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Why Does A Diamond Sparkle?

Why Does A Diamond Sparkle?

No matter how luxurious your jewelry is, nothing can substitute the sparkling beauty of a diamond. These precious stones are always the stars!

Diamonds are attractive, expensive, and sought-after for many reasons, but most of all, their seducing brilliance. The question is: Why does a diamond sparkle?

The diamond’s natural brilliance is only a part of the answer. Diamonds have to be expertly cut and polished as well. Stay tuned for a detailed answer!

Why Diamonds Sparkle? Where Does Their Sparkle Come From?


Where do the diamonds get their brilliance from – that’s the first question we should tackle today. Diamonds you see in the jewelry store owe their brilliance to many factors, but most of all, the three following things: 

1. Reflection

Reflection stands for the light that hits the diamond surface and bounces back, emitting an immediate shine. It’s an impressive glimmering effect, but it’s merely the tip of the iceberg as far as the genuine diamond’s radiance is concerned. 

In reality, most of the light does not bounce back at all; it travels through the diamond. 

See Also: Do Diamonds Emit Light?

2. Refraction 

Refraction provides diamonds with a sparkling effect that makes them as famous and desirable as they are. It occurs when the light moving through the diamond gets fractured and diffused. 

3. Dispersion

Dispersion is a rainbow effect that occurs when the light enters a diamond. Why does it happen? 

Well, diamonds are actually small and quite complicated prisms, and the light that enters through their top hits different angles before it is sent back out through the surface. 

Dispersion contributes to the shine and allure of a precious stone tremendously. 

Refraction and dispersion work together to create natural light and dark areas depending on the direction of the light entering the diamond. 

The dark areas are not counterproductive as far as brilliance is concerned, though. Quite the contrary, if there were no dark spots, the diamond would not have the magical effect and its trademark brilliance. 

The dark intensifies the light – just like a candle shines brighter in a dark room. The contrast secures the impressive shine and the characteristic fire of diamonds. 

Without it, the diamond would still have some glimmering effect – but it would not be nearly as intense and majestic. 

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When a beam of white light enters a diamond, it bends as it passes through and splits into a spectrum of different colors – we call this fire. It is the same effect that forms the rainbow when the light goes through water droplets. 

The amount of fire a diamond will exhibit depends on its cut, though. Some diamond cuts have more fire than others. 

For example, emerald-cut diamonds have a lot of fire but not as much brilliance as brilliant-cut diamonds (that have less fire). That’s something to consider when choosing a diamond. 


Scintillation is the effect that derives from the movement of the light. It is a play of white and colored flashes you see when you observe the diamond in motion. Some would say that it breathes life into the diamond.

There are flash scintillation and fire scintillation:

  • Flash scintillation occurs when bright flashes of light dance all over the polished facets of a gem. 
  • Fire scintillation occurs when there are flashes of color.

Scintillation depends on the quality of a diamond’s polish results. Brilliance, fire, and scintillation all have to work together to provide a diamond with the “across-the-room-sparkle.” 

Only a few diamonds in the world have this overall effect, though. And they are breathtaking. 

Related Read:

What Are The Other Factors That Make The Diamond Sparkle?

The Cut And Shape Of A Diamond

Both the cut and shape of the diamond will have a determining effect on how brilliant it is. It should not be too deep – or too shallow. 

If the diamond cutter gets it wrong, the light entering the diamond will not bounce back as much as it should. The light will get lost or escape through the bottom of the diamond, reducing the shimmering impression. 

It was not easy for people to come up with perfect diamond cuts. 

Luckily for you, the most popular shapes sold in the stores today are the result of this quest for enhanced brilliance. Diamonds are now designed to offer the ultimate light performance by utilizing both natural properties and complex angels. 

Today, you have the privilege to enjoy the ablest sparkle as well as the most aesthetically pleasing shapes of diamonds. 

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If the diamond cutter wants the diamond to reach its fullest potential and shine as bright as it possibly can, they have to pay special attention to the gem’s symmetry

In order to be perfectly symmetrical, the diamond has to be equal on all sides, and all its facets must be cut in such a manner. 

When symmetry is off – even by little – the light doesn’t refract properly, and the brilliance is compromised.


The clarity affects how much the diamond will shine as well, though to a lesser extent. If there are imperfections on the diamond’s surface, the amount of light entering it will be limited. 

Inclusions will also stop the light and prevent it from moving freely within the diamond. 

So, what can we conclude from this? The fewer imperfections a gemstone has, the more brilliant it will be. 


Once a diamond cutter achieves perfection – or does the best to achieve it – and creates a diamond cut and shaped to bounce light adequately, it is time to give that gem the finishing touches. 

The final step in achieving scintillating shine is to polish the surface of the diamond.  

