Diamond Anatomy Part I: Cutting it Close
We think of diamonds as faceted gems sparkling with light. That's not exactly accurate, or at least how they are initially. They come out of the ground or lab so rough that the average person wouldn't know they were looking at a diamond! It takes the effort and labor of extremely skilled craftspeople to shape, cut, grind and polish the stones, revealing their inherent optical properties.
Facets are windows into the stone, prisms between the inside and the outside of the diamond, and mirrors on the inside of it. It is precisely because a diamond is able to contain these features together, in a form so enduring, that it is so remarkable a gem. Its atomic structure allows light to pass through at varying angles, reflect within, and bounce around until it escapes, carrying colors out of the stone in a wash of sparkling illumination.
We tend to classify the illumination a diamond gives off in three ways: refraction, reflection, and dispersion, aka its brightness, fire, and scintillation. The white light reflected internally and flowing out of the diamond is referred to as its brightness. Fire is the effect of refraction to produce glinting rainbows of color. The dispersion of light, the flashes of black and white light - that particular diamond sparkle- is scintillation.
When a round stone is cut to the highest standard, a wheel of arrows is visible when looking down through the table, and a wheel of hearts when looking up through the pavilion. Other ideal cuts also have recognizable forms. For example, perfectly cut marquise, pear-shaped, and oval diamonds will display a bow or butterfly in their center when looking down through the table. Can you see the wheel of arrows in the picture?
At Michael Gabriels, all are stones are the highest evaluation of cuts. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.