What Is Diamond Brilliance?

What Is Diamond Brilliance?

Most of us evaluate diamonds based on their sparkle in the light. A diamond's sparkle is not just one thing but a combination of three separate components: brilliance, fire, and scintillation.

What Is Brilliance In A Diamond?

Raw diamonds have a rough, opaque layer that diamond cutters remove when cutting and polishing them. This process reveals diamond brilliance.

Diamond brilliance is like a window. The way the glass absorbs light affects how light comes into the window. Imperfect or misshapen glass can't absorb light like a clear window. This concept applies to diamonds. A diamond having poor brilliance can't return light well and looks darker and lifeless. Meanwhile, a diamond with a good cut and beautiful angles absorbs and throws back plenty of light.

How Does Polish and Cut Affect Diamond Brilliance

A diamond cutter evaluates each raw diamond to determine the best cut to accentuate its natural properties or size. The diamond cutter can choose a brilliant cut or step cut. A step diamond has fewer facets on the diamond's top (crown), and it won't reflect light better than brilliants. Step cut diamonds have more fire, and they often show off the diamonds' clarity more than brilliants. A brilliant-cut diamond has more facets, reflects more light, and has more brilliance.

Other Factors That Affect A Diamond's Sparkle

Fire In Diamond

Fire, also called light dispersion, is the colorful flashes formed when the diamond disperses light. The diamond's cut, color, light, and clarity affect its fire. Its cut has the most significant impact on its fire, as it determines the gemstone's interaction with light. The greater the gem's cut grade, the more visible its fire is. Generally, the lower the diamond's clarity, the less powerful its fire is. Its imperfections affect its ability to allow light inside and reflect out. Diamonds with less color allow more light. Therefore, the whiter the gem, the greater the fire/light dispersion. The diamond's fire isn't so visible in dimly lit surroundings. Clean the diamond frequently to keep its fire burning.


Scintillation, or sparkle, also affects the diamond's brilliance. Scintillation refers to the flashing between shadow and light, which provides the blinking effect on a glittery diamond. It is a product of movement, so the light, diamond, or viewer must be moving to see it. Facets need enough structural contrast to bounce light around. A brilliant diamond often has even and balanced scintillation. Some facets seem dark while others flash. A balance is necessary to have scintillation.

The diamond's cut and the number of facets can weaken or strengthen its scintillation. If cut well, a splendid sparkle mirage will develop across the gemstone's crown. If cut poorly, the jewelry can have several dead spots, adversely affecting its scintillation and appeal.


If you are looking for a diamond that sparkles in Houston, contact Lesley Ann Jewels today.