Unearthing Treasure: A Practical Guide to Identifying Raw Diamonds in Rocks

Unearthing Treasure: A Practical Guide to Identifying Raw Diamonds in Rocks

Ever wondered how to spot a raw diamond hiding within a rock? It’s not as hard as you might think. With a keen eye and a bit of know-how, you can learn to identify these precious gems in their most natural state.

Raw diamonds have unique characteristics that set them apart from common stones. By understanding these traits, you’ll be able to distinguish a potential diamond from a mere rock. This guide will give you the essential tips and tricks to make you a diamond-finding expert.

Remember, finding diamonds isn’t just about luck. It’s about knowing what to look for and where to look. So, let’s dive in and start your journey towards uncovering these hidden treasures.

Key Takeaways

  • Raw diamonds are also known as rough diamonds and are unprocessed, distinct from polished diamonds seen in jewelry.
  • These diamonds have unique attributes like their octahedral shape, greasy texture, heavyweight, and unique glass-like luster.
  • Diamonds often fluoresce or produce a blue glow under UV light, setting them apart from most other minerals.
  • Key tools for identifying diamonds include diamond testers, magnifying glasses, tweezers, black lights for checking fluorescence, and scales for checking relative weight.
  • Prime locations for finding raw diamonds include Africa, Australia, Canada, and the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, the U.S.
  • Identification of raw diamonds in rocks is possible through their greasy surface, resistance to scratches due to their hardness, rounded shape with curvaceous edges, and color range from colorless to shades of yellow or brown.
  • Identifying raw diamonds requires knowledge and experience, and in ambiguities, it is best to consult a certified gemologist for verification.

Identifying raw diamonds embedded in rocks poses a thrilling challenge for prospectors and enthusiasts alike. ScienceDirect publishes research articles and studies that detail the geological settings conducive to diamond formation, providing a scientific foundation for identification efforts. For practical advice, The Diamond Pro offers a guide on recognizing the unique characteristics of raw diamonds, such as crystal shape and hardness.

Understanding Raw Diamonds

Understanding Raw Diamonds

When it comes to diamond hunting, knowledge is power. So, before you start scouring riverbeds and digging up your backyard, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for.

Unlike the gleaming, cut and polished diamonds you’re accustomed to seeing in jewelry shops, raw diamonds resemble other common stones. Therefore, distinguishing them can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for.

Raw diamonds, or rough diamonds as they’re often called, are diamonds in their pure, unprocessed state. They may not be as shiny or symmetrical as their polished counterparts, but don’t let their exterior fool you. Inside, they possess the same unique physical and chemical properties that make diamonds the hardest substance on Earth.

In order to avoid mistaking a valuable raw diamond for an ordinary stone, you need to get familiar with their distinct attributes.

Characteristic such as:

  • Shape: Raw diamonds typically have an octahedral (eight-sided) shape, fairly similar to a pair of pyramids attached at the base.
  • Texture: While most stones are smooth, raw diamonds have a slightly greasy, non-slip surface.
  • Weight: Diamonds are much denser than other stones, so a diamond will feel heavier than another stone of the same size.
  • Luster: Raw diamonds won’t sparkle in the sun like a polished diamond, but they will have a unique, glass-like luster.

Moreover, a raw diamond’s unique characteristics don’t stop at its exterior. When placed under an UV light, it’ll fluoresce, producing a blue glow. Other minerals simply don’t have this response.

Understanding these attributes is the first step in your diamond hunting journey. With this knowledge, you’ll not only have a better chance at spotting that elusive raw diamond but you’ll also avoid the disappointment of misidentifying common stones as diamonds. As you advance in your knowledge and experience, identifying raw diamonds will become second nature.

Characteristics of Raw Diamonds

Characteristics of Raw Diamonds

Let’s move on to the unmistakable traits of raw diamonds that set them apart. Remember, knowledge is power when diamond hunting.


Raw diamonds typically resemble other gemstones in their rough form but still retain certain unique characteristics. Commonly, you’ll find raw diamonds in cubic or isometric shapes. Look for stones that are symmetric and naturally shiny, these could very well be diamonds.


While the outside of a rock may seem uninteresting, the texture can tell you a lot. When you run your fingers along the surface of a raw diamond, you should feel a slightly oily or soapy sensation. This is a telltale sign that sets diamonds apart from other rocks. They’re not as coarse as they appear.


The carat weight of a diamond not only determines its size but also its authenticity. Let’s put it simply: diamonds are heavy for their size. They’re denser than most other stones that they resemble. So, if you have a stone and it feels heavier than it looks, chances are, it could be a diamond.


Diamonds have a metallic or adamantine luster, which means they reflect light like metal. Not all that glimmers is gold, or in this case, a diamond, but a high refractive index is a pretty solid clue.


Ever noticed how certain things glow under UV light? Well, diamonds sometimes do that too. About 30% of them emit a visible light when under UV, usually blue.

Understanding these key traits can significantly increase your diamond hunting success. Now, ready to embark on your diamond-hunting journey? Maintain a sharp eye, remember these identifiers, and you’re all set to spot these gems among common stones. As you adopt this knowledge, the task of identifying raw diamonds from ordinary mineral rocks becomes less daunting.

Tools for Identifying Raw Diamonds

You’ve absorbed the key characteristics for spotting raw diamonds among ordinary stones. Bang-up job! Now, let’s look at some indispensable tools that’ll make your diamond hunting easier and more fruitful.

