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Do Diamonds Lose Their Sparkle?

Do Diamonds Lose Their Sparkle?

Beautiful as they are, diamonds are bound to attract attention, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of showing your diamond ring off. However, you might notice your diamond looks different from the time you originally purchased it. 

So you may be wondering: Do diamonds lose their sparkle?

Despite their ruggedness, diamonds can lose their sparkle with dust, dirt, or oil build-up on them.

So, how can you keep your diamond from losing its sparkle? In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about diamond sparkle and how to maintain it. 

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

What Makes A Diamond Sparkle?

Light’s interaction with a diamond’s cut is what makes it sparkle – it’s that simple. 

Granted, the quality and type of the cut govern how a diamond “reacts” to the light around it. In that sense, the angles and measurements of diamond’s facets significantly affect how the light performs when it hits a diamond.

You’re probably using the word “sparkle” to describe the general visual effect of a diamond’s interaction with the light. 

However, gemologists who have studied diamond’s light show would probably explain it differently.

When the light enters a diamond, it travels through it and reflects off the diamond’s interior surfaces, also known as facets. The light then either splits up into spectral colors – violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red – or it leaves the diamond as white light.

As the diamond moves, alternating flashes of white and spectral-colored light occur, and the contrast of dark and light moves around the diamond. This contrast is dynamic – and causes that magical sparkle.

Fascinating, right?

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A Word About Your Diamond’s Cut

Diamond’s cut is typically confused with shape, but they’re very different. Diamond shape refers to the silhouette or outline of the gemstone. On the other hand, diamond cut refers to the arrangement of its facets. 

Of the 4C’s of diamond quality, cut is the most complex “C” to evaluate. The facet arrangement, proportions, and finish constitute what is called a cut. 

These define the diamond’s ability to sparkle so intensely. 

And that proves that the quality of the cut is critical to a diamond’s final value and beauty.

The key to understanding how the diamond interacts with light and its surrounding movement is facet arrangement. Think of facets as a complex series of mirrors reflecting the surrounding. 

A round, brilliant diamond will have 58 facets that show the reflection of its environment, for example.

The more facets a diamond has, the more surfaces that reflect the light there are to bounce and scatter the light. Apart from the round brilliant cut diamond – which has the most facets – there are other cuts that will still make the diamond sparkle gorgeously.

If you want something other than round, you can choose between various brilliant faceting styles, including princess, oval, radiant, pear, marquise, and heart.

There’s another solution for round brilliants if you aren’t sure about judging a diamond’s sparkle. 

A GIA grading report can be pretty valuable when it comes to finding a diamond that sparkles. On that note, GIA issues one of five cut grades for a round brilliant diamond, and these are:

  • Excellent
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Fair 
  • Poor

A diamond with an excellent grade is the brightest, as it shows an even pattern with perfect contrast between dark and light areas. This grade tells you that the cutter did a fantastic job and created the best possible gemstone from the rough.

A very good cut grade means that the diamond has bright areas evenly distributed across the stone’s crown but still has a few distracting areas.

A diamond with a good cut grade isn’t very bright as reflections aren’t as sharp as previously mentioned grades, and the diamond has more dullness.

In the end, diamonds with fair and poor cut grades have much more prominent dark areas. Given a choice, most people would go for diamonds with either very good or excellent cut grades.

Each time the diamond moves, you see a mesmerizing display of lights and colors, as facets reflect light on each other and light reflects on the facets. 

This beautiful symphony of reflected light is made up from:

  • Brilliance – The total light reflected from a diamond
  • Fire – The dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum
  • Scintillation – A pattern of dark and light areas and the flashes of light when a diamond is moved

You can see for yourself how diamond changes its look depending on how close or far you hold it from your gaze. It also responds differently to diffused lighting environments, such as fluorescent light.

As you look for diamonds to buy, pay attention to the diamond’s interaction with light and your preference for the pattern of dark and light areas caused by the reflections inside the diamond. 

If you want to choose a diamond that sparkles the most, we advise you to look at the diamond under four different sources of light. 

Spotlighting is the best way to see all the elements that create the sparkle.

However, if there are way too many spotlights or they’re too bright, there will be so much glare that one diamond can look just as good as any other. 

To avoid this, examine the diamond in an environment where the spotlighting isn’t immense. 

Then observe the diamond in diffused lighting; fluorescent lights work the best. Try to look at it in a mixed lighting environment of diffused lighting and spotlights. 

Finally, be sure to examine the diamond in natural daylight.

Once you purchase a diamond, remember that facets are like tiny mirrors, and they work best when they’re nice and clean. 

So, to maximize a diamond’s interaction with light, make sure to keep it clean – which brings us to our next point.

Read Also: Do Real Diamonds Shine In The Dark?

Cleaning Your Diamond

One way to keep your diamond looking gorgeous is to soak it once a week in ammonia-based household cleaner or mild dish detergent and water overnight. The following day, remove it from the solution and brush it with a soft and clean toothbrush to remove any residual dirt. 

