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Fake but Fancy: How to Buy Fake Diamonds No One Will Question

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Fake diamonds have grown in popularity so much that De Beers, the king of real diamonds, recently announced it would start selling synthetic diamond gemstones for the first time in its 130-year history.  The company now believes that technology is efficient enough to produce large quantities of synthetic diamonds with the quality of the best gemstones.  By creating lab-grown diamonds De Beers hopes to offer customers increased choice and retain their control over the $80 billion dollar gem industry.

Gone are the days where your only options are low-quality affordable diamonds or expensive high-quality diamonds. Now you can buy diamond simulants and have the jewelry pieces you’ve always desired.

But you don’t want anyone else to know that you are wearing faux diamonds.  Follow our guide and no one will ever know that beautiful ring you’re wearing isn’t the real McCoy.

Testing for Fake Diamonds

Before we get into how do buy diamonds, lets talk about some of the common ways to spot a fake diamonds.  You don’t have to worry about most tests, no one is going to ask for your ring to do the water or heat test on it.

Mount and Setting

They will look at the setting and mount. Real diamonds are going to have high-quality settings. Usually, yellow gold, white gold, or platinum are used for the setting.

An easy way to tell the quality of the ring is to look at the inside of the band.  This is where the metal used will be indicated.  For gold, stamps such as 10k, 14k, or 18k are used.  If it’s platinum, you’ll see PT.

If there’s no metal stamp, the ring is likely to be a fake.  Equally, if the metal is gold plated or silver, chances are it’s not a diamond because why would you put a nice stone mounted into a cheaper metal?

The Sparkle Factor

This is another easy test that doesn’t require special equipment.  All you need to do is hold the diamond under a bright light.

The way that diamonds reflect light is unique: Inside the stone, the diamond will sparkle gray and white (known as “brilliance”) while outside of the gem, it will reflect rainbow colors onto other surfaces (this dispersed light is known as “fire”).

fake diamond will have rainbow colors that you can see inside the diamond.

People have a misconception that diamonds sparkle like a rainbow.  They don’t.  They do sparkle, but it’s more of a gray color. If you see something with rainbow colors [inside the stone], it could be a sign that it’s not a diamond.

The Scratch Test

This is probably the one test that you have heard of when it comes to testing if a diamond is real or not. Don’t bother with it as it is not accurate.

The test is to simply scratch the loose stone against a mirror.  The idea is that if the stone is hard enough to scratch the mirror, it’s probably a diamond.

The problem is, the fake diamonds, particularly high quality cubic zirconia are quite durable, being 8 – 8.5 on the Mohs scale.  These fake diamonds are actually harder than most semi-precious gemstones and certainly harder than glass and thus they can easily scratch the mirror.


Spot an Imposter

There are a few different types of stones that will masquerade as a diamond. We are going to go over some of the common diamond look-alikes and the chance of someone identifying yours as a fake.

Synthetic Diamond

These are often called “lab created” diamonds. They have the same look and chemical makeup as real diamonds.

To the naked eye, you won’t be able to tell the difference. The only way someone is going to be able to point it out as fake is with professional testing.

Cubic Zirconia

CZ has the look of natural diamonds, but contain zero diamond and are non-precious. The giveaway for these cheapest of diamond simulants is the rainbow of colors one can see inside the stone when placed under light.

White Sapphire

When you say sapphire, most people think deep blue.  However, Sapphire is available in a wide range of colors, including white.  The white color actually looks clear to the naked eye.

Diamonds will have distinct areas of light and dark.  A white sapphire will look more blended together in shading. Sapphires are prone to more damage than diamonds and do not have the same fire and brilliance of a true diamond.


This is another stone that is virtually undetectable is a diamond imposter to the naked eye.  The main difference is that moissanites have a different brilliance than a diamond where you can see rainbow colors within the stone, giving it a disco ball effect.

The key test that will give the moissanite away is the electrical conductivity test.

White Topaz

At a quick glance, white topaz will look like a diamond.  However, it becomes obvious that it does not retain the same high qualities as diamonds.

First, they scratch easily.  Your rings will go through a beating just by wearing them in everyday life.  You’ll end up with a stone that has a bunch of scratches and dings in it.

Buying Your Ring

Now that we know how to spot a fake, and what the differences are between the fakes and diamonds, let’s get shopping!  There are a few features about your ring you need to consider to ensure you buy a stunning ring that doesn’t look obviously fake.

The Setting

Look for a ring that has a setting that would be similar to what would be done with a genuine diamond.  You want a setting that will enhance the beauty of the stone you do buy without making it obvious that it is a fake.

Most jewelers will tell you to stick with prongs, channel, or pave settings.  These settings will allow your stone to catch the light and sparkle while still protecting the stone.

Settings like the tension will provide the most light to your diamond simulant.  This can expose your stone to more damage.  So be aware that tension settings can more readily lead to lost or scratched stones.

Pair with Real Gemstones

Consider pairing your faux diamonds with real gemstones. This will give your ring a feel of authenticity to the diamonds.

You could pair a large Brazilian purple amethyst gemstone with a halo of diamond simulants.  Or you could select a brilliant sky blue topaz gemstone that is encircled in diamond simulants and shoulder clusters.

What you’ll notice about both of these rings is that they use the standard prong, halo, and pave settings. This gives your jewelry piece a look of authenticity.

The Size of Your Stone

It may be tempting to go as large as possible. After all, isn’t the point of buying a fake diamonds – so that you can buy a larger stone than what you could if you went real?

The trick to fooling people though is to not go too large.  Too large will look costumey and obviously fake.

It will also become obvious because the surface area will be larger. The differences in brilliance and sparkle will become more noticeable in the larger surface area.

You also can’t forget that some of the diamond alternatives we talked about scratch easily.  So the larger the stone, the more surface to get scratched.  This means that the scratches will be more obvious to the casual glance.

The Metal

Most jewelers will tell you that you shouldn’t go with the most expensive metal for your ring if you plan to buy faux diamonds.  Instead, you should select a gold or sterling silver.

When choosing a gold, the higher the rating the more expensive the ring.  Just keep in mind that the higher gold content means that the metal is softer and will get scratched more easily.

For a beautiful and durable option consider rhodium plated sterling silver.  Rhodium plated 925 silver is not only beautiful, but it looks like white gold and will also be durable to your daily wear.

Let’s Pick out Your Ring

When buying fake diamonds you need to think about what type of stone you want to select.  Then choose a ring that has a quality setting that mirrors those of jewelry with real diamonds.

Don’t be afraid to pair your diamonds with a brilliant hued colored gemstone.  With the right selections, you’ll have a statement piece that no one will be able to tell is fake.

Start shopping for your next jewelry piece today.  You are also welcome to leave us comments below.

Want to learn more?

View our 5-Step Guide to selecting Cubic Zirconia Rings the right way


View our most popular Fake Engagement Rings


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