The diamonds buying guide: how to spot a fake

It’s important, when purchasing a piece of diamond jewellery such as a necklace, or when choosing from the different types of wedding ring such as classic or diamond set, that you select the right one and that the stone isn’t a fake.

Of course, if you are buying from a reputable jeweller this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you have decided to buy a second-hand ring online or bid in an auction for one then you need to know you’re getting the real deal. There are a few ways to judge whether you’re dealing with a fake or not when it arrives:

Check what it has been set in

No one is going to set a diamond in cheap metal, they will always be found in real gold or silver, so if you are examining a stone that is set in plated metal it’s more than likely a fake.

Rub sandpaper on the stone

We know diamonds are one of the toughest materials in the world, so sandpaper isn’t going to do anything. If the stone scratches, it’s probably a cubic zirconia.

Use a loupe

This special magnifying glass is used by jewellers to closely examine stones. The first thing you need to look for is imperfections in the diamond—and you want to find these. Diamonds are naturally created, so they will always have imperfections and therefore a stone that is completely clear is probably a fake. Before you write it off though, have it checked by an expert, because some lab grown diamonds can look perfect through a loupe.

Edges are also important; a fake diamond will usually have rounded edges while a real one will have very sharp ones.

See how it sparkles

Many people believe diamonds sparkle with rainbow colours, when in fact it’s more of a grey and white colour. Hold your jewellery up to the light and see what colours it emits when the light hits it. If you see rainbow colours the chances are it’s not a diamond.

Place your diamond on a newspaper

If you are testing a diamond that is loose—or find you can remove it from your jewellery altogether—then another trick is to place it on a newspaper and use a magnifying glass to see how the letters appear underneath. If you can clearly read the letters that means it is a fake but if they are blurred it’s the real deal.

The fog test

Diamonds don’t hold heat, so breathing on them in the same way you would mist up a mirror will test if they are real or not. If a diamond mists up for more than three or four seconds it could be a fake.

Of course, these are all tests you can do at home, but if you really want to be sure a trip to a trusted expert is in order to determine whether or not your diamond is definitely real.

Top Tips