What causes scintillation in a diamond - Sparkle, as we like to call it - when a diamond has movement? And why do some diamonds have more Sparkle than others?
We’ve all seen diamonds with a few big and bright flashes, and others with numerous tiny, less blinding flashes. And some of those flashes are white, some are colored. Ever wonder about that?
Welcome to flash and fire. Visible results of flash and fire are those brilliant white flares, along with a kaleidoscope of color on the surface of the diamond’s crown, skillfully crafted to drop your jaw. They radiate light when the diamond has movement, creating a mirror effect - a veritable Fun House of virtual facets - which reflect seemingly thousands of flashes of light, making the diamond come alive.
And that, my lovelies, is why cut is so important.
The crown is the diamond’s window. The frame is the lines and intersections between facets that don’t absorb light, but rather disburse it. Light enters from several angles, gets fragmented and redirected back out. Sparkle happens when that light is redirected back through the crown due to a perfect cut - proportion, facet alignment, symmetry and polish. Without a perfect cut, light sadly escapes from somewhere else in the pavilion, as the diagram below shows.
Since most diamond retailers don’t measure Sparkle, and others talk about it while bamboozling you with special lighting intended to make you swoon over something beyond your budget, just remember diamonds often look quite different away from jewelry store lighting; some lighting is specifically designed to hide cloudiness and flaws. Now that’s sad.
Sparkle should be visible.
So trust your eyes and emotions. It’s a real thing. Don’t pay for something you can’t see. Focus instead on what’s visible to your naked eye.