The way a diamond is cut has a major impact on how it appears when light strikes it. A 10-carat diamond with a yellowish color and an emerald cut may not shine as brilliantly as a 1-carat diamond of the same color grade with a round brilliant cut. Indecisive on which cut to choose for your beloved or for the next piece to add to your collection? Let’s take a look at how light affects different cuts.

Diamonds and Light

Diamonds are dynamic gems. How – and where – you look at your diamond can greatly change its appearance. The cut of a diamond truly affects how it looks in candlelight, sunlight and indoor lights—its appearance can differ greatly on your environment and this has largely to do with its cut. Although the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat) are important to the overall look of your diamond, cut is extremely important in describing the diamond’s appearance—brightness, fire and scintillation. Weight ratio, durability, polish and symmetry are sub-factors that also describe the diamond’s design.

High, moderate and low brightness under fluorescent light:

Don’t Allow for Light Leakage: Diamonds and Depth

When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond (which gemologists refer to as the table). If it is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side.

A shallow cut will make the diamond seem larger because light goes out of the sides instead of reflecting off of the top. Although it may sound nice for your diamond to appear larger, a shallow stone actually lacks brilliance and sparkle. A deep cut poorly reflects light resulting in a dull appearance. The ideal is aptly named because it beautifully reflects light—it’s the signature of a high-quality diamond. An ideal cut means it’s well-proportioned and carefully angled to achieve a luminous appearance.

How Light Works Inside of a Diamond

A diamond’s brilliance shows its ability to reflect light. When light passes through a diamond, tiny flashes or reflections will be visible within the stone. There are three components to this:

  1. Table Reflection: This is when light enters the surface of a diamond—a portion of it is reflected out of the table or the top flat surface of the diamond.
  2. Refraction: What’s left of the light will travel into the center of the diamond and bounce off of its internal walls.
  3. Dispersion: The light eventually leaves the diamond causing the white light to be separated into multiple colors—some will escape through the bottom and side and others will reflect out of the top of the stone. This reflected light is the “fire” of the diamond. The more “ideal” your diamond, the more “fire” that lives within your diamond.

At the Diamond Broker, we can help you find the perfect diamond engagement ring or your next piece of diamond jewelry that will shine brilliantly in any light. If you still have questions about diamonds and fine jewelry, we’re here to help! Contact us or come into our Dallas store today. We look forward to helping you!