One of the most common questions most people ask is “Can people easily tell the difference between a real diamond and a simulated one?” The answer is yes and no. It depends on what kind of simulated diamonds we are talking about and the experiences and knowledge the person has in diamonds. The more familiar you are with diamonds the easier you can tell the difference.
So, what is a simulated diamond?
Simulated diamonds, or diamond simulants, are stones that look like real diamonds. Simulated diamonds can be gorgeous but do not possess the chemical and physical properties of actual diamonds. Simulants are, in essence, fake diamonds.
Some common simulated diamonds you will encounter in the market these days are cubic zirconia (CZ), moissanite, zircon, synthetic garnet, spinel, rutile, and white sapphire.
Signs that a stone is a simulated diamond
Too clean, rounded edges, rough settings
Look at the diamond and setting through a loupe. A loupe is a magnifying glass that you can buy at any jewelry store and will let you take a closer look at your diamonds and setting.
There are a few things you will notice when you are looking at a diamond. First, the majority of diamonds are made in nature so you will see some imperfections on the surface and inside of the diamonds. A high quality simulated diamonds would be too clean from the inside, which means you would not find any internal defects.
Secondly, you should observe the diamond’s edge through a loupe. Real diamonds always have sharp edges, while simulated diamonds will have rounded edges.
Thirdly, look at the etchings/marks on the mountings, especially any marks that signify what metal was used. If the metal is gold plated or silver or stainless steel, chances are it is not a real diamond because it is such a waste to mount a nice stone in a cheap metal. Most diamonds are mounted in gold or platinum.
Lastly, take a look at the quality of the mounting and how the diamond is set. A poor quality settings indicate a high chance of the stone being a simulated diamond.
It scratches easily
Diamonds are the hardest natural material known to man-kind. Its name comes from Greek word ἀδάμας (adámas), meaning “unbreakable” or “invincible” and is from where we get the word “adamant” or “adamantium” from Marvel Comics. Due to diamond’s hardness, it cannot be scratched easily. Simulant diamonds, in contrast, are never as hard as the real thing, and they can be scratched relatively easily.
Its sparkle is too colourful
Real diamonds have sparkle, but some simulants have it in excess. The way diamonds reflect light is unique: Inside the stone, the diamond will sparkle gray and white while outside of the diamond, it will reflect rainbow colors onto other surfaces. A simulated diamond will have rainbow colors that you can see inside the stone.
There are simulated diamonds that sparkle in all colors of the rainbow. One such example is moissanite, which when put next to a real diamond exhibits much more colorful flashed of light within the stone, giving it a disco ball effect.
Diamonds dissipates heat very quickly. You can try to use a stone which you know is real and put next to the suspect stone and fog both. The diamond will disperse heat quick enough to stay clear while the simulant one remains foggy.
Drop a diamond into a glass of water. Due to its high intensity, a real diamond will sink while most simulated diamonds will float at the top of the surface or in the middle of the glass.
Not all signs or tests are 100% accurate. Instead, it gives you an indication of whether the stone is likely a simulated one. For those of you who want to be 100% certain with authenticity, you should take your stone to a gemologist.