When people think of the dazzling beauty of the diamond, two related terms come into play: Diamond Brilliance and "Fire." Most people use the terms interchangeably, but they actually represent distinct optical properties.
Diamond brilliance is the white flash reflected when the diamond is subjected to light. It is an optical property that defines the diamond's brightness and sparkle.
When the white sparkle hits diamond facets, it is dispersed into various spectral lines called diamond "fire." This results from the diffraction of light into rainbow colors.
Factors Affecting Diamond Brilliance
Diamond brilliance has two significant components, contrast and brightness. The brightness depends on the cut properties. For example, diamonds with shallow or deep cuts have low brightness because light that enters the stone leaks out easily. Thus, the gem requires more than brightness to remain brilliant. It should have a relatively high light contrast.
The surfaces of diamonds are made of facets that break or create brilliance, scintillation, and fire. When light hits the facets, some are reflected, leak out through the pavilion, and some disperse, similar to how light behaves when shone on a series of mirrors. Thus, the gem should be cut and polished in a way that allows the facets to gather and redirect the light to the eyes of the viewer efficiently.
Since brilliance is an optical property, it can be blocked by internal characteristics, such as inclusions (flaws). The greater inclusions the gem has, the more likely they will block or significantly reduce the amount of light entering and bouncing back. Thus, a gem with more inclusions looks dull due to poor brilliance and clarity, compromising the diamond's shiny and beautiful nature.
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