Skip to Content


Do Real Diamonds Show Up On X-ray?

Do Real Diamonds Show Up On X-ray?

Oh diamonds, we have one word for them – stunning! Whether you received them as a gift or treated yourself by buying one, you can’t help but be in love with them. We understand; there are many reasons to adore these gems.

Diamonds are majestic. Everyone loves diamonds. The only thing that can devalue their worth is that some of them are real, and some are not. 

Whether they’re real or not – you can’t say that they aren’t appealing to the eye. The question that got us wondering is – do real diamonds show up on an X-ray?

Well, don’t worry, we have an answer to that – along with lots of additional info. Let’s get started!

Do Real Diamonds Show Up On X-Ray?

The answer is no; real diamonds don’t show up on X-rays. The reason why is because genuine diamonds are radiolucent, meaning they are transparent to medical X-rays. 

You could’ve told the difference in the early days of X-rays. But today? Not so much. Nowadays, If it doesn’t show up, it could still be a synthetic diamond, cubic zirconium, or other material. 

However, if it does appear, it’s likely costume jewelry. 

Diamonds are nearly three times denser than human bones. Therefore X-rays can’t see them. They can significantly stand out in X-ray photographs of smugglers – because they’re so thick relative to the human body.

A diamond will absorb X-rays at all wavelengths, but the amount of absorption varies, and it is much less at shorter wavelengths – or higher energy – than at longer wavelengths. 

Tre absorption and X-ray scattering off an atom’s electrons account for the reported absorption.

How Can You Tell If A Diamond Is Real?

As we just explained, one way is to see if the diamond shows up on an X-ray. Then again, it’s not like you could just go and get an X-ray just for the sake of testing your gem. We’re sure doctors have better things to do. 

So, what other options are there?

Well, you can find inclusions in almost all diamonds, usually feathers or small black carbon dots. If you look at a diamond and see no inclusions – either with your naked eye or with a tester – it’s probably a fake. 

However, the best method is to use a diamond tester. It will inform you if it is a genuine diamond or a simulated stone, moissanite, or cubic zirconia.

And, as always, sending your stone to the GIA ensures you’ll get an accurate response, as well as a reasonably precise appraisal.

If these methods are not enough for you, there are other ways to find out if your diamond is real: 

  • Water Test: Fill a normal-sized drinking glass with water to 34% capacity. Drop a loose diamond into the glass. If it’s a genuine diamond, it will sink. It’s not real if it floats. The density of a genuine diamond will be higher.
  • Fog Test: Hold the diamond between two fingers and blow on it with a puff of air to perform the fog test. Due to the moisture and heat in your breath, a light fog will form on the diamond. If the fog clears off quickly, the diamond is real.

It’s most likely a fake diamond if the fog takes several seconds to clear. Diamonds are excellent heat conductors and dissipate heat quickly.

  • Heating The Diamond: Heat does not affect diamonds. After heating the stone, wait 40 seconds, then drop it into the water. It’s not a diamond if it breaks up; diamonds are the hardest stones on the planet.
  • Sparkle Test: Since the diamond sparkles a lot, place it under direct light and observe how light interacts with the diamond.
  • UV Light Test: UV light is emitted by most gems. However, this does not appear to be acceptable for many diamonds.
  • Use A Jeweler’s Loupe To Inspect A Diamond: To see internal diamond inclusions, use the loupe. There’ll be flaws in diamonds; perfect gems will fall victim to skepticism.
  • Use High-Profile Weighing To Test A Real Diamond: Compare the weight and size of diamonds. Fake diamonds will weigh less than genuine diamonds of the same size.

Read Also: What Does LC Mean In Diamond?

What’s The Difference Between A Real Diamond And A Synthetic Diamond?

Diamond is a carbon allotrope. It’s the only gem formed entirely of a single element – carbon. Carbon has an atomic number of 6 and attenuates X-rays less than other elements with higher atomic numbers. 

The sole difference is that lab-grown diamonds are manufactured in a laboratory rather than mined from the Earth’s crust. 

However, because they’re both formed of pure carbon, they have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties. Isn’t that fascinating? 

Scientists managed to recreate something that Earth took millions of years to make! The power of knowledge, huh?

Because lab-grown diamonds appear to be similar to genuine diamonds, no one can tell the difference with their naked eyes. We have more facts for you, though. 

So, keep reading.

  • Clarity: Internal defects that occurred during the creation of natural diamonds are common. On the other hand, synthetic diamonds are made with fewer intrinsic imperfections to appear more “natural.”
  • Durability: On the Moh scale of hardness, diamonds are a ten. Because they’re both made of pure carbon, they’re equally durable.
  • Resale value: Natural diamonds have considerable worth due to their uniqueness and formation billions of years ago – but they are also pricey. Lab-grown diamonds have little to no resale value.
  • Grading: Both natural and lab-grown are graded the same by GIA or IGI, starting with the 4 C’s – cut, clarity, color, and carat.
  • Price: Lab-grown diamonds are substantially less expensive than natural diamonds since the supply chain is smaller and the production period is shorter.

