So, how to tell if a diamond is real or a fake? This is a great question as diamonds can easily cost more than the average person’s car! How can you make sure you’re not getting ripped off when you’re looking over a specific diamond whether online or at a brick and mortar jewelry store?
This article is going to help you with some common industry things you need to look out for to avoid the embarrassment and hassle of getting ripped off from a fake diamond.
You need to keep a close eye on fraudsters that are cunning, witty, and deceptive. It will boggle your mind to know what lengths they’ll go through to fool you and rip you off. They’re very clever, creative, and don’t mind taking your hard earned money for exotic vacations.
Here are our recommended lines of protection you can take to defend yourself from getting ripped off in How To Tell If A Diamond Is Real or Fake series!
How To Tell If A Diamond Is Real?
The First Line of Protection
How to tell if a diamond is real, the million dollar question. You may see some of the following on other sites, “Scratching a piece of glass with the diamond”, “Dropping the diamond in a glass of water to make sure it sinks”, “Breathing on the diamond to make sure its transparent”, etc.
While some of these may be useful if you come upon a diamond laying on the ground randomly out in a playground, these aren’t really things you’re going to do in front a of jewelry store glass display. Let’s move on the the actual meat and potatoes of this subject!
The Second Line of Protection
You need to know what the 4Cs are and how they attribute to a diamonds overall value when shopping. The cut, color, clarity and carat weight encompass these 4 factors. Below is a small a taste of the 4Cs, however, you should refer to our diamond quality post to learn more specifics on this topic! The 4Cs are critical when it comes to how to tell if a diamond is real:
Cut is the most important out of the four and as a general rule you should ask to see the certificate from GIA and look for it’s cut grading of excellent or very good. You shouldn’t go below good because the diamond cut is what gives the diamond its fire and sparkle.
Color is graded on a scale from D to Z. The D grade being the rarest and most expensive and the Z grade being mostly mixing colors of poor quality diamonds and much more affordable, however, not the best investment. A grade of K to L will work just fine and constitute a solid investment.
Clarity refers to the number of tiny white and black specs in a diamond as well as other flaws. The best grade is Flawless. You’ll see it written as FL and is followed by IF, VVS1/VVS2, VS1/VS2, SI1/SI2, and I1.
An IF stone could be significantly more expensive than an identical counterpart being the SI1, however, you need a powerful magnifier to see the difference, knowing this can save you a lot of money.
The clarity grade really has nothing to do with the sparkle of a diamond, sparkle has more to do with the cut as it controls how light comes into the diamonds and the angles it reflects back out.
Carat Weight is the diamond’s weight and of course how heavy it is will determine how much it will cost. A good piece of advice is that the price goes up at each whole number. You could save a ton if you bought a 0.95-carat weight diamond versus a 1 carat stone.
If you reveal this to your loved one, well, that’s totally up to you. However, one thing is for sure – going cheap sometimes isn’t the best route! Purchasing say a 0.95 carat weight diamond that has very little flaws and almost no color is a great way to go.
This is KEY: As we said under the Cut section, make sure whatever diamond you’re thinking of buying comes with an actual GIA certification. A (real) certification will give you the confidence that you’re getting a legitimate, valuable diamond.
You’ll notice we threw in the world REAL in the last sentence. It’s not impossible for a very shady person to fake a certification.
Luckily, a real document can easily be seen with a few tips –
- Is the GIA document an original? You do not want a forged copy!
- It will have a “citation” or a “reference number” on it if it’s the original.
- You can go to the GIA website and look up this reference number. It will have very specific information on the diamond
FYI – there are other certification companies, AGS, IGI, EGL, etc come to mind however if possible you should go with GIA as it’s the industry standard for grading diamonds.
The Third Line of Protection
Now that you’re educated on quickly identify a legitimate diamond and the 4Cs, you can start to shop in confidence but you still need some more protection. Shady jewelers are cunning and you could still get ripped off. For example, you’re looking at an SI2 and the jeweler tells you it’s a VS1.
A crafty jeweler could of easily laser-drilled the diamond, which means he used the laser to remove a flaw.
To avoid this rookie mistake, buy from a certified dealer that will certify the 4Cs in writing on the printed receipt and is willing to refund your purchase if a different grade can be done by a third party appraiser.
We recommend only shopping for diamonds and diamond jewelry from respected, well-known companies. James Allen (below), Tiffany, etc.
The Forth Line of Protection
After your purchase, take the diamond to an independent appraiser and not one that sells diamonds, another rookie mistake. You can find certified appraisers online or in your local city that will help you determine if you got what you paid for or if you got ripped off. In any case following the second line of protection will prevent this from happening in 98% of cases.
Don’t trust the appraiser recommended by the jeweler or the in-house appraiser where you purchased the diamond. If the appraisal agrees with what is on the jeweler’s receipt, then you can feel confidant you got what you paid for! If you did get duped, get your money back as soon as possible and shop somewhere else.
Closing Thoughts on How To Tell If A Diamond Is Real
There are various reports that state that a diamond’s grading quality can be forged. How is this possible? Forgers will heat diamonds at thousands of degrees while under enormous pressure which cosmetically improves the diamond’s color, however, they’re more inclined to chip providing further evidence that they were forged.
Some cases have shown that fractures have been filled with glass-like substances and the technology today has proven that lab-produced diamonds are such a robust quality that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference from natural diamonds with just the naked eye.
Do some research on the jeweler and look for customer reviews. The experiences a previous customer had with a jeweler can help narrow down the path to finding a quality jeweler that won’t rip you off. If there’s evidence of a long trail of problems with purchases and getting duped then stay far, far way from that place!
We hope you found our article on how to tell if a diamond is real useful!
Please drop a comment below with any thoughts you have on this topic!
Check out the diamonds available from James Allen, our recommended jeweler to make sure you’re dealing with legit, high quality diamonds!