Real Diamonds vs. Fake Diamonds


Authored by Douglas Mefford in Jewelry 
Published on 03-14-2009

Contrary to the common belief that synthetic diamonds such as the Cubic Zirconium are “fake”, they too are as “real” as the naturally produced diamonds thrown up to the surface of our planet from volcanic activity. There are some differences in the precise density of their atomic structure which can be tested and detected but are still “real” diamonds. For accuracy one should differentiate them as “natural” as opposed to “synthetic.”

Both types are created by high-pressure and heat action on the carbon compound graphite for synthetics and various carbon-containing sources naturally. There are only two conditions that can create natural diamonds. Within the lithospheric mantle deep under the surface is where a proper balance between heat and pressure can come together to crystallize the carbon compounds correctly. This will usually range between ninety to one hundred twenty miles deep although some diamond crystallization has been known to occur as deep as two hundred fifty miles down. Volcanic upswellings will bring these ancient mineral deposits to the surface.

The second type of naturally occurring diamonds are created through the instant heat and pressure caused by a meteorite strike. The micro-diamonds thus formed are small and primarily used for industrial purposes as grinding and polishing. Not all diamonds found in meteorite crashes are formed from the carbon in the ground they hit. Many of these micro-diamonds were formed in the nova explosions of ancient stars and are already embedded in the material that falls from the sky.

While natural diamonds can form from a variety of carbon sources, both organic and inorganic, synthetic diamonds, being a product of mechanization, are created from pure carbon forms, usually graphite. The carbon is subjected to great hydraulic pressure while being heated for a few hours so as to force the atomic structure of the carbon into the proper crystalline alignment. With such controlled production, the insertion of various other compounds can be used to custom-color the resultant new diamonds.

There are a few major differences between these two types of diamond. The synthetic stone will always be heavier than the naturally occurring stone. This difference can be as great as 50%. The natural diamonds can be cut much more precisely, thus giving them a sharper edge and a surface that is nearly impossible to scratch under normal conditions. The synthetics, while still quite dense, are more easily marred and scuffed. Finally, the natural diamonds will diffuse light that passes through them while a synthetic diamond will reflect it through. A rule of thumb is that if you can see through it, it is synthetic diamond whereas if all you see is the rainbow effect of light-wave diffraction, you have a natural stone.

When investing in a diamond, it is highly suggested that you deal only with reputable dealers in gems and jewelry so as to obtain a certificate of authenticity. Such a guarantee will provide you with such information as the weight, clarity and distinguishing features of each of these unique stones. You will know from whence it was mined and other distinguishing facts. While not all natural diamonds have maintained their documentation papers, one should have any stone evaluated by a professional to assure its composition. The synthetically created diamond stones will not have such documents with them.


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