Gemstone Identification: How To Tell Real From Fake

Gemstone Identification: How To Tell Real From Fake

Gemstone identification is a crucial aspect of the world of gems and jewelry. It involves determining the authenticity and quality of a gemstone, which can greatly affect its value and marketability.

With the increasing popularity of gemstones and jewelry, it has become increasingly important to be able to differentiate real from fake gemstones.

This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the key factors and techniques involved in gemstone identification, including physical characteristics, common methods, and how to spot fake gemstones.

By understanding these elements, you can make informed decisions when purchasing or evaluating gemstones.

Importance Of Gemstone Identification

Gemstone identification is a critical step in the gem and jewelry industry, as it helps determine the authenticity and quality of a gemstone. This information can greatly impact a gemstone’s value, marketability, and overall worth. For consumers, gemstone identification is crucial for ensuring that they are not being misled or taken advantage of when purchasing gems and jewelry.

A real gemstone is a valuable investment and can hold its worth for generations to come, while a fake gemstone is simply a waste of money.

Additionally, gemstone identification helps ensure that the gemstones being sold are ethically sourced and not from conflict zones, where the sale of gems may contribute to human rights violations. This is particularly important for consumers who are concerned about the environmental and social impact of their purchases.

Overall, gemstone identification is crucial for protecting the integrity of the gem and jewelry industry, and for ensuring that consumers can make informed decisions when buying gems and jewelry.

Difference Between Real and Fake Gemstones

Real gemstones are naturally occurring minerals that have been mined, cut, and polished for use in jewelry and other decorative items. They are valued for their beauty, rarity, and durability.

Fake gemstones, on the other hand, are man-made imitations designed to resemble real gemstones. They are often made from glass, synthetic materials, or other low-cost substances and lack the same qualities and properties as real gemstones.

The differences between real and fake gemstones can be observed through various factors such as transparency, clarity, hardness, weight, refractive index, and dispersion.

Real gemstones typically have higher levels of transparency, clarity, and hardness, and they are denser and heavier than fake gemstones. They also have a unique refractive index and dispersion, which can be used to distinguish them from imitations.

Physical Characteristics Of Real Gemstones

Different types of real gemstones

1. Transparency and Clarity

Real gemstones are known for their high levels of transparency and clarity. Transparency refers to the ability of light to pass through the stone, while clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes within the stone.

Most real gemstones are transparent and have a high degree of clarity, making them visually stunning and highly valued.

2. Hardness and Durability

Real gemstones are also prized for their hardness and durability, which makes them ideal for use in jewelry and other decorative items.

Hardness refers to a gemstone’s resistance to being scratched or damaged, while durability refers to its ability to withstand daily wear and tear.

Real gemstones have high levels of hardness and durability, making them long-lasting and ideal for everyday use. For instance, gemstones like tourmaline and Quartz rank very high on moh’s hardness scale and are one of the hardest stones.

3. Weight and Density

The weight and density of a gemstone can also help distinguish real from fake gemstones. Real gemstones are typically denser and heavier than fake gemstones, and their weight can be used to help identify them.

By using a gemstone’s weight, you can determine its density, which can be compared to known densities for real gemstones to determine its authenticity.

4. Refractive Index and Dispersion

Refractive index refers to the bending of light as it passes through a gemstone, while dispersion refers to the splitting of light into its component colors.

Real gemstones have unique refractive indices and dispersions, which can be used to distinguish them from fake gemstones. By measuring these factors, you can determine the authenticity of a gemstone and distinguish it from imitations.

Common Methods Of Gemstone Identification

1. Visual Inspection

Visual inspection is a simple and straightforward method of gemstone identification that can be done by anyone. This method involves closely examining the gemstone for any physical characteristics that can indicate its authenticity.

This includes examining the gemstone’s color, clarity, cut, and shape, as well as checking for any inclusions, blemishes, or other imperfections.

2. Simple Tests

Simple tests, such as the breath test and the fog test, can also be used to identify gemstones. The breath test involves breathing on the gemstone to see if condensation forms on its surface, which can indicate that it is a fake gemstone.

The fog test involves blowing a short burst of air on the gemstone and observing if the fog disperses quickly, which indicates a real gemstone.

3. Advanced Tests

Advanced tests, such as spectroscopy, refractometry, and thermal conductivity testing, are more technical and require specialized equipment.

These tests can provide more accurate and reliable results, but they should only be performed by trained professionals.

4. Gemstone Certification

Gemstone certification is a process in which a gemstone is evaluated by a professional gemologist and given a certificate of authenticity. This certificate confirms that the gemstone is a real, natural gemstone and includes information about its quality, origin, and value.

Gemstone certification is the most reliable and comprehensive method of gemstone identification and can provide peace of mind for consumers who are concerned about the authenticity of their gems.

How To Spot Fake Gemstones

Tell-Tale Signs Of Fake Gemstones

Gemstones are highly sought after for their beauty and rarity. However, not all gemstones are authentic, and it’s important to be able to spot a fake gemstone. Here are some tell-tale signs of a fake gemstone:

1. Price: If a gemstone seems too good to be true, it probably is. Genuine gemstones can be expensive, so if you come across a stone that is significantly cheaper than its real counterpart, it’s likely to be a fake.

2. Weight: Fake gemstones are often lighter than genuine ones. This is because fake gemstones are often made from lower-quality materials that are lighter in weight.

3. Clarity: Genuine gemstones are often clear or transparent, but fake gemstones can be cloudy or hazy. If a stone seems to have a lot of inclusions, it’s likely to be a fake.

4. Color: Gemstones often have consistent color, but fake gemstones can have inconsistent or off-color hues. If a gemstone seems to change color when viewed from different angles, it’s likely to be a fake.

How To Avoid Falling For Fake Gemstones

To avoid falling for fake gemstones, it’s important to do your research and work with reputable sources. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you’re buying a genuine gemstone:

Buy from a reputable source: Look for a seller that has a good reputation and a track record of selling authentic gemstones.

1. Get a certification: If you’re buying a gemstone, look for one that has been certified by a reputable gemology laboratory. A certificate will provide you with information about the gemstone’s origin, quality, and authenticity.

2. Look for the details: Pay attention to the details, such as the cut, clarity, and color of the gemstone. If you notice any inconsistencies, it’s likely that the gemstone is a fake.

3. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the gemstone you’re considering. A reputable seller will be happy to provide you with answers and will be transparent about the gemstone’s origin and quality.

Common Materials Used To Make Fake Gemstones

There are a variety of materials used to make fake gemstones, including glass, plastic, and synthetic materials. Some common fake gemstones include:

1. Cubic zirconia: Cubic zirconia is a synthetic material that is used to create fake diamonds. It’s often used because it has a similar appearance to a diamond, but it’s significantly cheaper.

2. Glass: Glass is another material that is often used to make fake gemstones. It’s easy to work with and can be molded into many different shapes and sizes.

3. Synthetic gemstones: Synthetic gemstones are created in a laboratory, and they’re often used to mimic the appearance of genuine gemstones. They can be made from a variety of materials, including synthetic spinel, corundum, and cubic zirconia.


In conclusion, gemstone identification can be a complex process, but with the right knowledge and tools, it’s possible to tell real gemstones from fake ones.

By paying attention to the weight, clarity, color, and other details of the gemstone, you can gain a better understanding of its authenticity.

It’s also important to work with reputable sources, get certification from a gemology laboratory, and ask questions to ensure that you’re buying a genuine gemstone.

By following these steps, you can protect yourself from purchasing a fake gemstone and ensure that you get a valuable and beautiful gemstone that will last for years to come.


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