Viewers of The Late Show may have been shocked a few days ago when Kim Kardashian was a guest. Not only did Leno propose to test Kardashian’s gargantuan engagement ring (which contains 20.5 carats of diamond), but she agreed to go through with it. At this point she handed over her ring, which Leno proceeded to mount on a stand and then set aflame with a match. And the stone lit up like a Christmas tree before puffing out, leaving a blackened lump. Leno proclaimed it a fake and suggested that she get a pre-nup.
Of course, the whole thing was a set-up (as if you couldn’t tell by Kardashian’s willingness to hand over her huge bauble). But it begs the question: can a flame tell you if your engagement ring is real? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. The only problem is that cubic zirconia doesn’t burn; diamonds do. So while you could certainly set fire to your precious gem to test its veracity, proving that it is a real diamond will mean that you have destroyed it.
Also, you couldn’t do it with a match. As you may know, all natural matter contains carbon and diamonds, in particular, are super-compressed carbon. Because of this, they are subject to the effects of fire. In fact, diamonds are so combustible that if they were in a hot enough fire, there would be nothing left. But strictly speaking, they are not exactly flammable, at least not in our atmosphere. In order to actually set a diamond alight and burn it up, thus proving it real, you would have to place it in an atmosphere with pressurized oxygen. In short, this experiment isn’t exactly feasible for the average person.
Plus, if your diamond is real, you probably want it intact. Luckily there are several other ways to test your engagement ring in order to determine whether or not it’s real. Leno’s shenanigans were meant as a joke, and Kardashian played along knowing full well she’d get the real deal back at the end. But you shouldn’t try such a test at home (especially since the fire test would prove your diamond real but ruin it in the process). Look for ways to verify the value of your stone that don’t lead to its ultimate destruction.