While these instructions will keep your diamond sparkling, there are some things you need to be aware of:

  • Not all gemstones are hard as diamonds, and some can be scratched with a toothbrush. Be sure to check the appropriate method for cleaning your particular stone.
  • Fragile settings may not respond well to the scrubbing of a toothbrush, so use a soft touch.
  • If you haven’t got your diamond ring inspected, be aware that diamonds can work loose from their settings if they aren’t secure.

You’ll want to find a place that is safe to clean your diamond. 

If you can avoid it, don’t clean your diamond jewelry in the sink. But if a sink is the only option, be sure to cover the drain so you can avoid the risk of your jewelry going down it.

Finally, avoid harmful solutions. 

Chlorine or abrasives should never be used when cleaning diamond jewelry. These products could erode some of the metals typically used in diamond settings.

Keeping your diamond clean is a good way of protecting your diamond as well as making sure it sparkles the best. While a home cleaning method is perfectly fine, you should also consider having your diamond cleaned by a professional jeweler from time to time.

Your jeweler can use several options for cleaning your diamond – a steam cleaner or an ultrasonic cleaner. 

A steam cleaner uses high-pressure steam to remove dirt, oils, and build-up. An ultrasonic cleaner will send high-frequency sound waves through the liquid solution to remove the dirt.

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Maximizing Diamond Sparkle

The most important tip when it comes to maximizing your diamond’s sparkle is keeping it clean – because here’s the thing: Dirty diamonds won’t sparkle. 

They have an affinity for grease, so it’s crucial to clean them regularly. 

Other than cleaning your diamonds as a way to maximize their sparkle, there are other things to take into consideration.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. You may be thinking that the larger the diamond, the more sparkle – but you would be wrong. 

Diamonds with identical color, clarity, and proportions have the same amount of sparkle, no matter the size.

Visually, you might perceive a difference when you compare two diamonds of different sizes. For example, a 0.25-carat diamond might appear to sparkle less than the 1.00-carat diamond. 

However, when it comes to choosing a diamond, you’re choosing between diamonds of similar sizes. 

So, slight differences in size wouldn’t have an effect on your perception of sparkle – provided that the cut quality of the two diamonds that are being compared is the same, of course. 

Be sure to choose a diamond with good color and clarity if you want to maximize the sparkle. 

Scientists have found that brightness reduces in diamonds that have lower grades on the D-to-Z color range. In addition, clarity issues in diamonds graded SI2 or I can decrease the appearance of fire. 

Both of these factors will diminish the sparkle in diamonds.

One tip for adding more sparkle to your ring is to – well, have more diamonds. 

That’s one of the reasons why diamond side stones are so popular. A professional jeweler can help you consider the style and the practicality of adding side stones to complement the center gemstone.

Another way to maximize your diamond’s sparkle is to pick the right setting. If you want a more prominent visual display, a prong setting is much better at letting light enter the diamond than the bezel setting that covers more of the top area of the diamond.

On the other hand, bezel settings, as well as channel settings, are the most secure settings as they’re built in a way to protect your diamond while still allowing your ring to look beautiful. 

Most importantly, you should always keep your diamond ring safe.

Know When To Take Your Diamond Ring Off

There are times when you should take off your diamond ring to keep it clean and safe – and sparkly. Here are a few examples.

Moisturizing

Moisturizers and lotions may be beneficial for your skin, but not so much for your diamond ring. Excess build-up can decrease the sparkle and dull your stone over time. 

To ensure a cloudy layer of the oily film doesn’t form on your diamond, wait until your hands are dry before putting your ring on again.

Read Also: Why Do Diamonds Get Cloudy?

Primping

Hair sprays, cosmetics, and perfumes can cause a build-up of grime, thus diminishing the diamond’s sparkle. Take off your diamond jewelry before you move through your nighttime or makeup routine.

Working Out

Before you break a sweat, it’s probably best to take off your diamond ring. 

If you rock your diamond ring while exercising – or doing any other activity that puts pressure on the metal parts of your ring – you risk changing its shape. 

And if you bend it enough, you risk your diamond falling out as the claws that hold it are compromised. 

The same goes for sports and any hands-on physical activity; they’re all great examples of when to take off your diamond ring.

See Also: Can A Real Diamond Fall Out?

Showering

There are two reasons why a shower can be dangerous for your diamond ring. 

First, the ring could slip off pretty easily when your fingers are slippery with soap. If it slips and falls, you might never see it again as it can go down the drain. 

The second thing is that oily soap formulas will dull the appearance of your diamond.

Conclusion

So, to sum it up, do diamonds lose their sparkle?

Diamonds won’t naturally lose their sparkle – but certain activities can lead to dirt and oil build-up on your diamond, therefore causing your gem to look more dull than usual.

What makes a diamond sparkle is an interplay between the light and the diamond’s cut. The type and quality of the cut define how a diamond reacts to the light around it. 

The number of facets plays a significant role in a diamond’s sparkle, and the best cut is a round brilliant cut – since it has the highest number of facets.

To prevent your diamond from losing its sparkle and looking dull, be sure to clean it regularly. You can soak it in an ammonia-based house cleaner overnight and gently brush it to remove any remaining dirt.

Learn More: Why Does A Diamond Sparkle?