What Makes A Diamond Sparkle?

What Makes A Diamond Sparkle?

At Impress Jewelry Creations, we understand that the mesmerizing sparkle of a diamond isn't just a fleeting moment of beauty—it's a profound combination of art, science, and nature. Every diamond in our collection captures the light in a dance that beckons the beholder closer. But what exactly makes a diamond sparkle so captivatingly? This blog delves deep into the anatomy of a diamond's brilliance, fire, and scintillation—elements that make it truly shine.

Brilliance, Fire, and Scintillation

To truly appreciate a diamond's sparkle, it's essential to understand these three key aspects:


Brilliance refers to the amount of white light that is reflected back to the eyes from the interior and the surface of the diamond. It is what gives a diamond its radiant white glow.


Fire describes the scattering of white light into rainbow colors seen in a well-cut diamond. High levels of fire are particularly noticeable in dimmer light or when a diamond moves.


Scintillation is the sparkle you see when the diamond, the light, or the observer moves. It is a dynamic aspect of a diamond's sparkle, comprising the pattern of light and dark areas produced by reflections within the diamond.

Light and Its Interactions

  • Refraction: When light passes through a diamond, it bends (refraction) due to the diamond's high refractive index. This bending splits the light into its spectral colors.
  • Reflection: The light reflects off the internal surfaces or facets of the diamond. The quality of this reflection determines how much light escapes through the top of the diamond to reach the viewer’s eyes.
  • Dispersion: As light exits the diamond, it spreads out into the colors of the spectrum. This dispersion is what causes the colorful flashes known as fire.

Critical Angles and Total Internal Reflection

  • Design and Cut: The angle and quality of the diamond's cut determine how effectively light can be bent and reflected within the diamond. An ideal cut diamond is crafted to maximize light return through the top of the diamond, enhancing its sparkle.
  • Total Internal Reflection: When a diamond is cut to the proper proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and then funneled through the top of the diamond, maximizing the visible sparkle. If cut too shallow or too deep, light leaks out from the sides or bottom, diminishing the diamond's brilliance.

The Pivotal Role of Diamond Cut in Maximizing Sparkle

The cut of a diamond is the primary architect of its sparkle, playing a decisive role in its ability to capture and reflect light. A masterfully cut diamond can turn mere rays of light into an exquisite display of brilliance and fire. Let’s delve into the specifics of how diamond cut influences sparkle, focusing on facets, symmetry, polish, and cut grades.

Facets and Their Alignment

Each facet on a diamond's surface acts like a tiny mirror, reflecting light in specific directions. The arrangement and proportions of these facets are critical in determining how light travels through the diamond and how it exits to meet the observer's eye.

  1. Facet Geometry: The most popular cut for achieving optimal sparkle is the round brilliant cut, designed with 57 or 58 precisely arranged facets. This cut is engineered to maximize light return. The top of the diamond, or the table, captures light, which then travels to the pavilion (the lower part of the stone) where it reflects from facet to facet before bouncing back out through the table to the viewer’s eye, resulting in significant sparkle.
  2. Role of Facet Alignment: Proper alignment ensures that the light is not just reflected randomly within the diamond but is directed upwards through the crown (top part of the diamond above the girdle) and back to the observer. Misalignment can lead to light leakage where light escapes from other parts of the diamond, such as the pavilion, reducing the stone’s perceived brilliance.

Symmetry and Polish

  1. Symmetry: This refers to how precisely the facets are aligned and proportioned relative to each other across the diamond. Symmetrical facet placement is crucial because it ensures uniformity in how light is reflected within the diamond, contributing to a balanced and intense sparkle. High symmetry in a diamond’s cut can significantly enhance its overall appearance and brilliance.
  2. Polish: The quality of a diamond's polish affects how cleanly and vividly light can reflect off each facet. A high-quality polish without scratches or blemishes allows for maximum light reflection, enhancing both brilliance (white light reflections) and fire (color dispersion).

The Impact of Cut Grades

  1. Ideal Cuts: Diamonds graded as "Ideal" have proportions and angles optimized for the best possible light performance. These diamonds are cut to exacting standards specifically designed to maximize sparkle, resulting in exceptional brilliance and fire. They are, consequently, more desirable and valuable.
  2. Poor Cuts: Diamonds that don’t meet these rigorous standards are often cut too shallow or deep, leading to poor light performance. In shallow-cut diamonds, light strikes the pavilion at a low angle and passes through the bottom of the diamond, resulting in a lack of depth. In deep-cut diamonds, light is absorbed by the pavilion facets and doesn’t reflect back up through the crown, causing the diamond to appear dark and dull.

What to Look for When Choosing the Right Cut

  • Light Performance Balance: A well-cut diamond balances brilliance (overall white light reflection) and fire (rainbow flashes). Consider which effect appeals to you more. Do you want a classic, dazzling white light display, or a captivating play of colors?
  • Polish and Symmetry: Even the best cut can be hampered by a poor polish or symmetry. Look for diamonds with excellent grades in these aspects for optimal light return. A well-polished diamond allows light to enter and exit cleanly, maximizing sparkle. Asymmetry can disrupt light patterns and diminish brilliance.
  • Setting Style: The way a diamond is set in the jewelry can affect its sparkle. Prong settings with minimal metal coverage allow for more light interaction with the diamond, maximizing sparkle. A closed-back bezel setting, while offering more protection, can block some light.


Understanding what makes a diamond sparkle enhances the appreciation of each gem's unique beauty. At Impress Jewelry Creations, our expert team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect diamond that not only sparkles but also tells a story of unparalleled craftsmanship and quality.

Visit our store to see our stunning collection and experience the dazzling beauty of our diamonds firsthand. Let us help you choose a diamond that doesn’t just sparkle—it impresses.