Breathing Life into a Diamond
For today’s blog, we are going to keep things short. We are going to discuss what is probably one of the most important effects resulting from cutting and polishing a diamond. An important characteristic of diamonds that will always capture attention. The first thing people think about or associate with diamonds (besides cost of course!) is the sparkle. But just why does a diamond sparkle? A great part of the effect of light is as a result of the work of the diamond polisher. Producing a well-proportioned diamond will greatly affect the brilliance of the stone. There is often a great deal of confusion about light, terminology and the elements of diamond brightness, so we will break these down and clarify them here.
The passage of light through a diamond will tend to be slowed down by the diamond crystal. Entering at an angle, this light will bend, and this effect is termed refraction. As this light travels through the diamond, it will eventually strike another surface within the stone, causing part of the light to be reflected. The remaining light will then pass out of the diamond, a greater proportion will travel through the diamond especially if the stone is poorly proportioned.
The light that is reflected back from the diamond, some returns as white light, adding to the diamond’s brightness and brilliance, whilst the light is also split into colours of the spectrum.
Diamond Fire & Dispersion
When dispersion occurs, light is divided into its constituent colours of the spectrum producing a rainbow effect with flashes of colours being observed as the diamond moves. The flashes of colour are referred to as fire.
Scintillation in Diamonds
The effect produced by the movement of the observer, the diamond or the light source itself, both white light flashes and colours can be observed, producing the effect known as scintillation.