We all pretty much know diamonds sparkle and shine. The fire from the brilliance really catches the eye, but what if a diamond caught your attention in the dark? Is that even possible? Can diamonds glow in the dark?
There’s a fascinating characteristic in diamonds that does not get much attention called fluorescence. When you think of fluorescence, you may envision a dark room with an ultra-violet light, also known as a black light, illuminating big neon posters on the wall with Bob Marley blasting in the background, or dancing at a rave and being hypnotized by the glow sticks. Well, that’s what I imagined before I learned what fluorescence was in the diamond world!
Fluorescence may be touched on but not really explained when you are looking at diamonds and diamond engagement rings. Fluorescence is a blue glow that is seen only under ultra-violet light. It’s actually a natural feature found in approximately 30 percent of diamonds that can potentially affect the cost of the stone depending on the level it fluoresces. Generally speaking, diamond fluorescence is blue, but once in awhile, you see a diamond fluoresce another color such as yellow. Like many others studying diamonds, I was surprised to learn that the Hope Diamond fluoresces red! But honestly, is it something you really need to care about when purchasing a rock?
Without getting too technical and lost in translation- a simple way to explain it is that there are different intensities of fluorescence:
None, Faint, Medium, Strong and Very Strong.
This is how it would be described on a certification such as a GIA Diamond Report. How does this affect you in real life? In natural daylight, which has ultra-violet rays, blue fluorescence will make a faint yellowish diamond look whiter, or more colorless which is great because you have a whiter looking stone. On the other hand, and this is quite rare, a diamond can have such strong fluorescence that even under normal light it looks very cloudy or oily. This is a very strange phenomenon. Diamonds like these, which are rare, look like they need a good cleaning or have poor clarity, but when we carefully clean a diamond like this and examine it under magnification, the clarity is fine. They have no internal problems. It’s just the very strong fluorescence causing this weird effect. Of course, clarity and fluorescence are two very different characteristics. This cloudy effect from fluorescence is something you won’t need magnification to see, and you can’t miss it. This very cloudy or oily look can significantly decrease the price just as it significantly decreases the beauty of the stone.
The only time a diamond has the potential to look like a glow stick on your hand is if it has medium or more fluorescence and is under a big black light, then let the glow begin! It’s actually fun to look at. But really, how many functions are you attending where you will be under that kind of light? Maybe at a bar or at one of those heart-attack-inducing haunted houses that pop up in October. On the bright side, if you dare enter one of those terrifying haunted places and your diamond glows, rest assured you’ll be the first one out from the pitch-black maze!
But honestly, the best way to approach fluorescence when you are choosing your diamond is the same way you approach other diamond characteristics such as shape. Take time to look at it under different types of lighting, including natural daylight, and compare it to diamonds of the same size and color. Do you notice a difference? Most people don’t, and it’s a natural feature so it’s not something to stress about.
At Green Hills Diamond Brokers, we are happy to show you diamonds with or without that spooktacular glow from fluorescence with our special ultra-violet tool. We carry a large selection of premium cut GIA diamonds with specialization in diamonds that are 1.5 carats and up. This October, don’t be tricked by paying too much! What we do for our clients is a real treat, and our prices won’t put you in an early grave! Whether it’s an anniversary gift or an engagement ring, come see the experts at Green Hills Diamond Brokers and don’t forget to have a Happy Halloween!