How to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Diamonds

Good diamonds are expensive so you want to make sure that you are buying the real thing and not a cheap imitation.

One of the most popular diamond look-alikes is cubic zirconia and it is often presented as an acceptable substitute for the real thing. A reputable dealer will, of course, tell you if you are not looking at a genuine diamond but, if you want to be sure, there are a number of ways to tell the difference.

Price is an obvious giveaway. Any synthetic or fake diamond will be much cheaper than the real thing. You may have found a genuine bargain, but that is unlikely. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. So price should be the first giveaway.

Now that you are on the alert, you need to look at the stone itself. Color is one of the easiest ways to tell if the diamond is genuine. Real diamonds nearly always have a color tone. They are, in fact, graded by color and a truly colorless stone is so rare that its price would be prohibitive for most of us. Cubic zirconia is colorless. Also, under light, the true diamond will look brilliant but will not produce different colors. The imitation, on the other hand, actually disperses light to give a beautiful rainbow effect.

For the next tests you will need a magnifying glass. Scrutinizing the stone under magnification will show the quality of the genuine diamond. Usually cut by hand, the facets on a real diamond are crisp and sharp. Corners and edges meet perfectly. Cubic zirconia can be hand cut (which produces a better finish) or machine cut, but often the corners to not quite meet properly and the facets do not meet at the same crisp, sharp angles of the true diamond.

Given its hardness, over time the genuine diamond does not show signs of wear, like marks and scratches; nor does it lose any of its luster. Synthetic stones, however, are less hardwearing so scratches and scuffmarks become clear under the magnifying glass. Furthermore, real diamonds are usually imperfect and have what are known as inclusions within the stone (again, a diamond with no inclusions would cost a fortune). These flaws are usually absent in synthetic stones.

Now that you have examined the stone itself, take a look at its mount and the ring, earring or necklace on which it is mounted. Often, the mounting is of low quality and the rest of the piece of jewelry is low grade; there is little point in mounting a cheap stone on otherwise good quality jewelry.

Another simple test is to heat up the stone. There will be no effect on a genuine diamond but cubic zirconia should break up. Of course, as a destructive test, it is unlikely to be popular with the vendor.

Hopefully, these simple guidelines will help you to distinguish between a genuine diamond and a synthetic stone. But to be certain, it is always best to go to a trustworthy jeweler or else get your stone appraised before you hand over your money.