Diamonds, rhinestones and substitutes

After the holidays, our Gemologist MarĂ­a Isabel Sallent is back with us. Sharing his knowledge about this fantastic world of Gemology. In this article we will reveal some interesting questions about the Diamond, rhinestones and substitutes. A good way to start this month of September after the summer holidays for those of us in this hemisphere.

brilliant diamond

These topics of interest and others will be distributed in several installments that I will publish in later months. Where he will reveal the differences between Diamond with Zircon and Zirconia. A good proposal for lovers of Gems. Also taking advantage of the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about it, our Gemologist will try to reveal it. See you soon. Greetings!

Diamond, Substitutes and Imitations

When we talk about substitutes we refer to gems that exist in nature that can be passed off as Diamond. The imitations is material made in the laboratory by man.

Diamond characteristics

The Diamond is pure carbon crystallized in the cubic system, which may contain small traces of Nitrogen and Boron. Carbon has many forms of presentation, Graphites, Diamond, Londsdaleite (meteorite diamond) hexagonal system. Diamond is the second most stable shape after Graphite.

In order to differentiate it, we must know it. Diamond has a density of 3.52, its hardness is 10, it is the hardest material according to the Mohs scale. It has a thermal conductivity to heat more similar to metals than gems. Taking advantage of this feature, the diamond tester, to differentiate it from Zirconia and Moissanite.


It has a very low coefficient of expansion, although we heat it a lot, it does not change in size, and a very low coefficient of compressibility, which It is very important in high technology.

It insulates against electricity, although those that contain Boron are semiconductors.

On the surface it has very curious behaviors. It is akin to grease, if you pick it up with your fingers, the fingerprint remains, it has to be cleaned with alcohol and picked up with tweezers. Thanks to this, it was used in the mines of Africa to separate the Diamond from other gems, making the materials pass through sliding belts or grease-coated boards, the other gems fell. It is also anti-water, it does not allow itself to get wet, this responds to the surface tension of the material.

Its refractive index is 2.42, it cannot be measured with a refractometer.

Taking into account all the above, the most dangerous imitation will be the one that comes closest to these features.

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