What Makes A Diamond Sparkle?

One of the best qualities of a gemstone is its sparkle. A diamond is considered to be the gemstone with the most sparkle and beauty. But, how does a diamond get its sparkle?

Why Does A Diamond Sparkle?

The sparkle of a diamond is created when the gemstone is hit with light. The intensity of the sparkle does not rely on the diamond’s size but on how it was cut. The cut stone’s angles, symmetry, and proportions determine how intense and dazzling the sparkle will be. A cut diamond is covered in many facets. Facets are a flat portion of a diamond, and the number of facets on the surface depends on the cut. Typically, most diamonds are cut to have 58 facets. These facets create three optical effects and are examined to determine the quality of sparkle in a diamond.


Brilliance refers to the white light that is reflected off a diamond when light hits it. The angle and shape of the cut determine how much brilliance the diamond will emit. Light enters the diamond from the top, reflecting off the many facets on its surface and reflecting into your direction. If a diamond is cut poorly, it won’t be able to accomplish this. That’s why the diamond’s angle, symmetry, and shape are so important in this process. It molds how the reflected light will travel back to you.


Fire is when the reflecting light bouncing off the facets turns into a rainbow of colors. In this process, the diamond acts as a prism, relying on the precise cuts of the facets to successfully turn the white light into an array of colored light.


Scintillation is how the light reflected off a diamond appears as it is in motion. It looks like a glimmer or flash as you observe the gem. The quality of this effect is dependent on the quality of the cut. Smaller facets usually create more scintillation. However, a poorly cut diamond will not flash and glimmer as much as one that was cut with precision.

So, the next time you are looking for the best diamond to purchase, don’t judge by the size. Hold the diamond up to a light and look for that brilliant sparkle. Be sure to look for brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Talk to your jeweler for recommendations and advice.