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How to Identify a Raw Diamond

February 02, 2023

It’s no secret that diamonds are one of the most coveted gemstones in the world. Not only are they durable, but they are also incredibly beautiful. However, there is more to this stone than meets the eye. 

Some of us might be knowledgeable about precious gemstones and can easily address what 375 means on jewellery; some might be very familiar with working alongside a custom jewellery maker, like those at Holloway Diamonds, and have seen a diamond classification chart and the many handy resources one can turn to when making an informed purchase of a diamond. But did you know that the diamonds we see in stores are referred to as ‘cut’ diamonds? Before a diamond is refined and can be classified as a cut diamond, it is considered a raw, uncut diamond. 

Chances are, you’ve likely never seen a raw diamond up close–they are rare, after all. Here is a guide on how to identify an unusual gem as a raw diamond:  

Specific Gravity Matters

You do not need to be an expert in diamonds or gemstones to use specific gravity as a method. However, having a basic understanding of specific gravity will help you tremendously when trying to identify a raw diamond. 

Think of specific gravity as the ratio between the density of the stone you’re working with and a reference liquid. In layman’s terms, you would identify the specific gravity of a raw diamond by measuring the weight of the stone and comparing it to an equal volume of water. Diamonds tend to have a specific gravity of somewhere around 3.5, which means it is about 3.5 times heavier than an equal amount of water. 

It is worth pointing out that quartz gems are sometimes mistaken as raw diamonds. Quartz gemstones have a specific gravity between 2.6 to 2.7, which is far less than the specific gravity of a raw diamond. 

Hardness Tests Are Crucial 

Did you know that diamonds are one of the hardest minerals known to man? You might be familiar with the Mohs scale, which ranks the hardness of minerals. Diamonds have a score of ten on the hardness scale, and a real diamond will be able to leave a scratch if you rub it against another stone similarly ranked on the Mohs scale. 

So, how should you test for hardness? You can purchase a hardness test, or you can look for a corundum, or a stone that ranks a nine on the Mohs scale. If the stone you are looking to identify as a raw diamond leaves a scratch on the corundum, you can rest assured that you most likely have a diamond on your hands.

Consider the Colour

Whether you are considering purchasing a raw diamond or a cut stone, you should always consider colour. If you are familiar with the diamond classification chart, you know that the colour of the stone is often measured and is an important factor to consider when purchasing a diamond. 

The less colour a diamond has, the more valuable and desirable it is. Of course, there are some diamonds that are coloured, such as pink or red diamonds, that are very rare and usually more expensive. A raw diamond will often lack the shine that we are accustomed to when looking at cut diamonds–the paler and more colourless a stone is, the greater the chances are that you are looking at a raw diamond.  

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