Monday, January 31, 2011

Diamond identification quick facts

In the beginnings of the diamond identification process there was only one test used to identify whether diamond was real or not, and it was done by scratching one diamond to another. Since diamonds are the hardest substances on our planet they can be only scratched with other diamonds. This test had one major disadvantage, as diamonds were usually damaged by this process, and this is the reason why this identification process is almost abandoned today.

The most common method/test used to identify real diamonds and separate them from fake simulants is done by using electronic thermal probes. Diamonds are excellent thermal conductors, and this method can in only few seconds time separate real diamond from fake just by measuring the temperatures.

The thermal probe method is enough to separate real diamonds from the fake ones but it cannot tell some other important facts, for instance whether the tested diamond was synthetic or natural, or whether the tested diamond was treated or not. There are even some diamond simulants that are able to pass thermal conductivity test such as silicon carbide, and this is the main reason why gemological institutes around the globe also require optical techniques.

These optical techniques include spectroscopy, microscopy and luminescence under shortwave ultraviolet light to determine whether diamond was created in nature or laboratory, and whether is was treated or not. These methods use specially designed instruments that provide gemologists with the necessary data.

The biggest difference between natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds is usually the fact that natural diamonds very often have minor imperfections and flaws, such as inclusions that are not seen in synthetic diamonds.


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