Polishing a diamond will affect its brilliance for quite some time. It will help remove any residual roughness or exterior stains. A well-done polish can help bring out the gem’s brilliance and make the diamond that much more attractive. 

As you can see, getting a diamond to sparkle and shine the way it should is not a simple task – even for the most experienced professionals. Every stone is different, and yet the results have to be the same: Brilliant! 

So, the next time you visit a jewelry store, remember how much effort it took to create all those beautiful diamonds displayed in front of you. Every diamond you see casting the magnificent display of light and color when you move it is a little work of art. 

The scintillation and dazzling array of light and colors make diamonds as valuable as they are. We’ll talk about value in the following section.

Read Also: Do Small Diamonds Sparkle More?

Does Diamond Brilliance Have Any Influence On Its Value?

Yes, all the effects we have mentioned make the diamond as alluring and precious as it is. Without scintillation and fire, gems would not be as valuable and cherished stones.

Therefore, the process of diamond cutting is crucial in determining the final price of the diamond. It transforms the gem from an unsightly crystal in the ground to a luxurious, beautiful piece of jewelry.  

As you can see, the expertise of the diamond cutter is crucial.

Only an experienced and skilled diamond cutter will be able to reveal the hidden beauty of a gem. By transforming the rough crystal into a faceted gemstone, the diamond cutter changes the way light passes through the diamond. 

And how much do the cut and proportions influence the final price of a diamond, exactly? The cut and proportions of a gem have a significant influence on the diamond’s value. They can make for as much as 40 percent of the final price. 

For this reason, diamond cutting is a skill that requires a lot of expertise, time, and effort.

See Also: How Much Does It Cost To Cut A Rough Diamond?

What Are Other Criteria That Influence The Value Of A Diamond? 

The price of a diamond is based on the 4 Cs. Those are: 

1. Carat

Carat stands for the weight of a diamond. One carat corresponds to 0.2 grams or 100 points. For this reason, all diamonds are weighed on a highly precise scale – accurate up to 0.000001 grams.

2. Clarity

Most of the diamonds have impurities and so-called inclusions. These imperfections are traces of other materials caught up in the mineral while the diamond was forming. 

The job of a diamond cutter is to try to remove as many of the shortcomings of a gem as humanly possible by splitting, sawing, grinding, and polishing it. 

The fewer impurities a diamond has in the end, the more valuable it will be.  

3. Cut

We have already explained how the quality of the cut of a diamond influences the reaction of the light entering the gem – and, as a result of this, its sparkle. 

For this reason, diamond cutters give their best to grind each stone following a precise mathematical formula. Yes, there’s a formula behind a gem’s shine and beauty. That way, every facet of the diamond is positioned at a precise angle to another

There are different formulas cutters can choose from here. The most well-known was made by a famous Belgian mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. It is a formula for the round brilliant with 57 facets.

Related Read: Which Diamond Cut Sparkles The Most?

4. Color

The majority of diamonds are colorless. In reality, they vary from totally colorless to yellowish. 

Only a small portion of gems has some distinctive color – such as red, yellow, pink, green, brown, or black. These colors are referred to as “fancy.” On that note, blue and pink diamonds are extremely rare – which makes them one of the most valuable gems on the market. 

Learn More: Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

How To Preserve The Sparkle Of Your Diamond?

In time, a diamond can accumulate dirt and grease and lose a bit of its sparkle effect. Most of us use hand creams and oils that speed up this process by building up on the back of our diamond rings. 

It is, therefore, crucial to regularly clean your diamond jewelry. And how does one clean their diamond jewelry at home?

The simplest method to clean your diamond jewelry at home is soaking it in a gentle degreasing solution. You can buy a specially designed cleaning solution for this purpose – or make it on your own. 

If you opt for the latter, simply mix some lukewarm water and a few drops of mild dish soap, and you are done! 

Leave your diamond jewelry to soak in the cleaning solution for at least ten minutes. Once you take it out, use a soft, clean toothbrush to remove any remaining impurities. 

In this way, you will keep your diamond sparkling and beautiful for years to come. Learn more about How To Take Care Of Your Diamonds by clicking here.

Read Also: What Makes Diamonds Lose Their Sparkle?


Diamonds sparkle for many reasons. Most of all, they owe their sparkle to the way light passes through them. A well-cut, perfectly proportioned diamond reflects most light that then goes back to the human eye through the table facet. We call this effect brilliance.

A diamond that lacks symmetry leaks light and thus appears far less brilliant. 

Of course, diamonds owe their sparkle to numerous other factors. You see, brilliance combines with scintillation and fire to give the diamond its true life.

The clarity of a gem, the mastery of cutting it, and polishing it to perfection all have the determining effect on its beauty and value. 

Of course, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder too, and thus you too have a saying when choosing a diamond for you or someone you love!

See Also: Do Diamonds Lose Their Sparkle?