One of the biggest reasons diamonds remain the most popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry is simple: their stunning sparkle and shine. While all gems tend to glint and reflect light, giving off a unique glow, the sparkle of diamonds is unlike that of any other gem. The way your diamond looks in the light may be the largest deciding factor when picking out a stone. But why exactly does this effect occur, and what can you do to ensure you get maximum sparkle for your budget? Read on to find out how to pick the perfect diamond.
What makes a diamond sparkle?
Before we get into the details, let’s go over a few important keywords to remember when discussing diamonds:
Scintillation refers to the sparkle a diamond gives off when viewed in motion.
Fire is the colorful light reflection you see when a diamond is exposed to light. It usually shows up in a “prism” of rainbow colors.
Brilliance refers to the white light that is reflected through the crown of the diamond.
Polish relates to the smoothness of each facet of a diamond. The higher a stone’s polish is graded, the more sparkle it tends to have.
The cut of a diamond has to do with the proportions of the stone. Whether or not a diamond is cut too shallow or deep affects the sparkle of the gem.
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about the process that creates sparkle in your favorite stone. When light enters a diamond, it travels through it, reflecting off of its interior surfaces, then exits the diamond. As the diamond or the person looking at the diamond moves, scintillation occurs, and these alternating flashes of white and rainbow-colored light, as well as the contrast of dark and light that moves around the diamond, cause the sparkle we know and love.
Try it for yourself! See how a diamond changes depending on how far or close you hold it from your gaze, as well as how it looks in alternate lighting.
How to choose a stone that sparkles
Now that you know what makes a diamond sparkle, how do you go about choosing a stone that prioritizes this diamond quality? Well, there are actually a few steps you can take to make sure you get a diamond that sparkles beautifully.
Examine the diamond under four different lighting sources.
In order to truly evaluate your diamond’s sparkle, you need to see how it reacts under various light sources. First, use spot lighting — a lot of individual light sources — which you may find in a jewelry store. Make sure there is not an overload of spot lights. Too-bright lighting can create a glare that makes all diamonds appear the same. Then, observe the stone in diffused lighting, such as fluorescent lights that bounce off a white ceiling. You should then take a look at the diamond under mixed lighting, such as a combination of spot and diffused. Finally, and most importantly, observe the diamond in natural daylight to see how it will appear in the outside world. By the way, the lighting in Shane Co. stores is engineered to replicate natural daylight. Many other jewelers use high-intensity lights that exaggerate their diamonds’ sparkle and distort their true color.
Pay attention to the cutting style.
The diamond cut has the biggest influence on its sparkle. Choosing a diamond with a high cut grade is of upmost importance if you are prioritizing its light-reflective qualities. The more facets a diamond has, the more reflective surfaces there are to scatter light. All diamond shapes can be sparkly if cut properly, but some are known for their particular abilities to create sparkle and shine.
Keep in mind your diamond’s clarity.
Clarity may affect a diamond’s sparkle depending on the type of imperfections (known as inclusions) and where they are located inside the diamond. If the inclusions in the diamond are cloudy in nature, they may give the diamond an appearance of looking hazy or milky. This would make its sparkle more muted.
Pick the right setting.
Some engagement ring settings cover more of a center diamond than others, which can diminish the sparkle. Choosing a prong setting can better allow light to enter through the diamond than, for example, a bezel setting, which covers a larger surface area of the gem.
Bigger does not equal better.
Heads up: If you’re thinking of choosing a larger diamond because you believe it will produce more sparkle, you could be making a mistake. Cut and clarity matter much more than size. Prioritizing cut will help ensure you pick a diamond with lots of sparkle and shine of the stone.
Keep it clean.
The truth is, dirty diamonds don’t sparkle! Even a well-cut stone can’t shine if it’s obscured by dirt and debris. Keeping your diamond ring clean will ensure that it’s always dazzling.
How to clean diamonds
Making use of this last suggestion is easier than you think. Follow these steps on how to clean your diamond ring and you won’t be able to stop smiling at your sparkly stone.
- Soak your diamond in an ammonia-based household cleaner overnight once a week.
- The next morning, remove the gem and brush with a soft, clean toothbrush, getting rid of any dirt caught in the setting or around the facets. Don’t forget the back of the stone!
- Make sure your ring is secure by getting regular inspections by a qualified jeweler, to avoid the center stone falling out and potentially getting lost.
- Avoid cleaning your diamond in or near a sink or use a drain cover to ensure your beautiful, clean diamond ring doesn’t end up in the sewer system.
- Avoid harmful solutions like chlorine and toothpaste, and stick to ammonia-based cleaners. If you’re unsure if something may harm your diamond, refer again to your jeweler’s expertise.
What are the sparkliest diamond shapes?
We’ve talked a lot about how getting the best diamond cut can have a huge effect on a diamond’s beauty. But which shape in particular produces the most sparkle? This is an interesting question because in the end, which stone you choose is truly a matter of personal preference. You may like a particular shape because it elongates your fingers, fits a setting you love or matches your personal style. All of this should be taken into consideration when choosing your diamond.
However, if your top priority is sparkle, the popular brilliant round diamond is the way to go. This shape maximizes sparkle like no other. It is the most optically efficient shape with the fewest areas of light loss. In the end, however, the best way to determine how much sparkle your diamond contains is to head to a reputable jeweler and look at a variety of stones under varying light sources. As long as you’re looking at high-quality diamonds, any shape you choose will offer a stunning display of sparkle.
Why shop Shane Co.
At Shane Co., our jewelers are highly trained and experienced to help make your shopping experience easy and fun. In fact, our staff is noncommission, so you won’t feel pressured into buying something that’s out of your budget. We’ll encourage you to explore all of our beautiful stones until you find the one that’s right for you and your budget. You can find your closest Shane Co. store by using our store locator, or get an idea of what you want by looking through our online inventory. No matter what you choose, we know you’ll find the perfect diamond by following these easy tips!