A diamond tester. It’s one of the most effective and straightforward tools for distinguishing real diamonds from fakes. Diamond testers work by measuring thermal conductivity. You see, diamonds conduct heat better than any other gemstone, making this tool an invaluable ally in your quest.

Magnifying glasses or loupes. Spotting the signs of a diamond in a rock often requires a closer look. You’ll need a magnifying glass or a jeweler’s loupe, both of which can reveal the detailed characteristics of a stone obscured to the naked eye.

A set of tweezers will come in handy, for holding and examining stones. Plus, they prevent your hands’ oils from obscuring the stones’ features or affecting their luster.

In your diamond search, you’ll also need a black light. Remember the fluorescence characteristic mentioned earlier? A black light can aid in spotting a diamond’s glow in darkness, another unique trait that separates them from usual gems.

What about a scale? Well, it’s another crucial tool to have. Given that diamonds are denser, weighing them can also differentiate them from other rocks.

Tools for Identifying DiamondsUse
Diamond TesterMeasures thermal conductivity
Magnifying Glasses/LoupesReveals detailed characteristics
Tweezersgrips stones for examination
Black Lightspots fluorescence
Scaleweighs stones

These are just a few of the tools you’ll find helpful. By using these tools in tandem with your knowledge of diamond characteristics, you’re well on your way to becoming a seasoned diamond hunter. We’re consistently updating our resource center with the latest diamond finding tips, techniques, and advice. So be sure to keep an eye out for those posts.

Where to Find Raw Diamonds

Knowing how to identify raw diamonds becomes pivotal when it’s time to find them. While diamonds are incredibly rare, there are certain hotspots where you’re more likely to find these precious gems.

One of the most widely recognized sources of raw diamonds lies in Africa. Countries like South Africa, Botswana, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have significant diamond deposits. These regions have a rich history of diamond mining and remain key players in the global diamond market.

Notably, Australia is another lucrative source, primarily in the Argyle mine, known for its colored diamonds, particularly its pink and red variants.

Canada has also made its mark in the diamond industry in recent years. The Diavik and Ekati mines in the Northwest Territories yield a significant number of diamonds annually.

While Africa, Australia, and Canada might be the most famed, you can also find diamonds in unexpected places. For example, America’s own Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is a public diamond mine where you can search, keep, and treasure what you find.

Here’s a basic geographic guide of diamond-rich regions:

AreaExamples of Diamond Shops
AfricaSouth Africa, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo
AustraliaArgyle Mine
CanadaDiavik and Ekati Mines
United StatesCrater of Diamonds State Park

Rest assured, knowing where to find raw diamonds is as valuable as understanding how to identify them. Each location offers its unique features and challenges that can enhance your diamond hunting abilities. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the specifics of finding diamonds in these regions.

Tips for Identifying Raw Diamonds in Rocks

Tips for Identifying Raw Diamonds in Rocks

Shifting gears from understanding sources of raw diamonds, let’s dive into some important tips to help enhance your skills in identifying these precious gems.

In diamond hunting, knowing what to look for is key. Unlike the perfectly cut, clear jewels you see in jewelry stores, raw diamonds in rocks often have an unassuming look. They could be mistaken for regular stones if you’re not clued in on the telling signs.

For starters, raw diamonds tend to have a lustrous, greasy surface rather than a shiny, sparkly one. The diamond’s inherent lustre will not change even when wet, making it a strong identifying factor.

Raw diamonds are quite hard, in fact, they’re the hardest known substance. This hardness means they’re resistant to scratches, so trying to mark one using a pocket knife or a similar tool will prove fruitless.

Look for a rounded instead of a sharp-edged shape. Unlike cut diamonds, the edges of raw diamonds do not glisten; they have a curvaceous look due to millions of years under high pressure. These rounded edges prove to be one of the reliable indicators of raw diamonds. Yet, their crystalline structure might create angular faces leading to a deceptive appearance.

Lastly, when it comes to color, raw diamonds generally range from colorless to shades of yellow or brown. There might be cases where you encounter green or blue diamonds, but these are relatively rare.

Remember, not all tips apply to every diamond as there are exceptions. In these scenarios, verification by a certified gemologist is encouraged to secure authenticity.


So, you’ve learned the ropes of identifying raw diamonds in rocks. You now understand the importance of spotting that unique lustrous surface, hardness, rounded edges, and color variations. But remember, it’s not always cut and dried. Sometimes, you might encounter exceptions. That’s when a certified gemologist comes into play. They’ll verify your findings and ensure you’ve got a real diamond. So, keep honing your diamond hunting skills. With time and practice, you’ll get better at distinguishing these precious gems from mere rocks. Happy hunting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the key characteristics of raw diamonds in rocks?

Raw diamonds typically have key characteristics such as a lustrous, greasy surface, hardness and rounded edges. The color variations can range from colorless to yellow or brown.

Q2: Why is it important to recognize these characteristics?

Recognizing these characteristics is crucial in identifying raw diamonds. It separates the precious gems from common rocks and enhances a diamond hunter’s skills.

Q3: Are there exceptions in identifying raw diamonds?

Yes, there can be exceptions in identifying raw diamonds. This makes verification by a certified gemologist crucial for ensuring the quality and authenticity of the purported diamond.

Q4: How can one verify a raw diamond’s authenticity?

One can get the raw diamond verified by a certified gemologist. They can accurately ascertain the authenticity of the diamond using their extensive knowledge and sophisticated equipment.

Q5: Why should aspiring diamond hunters know these tips?

Knowing these tips can assist aspiring diamond hunters in distinguishing raw diamonds from common rocks, thereby increasing their success rates and minimizing potential losses.