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How to Identify a Raw Diamond

by Clean Origin
Last updated on August 21, 2023
How to Identify a Raw Diamond

Diamonds are one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world due to their durability, sparkle, and natural beauty. While recognizing a cut diamond is fairly simple, identifying a raw diamond is challenging. If you think you have a raw diamond or have found one, follow these steps to identify if it is the real deal. 

Types of Raw Diamonds

Raw diamond
Raw Natural Diamond

Let’s first identify the two types of raw diamonds. 

Natural Raw Diamonds

Diamonds that are removed from the earth by mining industries are considered natural raw diamonds. These diamonds are typically more expensive because of the lengthy, labor-intensive mining process. Although very rare, natural raw diamonds can be found by accident. The steps and tests found later in this article can help you determine if your suspected diamond is real or not. 

Lab Raw Diamonds

Diamonds that come from lab processes are considered to be lab raw diamonds. These diamonds are typically less expensive because the lab process is much less costly than the mining process. Lab grown diamonds have the same features and atomic makeup as natural diamonds that are mined from the earth. Lab grown diamonds have many advantages compared to natural raw diamonds, including that they are more ethical and affordable

What does a raw diamond look like?

Rough diamonds
Rough Diamonds

Diamonds that have not yet been cut are referred to as ‘raw’ or ‘rough’ diamonds. Raw diamonds look very similar to quartz pebbles that have been worn down by the water, but there are many other rocks that can be mistaken for raw diamonds by people who don’t know how to spot the precious material. The odds of finding a raw diamond are very low, but not impossible. We’ll take you through all of the steps for identifying a raw diamond and how you can know if it is real or not. 

How To Identify a Raw Diamond

Let’s first start by pointing out some signs that your suspected diamond is not, in fact, a diamond. 

  • The suspected raw diamond weighs over 2 grams 
  • The suspected raw diamond is larger than 8 mm or 3/8 of an inch
  • More than one suspected raw diamond was found in the same area

If your suspected diamond passed these requirements, it’s time to perform a few more tests.

5 Ways to Identify a Raw Diamond

Lab diamond

1. Crystal Form 

Looking at the crystal form is a fast way to differentiate a diamond from many other minerals and gemstones that look similar. When looking down at the crystals from the top, a diamond will have four sides. If you see six sides, it is likely that you found quartz. 

2. Fracture

When diamonds break, they will create smooth, flat surfaces. Quartz and glass will create rigid surfaces when broken. 

3. Use a Loupe

A loupe is a unique magnifying glass used specifically for jewelry and gemstones. Look at your suspected diamond through the loupe and inspect for blemishes and imperfections within the diamond. A real diamond will have small imperfections, referred to as inclusions.

4. Hardness

A hardness test can help determine if your suspected diamond is real. As a matter of fact, the only hardness test that can identify a diamond is scratching corundum. Corundum (which includes rubies and sapphires) is a 9 on Moh’s Hardness Scale and can only be scratched by a diamond. If your suspected diamond scratches corundum, there is a good chance it is a real diamond. 

Unfortunately, scratch tests are not always accurate. Cubic zirconia and moissanite (two gemstones commonly used in place of diamonds) are very durable as well. It is important to perform various tests to ensure that your diamond is real. 

5. Thermal Conductivity

Diamonds absorb heat better than any other mineral. As a result, experts use Thermal absorption testers to regularly test diamonds. This handheld device generates heat and measures how quickly the heat is absorbed by the crystal. This test is very effective in identifying a real diamond from moissanite and other similar gemstones. 

Most jewelers will own a thermal absorption tester, so visit someone local before purchasing your own.

Layered Diamond Tennis Necklaces
Layered Diamond Tennis Necklaces

If your suspected diamond passes these 5 tests, You most likely have a real diamond in your hands! Congratulations! It’s always a good idea to bring it to a reputable, local jeweler to have it inspected further. 

Learn more about Clean Origin’s lab grown diamonds here.