Synthetic Diamonds and How to Identify Them

By Rubina Posh September 14,2017

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What are Synthetic Diamonds?

Synthetic Diamonds, also known as lab-grown, man-made, artificial, cultivated, created, or cultured diamonds, are diamonds which are produced through the High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) method or the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method. They have an identical chemical composition and crystal structure and an almost-identical physical and optical properties of natural diamonds.

When diamonds form, whether natural or man-made, they absorb materials from their surroundings and develop internal and external marks. These identifying features were primarily used to identify natural diamonds from synthetic. This is no longer the case as the production process has improved greatly over the past few years. Synthetic diamonds are made through controlled processes intended to minimise imperfections, producing diamonds with better clarity. Correct identification can only be done through advanced gemmological testing.


How are Synthetic Diamonds Graded? 

All diamonds whether colourless or fancy coloured, natural or man-made, are graded based on the 4C’s:



Colour and


The process of grading synthetic diamonds is the same as natural diamonds. The only difference is the colour and clarity which have a broader range.

The Colour Scale has five categories: 

Colorless, Near Colorless, Faint, Very Light, and Light and

The Clarity Scale has six categories:

Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included, and Included.

Synthetic Diamonds are as real as the natural diamonds and are more affordable. They “…have a place in the market as long as they are properly disclosed at the time of sale” Dr James Shigley a GIA distinguished research fellow



Latest Technology to help with the Identification/separation of Natural Diamonds from Synthetic Diamonds

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has developed a portable instrument – GIA iD100 – that separates natural diamonds from synthetic diamonds as well as imitants such as Cubic Zirconias and Synthetic Moissianite. It is designed to be used on loose and set stones. This instrument is available for approximately AU$6,500.00. For more information about the GIA iD100, check out their website at


How to use the GIA iD100

·         Turn on the GIA iD100

·         Press “Calibrate” on the touch screen

·         Place the needle point on the stone to illuminate it

·         You will see and hear one of two words “PASS” or “REFER”

“PASS” means that it is a natural diamond and “REFER” means that the stone is not a natural diamond or more tests need to be performed

·         Repeat steps 3 and 4 if there are more stones to be tested


Recently another instrument has been created which can also separate natural diamonds from all synthetics and imitants.


Unlike the GIA iD100, the SYNTHdetect developed by The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a De Beers Group company, tests multiple gemstones in set jewellery at once without the need for a probe. This instrument is available for approximately AU$21,000.00. For more information about the SYNTHdetect, check out the DeBeers group website




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