Authentic Beauty: Spotting a Real Gemstone From a Fake

| 6 min read

There’s nothing worse than buying something that you think is genuine, only to discover you’ve been sold an imitation.

Over the years, the high demand for precious gemstone jewellery has led to the supply of fake gemstones, and people are duped into buying these man-made lookalikes every single day.

A natural gemstone is a true gift of nature. They're formed deep within the earth over hundreds (or even thousands) of years, and are brought to the surface through various natural phenomena such as erosion or volcanic eruptions. So, when you think about the time and treasure that goes into these gemstones, you want to make sure you’re buying one that’s genuine.

Fake gemstones are created to look almost like the real thing; they have man-made inclusions and other ‘natural’ factors in order to look perfectly imperfect – so, nowadays, you sometimes have to do more to identify a real stone than simply look at it.

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Before moving on to various methods of spotting a fake gemstone from a real one, it’s important to know the actual difference between natural stones and synthetic ones.

  • Natural: Natural gemstones are just that: natural. They're entirely a product of nature, and are unaltered by humans aside from being cut and polished for the purpose of jewellery. Sometimes these stones are heat treated, which is completely acceptable, but we’ll talk more about this later on.

  • Synthetic: Synthetic gemstones have the exact same physical, chemical and optical properties of a natural gemstone, except for one factor: they’re created by humans. Due to their similar properties, synthetic gemstones always have a natural counterpart e.g. Synthetic Diamond, Synthetic Ruby etc.

  • Man-made: These stones are similar to synthetic ones, except for the fact that they don’t have a natural counterpart – therefore, they don’t exist in nature at all. Examples of these include Diamond simulants such as Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (YAG) and Gadolinium Gallium Garnet (GGG).

However, for us, nothing comes close to the real thing. We always source gemstones that are completely natural, and ensure they are all officially certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Plus, we will always tell you if your gemstone has been treated.

If your gemstone has been treated in any way, we'll always let you know

Treatments are common in gemstones, including Diamonds – but this doesn’t have to diminish their value! We sometimes treat our gemstones in order to enhance their natural beauty, and to accentuate the brilliance that nature has already supplied.

With this in mind, we have to stress that heat treating is fully acceptable in the gemstone market – after all, it’s only continuing what Mother Nature has already started! We don’t treat all our genuine gemstones, but we will always make sure to inform you if your gemstones have been treated in any way in addition to being cut and polished.

In short, here at Gemporia, we always bring you gemstones that are nothing but genuine and natural – and we lab-test each and every one to make sure they’re the real deal. But, perhaps you’ve bought a stone from elsewhere and you’re not sure of its authenticity.

There are a few ways to tell if your gemstone is real – and a few ways that are specific to Diamonds too! So, before making your precious purchase, here are some things to look out for.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR GEMSTONE IS REAL

Examine your gemstone to see if it's genuine

INCLUSIONS

When identifying real gemstones from fake ones, one thing to know is that real gemstones have flaws – more often than not, anyway. Needles, clouds and crystals are just a few examples of inclusions that appear in natural gemstones and, although they can’t always be seen with the naked eye, they’re what give them their character.

Some examples of inclusions include:

  • Needles

  • Clouds

  • Crystals

  • Liquid or gas bubbles

  • Fractures caused by radioactive material

However, like we said before, a lot of fake gemstones nowadays are created with man-made inclusions to make them look more authentic. A lot of glass gemstones can contain swirls and bubbles, so it’s important to know the kind of inclusions you’re looking at and whether they’re naturally created.

PRICE

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Synthetic stones are mainly made from glass and plastics; so, they can be mass produced and are therefore much cheaper than real stones. Real gemstones are produced from nature over hundreds of years and are a true gift from God – as a result, each piece is one of a kind, and the price should reflect it.

We’re able to make sure our gemstones are affordable due to our ‘mine-to-market' strategy. We cut out the middlemen to ensure that you get the absolute best pieces at a price that’s not only accurate, but fair.

For a full step-by-step guide on how we purchase our gemstones, click here.

CERTIFICATION

Arguably the most important and foolproof way of ensuring your gemstone is real is with a certificate. This certificate should:

  • Come from a reputable source, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or ourselves here at Gemporia

  • State the name of the gemstone and its carat weight

  • State the gemstone’s country of origin, and what treatments (if any) that the stone has had

The above methods apply to all gemstones – however, we all know that Diamonds are in a league of their own. So, naturally, there are specific identification methods that can only be used on a Diamond. Plus, they couldn’t be easier.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DIAMOND IS REAL

There are a few foolproof ways to determine if your Diamond is real or fake

THE READ-THROUGH EFFECT

Turn your Diamond upside down and place it on a piece of newspaper. The crystal structure of a Diamond makes the light bend so sharply that it will prevent you from reading the text; if it’s glass, you will be able to read the words.

So, if you can read it, it’s probably not a Diamond.

SANDPAPER

Diamond sits at the top of the Mohs scale of hardness, meaning the only thing that can scratch it is another Diamond.

If you use sandpaper on a genuine Diamond, it won’t scratch – so if you wave some in front of your jeweller and they look nervous, it's likely that the gem isn’t real.

THE FOG TEST

Diamonds lose their heat extremely quickly, meaning they will never fog up. So, if you breathe on a ‘Diamond’ and it fogs up, chances are it’s fake.

SPARKLE

If you shine a light onto a real Diamond, it will show white brilliance on its surface and reflect rainbow colours (also referred to as fire) on to other surfaces on the outside of the stone.

If the Diamond is fake, the rainbow colours will appear inside it as opposed to outside.

SHOP GENUINE DIAMONDS

Unfortunately, there are so many fake gemstones out there that it can be hard to distinguish a real one from one that’s man-made. But, fear not – because we always have you covered.

SHOP GENUINE GEMSTONES AND JEWELLERY

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