With the popularity and widespread of artificial diamonds, it is tricky to differentiate a natural diamond from an artificial one if you’re not familiar with the qualities of a real diamond. We can all imagine how frustrating it is to be deceived, especially when it has to do with spending a lot of money.
The diamond is one of the most popular and expensive gemstones on Earth because of its unique qualities, such as its hardness and beauty; having one in your possession would be extremely rewarding, which is why people spend a lot to get the real stone in their hands.
Differentiating natural and artificial diamonds may seem like a big task, but this is the opposite, there are several convenient methods people use today to identify a real diamond, but the risk of buying a fake diamond can be greatly avoided when you fully understand what a diamond is and what qualities a natural diamond should possess.
So, in this article, we will be covering everything you’ll need to know about a real diamond rock, so the next time you’re about to make a diamond purchase, it will be the right one.
What Is A Diamond Rock?
Diamonds are one of the oldest gemstones made underneath the Earth’s crust; the entire process of a diamond formation takes millions of years before it finally comes out to the surface of the Earth during volcanic eruptions. Diamonds are made primarily from pure carbon and sometimes other mineral inclusions; these mineral inclusions result in the different types of diamonds we have today, like blue, yellow, black, etc. The colorless diamonds are more popularly used, especially as wedding rings, but the colored ones are rare and mostly used as fashion accessories.
Diamonds are found in three common deposits; kimberlite pipes, alluvial gravels, and glacial tills. The kimberlite pipes are carrot-shaped pipes that bring out diamonds and other gemstones during volcanic eruptions; these diamonds cool down and are buried inside the Earth until they are unearthed through mining by humans; the black diamonds are popularly associated with the alluvial gravels in the Central Africa Republic and Brazil.
Diamonds are one of the hardest natural gemstones with high levels of thermal conductivity gotten from the Earth, and these properties have made them useful in many industrial activities.
Types Of Diamonds
There are several classifications for diamonds, and they are classified scientifically into five groups used by gemologists to monitor and evaluate the growth and authenticity of a diamond. Type Ia, Type Ib, Type 1ab, Type IIa, and Type IIb.
Diamonds are also classified based on what is known as the 4C grading attributes of a diamond (cut, clarity, color, and carat). These sections are used to grade a diamond’s overall worth. It is extremely crucial to note the 4C’s, and we will be talking about that also in this article.
Then the last classification of a diamond is generally used by buyers and sellers to differentiate the diamonds; this classification includes Natural diamonds, Lab-grown diamonds, Treated diamonds, and Natural Fancy colored diamonds.
– Natural diamonds; natural diamond is a term that is used to describe the colorless types of diamonds naturally gotten from the ground, these types of diamonds are free from inclusions and blemishes.
– Lab-grown diamonds; just as the name implies, this group of diamonds includes the diamonds gotten with the aid of technology; these diamonds are grown scientifically in a lab and not from the ground. Most persons prefer this type because they look like a real diamond and are a cheaper alternative, while others do not value this type because they lack the original qualities of a natural diamond.
– Treated diamonds: this includes the natural diamonds that have been mined from the ground but cannot be sold in the market because of their appearance, these diamonds are worked on with the aid of technology for it to look better, and when they are brought to the market they are sold for a lesser amount than the natural colorless diamonds.
– Natural fancy colored diamonds; this group of diamonds includes diamonds with other colors like blue, yellow, pink, black, green, grey, purple, violet, red, etc.
They are incredibly rare to come by and are very attractive and popular, especially among celebrities who use them to adorn themselves when they attend grand events.
Fancy-colored diamonds are usually grouped into three categories: natural colored diamonds, lab-grown colored diamonds, and treated colored diamonds.
The 4C’s Grading Attributes Of A Diamond
The groups listed above are generally used to group diamonds, but the 4C’s are the important factors you should note when evaluating a diamond; they help you understand a high-quality natural diamond from a low-quality one. They also help you differentiate between a natural and an artificial diamond. Having a good understanding of the 4C’s would aid you each time you want to make a diamond purchase.
The 4C’s are the cut, clarity, color, and carat responsible for giving a diamond an identity. So, let’s look at these grading attributes without wasting much time.
The cut comes first on our list because it is a major factor to look for in a diamond; the cut covers the proportions, facets, quality of the angels, and the entire finishing details of a diamond; it affects the sparkle, beauty, and brilliance of a diamond.
Understanding the cut would help you differentiate between one diamond from another; there are several types of cuts like the brilliant round cut, Asshur cut, Princess cut, Emerald cut, Radiant cut, etc., with the brilliant round, cut being the most popular, expensive, and beautiful cut which has 58 facets and allows light to pass through the diamond and reflect through each facet to give an attractive sparkle.
The cut is responsible for how the diamond interacts and plays with natural light to give a nice sparkle which is why it is extremely important to choose a good cut, but this depends on how much you’re willing to spend. Different diamond retailers use several grading systems to determine the qualities of a diamond. Still, a widely accepted grading system is that of the GIA or the AGS.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a grading scale for a diamond cut that ranges from Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, to poor, and of course, the higher the grade of the cut, the more expensive it would be and the lower the grade of the cut the less expensive it would be.
The clarity of the diamond involves how clear the diamond crystal is and if the crystal structure is free from inclusions and blemishes because if it contains any, the sparkle of the diamond would be affected and become dull as a result of light not properly passing through the diamond.
