Virtual Facets: The building blocks of sparkle

By Marc Nanasi, NEI Diamonds

We know that a standard round Brilliant Cut has 57 (sometimes 58) facets, so how come when you look into a diamond, it appears that there are hundreds of flashing geometric shapes?

Those flashes are known as virtual facets, and collectively they dictate a diamond’s sparkle. When light moves through a stone, it travels a longer distance than you would expect: A ray of light enters the diamond through one facet, reflects off two different facets, and exits the stone through a fourth. Because these facets work together to direct light, slightly tilting any facet will cause a ray of light to interact with a different set of facets all together. Anyone who has played billiards knows that when trying bank a shot off of a wall, a slight angle variation has a large affect on where the ball ends up. This is why proportion and symmetry are essential to a diamond’s appearance; cut is graded first on the diamond grading chart.

To illustrate the complexity of a diamond’s light performance, try holding a brightly colored object 6-8 inches over a diamond. Notice how many virtual facets take on the color of that bright object. You will also notice that these virtual facets are not all near each other, but rather scattered throughout the diamond, and separated by virtual facets of different colors. Virtual_Facets

The fact that this bright color originates in one area, doesn’t mean that it will exit the diamond in one area. This is because light is divided and redirected each time it encounters an additional facet, the result, many virtual facets. By slowly moving the bright object, the bright color leaves some virtual facets and enters others. Doing this will help an observer notice the seemingly sporadic nature of a diamond’s light performance. This experiment will be more evident with a diamond that has a superior cut grade on its diamond grading chart.Diamond_Brilliance

The American Gems Society Laboratory has been at the forefront for research to understand how light performs in gem stones and the resulting virtual facets. Even the AGS cut grade system is based on light performance.

The author would like to thank Peter Yantzer and Jason Quick from AGS Laboratories, whose advice was instrumental for this blog post.

Canary Diamond, Sing to Me!

By Megan Cott, Social Media Associate, Yael Designs

Want to know what the hot new trend in celebrity engagement rings is?

Canary Diamonds are all the rage lately and we are not surprised these dazzling lemon drops are making a splash. After all, who could resist such a cheery, sunny diamond sparkling on their ring finger? It also doesn’t hurt that in addition to the sentiments of love and commitment associated with colorless diamonds, the Canary Diamond has an added meaning of prosperity and joy.


The most recent, and one of the biggest, Canary Diamond engagement rings we have seen is Holly Madison’s. At a whopping 18 carats, this cushion-cut diamond is one for the books! Designed by Holly’s husband-to-be, the band is inspired by Art Nouveau style (another recent trend) and wreathed in yellow and pink diamond flowers. This ring is as bold and unique as Holly herself. Congratulations Holly!


Holly’s Canary Diamond joins the ranks of other celebrity engagement rings worn by Rebecca Romijn, Heidi Klum and Kelly Clarkson. Kelly’s cushion-cut ring from beau Brandon Blackstock is wreathed by colorless diamonds, adding another layer of stunning complement and giving the ring a luminous disposition. We love how versatile Canary Diamonds are, whether they are surrounded by white diamonds or yellow diamonds, like Heidi Klum’s stunner, they look breathtaking on a woman’s hand.

Rebecca Romijn’s canary diamond engagement ring style takes the stone’s vibrancy even further. Varying shades of pave diamond bands accompanied her center diamond until she had the setting redone recently. Now, the ohh la la Canary dangles from a yellow gold and white diamond setting. This is one trend in Hollywood we want to see more of!


Want to learn more about diamond engagement rings? Read about the history of the diamond as an engagement ring or get some tips on planning the perfect proposal.