700s, Brazil overtook India as the world’s primary diamond producer until the discovery of a vast diamond resource in South Africa in the late 1800s. Diamonds are mined all over the world nowadays.
5.6) The first known diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maxmillian of Austria in 1477. It was made of gold and featured a diamond-studded M.
5.7) The Cullinan diamond, which measured an astounding 3106 carats, or 1.33 pounds, was the largest diamond ever found. The mine owner and South African politicians gave King Edward the diamond after it was found there in 1905. Ultimately, the Cullinan was divided into 100 smaller diamonds and nine larger ones, the three largest displayed at the Tower of London as part of the crown jewels.
5.8) A planet that scientists think is largely made of carbon and contains one-third of pure diamond has been found. The planet, known as “55 Cancri e,” was found in the Milky Way in 2004 and revolved around a nearby star. Perhaps even more astonishing, researchers have found a star that is effectively a ten billion trillion carat diamond in the form of a star. After the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” they gave the star the name Lucy.
5.9) In the Middle Ages, people believed that diamonds had medicinal characteristics that could treat everything from weariness to mental sickness.
5.10) Ancient Hindus believed a diamond could shield its bearer from harm, which is why they employed them as the eyes of holy idols. Some kings donned diamonds on their armour as they rode into battle because many ancient societies believed wearing diamonds gave the wearer power and courage.
6. Most Famous Diamonds Ever Found
6.1) The Hope Diamond
The Hope diamond was once 112 carats before being reduced to its current weight of 45.52. It is a fancy dark greyish-blue diamond cut into a brilliant cushion shape. It is supposedly cursed. Although Evalyn McLean, one of its owners, thought the gem was lucky for her, her life shows otherwise. After acquiring the gem, her small son died in a vehicle accident, her husband filed for divorce and later passed away from mental illness, and her daughter committed suicide. On November 10, 1958, the Hope diamond, arguably the most fabled jewel in history, was shipped by U.S. mail to its current location at the Smithsonian Institution.
6.2) The Uncle Sam Diamond
The largest diamond ever found in the United States is the Uncle Sam, unearthed in 1924. It was discovered in the only public diamond mine in the entire globe. The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas offers dig-for-fee opportunities for tourists and rock hounds. There have been over 70,000 diamond discoveries made there since 1906, including the 40.23 ct. Uncle Sam diamond. In the same area where the diamond was found, a park visitor unearthed an 8.52 ct diamond in 2015.
6.3) The Cullinan Diamond
The famous Cullinan diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905, weighed an incredible 3,106 carats. It was divided into 105 outstanding colour and clarity diamonds. Cullinan I, the Greater Star of Africa, weighs 530.20 carats, while Cullinan II, the Lesser Star of Africa, weighs 317.40 carats. These two diamonds are a part of the British crown jewels. Private collections have the Cullinan III through Cullinan IX and the remaining 96 diamonds extracted from the Cullinan. Eight other stones are in Queen Elizabeth II’s collection, while the two largest are in the British royal jewels.
6.4) The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
Blue diamonds are incredibly uncommon. One of the biggest historically significant blue diamonds ever created is the 31.06 ct. Wittelsbach-Graff. The presence of boron impurities frequently causes the colour of natural blue diamonds. However, exposure to radiation or hydrogen-related factors can also contribute to their hue. Blue diamonds with a radiation-induced hue are typically described as green-blue, whereas diamonds with a hydrogen-related colour are described as grey-violet to grey-blue.
The diamond belonged to the Wittelsbach family of Bavaria and was on display in the Munich Residence’s Treasury until it vanished in 1931. It was sold covertly in 1951, “rediscovered” in 1961 and sold again to an unidentified private bidder in 1964.
The Wittelsbach-Graff, often known as the Wittelsbach Blue, was purchased by jeweller Laurence Graff for just over $24.3 million in December 2008 at Christie’s London. The stone has an IF clarity rating and a fancy deep blue colour.
There has been considerable conjecture that the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond and the Hope diamond originated from the same crystal because they have a similar colour and long-lasting luminescence and are said to have been mined in India.