How to Tell the Difference Between Green Diamonds & Green Sapphires

Written by graham rix
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How to Tell the Difference Between Green Diamonds & Green Sapphires
Unlike these garnets, green diamonds and sapphires are both presented in brilliant cut. (garnet gemstones image by Julianna Olah from

Telling the difference between green diamonds and green sapphires is not easy as they are both very hard stones usually presented in what is known as a brilliant cut, with a round, multifaceted top half or crown and a pointed base. easily distinguishable from emeralds, which are much softer and given what is known as a 'step cut', with straight sides, the green sapphire and the green diamond are widely different in their value. Spotting the difference between the two is therefore a question of subtleties which will only reveal themselves under a jeweller's loupe.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Jeweller's loupe
  • Green diamond
  • Green sapphire

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  1. 1

    Check the condition of both stones under your jeweller's loup. Although sapphires and diamonds are both extremely hard, sapphires also have a tendency to brittleness, so you might possibly see the occasional minute chip in a green sapphire.

  2. 2

    Rotate both stones under the loupe. Unlike diamonds, sapphires show a pronounced dichroism. This is when the colour within the stone seems to change according to the angle from which you view it. A coloured diamond will not display this effect.

  3. 3

    Look next to see how well both stones reflect the light. The technical term for this is dispersion, but jewellers refer to it as 'fire.' Although effect of dispersion is muted in coloured stones, a green diamond should still show more fire than a green sapphire.

  4. 4

    A diamond will scratch a sapphire, however a sapphire will be unable to scratch a diamond.

Tips and warnings

  • Note that the scratch test is not advisable for those who want to keep the stones in good the most optimum condition.

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