When diamonds are graded to evaluate their clarity, there are two categories they could be grouped into, which are blemishes or inclusions; the blemishes are external impurities that may result from a means of mishandling the stone, or cutting the stone, or wear and tear of the stone.
Blemishes may include:
- Scratches or dots on the diamond’s surface.
- Tiny cuts on the surface.
- Tiny abrasions around the faucet corner.
The inclusions, on the other hand, refer to the impurities that are found on the inside of the diamond, which are usually included during the formation of the diamond underneath the Earth; they could be feather fractures inside the gem, cavity spaces left after diamond polishing, and mineral inclusions which sometimes results in a different color of the stone.
The GIA grading system classifies diamonds into nine groups based on their clarity; these groups include F.L. (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1), VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2), VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1), VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2), SI1 (Slightly Included 1), SI2 (Slightly Included 2), I1 (Inclusions 1), I2 (Inclusions 2).
The highest grade on the scale, which would attract a high cost but would contain clear diamonds, would be the F.L. and IF, while the SI1, SI2, and Included (I1 and I2) are the diamonds with average to low ratings on the scale which would be cheaper to purchase but would contain dull diamonds.
However, depending on your budget, you could always pick from the higher clarity grades on the scale or, better still, look for eye-clean diamonds and ask for help from a certified diamond expert.
The color of a diamond would affect its price in the market; for the fancy colored diamonds, which come with unique colors like blue, yellow, red, and so on, the color grading would be different. Still, the more clear the diamond appears for the colorless diamonds, the more value and beauty it is attached with.
The GIA is a reputable and acceptable grading system used to grade diamonds. For the color grading scale, they have the colorless diamonds grouped under D and the diamonds with the traceable amount of tint or color grouped under Z. The color grades are grouped based on how similar they are, and the DEF are grouped as the colorless diamonds, then the GHI and JKL before the MNZ, which are the lowest grades on the scale.
When making a diamond purchase, try to observe the stone properly for hints of yellow tint and ask for a GIA or AGS grading certificate or consult a diamond expert.
The carat deals with the weight, not the size of the diamond, the balance of the other 3 C’s would affect the carat size, and having a high carat does not automatically guarantee that you have a high-quality stone when the other 3 C’s are balanced, especially the cut that would result in a quality looking diamond that would have an attractive sparkle because a diamond may have a high carat and a colorless and clear appearance but may lack a brilliant cut.
The 4 C’s would determine the price and value of a diamond, and Knowing the 4C’s would allow you to pick a quality diamond each time and get the value for your money without being tricked.
Other Methods Used To Identify A Diamond Rock
A natural or high-quality diamond can be differentiated from an artificial or low-quality diamond by carefully observing the 4C’s. Still, if you cannot easily observe the 4C’s or you need other methods you can use to identify whether a diamond is real or fake, then you could try out these easy methods.
1. Careful Observation Of The Crystal Structure
A quick and easy method to check for the authenticity of a diamond is by carefully observing its crystal structure. Quartz is a different type of gem found on the Earth; it is more common than diamonds and often mistaken to be a diamond by some people.
Real diamonds are cubic, while quartz is hexagonal, and a quick way to observe these dimensions is by looking at the top of the crystal and making sure the top of the crystal is aimed at your eye. If you do this correctly, you’ll notice that a real diamond would have four sides while quartz would have six sides.
You should note that the visual test is not definite, but if you find a stone that has four sides, the chances that it could be a diamond are high, so the next step would be to check with a verified diamond expert.
2. Use The Fog Test
The fog test is another easy and quick method that could be carried out anywhere; take the diamond, whether mounted or raw and lift it to about one centimeter from your mouth, then release some hot air on it as if it’s a bathroom mirror and watch how the dog behaves on the stone.
If the fog easily disappears from the stone within a second, then the chances that it’s a diamond are high because a real diamond dissipates heat speedily. Still, if the fog remains on the stone for longer, it probably isn’t a real diamond.
3. Check The Mount & Setting
This method works best for diamonds already placed in a ring; a real diamond would be set in high-quality jewelry such as white gold, yellow gold, pave or side-stone setting, platinum, and halo setting rings.
Check for inscriptions inside the ring such as P.T. or plat, which stands for platinum, K for gold karat, or check for numbers like 585, 770, 900, and 950, which are used to represent the mounts that are made from platinum or 10K, 14K, and 18K for the ones made with gold.
However, if you notice ring markings with C.Z. or 925, the gem is cubic zirconia or Argentium Silver.
4. Use A Loupe
Using a magnifying glass used by jewelers is another way to check a diamond’s authenticity; you could either visit a nearby jewelry store and borrow the loupe to check the diamond or purchase a loupe online from a certified jewelry store.
This method works because it checks the diamond’s crystal structure for any trace of inclusions or blemishes, and if it has any, then it is a real one, but if it doesn’t have any, then the stone is not a diamond. Make sure you use a loupe with about 20x magnification for the best result.
A diamond is indeed a unique gemstone with many excellent qualities; if you want to make a purchase or you own one already, but you aren’t sure of its authenticity, then go ahead and try any of these methods listed above or, better still when making a purchase ask for the GIA or AGS certificate or take the stone to a reputable and verified diamond expert.