Why do Diamonds Sparkle so Brilliantly?
Photo by zelle duda on Unsplash

Why do Diamonds Sparkle so Brilliantly?

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The artist Rhianna is known for the lyrics “shine bright like a diamond,” yet this is not entirely accurate. While most of us can easily imagine how a diamond shines, the correct term is actually refraction. This brings up an important point. 

Why are these stones able to reflect light in such an amazing manner? What scientific principles are involved? Without becoming overly technical, it is a good idea to answer these questions to appreciate why diamonds have retained their allure for thousands of years. 

Reflection and Refraction

Every object reflects light. The same holds true in regards to diamonds. A certain amount of light will be immediately redirected back out towards the eye of the onlooker. This provides these stones with an impressive glimmer, and yet, it is really only the beginning.

The real key to the sparkle of a diamond involves the principle of refraction. We are all aware that diamonds contain a specific number of facets (this will primarily depend upon the type of cut). Any light that hits these surfaces will be immediately broken up and scattered. This is known as refraction. So, why are reflection and refraction so special when referring to diamonds?

A Useful Example

We can think of diamonds as very complicated prisms in many respects. First, the light will enter from the outside. This light is then bounced around and scattered due to the presence of multiple facets. This is the same principle that enables a prism to display a rainbow’s colors when it is hit with light (also known as dispersion). This is also why we are likely to be dazzled by a virtual kaleidoscope of different tones when viewing a diamond in bright light. 

Why do Some Diamonds Sparkle More Than Others?

We need to remember that natural diamonds are similar to snowflakes. Each one is different in regards to its unique qualities. In terms of when diamonds sparkle, a handful of features will play a key role:

  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut

These are the very same reasons why a typical diamonds search page will offer customers several options. Each stone will uniquely reflect light. For example, the number of inclusions (faults) within a stone will impact how much light is reflected and refracted. 

The same holds true when referring to the cut. The main intention of the cut is to accentuate the natural allure of the diamond. This is why a princess cut might be suited for one particular stone, while a round shape could be better for another. Finally, the color of a diamond will also impact how the light is refracted. 

In terms of sheer beauty, there is truly nothing more stunning than a diamond. This is why they have captivated humanity for millennia. The good news is that it is now possible to purchase a high-quality stone with the help of the Internet, so be prepared to be dazzled!

Featured Photo by zelle duda on Unsplash