SYNTHETIC DIAMOND SCREENER (SDSII) by Presdium

SYNTHETIC DIAMOND + MOISSANITE TESTER (Veritas) by Gemtrue

 

SDSII by Presidium - - - - - VERITAS by Gemtrue

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It is important to note that this is not a diamond tester. You must be quite certain that you are 'screening' known diamonds. So please do not buy this if you are not already an expert in diamonds, or if you do not already have a diamond tester).

 

CONTENTS

Summary

Q&A about synthetic diamonds

The two testers compared

 

Technical:
Serious testers for the professional jeweller, they help screen out Type II diamonds, these are very rare in nature (2%) but, currently, all synthetic (CVD and HPHT) diamonds are of this type.
Non-technical:
Synthetic diamonds are diamonds, they are real diamonds*, they are grown by man in a laboratory ("synthetic") instead of being grown by nature in the ground ("natural"). Do not confuse 'synthetic' with a ‘simulant’ - a simulant is a stone that might look like a diamond but is not (e.g. Moisssanite or Cz, they are not diamond). Since synthetic diamonds are the same as natural diamonds, they are extremely difficult to detect, and up to now the only testers were expensive. These are the first low-cost synthetic diamond testers, and the CDS is the only one that will test stones mounted in jewellery.

* It is agreed within the diamond and jewellery industries that the description 'diamond' should only refer to natural (dug out the ground) diamonds and not synthetic (grown in a laboratory) diamonds, even though both of these are diamond and not simulants.

Q. What is a type II diamond?
A. Type II diamonds (including Type IIa and Type IIb) have a very slightly different atomic structure to Type I diamonds. Natural diamonds of Type II are rare (about 2%) but it makes no difference to the value, it's just a quirk of nature that makes it possible to detect Type II. All synthetic diamonds (grown by the CVD or HPHT methods) are Type II.

Q. So does that mean if a diamond registers Type II it must be synthetic?
A. No, it means that there's a very high chance that it's synthetic, but there's still about a 2% chance that it is natural.

Q. It says, at the top of this page, "currently, all synthetic (CVD and HPHT) diamonds are of this type" does that imply that this is likely to change?
A. The makers of synthetic diamonds strive to make them so completely identical to natural diamonds that they cannot be distinguished, even on the most expensive machine. Nobody can predict what might happen in the future, but at the moment the two methods used for growing gem-quality diamonds are CVD and HPHT.

Q. If synthetic diamonds are so difficult to detect, and the end product is identical to natural diamonds, why all the fuss?
A. it is standard within the gem / diamond trade to 'disclose' whether a stone is natural or synthetic. Once a synthetic stone (any gemstone, or diamond) cannot be distinguished from its natural counterpart (not by the greatest expert, not by the most expensive machine) then the two become 100% identical. This then poses a problem for the suppliers of the natural stones, e.g. De Beers, who have been concerned, for the last 50 years, that relatively cheap synthetic diamonds could flood the world market. So within the diamond trade, the issue of synthetic diamonds versus natural diamonds is political; for the end-user, each type is as 'real' as the other, and even for the expert, they are extremely difficult to tell apart, even large professional diamond importers use Synthetic Diamond tester to check their stones.

Q. What is CVD and HPHT?
A. They are two methods of growing diamonds that can be used for jewellery.
CVD (chemical vapour disposition) is a type of plating, a mixture of gases is microwaved (or treated with lasers or an electron beam) which causes diamond to crystalise around a 'base' (substrate). The main use of this method is in the electronics and optics industries to 'plate' components with diamond.
The HPHT (high pressure high temperature) method involves taking a 'seed' of diamond, and subjecting it to very high pressures and temperatures in a mixture of molten metals (just as they are formed deep in the Earth), a diamond grows around the 'seed'.
There are other methods of synthesizing diamonds but the resulting 'stones' are too small to be used in jewellery, they are used in industrial processes.
Q. ...and the point is??
A. It is possible that, one day, someone will invent another method of growing gem quality diamonds which cannot be detected on the Presidium SDS or Gemtrue Veritas, that is why we say it is suitable for synthetic diamonds that are grown using the CVD or HPHT processes.

Q. I buy dozens (or hundreds) of diamonds at a time, can I pour them all into the machine to see which are synthetic?
A. No, you have to place each one on the sensor, close the lid, press the button and wait a few seconds...one at a time. With practise you can test 7 or 8 stones per minute, so they are not slow, but not suitable for dealers who buy parcels of stones and need to test hundreds.
Q. ...is there anything that will test dozens (or hundreds) of stones at once?
A. Yes, in 2018 De Beers introduced one (model SynthDetect XL), £12,000.00 + VAT (this is why I refer to our tester as 'low cost'). Since then, a few similar models (at similar prices) have come onto the market. We do not sell these.

Q. Is there anything else that needs to be mentioned about the limitations of these synthetic diamond testers?
A. - they work on colourless diamonds, not coloured diamonds.
- they work with diamonds of size from 2mm width and up to 6mm high (approx. 0.1 to 10 carat).
- they CDS works with both loose stones and stones mounted in jewellery (mounted stones must have an open back setting); the VERITAS is for loose stones only.

 

PRESIDIUM SDS and GEMTRUE VERITAS compared

The Presidium SDS is larger, there is room to test mounted stones (e.g. in rings) providing the ring has an open setting (so that the back of the stone isn't closed in). The Gemtrue VERITAS is smaller and neater, the downside isn't enough room in the test-chamber to fit a ring.

The Gemtrue VERITAS also tests for Moissanite, the Presidium SDS does not.

Neither will test 'coloured' diamonds. What is 'colour'? The Gemtrue VERITAS tests for D to M; the Presidium SDS tests for D to J:

The Gemtrue VERITAS will test diamonds of size 1 point to 3 carat; the Presidium SDS 1 point to 10 carat.
Under 1 point the diamond is likely to fall through the sensor-hole, which will break the machine.

The Gemtrue VERITAS costs less, the Presidium SDS costs more.