You can use a lot of words to describe diamonds. They are beautiful, timeless, pure – the list goes on. But the first word that pops into our mind as soon as someone mentions them is “shiny.”
We know that it’s not the most pristine or poetic word, but hey, they really are pretty darn shiny.
So, what does that word represent? Does it mean that diamonds take light and bounce it all around the place at every chance they get? Do they look shiny on every single occasion? How should a diamond look in sunlight, for instance?
Well, the last part is actually a fascinating subject. You see, diamonds might not look the way you think they look. How they reflect and react to particular light is a complicated but interesting subject.
And it’s the one we plan to cover today.
Read on and find out exactly how high-grade diamonds look when they’re exposed to the sun. The answers may surprise you – so, let’s get this thing started already!
How Should A Diamond Look In Sunlight?
Diamonds are interesting. In essence, their form is quite simple, and yet they achieve so much as soon as the light hits them!
After all, they’re just a bunch of carbon atoms in a crystal formation. But that formation, as we all know, results in the hardest material on Earth. So, who are we to judge?
The image that you pull to your brain when you think of diamonds is probably one that you saw in films, adverts, or even at a jewelry store:
They shine in all directions, so much so that it might look like they would shine away even with the light turned off.
But that image might be a little deceiving.
They do shine, don’t get us wrong, but take them outside in the daylight, and you might get an interesting surprise. Here’s how it works: the higher the quality of a diamond, the less shiny it will be when exposed to sunlight.
We know, we know – it makes no sense! But don’t worry, we’ll explain ourselves.
See, the light performance of a diamond depends on a couple of things – the cut and the color. Diamonds that are entirely pure and colorless that happen to be cut to perfection won’t shine at all in the sun.
Well, that may be going a bit too far.
They will shine – just not like they do in the stores and photographs.
See, the trick that they use in those shoes is they always have a large amount of unformed white light all around the diamonds. This light is strong enough for you to feel like you walked into a room with walls of windows – which is exactly the feeling that they’re looking to achieve.
The difference between that type of light and direct sunlight is that diamonds have absolutely no problems shining like crazy while you’re at the store. There’s inherently nothing working with this practice; the diamonds do shine, your eyes can’t trick your brain that much.
But the finest diamonds are graded once you step out of the store. Or in the store, before you buy them if you have the proper tools, of course.
What Does Light Performance Mean?
The light performance of diamonds is a criterion that not a lot of people think about when they’re looking for their perfect gem. We all know about the 4Cs of diamond grading, and it would seem that they cover just about everything you need to know about a diamond.
But to see the broader picture, we need to go into some more details.
At first glance, it would seem that how much a diamond shines depends on the color and the clarity of the diamond. It’s a logical assumption and one a lot of people stand by.
The clarity seems as if it would pull the most weight. After all, the diamonds need to be clean and translucent for the light to go through properly, right?
While clarity is important, the cut of a diamond is the most critical factor in its light performance. It seems strange for us to say that the color and clarity don’t matter – but light works in some peculiar ways, let us tell you.
You can have the biggest diamonds that are completely colorless and translucent, but if it wasn’t cut by a true professional – it’s not going to shine. Well, not in the sunlight, at least.
With low-grade cuts, sunlight doesn’t pass through properly but stays inside of the diamonds.
That gives it a sort of soft and milky look, and while it can be pleasant, it’s not exactly what you paid for, huh?
Now, the official guideline doesn’t include light performance, which is a shame if you ask us.
Sure, if you pay attention to the cut, you probably won’t have to worry about such things.
The problem with this category not being considered essential means that the cutting grade doesn’t include the light performance.
So, even though a diamond looks like it was cut perfectly, it could still not perform very well in certain lights.
Suppose the diamonds appear dark when in direct sunlight; it has good light performance. It may seem a bit contradictory, we know. But you must realize that diamonds were never intended to be thrown around on a sunny day.
If we look back at the history of these gems, we’ll see that they were mostly presented indoors at luxurious and royal events. And when they’re not inside partying with the royals, they’re displayed in museums and showrooms.
But the darker they are in sunlight, the brighter they will shine when exposed to artificial light!
That can be pretty bad for the buyers, and their diamonds could drop in value if someone figures out that they’re not exactly top of the line in all light conditions.
After all, everybody wants perfection from their diamonds!
Read Also: Do Diamonds Absorb Light?
What Is Diamond Fluorescence?
