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April is Diamond Month - Up To 15%-33% Off Lab Diamonds
April is Diamond Month - Up To 15%-33% Off Lab Diamonds
Are Higher Color Diamonds Brighter and More Brilliant?

Are Higher Color Diamonds Brighter and More Brilliant?

I spent the weekend shopping for diamond engagement rings with my girlfriend, we visited all of the popular jewelry stores in our area, and I’m trying to determine whether higher color diamonds are brighter and more brilliant than lower color diamonds. For instance, is a D color diamond more brilliant than a G color diamond? Based upon all the research we’ve conducted online, my girlfriend and I decided that we want an ideal cut diamond, but couldn’t find one around town that is cut anywhere close to the proportions of Brian Gavin Signature diamonds, but most of the sales people seemed to feel that diamond color was more important than polish or symmetry. Please help me figure this out. – James T.

In order to ensure that we’re on the same page, the first things that we need to define are the terms brightness and brilliance, as they are commonly used within the diamond industry, because people have a tendency to mix them up a bit and the counter people at jewelry stores have a field day with it.

What is Diamond Brilliance?

The term brilliance is used by the gemological community to describe how bright a diamond appears to our human eyes, but it is also used to describe the white sparkle which is created by light being reflected off of the surface of a diamond, and also from within the diamond as it travels through the diamond and is directed back up towards the observer.

What is Dispersion and Fire in a Diamond?

Dispersion is a term which is used interchangeably with the term “fire” which refers to the flashes of colored light created by light being reflected off of the facets of a diamond. These are the flashes of red, blue, green, and other colors of the rainbow, which people find mesmerizing and love to talk about.

What is Scintillation in a Diamond?

Scintillation is light which is created by the contrast between the light and dark regions of a diamond, which are created by the different shapes and alignment of the facets. The term scintillation is also used to describe the overall sparkle of a diamond, which is created when the diamond is moving, kind of like the flashes of light which are created by a disco ball as it spins in the air.

The Difference Between Diamond Brilliance and Brightness:


Obviously the term Brilliance tends to be used interchangeably with brightness, since a higher volume of white sparkle will have the tendency to make a diamond appear brighter, but it is also reasonable to assume that a higher color diamond, such as D-color diamond, will appear visible brighter than a G-color diamond, simply because it exhibits less body color and is thus whiter and brighter, however that does not necessarily mean that it will be more brilliant in terms of exhibiting more sparkle.

The potential confusion which can stem from the lack of understanding of how the diamond industry uses the terms brightness and brilliance, can lead people to assume that buying a diamond of higher color is the best choice, but in truth it is the proportions and diamond cut quality that dictate the volume of sparkle… factors of light performance, such as brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation, are all the direct result of diamond proportions (geometry) and optical symmetry, which is the precision of facet size, shape, and alignment in terms of how precisely they are indexed from one facet to the next.

It requires an incredible amount of precision to create a crisp and complete hearts pattern like the one that appears within the 0.903 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond pictured above. Any variance in the size, shape, length, angle, alignment, or even the indexing of the pavilion (lower half of the diamond) facets will result in hearts which are uneven in size and shape, or which bend at the tips, or have breaks in the clefts.

But why should you care whether a diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows? Does it add anything to the appearance of the diamond? A recent study by the American Gem Society Laboratory determined that it does, but before we discuss that, let’s get a handle on What Makes Diamond Sparkle

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