Diamonds are extremely complicated – they are a scientific miracle and their technical nuances continue to amaze the most brilliant minds.
They’re used in international trade, to treat cancer, and even for laser beams. They’re found in the Earth’s inner-most regions as well as in every shopping mall. Many of us will be required to purchase one at some point in our lives, and the process can be rather intimidating. The typical individual makes his or her judgement based on obvious characteristics, like its diamond shine. But, there are a few very important, underlying factors that contribute to this generic impression that we have when looking at a diamond. On their face, the terms can sound technical and confusing – in reality, they’re easily understood and we’ll do our best to explain these in the simplest terms possible.
The most important factor of note is the diamond’s “light performance.” This is the term used to explain the stone’s ability to return light to the viewer. Light comes into the diamond and is bounced around and reflected back based on a number of qualities that we’ll discuss in another chapter. There are three main characteristics used to describe the diamond shine, Scintillation, Brilliance and Fire.
Scintillation is known to the “average Joe” as “sparkle.” This isobviously a very important characteristic of a diamond and something that needs to be observed and explained. Wikipedia’s definition of diamond Scintillation, as it refers to a diamond, is described as:
“the small flashes of light that are seen when the diamond, light source or the viewer is moved“
This “sparkling” phenomena occurs as a result of either the diamond moving and the light source being fixed, or the lighting moving with a fixed diamond. Ideally, the stone has consistently pleasing flashes of light across the entire diamond head. A few factors will come into play in determining a diamond’s scintillation, including its Facets, Symmetry, and Polish. Polish simply describes the cleanliness of the stone, while Facets and Symmetry have to do with the diamond’s Cut, which we’ll go over in the Four C’s of a Diamond. Here’s a brief overview of each:
Diamond Facets: These are the flat faces of any shape. A “good” diamond will have many of these cut to matching proportions with angles that allow light to reflect back up to the viewer.
Diamond Symmetry: This describes the consistency of the cuts in the diamond’s facets. If the flat surfaces of the stone are not matching, it will result in a poor reflection and inefficient diamond sparkle.
Diamond Polish: This one is simple to understand – like any clear surface, the cleaner the polish, the easier it is to see through. A polished diamond maximizes the ability to allow light to flow through and be refletcted.
The next time that you’re in a jewelry store, take note of the lighting situation. You’ll find that EVERY jewelry store is well lit in order to maximize the diamond scintillation or sparkle of the stone. Applying an abundance of light to the diamond’s surface allows that stone to show off its ability to shine. Jewelry stores obviously want to show off their merchandise in the best possible setting and they choose an abundance of light. You should certainly consider doing the same with an engagement ring box with light.
Below you’ll see a great example of scintillation of a diamond.
In simple terms, a diamond’s “fire” describes the amount of colored light reflected from the diamond. When white light enters the diamond, it is then separated according to the stone’s cut. The way that this light is displayed is also called “refraction” or “dispersion.” There are four main factors that effect the diamond fire:
- The light angle when entering the diamond
- Total amount of light bouncing around in the diamond
- Amount of light striking the corners, where the facets meet
- Angle at which the light exits the diamond
You’ll note, that every one of these factors has to do with light. Like Scintillation, it’s so important that light be applied to the diamond in order to realize these factors.
Diamond fire WILL be enhanced by direct light. The absence of light will make any stone look dull, gloomy and lifeless.
Diamond Brilliance is often referred to as the “life” of the diamond and a good indicator of the overall quality. It’s measured by the total return of light through the top of the rock. The primary factor determining the brilliance of a diamond is the stone’s cut. If the cut is too shallow, light will escape through the bottom of the stone and will not be returned to the viewer. On the other end of the spectrum is a cut that’s too deep – in this case, the light will be lost out of the opposite side. This diamond brilliance picture should make these situations easier to visualize.
As an added piece of info, there are two types of brilliance, External Brilliance and Internal Brilliance. External refers to the amount of light reflected from the surface, whereas internal brilliance describes the light from the rear facets (also known as the pavilion).
Scintillation, Fire, and Brilliance are known throughout the diamond world as the three most important factors in determining the quality or a diamond. All contribute to the overall diamond shine. You’ll also notice that each factor has to do with light. The diamond sparkle, color, and life rely on a light source – that’s why jewelry stores are so well lit. Your engagement ring box with light will maximize these qualities and display your ring in the best possible setting.