How To Tell A Fake Diamond From A Real Diamond

If you are not a professional jeweler or trader, spotting a fake diamond doesn’t come easy. With synthetic diamonds becoming all the more popular, real diamonds aren’t as common as they used to be.

Moreover, fake diamonds are not necessarily limited to being synthetic diamonds. Many other gems closely resemble diamonds in many ways. Technology has advanced the production of many diamond imitations and diamond simulants, like cubic zirconia and white sapphire that are so similar to natural diamonds, essentially only diamond experts will be able to tell the difference.

These diamond alternatives are not necessarily a negative thing, but if you are a passionate lover of real diamonds, you may deem it a vital skill to be able to distinguish between real and fake diamonds.

This article will provide you with at-home methods in addition to more advanced techniques of determining whether a diamond is a real or a fake diamond.

diamond rings

What Is A Fake Diamond

A fake diamond is a stone that very closely resembles actual diamonds. Although a fake diamond may share many visual characteristics with a real diamond, the chemical composition differs widely, and it is not a real diamond, despite all of the similarities.

Fake diamonds are varying called diamond imitations, diamond simulants, or diamond accents. These versions can either occur naturally or be created synthetically.

Naturally occurring diamond simulants include the White Topaz, white sapphire, and Quartz. Examples of artificially created diamond simulants include moissanite, rhinestones, crystals, and cubic zirconia.

Synthetic diamonds should not be confused with diamond simulants. Instead, synthetic diamonds are lab-grown diamonds with the same chemical makeup as natural diamonds.

What Exactly Are Synthetic Diamonds?

Synthetic diamonds are also referred to as lab-grown diamonds, man-made diamonds, and cultivated diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are essentially real diamonds that weren’t formed in the earth but rather by artificial methods.

What Are Diamond Simulants?

Diamond simulants are classified under the category of diamond imitations. These stones have similar gemmological features to real diamonds. Diamond imitations are more easily distinguished from natural diamonds than synthetic diamonds. The tests we will be discussing are primarily aimed at identifying imitation diamonds. Many of these tests are well suited for loose diamonds, while others focus on testing set diamonds.

Heather Mount Ph3z4kuj4oa Unsplash

Popular Types Of Fake Diamonds


Moissanite is a unique mineral rarely found in nature. Their extreme rarity causes them to frequently be man-made. Synthetic moissanite is a popular diamond alternative because it closely mimics the clarity and hardness of a real diamond.

White Sapphire

The white sapphire is high on the list of excellent diamond alternatives due to its remarkable hardness and colorless opacity. White sapphires are growing increasingly popular because they are much more affordable than diamonds, although still being relatively expensive. A white sapphire may appear cloudy or whitish, contributing to the reason for its name.


Rhinestones are often used as accessories on clothes, handbags, and shoes. A rhinestone is a low-cost imitation diamond, but it certainly doesn’t resemble a real diamond to a great extent. They are often made from glass, paste, gems, or quartz.

White Spinel

White spinel is a gemstone that has been used for centuries. They used to be classified as corundum because they were found in the same gem mines. Synthetic spinel is affordable and often used in other gems as a stimulant. Natural spinel is very rare and comes in a variety of colors.

Telling The Difference Between A Real Diamond And A Cubic Zirconia

The most efficient way to determine whether a diamond is cubic zirconia or a real diamond is by evaluating the way they capture and refract light. Where a real diamond would shine a much brighter light, cubic zirconia will refract multi-colored light.

Alternatively, you can perform the fog test. The fog test utilizes the science behind thermal conductivity. The principles of thermal conductivity will cause cubic zirconia to retain fog for several seconds after you breathe on it. When you breathe on a real diamond, the fog would almost immediately fade.

Cubic zirconia is a great option if you need a little sparkle in your life but haven’t got the money for a real diamond. Cubic zirconia is manufactured in a lab and is very durable. They are available in a variety of sizes, but they are much more prone to scratches than true diamonds, and too many scratches will lower their value.

If you don’t use your cubic zirconia for everyday wear and you store it in a safe place, it can hold its beautiful appearance and value for long periods.

Can A Diamond Fall Out Of A Ring 1

What Makes A Fake Diamond Good?

There are several determining factors that make a good fake diamond, including subjective and objective considerations.

As you might have guessed, at the top of the list is the fact that a diamond imitation must resemble a real diamond as closely as it possibly can. Imitation diamonds should be similar to real diamonds in both appearance and physical properties.

The fake diamond’s hardness greatly contributes to its success as a diamond simulant.

Simulated diamonds should be cut in the same fashion as real diamonds, as the cut of a diamond is an essential aspect to consider when buying faux diamonds. The cut is what will ultimately create the sparkle due to its refractive index. Even a true diamond can lose value if not cut appropriately.

Diamond substitutes need to be colorless. When shopping for a diamond, cut and color are the two most valued characteristics to consider. Lower quality diamonds exhibit a slight yellow-gold hue, so this is certainly not the desired quality in fake diamonds.

Diamond clarity is another significant aspect of the quality of any diamond. Fake diamonds should have as few as possible inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.

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8 Tests To Identify A Fake Diamond

(1) The Thermal Test

Checking For Thermal Conductivity

Diamond testers are available online for around $15. These tools measure a gemstone’s thermal conductivity. Follow the instructions provided by your diamond tester, and ensure the diamond is clean before commencing the test.

What The Test Results Mean

A proper diamond tester will only yield positive results for a real diamond and moissanite. However, as synthetic moissanite has only existed since the ’90s, the stone is definitely a real diamond if its origin dates back further than that.

(2) UV Fluorescence

Checking For Fluorescence

You will need a blacklight for this test. Shine the UV light on the diamond and assess whether it fluoresces or not.

