gems, jewels, gemstones

What is Diamond Scintillation

Diamonds are the top-rated gemstone because of their indestructible nature and other excellent properties. The most mesmerizing effect that makes diamond the most precious gem of all is its scintillation and sparkle. Other than the 4C (color, cut, clarity and carat) attributes of a diamond, it is also an important attribute to be considered while choosing a perfect diamond. It is most effective when there is an exact pattern of bright and dark areas, thus causing the flashes of light to be balanced in size. According to some grading systems, scintillation is subdivided into sparkle and pattern

  • Sparkle is observed in the flashing spots of light 
  • Pattern that is produced by the reflections from diamonds’ internal and external facets. 

Different Aspects of Scintillation 

Scintillation is the product of both the flashes of brilliance, i.e., white light reflection and the dispersion (rainbow of colors). The two different aspects of scintillation are flash and fire scintillation as discussed below

1 Flash Scintillation 

It is the dynamic of white sparkles that develop across the crown of the diamond. It is more common to observe than colored fire flashes as it can be observed across a broader range of light environments. As the same white light comes out from a diamond without dispersion, it is known as brilliance. Thus scintillation also includes brilliance due to all the reflections of white light from the diamond facets and back to the observer’s eyes. The product of scintillation appears visually as 

  • Few big or bright flashes of light 
  • Numerous tiny and less luminous flashes of light

2 Fire scintillation 

Colored sparkling patterns emerge from the diamond’s crown in the form of a dynamic pattern. The faceting of the diamond splits the white color into different ranges of color that reflect, resulting in fire scintillation. Just like the white light passes through the prism splits into a diverse range of colors, a good cut does the same or even better. The light dispersion results in a rainbow effect, and the diamond’s facet disperse these brilliant warm and cool colors in every direction. 

What is Diamond Scintillation

Types of Scintillation 

 In the world of diamonds, there are two different types of scintillation 

1 Contrast or Pattern


It is the type of scintillation that we see in a diffuse type of lighting environment. 

2 Sparkle scintillation 

When we are looking at a diamond in a spotlight environment like direct sunlight or LED lights, it is observed. 

For example, two fancy shapes, ideal cut ovals, and rectangular heritage cushions, are great examples of different types of scintillation that can be observed within diamond and gemstones. In dim light cushion has stronger contrast patterning, the areas of bright white light that are observed is known as brilliance and is considered to play the most crucial part in making the diamond beautiful.

Why Diamond Sparkle 

Scintillation is not considered a natural attribute as nature only provides the crystals. However, the cut and polishing produce sparkle and scintillation. So following factors play a critical role in scintillation. 

  1. Cut 

The cut is one of the essential 4Cs attributes of diamonds involved in the grading system of diamonds. The ability of the diamond to sparkle greatly depends on the cut of the diamond. Therefore the design and craftsmanship of the diamond is crucial and has a significant impact on scintillation. A fine-cut diamond has flashes of white or colored patterns across the top of the diamond, whereas a poorly cut diamond has dead areas; thus, no reflections or flashes can be observed. 

Diamond can reflect and refract the light beams in a better way to display beautiful optical effects if it has the proper angles of cut, right proportions, style of cutting, facet alignment, and polish. It is vital that light enters the diamonds from a wide range of angles, undergoes internal reflection within the diamond, and is returned to the eye with minimal light loss in the process. Such a diamond produces a lot of reflection and refraction and returns them to the eye so that when you look at that diamond, you would see scintillation and both white and colored sparkles.

A diamond’s proportion also contributes to its face-up appearance that includes angles of the diamond’s crown, pavilion, and facets as it influences the movement of light within the diamond.  There are different cut grades of diamonds

  • Excellent cut grade 

A diamond is regarded as the most brilliant because of its beautiful glint and balance between the light and dark areas and its stunning contrast in light and dark areas. 

  • Good cut grade 

It can also look beautiful but not as good as an excellent cut-grade diamond. The reflections are not as bright, and there is more darkening around the corners. 

  • Poor cut grade

It has more dark areas than light areas, and resulting reflections are neither sharp nor balanced. With the inferior light performance, the diamond is dull. 

Weight ratio and durability also play an essential role in the cutting quality of the diamond. Weight ratio refers to the weight of the stone in relation to the diameter of its girdle (intersection of crown and pavilion). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that a diamond doesn’t weigh more than its face-up size would indicate. 

  1. Facet alignment

Virtual facets are the virtual geometric shapes that can be observed by the viewer when the viewer moves back and forth. The distribution of a diamond’s virtual facets determines how sparkle and scintillation it produces. Thus, Cutting the best quality and most beautiful diamond considering all the aspects of scintillation is not an easy task. The diamond industry is a complex field that demands the mastery of excellent skills, additional time, and the sacrifice of additional carats.

What is Diamond Scintillation facet

A diamond’s light transmission is determined by the complex interaction between light and the diamond’s facets and observer. Along with the proportioning and alignment of the facets, the size of facets is another critical aspect of scintillation. Virtual facets must be present in proper mixtures of sizes to produce the most beautiful display of diamond sparkle. 

  1. Symmetry

The symmetry of the diamond is the arrangement and placement of its facets that define the finished diamond shape. A good symmetrical diamond exhibits even a display of fire, scintillation, and brightness. A poorly symmetrical diamond, on the other hand, misdirects light by sending it in different directions. As a result, it reduces the diamond’s light performance. 

  1. Polish 

It means the way the diamond’s facets look as well as the overall condition of its surfaces. The exterior blemishes or roughness on the facets interrupts the light and bounce it in all the wrong directions. One of the most prominent properties of diamonds is their hardness, durability, and stability. This hardness property allows them to polish to a high adamantine luster, making it exceptionally bright and reflective. 

Importance of light and Movement 

The light is the main factor that causes the reflection of white light or colors; thus, diamonds exhibit the high potential of scintillation or sparkle in well-illuminated environments. The reflection is then redirected to the observer’s eyes through the diamond.  The effect and impact of lighting on scintillation are so strong that it is recommended to check the diamond and compare them under different lighting. For example, if you want to check the brilliance of the diamond, it should be judged in diffuse light, fire should be judged in the spotlight, while in the case of scintillation, it is recommended to evaluate in both lights. 

  • Movement

 The movement of the diamond enhances sparkling and scintillation of the diamond as it causes the sparkle of the diamond to flicker. However, a motionless diamond cannot demonstrate or display the beautiful pattern of color or white light. Thus, scintillation is the product of motion either it’s the motion of diamond, light source, or observer’s eye. 

Another important aspect is the dynamic contrast within the diamond responsible for producing on and off effects among the facets. The right amount of contrast and distribution is essential since too small a contrast will reduce sparkle, and too great a contrast will make the diamond dull.  

Thus diamond cut to extreme precision and uncompromising beauty is the super ideal diamond, and such a diamond attracts every glance of every eye. The reflections of the diamond appear bright and well balanced owing to the even pattern and contrast between light areas and dark ones, so it’s recommended to choose the diamond with better cut grade and compare it under proper lighting. 

Picking the perfect diamond with the best of scintillation and sparkle is the dream of everyone. Thus, it is very important to know and understand the important characteristics of the diamond before buying them. Different certified grading systems can help you buy the best gem, like the GIA grading system or AGS. A jeweler can also help you understand all the information in the grading report and pick the diamond with all the possible best features according to your budget. 

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