how to identify a raw diamond
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How to Identify a Raw Diamond

Diamonds are one of the most precious gemstones in the world, and being able to identify a raw diamond can be a valuable skill. Whether you are a gem enthusiast or a potential buyer, understanding the characteristics of a raw diamond can help you determine its authenticity and value. In this article, we will guide you through the process of identifying a raw diamond, from examining its physical properties to conducting simple tests. So, let's delve into the fascinating world of raw diamonds and learn how to distinguish the real deal from imitations or other gemstones.

What is a Raw Diamond?

Before we dive into the identification process, let's clarify what exactly a raw diamond is. A raw diamond, also known as a rough diamond, is an uncut and unpolished gemstone that has been mined from the earth. Unlike the sparkling diamonds you see in jewelry stores, raw diamonds have a natural and unrefined appearance. They are typically found in their natural octahedral shape, which resembles two pyramids joined at the base.

Physical Characteristics of Raw Diamonds

Raw diamonds possess distinct physical characteristics that set them apart from other gemstones. By familiarizing yourself with these features, you can easily identify a raw diamond:

1. Shape and Texture

Raw diamonds usually have an irregular shape with sharp edges and a rough surface. Their natural octahedral structure gives them a unique appearance. When held, raw diamonds may feel slightly grainy or gritty due to their unpolished state.

2. Color

Raw diamonds come in various colors, including white, yellow, brown, and even rare hues like blue and green. However, colorless or near-colorless raw diamonds are considered the most valuable. Keep in mind that some diamonds may exhibit a hint of color, known as "fancy color," which can also be highly desirable.

3. Transparency

Raw diamonds are generally translucent to opaque, meaning that light does not pass through them easily. Unlike some other gemstones, such as sapphires or emeralds, raw diamonds do not have a strong sparkle or brilliance.

4. Inclusions

Inclusions are small imperfections or internal characteristics found within a diamond. Raw diamonds often contain inclusions, such as tiny crystals, fractures, or other minerals trapped during their formation. These inclusions are natural and can help authenticate the diamond's origin.

Simple Tests to Identify a Raw Diamond

While a professional gemologist can provide a definitive identification of a raw diamond, you can conduct some simple tests at home to get a preliminary idea. Here are a few tests you can try:

1. Density Test

Raw diamonds have a high density, so they will sink when placed in water. Fill a glass with water and carefully drop the suspected diamond into it. If it sinks to the bottom, there is a good chance it is a raw diamond.

2. Heat Resistance Test

Raw diamonds are highly resistant to heat. Hold the suspected diamond with tweezers or pliers, and carefully heat it using a lighter or a torch flame for about 30 seconds. If it remains unaffected and does not shatter, it is likely a raw diamond.

3. UV Light Test

Use a UV light source to examine the diamond's fluorescence. Raw diamonds tend to have a blue fluorescence, while some imitations or other gemstones may exhibit different colors or no fluorescence at all.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can raw diamonds be cut and polished?

A: Yes, raw diamonds can be cut and polished to enhance their appearance and maximize their brilliance. However, this process requires the expertise of a professional diamond cutter.

Q: Are all raw diamonds valuable?

A: The value of a raw diamond depends on various factors, including its size, color, clarity, and overall quality. While not all raw diamonds are considered highly valuable, they can still possess a certain allure and uniqueness.

Q: How can I differentiate a raw diamond from cubic zirconia?

A: Cubic zirconia is a diamond simulant and can be easily distinguished from a raw diamond. Cubic zirconia is much softer and lighter than a diamond. It also tends to have more sparkle and less density.


Identifying a raw diamond requires careful observation and knowledge of its distinct physical characteristics. By examining its shape, color, transparency, and inclusions, you can make an initial assessment of whether a diamond is raw or not. Conducting simple tests, such as the density, heat resistance, and UV light tests, can further support your identification. However, it is always advisable to consult a professional gemologist for a definitive assessment. So, the next time you come across an uncut gemstone, armed with your newfound knowledge, you will be better equipped to identify a raw diamond.

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