Many collectors want to invest in authentic jewelry. It’s a good investment and the jewelry looks stunning when worn. Shoppers need to be careful and avoid unscrupulous dealers. Here are a few tips on learning real from fake.

Shop With Reputable Dealers

Many jewelry lovers find one trusted dealer and stick with the company. The best jewelry dealers win you over with your first order. The dealer may offer the customer tips on determining whether a piece is authentic. They also know where to find collectible jewelry.

Learn Jewelry Hallmarks

It’s common for authentic jewelry to have distinguishable hallmarks. For example, sterling silver is engraved with 925, 800 or sterling silver. Markings are found on the clasp of a necklace or inside a ring. Further, you may be able to find a mark on a bracelet clasp or an earring post.

Real gold is often engraved with a mark that tells how much gold is in the piece. Look for 10k, 14k or 18k. Known platinum hallmarks include PLAT, PLATINUM or 950. Sometimes, you’ll find an authentic piece engraved with the name of a recognized maker.

Check the Weight

Authentic jewelry is heavier than the fake versions. Brass and pewter are often used to imitate gold and silver. These metals are light in comparison to real gold and silver. Further, imitation pieces often feel hollow inside. Likewise, the color of the piece changes. This does not happen with authentic jewelry.

A Girl’s Best Friend

There are several ways to determine if a diamond is authentic. The density test requires a glass of water. Fill the glass ¾ full and drop a loose diamond in it. A real diamond sinks to the bottom of the glass. Floaters are probably faked.

 It’s probably better to have a diamond tested by professionals. A jeweler looks at a diamond through a loupe. The loupe is a magnifying glass made to use with diamonds.  Fakes look perfect but genuine diamonds have flaws called inclusions. Many jewelers use a diamond tester or a thermal conductivity probe. Diamonds are heat conductors and fake stones are not. Therefore, a diamond gives off the heat quickly after being warmed by the probe.


It’s difficult to tell the difference between lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds. They have almost the same chemical makeup. An expert needs to examine the diamond to determine whether it’s natural. Lab-created diamonds aren’t worth nearly as much as natural stones.

Synthetic moissanite is the most difficult stone to distinguish from a real diamond. In fact, synthetic moissanite is a heat conductor so the thermal test doesn’t work. A jeweler must look at the stone to investigate. White topaz looks a lot like diamonds but there are physical differences. White topaz has a soft exterior while diamonds are very hard.


Sapphires are almost as hard as diamonds so the stone may be fake if it’s scratched. Genuine sapphires are so blue they almost look black. Collectors shouldn’t be able to see any other color in a sapphire. Further, authentic sapphires never look shiny.


Color may be able to help a collector spot a fake emerald. Colombian emeralds are the most desirable stones. Emerald lovers know that Colombian stones have tinges of yellow or blue mixed with green. Emeralds that are a deep green color are likely fakes.

Shoppers prefer authentic jewelry and gemstones. However, it can be difficult to spot a fake. Lab-created stones look so much like the real thing. It’s always best to have jewelry appraised by an expert before buying it.