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How to Tell if a Diamond is Real?

How to Tell if a Diamond is Real?

Melissa Hall

The eye of a well-trained jeweller can pick a fault in a diamond’s quality within seconds. The novice jewellery buff like you and me, however, may have a little more trouble discerning the real thing from a good copy.

Whether you are purchasing a diamond for sentimental reasons like an engagement or wedding ring, or simply buying gemstones as a long term investment, it more than likely means you will be parting with a hefty sum of cash.

So if you are thinking of purchasing a diamond as an investment, or buying a piece set into silver or gold, then what’s the best way to know? The internet is filled with a myriad of articles that may have some tried and tested methods, but many can also be just old wives tales.

The gemstone industry can be fraught with buyer hazards, shady characters and illegal counterfeits and fakes, and once your hard-earned money is passed over, it may be hard to recover your money if you find out you have been deceived.

To help you out with some basics, the team here at My Gear Expert has popped on their monocles and did a bit of digging in the dirt to find some guaranteed methods, plus some useful tech products you can use to find out if that diamond you are eyeing off is the real deal. Read on for more.

The water test

If you are looking at testing a cut diamond, then there is a commonly used density test that requires nothing more than a glass of water. Fill a regular drinking glass three-quarters full regular tap water. 

If the gemstone sinks rapidly, then there is a good chance, it is a real diamond. If it floats underneath, or at the surface of the water, you may be being deceived. This test, however, does not test for the grade or quality of the diamond.

Fog test

Another commonly used method is the fog test. Hold the diamond between two-fingers and give the diamond a puff of warm air from your mouth. If the fog dissipates immediately, you are probably holding the real thing. If it takes several seconds, as it does on glass, then you may be looking at a forgery. 

Check the mount and setting

There is little chance that an expensive diamond is set into a cheap piece of jewellery. High-end jewellery is usually stamped with a brand, the jeweller’s initials or signature, or at least the grade stamp of the precious metal being used. 

A gold ring, for example, will be stamped with 10K, 14K or 18K. This indicates the quality or “karat” of the gold. A reputable jeweller is highly unlikely to set a fake diamond into an expensive ring, brooch or pendant.

Rub the Diamond with sandpaper

Even the most course of sandpaper cannot scratch a diamond; it is one of the hardest materials known to man. If the person you are buying the stone from looks a little uncomfortable when you ask for the test, then it should ring some alarm bells.

If it is a set piece of gemstone that you don’t wish to run the risk of ruining, then you may want to avoid this test. People also used to test whether a diamond was real by scraping it on a piece of glass; however, this method is not reliable in this day and age.

Use a jewellers loupe to test a Diamond


Use a jewellers loupe to test a Diamond

A jeweller’s loupe is like a mini magnifying glass. This monocular device is usually at least 10X magnification for inspecting jewellery and hallmarks.

You need to do some research, and gain some experience in knowing what to look for in the specific characteristics of a real diamond, there are plenty of online courses you can do to brush up on your skills. You can generally pick up a jewellers loupe relatively inexpensively, although you can pay quite a hefty amount for a professional piece.

Invest in a diamond tester

diamond test tool


Invest in a diamond tester

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A diamond tester or TCP ( Thermal Conductivity Probe) is taking your gemstone investigations to the next level. A diamond tester works by detecting the rate at which heat moves through the stone. 

Other diamond testers will test the stone by way of electrical conductivity. These testers work on the same principle but with the use of electrical currents instead of thermometers.

Seek out a third party professional

There is still only so much an untrained eye can pick up. Diamond forgery and counterfeit jewellery have become harder and harder to detect over the years, and it may be worth seeking the opinion of an expert, unbiased party if the diamond your buying is of significant value.

You don’t have to dig too deep to find horror stories about rip off merchants. Be careful with your hard-earned money and confer with people in the know.

The more you know, the better off you will be, and accepting some professional advice from people in the know, even if you are paying for it, is a better safeguard than taking your chances with shady diamond sharks.

My Gear Expert has all the best tips and tricks for getting the most out of your investments, like how to tell if a mounted diamond is real. Sign up to our mailing list for more helpful advice, new product updates, as well as receive special offers and member-exclusive deals.

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