The Science Behind Testing Real Diamond Earrings

With an ever-increasing list of diamond simulants, lovers of diamond earrings must know how to tell if their piece is real.

Methods of Testing if Diamond Earrings are Real

Even without the equipment and experience of a gemologist, there are a few simple ways that you can test if your diamond earrings are real.

1. Fog Test

The fog test checks how long a breath-created fog will remain on the stone. Real diamonds are good heat conductors; therefore, any fog you create will disappear quickly. Other diamond simulants don’t conduct heat as well as diamonds, and the fog will last longer.

To conduct this test, hold the diamond on your earring close to your mouth and breathe on the stone. The diamond is likely fake if the fog doesn’t clear in a few seconds. This test works best with an authentic stone to compare the results.

2. Flame Test

Diamonds are formed in extreme temperatures and can handle heat better than other simulants. Use a plier to hold the gemstone on your earring over a candle for a minute. Ensure that the flame directly interacts with the stone, not the metal.

Put the earring in a cup of water immediately after you remove it from the flame. The sudden temperature change will cause some diamond simulants to break, but real diamonds will remain intact.

Moissanite stones would temporarily turn brown or yellow due to this test.

3. Check Certificate and Markings

According to Diamonds Pro, the average cost of a 1-carat diamond stud earring is $2,495. Certificates and jewelry markings are ways for sellers to guarantee their customers that their expensive jewelry is authentic.

GIA Certificate
Image by @Yakov David

Jewelers usually certify diamond jewelry from reputable gemological institutions like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS). A typical GIA certificate will inform buyers of the authenticity of the diamond. 

If the diamond is real, they also carry out a complete assessment of the 4C’s (clarity, color, carat, and cut). Manufacturers usually include this complete report or certificate in the jewelry package.

Jewelry markings/hallmarks are tiny markings on jewelry that give information about the metal used to create them. British hallmarks are the most reliable because independent assay offices grade the metals. The assay office in Sheffield is currently the only one offering diamond verification.

4. Price 

Diamonds are scarce, beautiful gemstones that are difficult to mine and refine, so it’s reasonable that they’re so expensive. As stated earlier, a 1-carat diamond earring will cost you thousands of dollars. 

Fake diamonds and diamond simulants might look like real diamonds, but they don’t cost as much. Therefore, one easy giveaway for identifying fake diamond earrings is the asking price. If the deal is too good to be true, it might indicate that your diamond isn’t authentic.

5. Base Metal

Since diamond earrings are luxury goods targeted at the rich, jewelers only use noble metals to create them. You’ll often see diamond earrings made with gold, silver, or platinum.

How to Tell if Diamond Earrings are Real
Image by @Yakov David

Jewelers use expensive metals because they are more classy and they last longer. No one wants to battle with a tarnished diamond earring after spending so much to buy it.

6. Physical Characteristics

Some physical characteristics of real diamonds distinguish them from simulants and fakes. Below are some physical characteristics to look out for in your diamond earring.

  1. Imperfections/Inclusions
    Natural diamonds take between 1 – 3.3 billion years to form. Like other naturally-formed things, diamonds are not perfect. You will observe the imperfection on a real diamond earring by carefully looking at the stone with a jeweler’s loupe or under a very strong microscope.
    The imperfections in diamonds are called “inclusions,” which look like tiny needles or feathers within the gemstone. Most diamond simulants are produced in a controlled environment using precise methods. Therefore, diamond simulants and fakes don’t have these inclusions.

    Note: Artificial diamonds also don’t have inclusions, but jewelers do not class them with natural ones.

  1. Thermal Conductivity
    Diamonds have a tight tetrahedral structure, making them excellent thermal conductors. A natural way to test this thermal conductivity is by placing the diamond on your lip. A real diamond earring would feel cold as the stone conducts away the warmth of your lip.
    A more accurate way of conducting this test is with a thermal conductivity tester. Place the tester on the diamond and observe the result. The machine will show a green light if the material’s thermal conductivity is similar to a diamond’s.

  1. Hardness
    According to the Mohs Scale of hardness, diamonds are the hardest naturally-occurring substance on earth. The hardness of diamonds speaks of their resistance to scratching, not that they’re unbreakable. 
    You can only scratch a diamond with another diamond. Therefore, you can test if your diamond earring is real by scratching it on a rough surface. A real diamond earring should look unchanged after this test.

7. Professional Testing

The safest way to check if your diamond earrings are real is to pay for a professional test. Gemological institutes can test your diamond earrings for you if your piece doesn’t have a certificate. It’s also safe to test your earrings with independent jewelers affiliated with these renowned gemological institutes.

Diamond Earrings Appraisal
Professional Diamond Earrings Appraisal

You can also decide to register your diamond in some gemological institutions. Nowadays, professional gemologists can find the unique “fingerprint” of every gemstone. Registering your gemstone will protect you from having your piece swapped, and it helps with insurance.

Read More: How to Tell if a Necklace is Real Gold

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