Handheld Diamond Testers Explained

One question we regularly receive is "Can a reputable jeweler tell the difference between a lab grown diamond and an Earth-extracted diamond"? The short answer is no, a jeweler cannot tell the difference with a loupe (10x magnifying glass) and regular lighting.

There are a few higher end tools sold by companies such as De Beers that use shortwave ultraviolet light and cross polar filters to determine the difference in crystal growth structure of a lab diamond versus a mined diamond (the lab diamond has much less strain in it's carbon crystal structure). De Beers' Diamond View tools costs over $50,000 and are mostly used by independent laboratories such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

That being said, there are plenty of readily available cheap tools on the market to test between cubic zirconia, moissanite, and diamond. There are two types of testers that typical jewelers use.

Diamond Selector V2, Amazon.com

The first type of tool checks for thermal conductivity and is intended to distinguish between cubic zirconia and diamond.  All lab grown diamonds will be correctly identified as diamonds by thermal testers.

The second type of tool checks for electrical conductivity.  Moissanite is electrically conductive, while mined white diamonds are not, so this tool is usually used to distinguish between the two.  

All blue diamonds (both grown and mined) are electrically conductive due to the presence of boron in the atomic structure, and will incorrectly identify as moissanite on these testers. In addition, some but not all of Ada's white diamonds have trace amounts of boron, and may also be electrically conductive.  Thus a jeweler may incorrectly assume that an Ada Diamond is moissanite, but the result just means the diamond is electrically conductive.  

The reason that mined diamonds are not electrically conductive is that over 98% of mined diamonds have significant nitrogen impurities in the diamond crystal. Carbon is element #6 and nitrogen is element #7, so mined diamonds have extra electrons trapped in the crystal structure.  Boron is element #5, so lab diamonds that have no nitrogen and some boron have missing electrons in the crystal structure, which electricity can flow through. Thus some lab diamonds are electrically conductive.

This property is one of the amazing features of lab diamonds: these diamonds are semiconductors. Yes, you can build a computer on our diamonds! Many of our diamond suppliers are also growing semiconductor diamonds for researchers at leading institutions such as Harvard, MIT, and Cal Techto push the boundaries of computing.

For 21st century electronics, lab diamonds could be the perfect material. They are highly thermally conductive, which means diamond-based devices dissipate heat quickly and easily, foregoing the need for bulky and expensive methods for cooling. Lab diamonds can also handle much higher voltages and power than silicon. Electrical currents also flow through diamonds faster than silicon, meaning that diamond computers will be more energy efficient.

This is why we say that you'll soon need to rename the Silicon Valley the Diamond Valley and why we believe that our diamonds are #DiamondsoftheFuture!