Understanding Diamond Brilliance

April 17, 2023


What is Diamond Brilliance?

A diamond’s brilliance refers to the light the gem reflects that gives a diamond’s sparkle. It appears from the internal and external reflection of white light off a diamond’s many facets. When it comes to grading, the brighter the diamond, the higher the grade. A diamond’s cut will determine how brilliant it will appear under certain lighting conditions.

Brilliance vs. Fire vs. Scintillation

While these terms seem to describe the same qualities, experts will use these descriptions very specifically.

Brilliance: Brilliance refers to the light that is reflected through the diamond.

Fire: A diamond’s fire refers to the spectrum of colors that we see from a diamond. This phenomena occurs when light escapes and is dispersed through the stone’s table in a swirl of hues. This is the colored lights that can be observed when rotating the gem under a direct light source.

Scintillation: Scintillation is a combination of the sparkle and light pattern within a diamond. Diamonds create bursts of light as they move in and out of a light source or the observer's view. In this occurrence, the light passing through a diamond does not bounce off of its core, instead this lights reflects off the facets.

What Affects a Diamond’s Brilliance?  

A diamond’s brilliance will largely be affected by the stone’s cut quality. Typically, an Ideal cut is great for round diamonds while a Very Good cut is best for fancy shapes. There are numerous factors that determine a diamond’s cut grade. These include polish, symmetry, depth, and table percentage.

Things like Color don’t necessarily affect a diamond’s brilliance, but it will cause an “icy” appearance. A diamond’s clarity may have an impact on a gem’s brilliance, particularly if it is severely included.

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