Diamonds have been a symbol of status and luxury for decades. But if, for example, a person were sold authentic diamond earrings, only to find out they were fake, it can be a huge let down. Diamonds are now more accessible to the average consumer these days, but knowing how to determine the genuine one is a practical skill anyone can benefit from. In this article, we will go over the ways in which to test whether a diamond is real or not.

Is it Real or Lab Grown?

This is not to say authentic diamonds are the only real jewel. There are several types of lookalikes on the market similar to a diamond, that accomplishes different goals for a large consumer base.

Synthetic diamonds

Diamonds can be “real,” but lab created. They are real because they are the most similar to diamonds chemically. The conditions for creating a diamond (high pressure and heat) are imitated in a laboratory setting to form synthetic diamonds. Unless special equipment and trained professionals are involved, there is very little way to differentiate between a natural versus synthetic diamond. The diamond’s structure is more perfect (under a microscope). The non-carbon elements found in diamonds can be examined under special equipment. In synthetic diamonds, they are more evenly distributed throughout the jewel.

The appeal of synthetic diamond for some is the price point (it is about half the price of a mined diamond). However, the resale value of a synthetic diamond is much lower.


Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral that looks very similar to it to the regular consumer. Moissanite is however, made of silicon carbide rather than carbon. Moissanite is naturally occurring, but also can be synthetically made in labs. 

Visually, they can be different from each other. Moissanite sparkles more than diamond because it produces a double refraction. It can be difficult to see with a naked eye; shining a light through a stone can help detect refraction more easily though.

Cubic zirconia

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic stone that resembles natural diamond. It is a man-made mineral made of zirconium dioxide. Unlike natural diamonds, the easiest way to distinguish between the two is the color of the shine it gives off. Cubic zirconia gives off an orange shine. Its shine exhibits a greater spectrum of color.

White topaz

White topaz is another stone entirely and is made of silicate. However, it can look like a diamond to a lay person. The easiest way to tell the difference is its hardness. White topaz can be scratched by other stones, and is considered a “soft stone.”

White sapphire

White sapphires are a colorless version of sapphires. They are another alternative to real diamonds. They are generally cheaper than real diamonds. To a lay person, the fastest way to determine if you have a diamond or a diamond alternative like white sapphire is to check the clarity. A white sapphire sometimes looks hazy or like ice in the center, and low contrast in their sparkle.

Testing it Yourself

There are some simple ways to make sure you have a real diamond on your hands. Depending on the situation, testing diamonds yourself is an appropriate, cost-effective solution. Below are some home solutions to test diamonds.

Water Test

This test eliminates most synthetic stones. A real diamond will sink in water if you drop it in a glass of water. However, most stones also will sink in water, so keep it in mind you will have to run multiple tests, and not just this one. You might also have trouble testing this with jewelry, because other parts like mounting can weigh the stone down. This really works with unmounted stones.

The Sparkle Test

A real diamond’s sparkle is like no other – it’s sparkle is sharp, striking, and brilliant. This is difficult to alter and replicate in a lab. It will sparkle in gray tones, whereas fake diamonds sometimes give off sparkles with color, such as cubic zirconia.

Heat Test

Natural diamonds should be able to withstand high heat. You can test this out with a propane torch and cold water. Heat the diamond in question for a little under a minute. Carefully, drop it in cold water immediately after. A real diamond should hold up under the pressure and expansion, while an alternative or fake will crack.

Get it Tested Professionally

We listed some ways to test diamonds with everyday objects you may have in your home. But getting diamonds tested professionally ensures the appraisal is accurate. This is a great direction to go with if you are trying to assess multiple jewelry pieces. Jewelry stores and appraisers have access to specialized equipment that can test more specific qualities of a diamond that would be different than any other stones.

Fake or real, jewelry is an investment and it would be a shame if the product was not as advertised. Luckily, these days, access to testing stones like diamonds are fairly accessible, and most professional stores are happy to help assess your stones for you.