Jump to content

What Causes A Diamond To Have Brilliance (White Light Reflection) But Little-No Fire?


Recommended Posts

may seem like a n00b question here, but I Have a few sets of earrings, real diamond, that are quite sparkly/beautiful but they totally lack in fire, like a poorly cut CZ would but still more brilliant. One set is really cheap, and the other looks nicer, has great clarity and no visible inclusions, but I have no idea what their certification was as they were left to me.


both sets have in common that the stones are exceptionally tiny, ones a pave square and the other a set of gold hoops lined with small diamonds. I'd say the squares are actually is cut too deep, because when dark spots appear at certain angles its like a nail head, not a fish eye... there are NO dark spots at all on the hoops.


i'd guess it has something to do with the cut, they're both round cuts, but with less facets than a round brilliant - the only way I could describe it is there is less "angle" to the sides, with only one row angled before the drop off to the point on the bottom, or looking the other way, only one angled row on the side before reaching the table instead of the 2 rows of facets on a round brilliant.


Its either that or the depth/narrowness letting light escape? that doesnt seem to make sense because there is plenty of sparkle, just no color flashes, at least without playing with it in the light and looking real closely at JUST the right angles.


or it could just be the size alone, since the stones are very tiny, maybe a millimeter or less in width. regardless, they are still nice, much nicer than even CZ would be, it would just be nice if they had that fire...


im just curious as to why really... I'd attach pics if I could take high enough definition ones but I cant.




Im also thinking it may be the way the stones are set, as you CANNOT see the sides, so you cant look through the facets, and light cant pass through them, really, only the table is visible, and you can see the facets, but not THROUGH the facets, as the setting wraps totally around them - this would explain why looking at JUST the right angle seems to reveal a little color, because I'd be looking through the facets that way...

Edited by spiroth10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I understand things completely, and to be honest to understand them properly one would probably need to see the piece together with you, however, I can hazard three guesses:


1. Cut. No idea what applies to your case, but there is melée (small diamonds) that is well cut, and melée that is less well cut. Also, from your description, it sounds as if (at least some of) the stones are so-called single cuts, which have fewer facets and a different kind of sparkle from typical full cut diamonds (over 0.20 ct they are all full cut).


Finally on cut, bear in mind that smaller diamonds just cannot produce fire the way larger stones can: you need a prism of a certain size to split the incoming white light into a rainbow of colours, and if the available prisms are very small, the most you can do is capture one little coloured flash at a time. It's physics.


2. Cleanliness. It's amazing what gets on diamonds, and it's amazing how it sticks. Get them cleaned professionally.


3. Setting. It's possible that it is too closed and/or poorly finished. This said, if the diamond is well cut and clean, the setting should have a very minor effect: a lively diamond is lively because of the light that enters it from the top, not from the bottom or the sides.


The light effects (sparkle, contrast/pattern and fire) that happen in a diamond are caused by light entering the diamond from the top, and returning to the eye of the observer after being reflected/refracted internally, not from light going "through" the diamond from one facet to another.

Edited by davidelevi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you do take a picture... try to get as close to the object as you can while keeping things in focus, then crop mercilessly. A 6 Mp camera (3000 x 2000) which is typical for a mid-range modern phone will produce a nice 600 x 400 (quarter of a 1280 x 800 screen) image using only 20% of its pixels, so don't worry about having the object taking up only part of the screen - but remember to crop before attaching, otherwise all we get is a rather useless compressed picture with a tiny, poor quality image.


Demonstration... full size photo (which gets badly compressed):




The item after simple cropping:





Link to comment
Share on other sites

i can't really keep it in focus, since I have a cheap phone lol. cleaning it better seemed to restore a lot of luster actually, and now there actually is some sparkle to it. not as much as a really expensive set of earrings, but still quite nice. nicer than my i2i3 diamonds by far. I'm willing to bet thats a majority of what it was, seeing as they were my grandmothers and almost yellow when I first got them - they were so grimey i thought they were cheap fakes, probably years of buildup and cigarette smoke. 


I only used a bunch of household stuff - effervescent cleaner (dads dentures lol), soap, warm water, windex, a toothbrush and eyeglass cleaning cloth, but it looks a bunch nicer now. I suspect a professional clean and polish, or the right kind of cleaner, would do even more for it.


I really wish I could get a good picture but a 5mp phone camera doesnt do it haha. I have no idea what quality the stones are, or when it was made, or how much its worth, or anything. but ultimately they have sentimental value more than anything.


my other set is just straight up cheap diamonds, my first set of studs,  its not so much that they arent brilliant as much as they're filled with inclusions. The more I clean the hoops, though, the more impressed I am with them.

Edited by spiroth10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cigarette smoke is quite persistent, so leave them to soak for a few hours in soapy water. A jeweller is usually happy to give one or two pieces a clean for free... in exchange for a chance of getting a new customer.


If you have quite a few pieces to keep nice & sparkly, then one of these may be a worthwhile investment: http://www.amazon.com/Jewel-Black-Silver-Jewelry-Cleaner/dp/B00G4DS0SG/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1423901415&sr=8-12&keywords=jewelry+steam+cleaner

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...