How to Tell a Real Diamond Ring by Eye: A Comprehensive Guide

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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Are you in the market for a diamond ring and want to make sure you’re investing in the real deal? With so many options out there, it’s essential to know how to distinguish a genuine diamond from a fake one. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we will share foolproof methods and expert tips to help you determine if a diamond ring is real just by using your eyes.

When it comes to assessing the authenticity of a diamond, there are various visual cues to look for. We’ll walk you through each step, providing simple explanations and examples along the way. By the end of this article, you’ll feel confident in your ability to spot a genuine diamond ring with just a glance.

how to tell a real diamond ring by eye

What are the Signs of a Real Diamond Ring?

Before we delve into the specific techniques, let’s first understand the telltale signs of a genuine diamond ring:

  • Brilliance and Sparkle: Real diamonds have exceptional brilliance and sparkle, reflecting light in a mesmerizing way.
  • Hardness: Diamonds are the hardest natural substance, scoring a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
  • Transparency: Authentic diamonds are known for their transparency, allowing light to pass through them easily.
  • Color: While diamonds come in various colors, truly colorless diamonds are the rarest and highly prized.
  • Inclusions: Natural diamonds often have imperfections called inclusions, which can be seen under magnification.

Step 1: Testing Mounted Diamonds

If you’re examining a diamond ring that is already mounted, these are the tests you can perform:

Fog Test

One straightforward test is to breathe on the diamond’s surface to create a fog. If the fog dissipates immediately, it’s likely a real diamond. However, if the fog remains for a few seconds, it may be a fake diamond or a real diamond with a high heat conductivity.

Water Test

Fill a glass with water and gently drop the diamond into it. A real diamond will sink to the bottom due to its high density. Fake diamonds or simulants made of cubic zirconia or glass may float or sink slowly due to their lower density.

Breath Test

Hold the diamond close to your mouth and breathe on it. If the fog created by your breath disappears instantly, it’s likely a real diamond. Fake diamonds typically retain the fog for a longer period.

Step 2: Testing Unmounted Diamonds

If the diamond you’re inspecting is not mounted, here are some tests you can perform:

Newspaper or Dot Test

Place the diamond face-down on a piece of newspaper or a white sheet of paper. If you can see the text or dots through the diamond, it’s likely a fake. Real diamonds refract light in a way that makes it difficult to see through them.

Transparency and Sparkle

Hold the diamond up to a light source and examine its transparency. Real diamonds will show a high level of transparency, allowing light to pass through them effortlessly. Additionally, genuine diamonds possess exceptional sparkle, reflecting light from every angle.

Step 3: Testing Professionally

If you want a more accurate and professional assessment, consider these options:

Diamond Tester

Visit a reputable jewelry store or diamond expert who has a diamond tester. These devices can quickly determine if a stone is a real diamond or a possible alternative.

Diamond Certification

For complete peace of mind, seek out a certified gemologist to examine and certify your diamond. They will have the expertise and equipment necessary to provide an accurate assessment.

Professional Appraisal

If you’re considering investing a significant amount of money in a diamond ring, it’s worth having it appraised by a professional jeweler. They can evaluate its quality, authenticity, and determine its estimated value.

Step 4: Telling Natural Diamonds from Other Stones

Not all gemstones are diamonds, so here’s how you can differentiate a natural diamond from other stones:

Hardness Test

Scratch the stone in question against a mirror or glass surface. Diamonds are incredibly hard and will leave no visible scratch. Other stones, like quartz or cubic zirconia, will leave scratches.

Heat Conductivity Test

Hold the stone with tweezers and place it against your cheek. A genuine diamond will feel cold to the touch due to its high heat conductivity. Other stones will be closer to body temperature.

UV Light Test

Expose the stone to ultraviolet (UV) light. Natural diamonds typically do not fluoresce under UV light, while certain gemstones, like cubic zirconia or moissanite, may exhibit fluorescence.


Q: Can a real diamond have impurities or imperfections?

A: Yes, real diamonds often have unique imperfections called inclusions. These can include tiny specks, internal fractures, or other birthmarks that make each diamond unique.

Q: Are all colorless diamonds real and valuable?

A: Not all colorless diamonds are valuable. Genuine and valuable colorless diamonds are graded and certified by reputable gemological laboratories, ensuring their authenticity and quality.

Q: Can I perform these tests on diamond simulants?

A: Yes, you can use these tests to determine if a stone is a diamond simulant, such as cubic zirconia or moissanite. These tests help identify whether a stone is a genuine diamond or a different material.

Q: What if I’m still unsure after performing these tests?

A: If you remain uncertain about the authenticity of a diamond ring, it’s best to consult with a professional jeweler or gemologist. They have the knowledge and expertise to provide a definitive answer.

Q: Can a real diamond scratch glass?

A: Yes, real diamonds can scratch glass due to their exceptional hardness, scoring a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and not perform this test on mounted diamonds, as the metal setting may get damaged.


Now that you have learned how to tell a real diamond ring by eye, you can confidently navigate the jewelry market and make informed purchasing decisions. Remember, visual cues such as brilliance, hardness, transparency, and inclusions are key indicators of a genuine diamond. However, for a foolproof assessment, consider professional testing methods or consult with a certified gemologist.

By following the steps and tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in identifying real diamonds. So, go ahead and put your newfound knowledge to the test, and you’ll be sure to find that perfect diamond ring that will bring joy for a lifetime.

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