How do you sparkle?

By Amanda L. Colborn

How do you sparkle?

You’re likely familiar with the 4 C’s of Diamonds: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat – however, there is another very important aspect of diamonds to keep top of mind: Sparkle!

Sparkle, or Scintillation as it is also known, is the play of white and colored flashes of light seen when the diamond is viewed in motion.  Viewable with the naked eye, sparkle is the life of the diamond.

Sparkle does have two different aspects, flash scintillation and fire scintillation.

Flash

flash

Flash scintillation is the dynamic pattern of white sparkles observed across a diamond’s crown. Because flash can be seen across a broader range of light environments, it is more common to see white sparkles in a diamond than colored flashes of fire.

Fire

fire

Fire scintillation is the dynamic pattern of colored sparkles observed across a diamond’s crown. Because of the refraction caused by a diamond’s faceting, normal white light can be split into many spectral colors as it leaves the diamond.

Light and Movement

Without light, diamonds can’t sparkle.  As light is a key ingredient, diamonds with the highest potential for sparkle find light in broad ranges of commonly encountered illumination environments and redirect the light to the observer’s eye through the diamond.

The other key attribute is movement, which sets the scintillation performance apart from its light performance.  A motionless diamond in broad diffuse lighting cannot demonstrate the beautiful display of scintillation. It is movement that causes the flickering of sparkle across a diamond, whether it is the diamond, the observer, or the light source that moves.

But, how do you sparkle?!

Cut is key to sparkle.  A diamond with superior sparkle has flashes of light and color across the top of the diamond.  A poorly cut stone can have “dead” areas where no flash or fire is seen.

For a fun and unique take on sparkle, check out AGS Laboratories’ very own Executive Director, Peter Yantzer, talk about how he sees sparkle.

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