What The Test Results Mean

If the stone starts glowing blue under UV light, it is a real diamond. If not, it is a synthetic diamond. Many common diamond simulants fluoresce yellow when exposed to ultraviolet light. If the gem doesn’t react to the UV light at all, it could be either a natural diamond or a diamond simulant, and you will have to perform an alternative test to find out.

(3) The Dot Test

This test is intended for a loose stone. You will need a newspaper with a dot drawn on it. Place the diamond face-down on the text on the newspaper with the dot on it. Assess whether you can still make out the letters or the dot on the paper.

What The Test Results Mean

You certainly don’t have a real diamond if you can still make out the letters to any extent. Fake diamonds don’t bend light to the same extreme extent as real diamonds. Therefore, if you perform the dot test with a natural diamond, you may not even see the dot at all.

(4) The Facet Test

To perform the facet doubling test, you will require a jeweler’s loupe or a magnifying glass and lots of patience.

Hold the loupe in your hand and examine the diamond very closely. If the image appears distorted, bring the stone closer to the loupe or magnifying glass until the diamond comes into focus.

Evaluate the nature of the facet edges. Are they chipped, rounded, or abraded?

What The Results Mean

Most fake diamonds will have sharp facet edges, but they cannot be a real natural diamond even if the facet edges are rounded.

Despite being an extremely hard precious gemstone, diamonds are still subjected to chips and scratches. So even if you note some chips on the stone, it may still be a natural diamond, but if the surface is excessively abraded, it is likely made of a softer material than a diamond.

(5) The Sparkle Test

Looking At The Sparkle

To perform the sparkle test, you will need bright light and some experience in examining diamonds. Shine the light in the diamond and evaluate the type of light it refracts. Also, consider the contrast of dark and light areas within the diamond.


What The Results Mean

Without some experience in the field, it may be difficult to distinguish fake diamonds from real ones by simply looking at the sparkle, but the results may be obvious in some instances.

A well-cut, real diamond will display dispersion, which is flashes of color mixed with white light, called brilliance. The light and dark areas will also be clearly evident.

If you are not familiar will the general refractive index of a diamond, this test may not be the best option for you.

(6) The Water Test

You will simply need a glass of water and a loose diamond for the water test.

Drop the gem into the water and assess how long it takes the loose stone to sink to the bottom.

What The Results Mean

Because of the high density of diamonds, a real diamond would sink relatively quickly, whereas a diamond substitute wouldn’t sink instantaneously. You can identify whether a stone may be glass or quartz by performing this test. However, cubic zirconia will also sink at a comparable rate to a true diamond.

Royal crown diamond ring in platinum by Blue Nile

(7) The Scratch Test

You will require a full gemstone hardness kit or, alternatively, a material of known high hardness.

Warning: If your stone is not a diamond, this test may damage it. So if you’d like to preserve the stone, even if it’s not a diamond, don’t perform the scratch test.

Using your stone, press into the hard material and try to make a scratch. You can use a magnifying glass to evaluate if you make a scratch or not.

What The Results Mean

A true diamond would make a scratch on a material of lesser hardness. If the gem is not of lesser hardness, it won’t make a scratch. For example, if you tested a stone on a quartz crystal and didn’t make a scratch, the stone is likely made from glass, whereas if it did make a scratch, the stone could be any one of the many types of fake diamonds.

The best material to use is low-grade corundum. If your stone scratches the corundum, it could be a diamond, white sapphire, or moissanite.

(8) The Weighing And Measuring Test

You will need more advanced equipment for this test, including a gem scale and calipers. You can also use a ruler, but the results will be less accurate.

Take your calipers and measure your stone across its widest point. Next, place the stone on the scale and compare its weight, width, and carat weight to standard gem sizes. You can refer to the helpful chart found on the International Gem society’s web page.

What The Results Mean

Your stone should match up with the values on the chart, except if it is cut abnormally deep or shallow. A ruler will bring about some uncertainty regarding your measurements.

Synthetic spinel, moissanite, and White Topaz may have comparable densities to that of a diamond, so they may test within the same range. Other types of fake diamonds won’t match the measurements and weights on the chart.

John Thomas Yrgbadfmvk0 Unsplash

The Growth Of The Diamond Simulant Market

Worldwide interest in fake diamonds has grown immensely in recent years. Faux diamonds are likely to gain more popularity for several reasons.

Fake diamonds not only provide the opportunity of obtaining a beautiful natural gemstone or even a cultured lab-grown stone for a reasonable price, but they also provide solutions to various other problems that are unrelated to finances.

Let’s consider the example of a man buying a glamorous engagement ring for his other half. His proposal might be a huge surprise, and the woman may not even say yes. The guy has then spent a fortune on an engagement ring he can’t use.

A fake diamond ring is a perfect alternative, as an engagement ring is typically only temporarily worn until the woman gets her wedding ring.

In some cases, the man and woman have mutually agreed that most diamonds are too expensive and don’t make for a wise purchase for an engagement ring. If the same mindset applies to their wedding ring, lab-created diamonds provide an excellent solution. As long as the ring is the only thing in the relationship that’s synthetic, it shouldn’t worry you too much- am I right, ladies?

Furthermore, fake diamonds eliminate a lot of the anxiety associated with traveling with valuable possessions.

If you are traveling and don’t want to risk losing your real diamond ring, faux engagement rings will provide you with a little peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your travels stress-free.

Every year, thousands of wedding and engagement rings are reported either stolen or lost. Fake diamonds alleviate the severity of such a situation. So leave your precious diamonds and home and still look stunning wearing your simulated or lab-created diamonds where ever you go.

14K yellow gold pavé halo diamond engagement ring by James Allen


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