Is there any more universal symbol of an engagement than a diamond ring? It wasn't always that way, but in the modern era diamond companies have made a concerted and sustained effort to link the diamond to true love- just think of all the commercials you've seen throughout your lifetime for big name diamond companies.
And there's no doubt that they've done a good job of it: after all, even something as horrific as the blood diamond scandals haven't been enough to deter thousands of young and not so young men each year from spending the traditional three months of income on a diamond ring to propose with.
Now, how mad would you be after all that to find out the diamond set in the ring you purchased wasn't real? While any ring you buy from a brand name retailer will no doubt be authentic, if you inherited a ring from a family member or tried to circumvent normal brand names to get a "good deal" then there's a chance that shiny rock set in the ring may not be the real deal.
How would you know, though? It's actually not as hard as it sounds to find out. Here's a few ways to check the authenticity of your diamond that don't require expensive and specialized equipment.
While some types of glass and quartz can pass for diamonds from a distance, they're actually a fundamentally different materials with distinctive properties. One of those different properties? How they disperse heat. When you bring a mirror or pane of glass to your mouth and exhale to fog it, the condensation clings to the glass for a few seconds before dissipating. Not so with diamonds. A real diamond dissipates the heat immediately, leaving it unfogged no matter how hard you blow.
The second way of checking your diamond is to pick up your diamond with a pair of tweezers (not your fingers), and put it over a lighter. Heat it for around a minute, then drop the diamond in a glass of cold water. This may sound like an insane thing to do to something as expensive as a diamond, but remember that diamonds are the hardest substance on the planet. A real diamond will be fine after being heated and immediately cooled, while glass or quartz will crack or shatter from the rapid expansion and contraction that switching temperatures so quickly causes.
Ok, but let's say that even with the above explanation you don't want to risk any harm whatsoever to your prized rock. Another test you can do is to simply take that same cup of water and drop the diamond in it. What gives a diamond its hardness and strength is just how incredibly dense it is, and that same density means it will immediately sink to the bottom of the cup. Glass and quartz are less dense materials though, and will either float at the top or midpoint of the glass.
While there are dozens of ways of differentiating a real diamond from a fake, these three are a good starting point for finding out if your diamond is the real deal. If you're interested in other romantic money advice, check out our article on how to save money this Valentine's. And if you're in a position where money is tight enough that you're thinking of buying a ring you're not sure has a legit diamond or not, you should think about taking out a signature installment loan. They're fast and convenient, and may be able to get you up to $1,250 in cash within the hour.