So, we’ve talked about the light performance of diamonds and how it can affect their value. But you might have heard of a different phrase when doing your research – diamond fluorescence.
So, what does it mean, and should you know about it?
Well, you should definitely know about it – but the first part of the question might take us a bit longer to elaborate on right now.
See, diamond fluorescence is similar to light performance. It measures the performance of diamonds when exposed to UV light.
Now, we know what you’re thinking, doesn’t the sun emit more than enough UV light to figure this out?
There’s actually a lot less UV light coming from the direction of the sun than it may seem. The UV light that we’re talking about here is achieved with UV lamps, and it’s more important than you think:
How a diamond acts under UV light can impact its value just as much as light performance would?
When exposing diamonds to the sun, some will start turning blue. It will rarely be intense blue light but more of a blue hue that makes the diamond seem cooler in color. That is because of the low amount of UV light we get from the sun, as we already mentioned.
Pure diamonds will appear blue under this light, while others will stay translucent.
Again, your diamonds never get put under a UV light; they can go for many years while retaining their high value. But if it starts shining a milky blue light when exposed to UV light, the value will surely drop.
The grades used here are None, Faint, Medium, Strong, and Very Strong.
Colorless diamonds with a very strong fluorescence grade are valued much lower than those with no grade at all. But this scale gets reversed when we try using it on colored diamonds.
See, because of their color, if the fluorescence grade is high, so is the value.
The reason is that colored diamonds get even more saturation and color when exposed to UV light, making them more desirable. The same rules apply when they get exposed to sunlight.
Learn More: Can Ultraviolet (UV) Light Destroy A Diamond?
Do All Diamonds Shine Equally?
So far, it’s evident that different diamonds react differently to certain lights. But let’s get back to the subject of shining.
What exactly makes a dominos shine? Is it the light performance? Or maybe one of the 4Cs?
There must be some category that’s more important than others.
Well, it’s not just one category, but a combination of a couple of them.
How much a diamond shines depends on how clear it is, how good the cut is, and how much color there is in it. We’re talking about traditional white diamonds; colored diamonds get a completely different set of rules.
If a diamond is heavily included, the light will have a hard time coming through it. That doesn’t mean that diamonds with some inclusions can’t be considered shiny. They can still shine under pretty much any light!
But as the number of inclusions goes up, the level of shine goes down.
Similarly, if the diamond has a yellow hue to it, it can sometimes appear blurry, and the light can get trapped inside. These are usually the diamonds that get higher grades when tested for their fluorescence.
But as we already learned, the fluorescence grade is not something that is initially looked at here.
So, how important is the shine of a diamond? And is there some sort of grade that’s made explicitly for this attribute?
Yes, there is. If we’re talking about how a diamond will shine, it means that we’ll have to mention its brilliance and its fire. These two things are considered crucial grades that professionals can give regarding how your diamonds will interact with light.
So, what do those two words represent? Well, it’s pretty simple. There are two ways in which light can leave a diamond, so to speak.
Firstly, the light rays will pierce through the polished surface of the diamond. Now, this is not glass we’re talking about here. The way it exits said surface is where the magic happens:
Some of the rays that enter will get broken up by the intricate way the material has been cut. They will, after this, be exiting in two ways.
Some will go to the top of the diamonds and exit through the small and sharp angles of the crown; this is called the diamond fire. The others will take the easy way out and go through the table – the flat surface on the top. The light that these rays produce is called brilliance.
What kind of cut the diamonds have will directly influence both of these attributes and is quite crucial in how the diamonds will be valued. Once the sun hits the surface, though, both of these go out the window.
Think of it this way: You just pointed an entire star into tiny diamonds. It doesn’t matter how good the cut is; the surface will turn dark. It’s just too much for it to handle!
So, what did we learn when it comes to how should a diamond look in sunlight?
Well, a couple of things.
Firstly, diamonds are incredibly playful with lights – but not just any lights. The white bulbs at the store may create a beautiful light show once they enter the diamonds – but as soon as the windows open, you can consider it over!
Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but there is a considerable difference between the two conditions. That is why these beautiful gems need to get valued by seasoned professionals who know every trick in the book.
But, don’t worry too much about all this.
Yes, the fire and the brilliance are important. And there will always be someone who didn’t test the fluorescence and light performance of diamonds; it happened!
But if there is one thing you can always be sure of – it’s that these beauties will always be a safe investment. No matter how they perform under any darn light!
Read Also: Do Diamonds Glow Under Black Light?