Don’t Buy Fake Diamond Rings! (9 Tips to Avoid a Fake)

What are Fake Diamond Rings

You spend a lot of money on diamonds. There is so much information out there about diamonds and frankly, it’s quite overwhelming. At the very least, let’s hope you are at least getting an authentic diamond!

Here’s a list of how to spot and avoid buying a fake diamond ring.

1. Shop at Reliable Vendors

Avoid purchasing from unlicensed retailers or hawker stalls on the street. Large retailers with a global presence carry better credibility. Cubic zirconia, white topaz, white sapphire, and moissanite are common diamond alternatives used in fake diamond rings.

There are also diamonds created in the laboratory holding the same chemical and physical characteristics as mined diamonds that sell for significantly less. This is an important distinction to consider even within the market of real diamonds.

Further Reading: The Best Places to Buy Diamonds

2. Get a Certificate of Authenticity

Authentic diamonds all carry their own certificate of authenticity. GIA certificate is the most common certificate from one of the most reputable diamond grading bodies. GIA stands for Gemological Institute of America. It is a nonprofit organization founded in 1931 focused on research, education, and the protection of diamond consumers. Their headquarters is in Carlsbad, California.

3. Ask a Professional

Take the ring to a gemologist for examination. You can also ask an antique store for a certified gemologist.

A salesperson at a diamond store is NOT necessarily a credible source and they are motivated to push their own products. Seek a gemologist beyond a retail setting.

4. Do the Newspaper Test

Diamonds have a specific refractive index. One simple test can be applied to diamonds not already set on a ring.

Place the diamond upside-down on top of a newspaper and the refractivity should cause light to bounce in different directions. You should not be able to see through the bottom of a real diamond.

Zirconium, glass, and other substances will allow you to see the newspaper through the fake or faux diamond.

5. Do the Rainbow Test

Real diamonds sparkle white and grey under the light. This is known as “brilliance”. The light refracts and bounces off a rainbow spectrum on other surfaces, commonly referred to as the “fire”.

A fake diamond reflects rainbow colors inside the diamond.

6. Do a Fog Test

Breathe onto the diamond. A genuine diamond will not fog up because it does not retain the heat from your breath. Other materials will fog up like a glass mirror.

7. Do a Sandpaper Test

Rub sandpaper against the rock and see if scratches. Other minerals will scratch up. A diamond, the hardest material on earth, will not scratch.

8. Check the Edges

Use a loupe (a magnifying glass that allows you to see the imperfections of a genuine diamond) to check the edges of your diamond close up. A fake diamond will have round edges. A real diamond has sharp edges.

You may also see a Serial Number on the diamond, only certified diamonds have serial numbers.

9. Check the Setting

Also, look at the type of metal the diamond is set on. An authentic diamond should generally be set in platinum or gold. Why would an expensive gemstone be set on cheaper metals like silver or plated gold?

Also examine the setting of the diamond. Shotty craftsmanship on the setting may have questionable integrity.

Now that you are armed with 9 handy tips on spotting a fake diamond, you can feel more confident walking into the next jewelry store to find that big rock. Talk to the salesperson and don’t be afraid to ask questions.


Learn more about spotting fake diamonds:

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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