If a jeweler claims they can identify the difference thanks to their “trained” eye rather than a loupe, our advice is just to walk away. Either they’re lying – or they’re flat-out wrong.

Detection requires the use of specialized equipment. 

Lab-grown gems register as diamonds when checked with an LED “pen” commonly available in businesses that buy jewelry from customers. 

A more expensive tool is required for proper identification – and in some circumstances, only a professional operator familiar with crystal growth patterns can tell the difference.

Learn More: Lab-created Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Lab-Grown Diamonds Vs. Real Diamonds?

Pros are that they’re identical to natural diamonds in every manner – and if they’re cut to a high standard, you might have a stunning sparkler. Plus, lab-grown diamonds are less expensive.

Cons are that it’s hard to find one lab-grown diamond that’s cut to good quality. Likewise, some people want diamonds with many imperfections and flaws – meaning fake diamonds aren’t the right choice for them. 

There’s one more thing to consider: A ton (or more) of the rock must be removed and processed to extract one carat of diamonds from natural Kimberlite. It’s a dangerous job that’s also bad for the environment.

Despite the fact that lab-created diamonds are now confined to cut stones of five carats or less, they cause minimal environmental damage aside from the vast amount of energy required in the existing manufacturing techniques.

Even so, we feel that lab-made diamonds win out. 

Unfortunately, the cost of the advanced machinery required to synthesize gem-quality diamonds remains exorbitant. 

The “discount” on mined diamonds is no more than 20%. 

That’s why no full-time synthetic diamond producer has ever made a profit. The term “synthetic” is still associated with the word “fake.” 

How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Created?

In terms of chemical attributes, lab-grown diamonds are equivalent to natural diamonds. The process of creating a real diamond is duplicated in a laboratory under controlled conditions. 

Lab diamonds are made using a variety of techniques.

Because of its low cost, the original process of high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) is still commonly utilized. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) produces a carbon plasma over a substrate onto which carbon atoms deposit to form a diamond in the second process. 

Learn More: What Is The Difference Between HPHT And CVD?

Explosive creation and sonication of graphite solutions are two additional methods.

It’s vital to understand the difference between lab-created diamonds and diamond simulants like cubic zirconia and moissanite. These fake diamonds aren’t constructed of carbon crystals – and don’t have the same brilliance as genuine diamonds. 

Lab diamonds are typically 30% less expensive than genuine diamonds of equivalent size and quality, whereas diamond simulants are significantly less expensive. 

Because lab diamonds have the same sparkling beauty and durability as real diamonds, they are just as luxurious.

How Expensive Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Natural diamonds are more expensive than lab-grown ones – but you know that already. Still, both natural and lab-grown diamonds have the same cost when it comes to processes like cutting, polishing, and testing.

Natural diamonds have a longer supply chain than synthetic diamonds since they’re mined. Since lab-grown diamonds avoid the need for mining, they save on labor costs overall. As a result, lab-grown diamonds are a cost-effective solution for customers – all without sacrificing diamond quality.

Believe it or not – Lightbox, a De Beers division, is currently offering 1-carat diamonds for $800. Because they don’t grade or certify their stones, it’s challenging to make a clear comparison to mined diamonds.

However, on the Blue Nile, a respectable hue and grade 1-carat round brilliant costs around $5,000.

Lightbox charges the same fee for both pink and blue lab-grown stones. Blue diamonds that have been mined are pretty rare; there are no 1-carat diamonds at the Blue Nile, for example.

To be fair, the Lightbox stone’s color doesn’t look anything like a mined blue gem – which was presumably done on purpose.

What Are The Gems Mostly Used As ’’Fake” Diamonds?

Imitations of diamonds include:

  • Cubic zirconia
  • White topaz
  • Moissanite
  • Lab-grown diamond
  • White sapphire
  • Synthetic diamond prepared by CVD (chemical vapor deposition) techniques

Are Diamonds Better Than Other Gems?

Well, we think that is a personal choice. 

Diamonds are tough and long-lasting. That’s especially critical for regularly worn jewelry – such as rings – which are more susceptible to rubbing and banging against other objects.

The refractive index (RI) and dispersion of diamonds are both extremely high. That means they glisten a lot and emit “fire” in the form of rainbow-colored light due to diffraction. 

While diamonds aren’t the best – rutile and strontium titanate have higher RI – they’re still far superior to most other jewels.

Diamonds have the highest level of thermal conductivity of any jewel, arguably better than any other. Is this significant in terms of their utility as gems? 

No, but it’s a fascinating property to consider when using diamond as an insulator.

See Also: Are Diamonds Really Worthless?

Final Words

We hope this guide answered your question and changed your point of view when it comes to diamonds – besides the whole X-ray thing. 

Other than that, our wish was for you to learn a thing or two about genuine diamonds and fake diamonds – simply because it’s always good to know more.

Our advice for you: If you’re thinking about buying a diamond – don’t worry that much about whether it’s real or fake. You wanna know why? 

Because to the naked eye, they appear very similar.

But, if you do care about if the diamond is real – the quickest way is just to do an X-ray and get your answer. If you can find a doctor willing to help, that is.