Throughout history, diamonds have been objects of luxury, beauty, and great power in many cultures around the world. In ancient Egypt, they were used to adorn the wealthy. In ancient Greece, they were added to warriors’ shields for luck in battle. Now, in the Western world, they are romantic and full of sentimental value as gems on engagement rings— given to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Why are diamonds regarded so highly? Many would argue it’s because of their intense sparkle, also known as brilliance.
What Is Brilliance In A Diamond?
If you haven’t heard of the term brilliance, it basically refers to the white light reflected off of a diamond. When you look at a cut diamond, you’ll often see white light gleaming in your eyes. This is brilliance, and it is an essential characteristic in a diamond purchase. After all, there’s nothing more heartwarming than staring down at your ring finger and seeing your diamond twinkling at you.
However, a diamond’s sparkle is a combination of its brilliance and two other key components. We have surmised them in a list below:
- Diamond Fire: Brilliance and fire are two distinct contrasts in a diamond’s sparkle. While brilliance is the colorless light reflected in the diamond, fire is the colorful light. Fire is created when white light is dispersed inside the jewel, creating rainbow flashes of light due to refraction.
- Diamond Scintillation: Scintillation refers to the unique flashes of light as the diamond moves. It is caused by the contrast of bright and dark areas produced by the reflections within the gem. Diamond scintillation ties in closely with brilliance and fire, as the diamond can exhibit both white and colored light at different angles.
How Does Cut Affect Diamond Brilliance?
Believe it or not, diamonds do not sparkle naturally. They don’t look pristine and perfect when they come out of the earth. Rather, they are dug up as ores with a rough and opaque surface. To get the beautiful diamonds we know and love, they must be polished and cut at just the right angles to get the perfect amount of sparkle.
The cut of the diamond is based on both the symmetry and the proportions of the facets. The facets of a diamond determine how the light penetrates and bounces around inside the jewel, ultimately reflecting back into your eyes as a beautiful glimmer.
A perfectly cut diamond will maximize its brilliance, fire, and scintillation, resulting in a sparkly, bright gem. A poorly cut one would appear dark and dull, as most of the light would reflect out of the bottom of the gem and not in the eyes of the wearer.