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Naturally Colored Diamond Blog

How to Spot Stones That Are Not Real Diamonds

Posted by Tony Cathaway on 8/14/18 9:36 AM

While diamonds have been steadily gaining ground as powerful alternative investments, there is still great uncertainty when it comes to distinguishing them from other precious gems. In 2 previous posts, we looked at various test that can be made to assess a diamond's authenticity. These ranged from assessments that could be made from the comfort of your own home, or at a lab by an experienced gemologist.

diamond vs synthetic

In this article we will be testing for differences between real diamonds and cubic zirconium, white sapphire, moissanite, white topaz, and of course synthetic diamonds. Let’s begin!

Distinguishing Between Cubic Zirconium

Cubic zirconium is one of the easiest gems to test against, and can be done from the comfort of your own home. You can use the refractivity and reflectivity tests, the breath test, the heat test, and many more.

Quick note: These gems are often a bit heavier than real diamonds, and often reflect an orange tinted light. Just two more things to keep in mind when testing.

price of colored diamonds

Distinguishing Between  Sapphire

When we think of sapphires we usually think of a majestic blue stone, but that is not always the case, sapphires can come in a wide array of colors including red, and white.

saphire ring

While blues and reds can be distinguished from blue and red colored diamonds due to their color saturation and clarity, white sapphires look clear to the eye, and are often mistaken for colorless diamonds. To an untrained eye these 2 gems might look identical but in actuality, white sapphires don’t exhibit the signature brilliance colorless diamonds have, and lack the dark and light areas we are used to seeing between lattices.

Distinguishing Between Moissanite

Moissanite is among the hardest (if not the hardest) gem to distinguish from real diamonds. Their shape, appearance, brilliance, and even heat conductivity is very similar to diamonds, and therefore cannot be distinguishable by anyone outside of a lab. As we mentioned in Part 2, the most common (and best) way to tell real diamonds and moissanite apart is by performing the electric conductivity test. This is perhaps the only “easily identifiable” method of telling these two gems apart, as moissanite does not conduct electricity as well as real diamonds do.

Distinguishing Between White Topaz

White topaz can initially be confused with white colored diamonds (link) but in actuality there are several characteristics that can help us distinguish it from the latter.

white diamonds gia

The exterior or white topaz is usually much softer than that of diamonds, and can be scratched quite easily. You might need a pretty powerful microscope for this but oftentimes, white topaz can be seen to have small scratches on its surface; however, when compared to that of a real diamond, the surface is flat and smooth.

And that concludes our 3 part series. Did you have any questions? Was there something you wanted to add? Let us know!  And as always feel free to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

To read more about the most famous colored diamonds in the world, see the link below:

price of colored diamonds

Topics: Alternative Investments, colored diamonds, Diamonds