Expert advice: How to spot genuine lab diamonds

15. January 2024

Lab-created diamonds are widely sought after due to their extraordinary properties as well as their significantly lower price when compared to natural diamonds. Let’s take a look at how to recognize real lab-grown diamonds so that you don’t get tricked by cubic zirconia or ordinary glass. And what you also ought to know is that the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds is almost negligible – a lab-grown diamond has all the physical properties of a natural diamond. So how do you tell them apart and how call you tell if a lab-grown diamond is genuine? Let’s take a closer look together.

What are lab-grown diamonds?

Lab-created or lab-grown diamonds are essentially identical in terms of their properties to stones that are mined naturally. Both natural and lab-grown diamonds are made up of carbon atoms that have been arranged into a crystalline formation – the only real difference is that they have been made synthetically using methods such as HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature technology) or CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition).

How to visually confirm the authenticity of lab-grown diamonds

Experts can tell the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds under magnification of 10-30 times. When assessing a diamond, you need to pay attention to any inclusions or bubbles. Real diamonds tend to have various imperfections, while imitation diamonds, such as cubic zirconia, may look too perfect at first glance. Another tip that could help you to distinguish diamonds from other imitation stones is to immerse them in water. The imitation stones should float on the surface while real diamonds will sink quickly due to their high density. However, specialist experts at any reputable jewelry store should be able to confirm its authenticity for you.

Certificates of authenticity for lab-grown diamonds

At some stage, every diamond should be passed on to an expert where it then undergoes careful analysis using state-of-the-art techniques. A certificate from a reputable laboratory is a guarantee that a diamond has certain characteristics and it also demonstrates how good an investment such a diamond might be in the future. First of all, the certificate states the date it was issued, its identification number, the shape and cut of the diamond, and the very precise dimensions of the stone. Diameter and depth are also described for a diamond in a brilliant cut, while length, width and depth are described for diamonds in other shapes. This is followed by an assessment of the four basic characteristics of diamonds, known collectively as the “4Cs” – cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

Reputable gemological institutes

To get accurate information about the quality of a gemstone, it’s best to purchase diamonds certified by, for instance, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), IGI (International Gemological Institute), Gübelin Gem Lab or SSEF (Swiss Gemmological Institute). These institutes are highly respected worldwide and use rigorous standards when evaluating diamonds, whether natural or lab-made. Experienced gemologists at these institutes check the clarity, color, type of cut and carat weight of the diamond using specialized equipment. If you have a certificate issued by one of these institutes guaranteeing authenticity, you need not worry.

Information on a certificate of authenticity

You might become alarmed after you read a diamond certificate since you may not understand the individual items on it. But no need to worry. The key information to look for is the “4Cs” – the diamond’s cut, color, clarity and carat weight – which will help you determine the quality and price of the diamond. Another important piece of information in this documentation is the unique number on the certificate. To verify all of the information on it, simply enter the number on the issuing lab’s website and verify each detail.

Where do I find a diamond’s identification number?

Each diamond has its unique identification number engraved by laser on the girdle (outer edge) of the diamond and this number is the same as the number on the certificate. Or, if you don’t have a certificate, based on the identification number engraved on the diamond, you will be able to find out whether it was created in a laboratory or is natural. To find this engraved number, you’ll need specialized equipment including tools such as microscopes, inscription readers or engraving lasers. The code generally consists of letters and numbers that link the actual diamond to its certificate.

Advanced testing methods: When should you get in touch with a professional

If your home tests seem inconclusive or you are unable to do all the necessary checks, you’ll need to get professional help. A gemologist with the right apparatus and know-how will be able to verify for you if a diamond is genuine.

The various types of professional tests

Professional diamond testers use a variety of approaches to authenticate diamonds such as scanning the gemstone’s internal structure with x-ray and performing thermal and electrical tests. They use advanced methods including photoluminescence spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy to distinguish natural stones from lab-grown diamonds.

Future trends in diamond testing

As technology evolves, more and more sophisticated techniques and tools are used to test diamonds. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to make diamond evaluation much more accurate and efficient. For example, advances in research when it comes to creating imitation diamonds along with improving strategies for producing lab-grown gemstones are already beginning to take shape in the industry. These future trends could ultimately revolutionize diamond testing, offering reliable results quickly without compromising quality or accuracy.

What about the price of lab diamonds?

The price of lab-made diamonds can be up to 60-80% lower than the price of natural mined diamonds and when assessing the authenticity of a diamond, it is still important to consider why such price differences exist.

Understanding price differences

The price of lab-grown diamonds can vary depending on certain factors such as cut, size and clarity. Higher quality diamonds will clearly have a higher price compared to lower quality diamonds. This price is also determined by the fact that much more (not just) money is needed to mine diamonds than to produce their lab-grown counterparts. Lab-grown gems are thus an affordable alternative that has exactly the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds.

Price as an indicator of authenticity

A lower price, however, does not always mean that a diamond is lab-made. Some stores may source stones from unverified sources so make sure you source your purchase from trustworthy sellers and always verify their authenticity with the help of official certificates or the gemstone’s identification number.

How to determine the authenticity of a diamond when buying online

While many still prefer the traditional method of buying in physical stores, buying online has increasingly become the norm. As such, online stores should be able to provide all the necessary information about the jewelry they sell. You should analyze product descriptions, look at detailed photos or videos, try to find out more information about the diamonds or about the entire piece of jewelry and compare different products. This will give you a better overview and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision. It’s important however to choose a reputable jewelry store or a verified source to purchase diamonds from (both real and lab-grown).

How to choose a trusted diamond seller

If you are looking to choose a trustworthy online store (in the Czech Republic, for instance the KLENOTA studio), reviews and ratings from other customers who have already purchased products there will certainly give you a clue. You will find out what people’s experience is with the quality of the products, the reliability of the delivery and the customer support for the online store. You’ll be able to avoid unwanted surprises and you’ll get a piece of jewelry that will last you a long time. Whether you choose a jeweler who makes the jewelry themselves, a jewelry studio or a verified jewelry store, reviews from satisfied customers can help you choose a trustworthy retailer. In addition, good diamond sellers usually carry certifications from well-known gemological institutions such as the GIA or IGI.

Why a lab diamond is a real diamond

Lab-made diamonds have the same physical and chemical composition as natural diamonds, consisting of carbon atoms in crystalline form. The process they are created by is simply a replica of what happens in nature during diamond formation. Lab-grown diamonds are real and just as rare.

See diamonds in a new light

Ostensibly indistinguishable from natural diamonds, lab-created diamonds have opened the door to a new era of jewelry making. But with their growing popularity, it’s essential to be vigilant and know how to recognize their authenticity. Knowledge of testing, certification and identification numbers is crucial for anyone looking for a genuine gemstone. With technological advancements come new testing methods which have refined the ability to detect the authenticity of gemstones, allowing you to make an easier and faster decision when purchasing a diamond.

Whether you opt for natural diamonds mined from the depths of the earth or lab-grown stones with equivalent characteristics, the choice is yours. The important thing is to be informed and to only trust verified sellers that guarantee authenticity and quality.

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