It's a question that comes before any significant diamond purchase. Which diamond has the most radiance? Understanding why diamonds sparkle, the factors that make them brilliant, and, ultimately, which cut is best for an unforgettable light show will assist you in selecting the most eye-catching diamond.
We've all seen diamonds sparkle - it's the moment when a diamond's multiple surfaces (known as facets) interact with light, either directly from the source or bouncing off objects in the environment, to create that one-of-a-kind sense of awe.
The ability of a diamond to bounce light is formally classified as diamond brilliance in the case of white light or diamond fire in the case of colored light. The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance and fire. In this blog, we'll rank various diamond cuts based on their ability to reflect and refract light to provide that all-important sparkle.
So, whether you're weighing the importance of size vs. sparkle in your purchase, want to know which cut to choose for maximum shine, or simply want to learn more about this fascinating stone, keep reading.
Diamond Cuts with the Least Sparkle - Shape Over Sparkle
Although no other diamond shape can compete with round cut diamonds, not all diamond cuts are created equal.
Diamonds in the Princess Cut
Some, such as princess cut diamonds, have better optics than others. Princess cut diamonds have four equal or nearly equal sides and are symmetrical and geometric. Their pavilions' brilliant style faceting helps them to attract light in the same way that the round cut interacts with the environment. Cut quality and craftsmanship are essential in producing an ideal princess cut.
Diamonds in oval, pear, and marquise shapes
Oval, pear, and marquise diamonds all have an amazing sparkle appearance. To create scintillation, all feature brilliant style faceting on the pavilion. These elongated shapes can be very alluring and appealing, even if they do not perform as well as a well-cut round brilliant. With these diamond cuts, the length-to-width ratio must be considered. If the ratio is too large, the diamond appears skinny; if it is too small, the diamond appears chubby. The goal with these shapes is to be sleek and elegant. With its perfect symmetry, a well-cut round brilliant has fewer variables, allowing for a more complete return of light to the eye.
Other Diamond Cuts That Have Less Sparkle
Cushion and radiant cuts have a "crushed ice" appearance with less intensity and more subtle sparkle. While not as brilliant as the other cuts mentioned, they have a distinct appeal that many people find very appealing.
The baguette diamond cut has the least amount of sparkle of any diamond cut. It has far fewer facets than other cuts, despite its long rectangular shape and step cut facets giving it an unusual and alluring appearance. Baguettes are typically used as accent stones, allowing the center stone to stand out. For more information, see our Complete Guide to Diamond Shapes & Cuts.
How to Determine Diamond Quality by Identifying the Sparkle Factor
Round cut diamonds are clearly the favorite of light performance enthusiasts. Their elegance, sophistication, and glimmer make them ideal for engagement rings and wedding bands. While the many facets and perfect symmetry of a round cut diamond contribute significantly to its ability to light up a room, there are other factors to consider when selecting the right diamond.
Clarity of a diamond
The sparkle of a diamond is also affected by its clarity. This is rarely an issue in the higher clarity grades, such as VS and above. However, in lower grades, particularly SI1 and below, certain inclusions can block or scatter light, making the diamond appear dull. Please see our article on cloudy diamonds for more information.
This is where reviewing the seller's reputation and ensuring they have the expertise and trust factor to protect you from serious issues that may not be obvious to the untrained eye or even from the lab report comes in handy.
Craftsmanship & Light Performance
Examine a diamond's light performance in person if possible, or make sure the seller can provide light performance imaging and/or HD video. On all in-house diamonds, we offer diamond imaging and light performance images.
The more you learn about brilliance and craftsmanship, the better you'll be able to predict how the cut will react in different lighting situations. Some diamonds have more luster than others, and the human eye is excellent at determining which perform better.
Fluorescence in Diamonds
Fluorescence is another factor to consider that can sometimes affect a diamond's sparkle and scintillation. When exposed to strong UV light sources such as direct sunlight, a significant number of diamonds glow (usually blue). In some cases, this can cause a diamond to appear milky in those lighting conditions. According to new GIA research, strong and very strong fluorescence causes a reduction in contrast, which could explain this phenomenon. Fluorescence can also cause a loss of brilliance when combined with certain clarity characteristics such as twinning and graining. Medium, faint, or negligible fluorescence levels have no discernible effect on appearance.
Setting for Diamonds
Choosing a setting to go with your diamond is an important step in the process. Designers like Tacori, Verragio, Simon G, and A.P.C. Jaffe offers a wide range of styles, all of which are expertly crafted.
Designer settings are steeped in artistry and frequently feature signature styles that distinguish them as iconic and one-of-a-kind to their creator.
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