What Is Diamond Brilliance?

There's a reason humans are so attracted to a fully finished diamond, and it has a lot to do with the way they glitter and sparkle. Diamonds especially can disperse light in a way that reflects multi-color flashes which sets it apart from other gemstones and makes it more valuable. In actuality, diamonds do not emerge from the earth looking spectacular. Their beauty is coaxed to life in the skilled hands of a diamond cutter who uses specialized technology to cut and polish a final, faceted diamond. In technical terms, a diamond's sparkle is evaluated by three distinct features: fire, brilliance, and scintillation.

What Is Brilliance In A Diamond?

In a diamond, both the internally and externally radiant light defines a diamond's brilliance. Low-quality diamonds will appear dark and lifeless because they will not reflect light well. Depending on the diamond's cut, this optical effect will be amplified or diminished. However, there are several other factors to consider when discussing diamond sparkle, which we will explore in the next section.  

What Affects A Diamond's Sparkle?

Understanding the difference between brilliance, scintillation, and fire is relatively simple. Each visual element will play a role in how light passes through the diamond and is returned, or thrown back, by its faceted cuts. Consider the following breakdown:

  • Fire: This refers primarily to the amount of color reflected in a diamond as white light is dispersed into a rainbow effect. The diamond acts like a prism which, depending on its cut, can produce a whole spectrum of colored flashes.  
  • Scintillation: Facets that bounce light produce sparkle, which is another word for scintillation. Movement will play a key role in viewing this dazzling contrast between shadow and light, almost like looking through a patterned kaleidoscope.
  • Brilliance: Think "brightness." Diamond brilliance is defined by the amount of white light that is reflected internally and externally

How To Find A Diamond With The Perfect Brilliance

Finding the right balance of brilliance, fire, and scintillation can be the difference between a nice diamond and a magnificent diamond. Remember that a diamond's cut plays a major role in optimal light reflection, and cuts with more symmetry also tend to produce more brilliance. Step-cut diamonds like Emerald and Asscher cuts tend to offer less brilliance due to their square patterns with fewer facets. The Round Brilliant cut has 58 facets and is considered to produce the sparkliest and most brilliant diamonds available.

Are you shopping for a diamond with fire? Book an appointment with the fine jewelry experts at Cut Fine Jewelers to discuss diamond brilliance and more!