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SI2 - Cloudy diamond fire vs non-cloudy


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Hi All,

I just saw 3 customer rings video on James Allen, 2 of which had ideal proportions (#1 & #2) and one didn't. The one with not so desirable proportions (#3) is showing huge amount of sparkle. I was just curious if a spotlight trick can make a diamond shine this much even if it's cloudy or my understanding of ideal proportions is wrong. Here are the links -

  1. Diamond 1 in ring - https://www.jamesallen.com/diamond-rings/round-cut-engagement-rings/1.86-carat-solitaire-engagement-ring-1814118
  2. Diamond 1 solo - https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.86-carat-f-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-3366891
  3. Diamond 2 in ring - https://www.jamesallen.com/diamond-rings/round-cut-engagement-rings/1.83-carat-solitaire-engagement-ring-1707636
  4. Diamond 2 solo - https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.83-carat-e-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1815048
  5. Diamond 3 in ring - https://www.jamesallen.com/diamond-rings/round-cut-engagement-rings/2.12-carat-solitaire-engagement-ring-1654080
  6. Diamond 3 solo - https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/2.12-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-453183


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Lighting can achieve miracles, and the lighting in the video of ring #3 is seemingly different from the other two. Whether that's an extra spotlight, different camera position/focus or postprocessing/editing is an open - but I would say irrelevant - question. It could also be that the default angle of filming/lighting is simply more flattering to ring #3 than it is to the other two (but the lack of contrast makes me think it's not just that: look at the engraving/marking inside the three rings).

Whether stone #3 is actually as sleepy as it looks in its "solo" video, or that video is to some extent non-representative is also an open question, as is the reason for the sleepiness. In either case, proportions have not much to do with it, though you are right that diamond #3 is much less desirably cut than the other 2.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Davide and Laurent. Sorry for my absence.

This brings me to my other question - Should the Culet be visible in a solitaire setting? Does this have an impact on light performance?

I'm asking as I recently changed my setting from plain solitaire 6 prongs to thin pavè 6 prong solitaire. Previously my diamond was set too low and I couldn't see any space between culet and prongs. Also, the prongs were tightly enclosing & touching the diamond from all sides. 

Now in new setting they have set taller prongs which do not touch sides of diamonds (just top) and I can clearly see Culet as there is a gap between culet and prongs. I have also observed that my diamond looks more fiery now.

Am I seeing things as it has been a while since the ring was away (20 days) and I had it only for 15 days before. Or does the separation between prongs and diamond has an impact on light performance?

(I guess the research never ends...you can never know everything!)


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In theory, if the diamond is decently proportioned, the brilliance is a result of light entering the crown (top), bouncing around and exiting back through the crown.  The closer the stone is to ideal proportions, the more this will happen.  If a stone is too shallow or too deep, then you will start seeing through the stone or the center will look very dark.  The height the stone is set at, should not have much of an impact.  What is more likely is that the pavilion (bottom) of your stone was dirty and this affected the brilliance.  In shallower settings, it can be a little harder to clean the stone.  My guess is that in resetting your stone, the jeweler gave it a good cleaning and that accounts for the biggest difference.  Wear your ring for a few weeks and see if the brilliance remains.  Chances are the stone will gradually accumulate oil and dirt.  A soft toothbrush, dish soap and warm water will work wonders to bring back the brilliance.  Don't forget to plug up the drain before you clean your jewelry.

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As Laurent says, in theory the setting should not make any difference - unless the previous setting was covering significant portions of the crown, in which case less light might have come in (and therefore gone out). Almost certainly the fact that you can see the culet has nothing to do with it... unless you are Pepper Potts on Extremis, in which case light coming from your skin might make a difference.

Jokes aside, there is an easy way to know if the undercarriage is making a difference: look at the ring when it is being worn: no light will be entering the stone from below, since it will be blocked by a finger. If the difference persists, it's due to something else, most likely cleanliness (which is also easier to achieve if the pavilion is "free").

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