How to Buy a Diamond with the Most Sparkle - Bahdos Blog (2022)

Shine bright like a diamond…

But what if your diamond doesn’t shine as bright as it could? Or worse, what if your frenemy has a ring that’s clearly more reflective than yours?

Things like carat size still carry weight (pun intended), but these days, savvy brides are paying a lot more attention to the bling.

Today, sparkle might be the most important characteristic of a Diamond Engagement Ring. After all, sparkle is what sets a diamond apart from most other gemstones.

It may sound simple to click your heels and ask for a diamond that sparkles, but if you want the best, you’ll need to learn a thing or two about diamonds.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Why diamonds sparkle
  • How to choose a sparkling diamond
  • How to maximize your diamond’s sparkle

Why Do Diamonds Sparkle?

Want the simple answer? It’s light and cut. There is no sparkle without light. As the light interacts with the diamond’s cut, you get sparkle. The angles and relative measurements of a diamonds facets, combined with other proportions, impact how light reflects from a diamond.

But let’s dig a little deeper.

When most of us think of sparkle, it’s a very general term. Glitter sparkles and so does water. But when we’re talking about diamonds, sparkle is a bit more technical.

What is Diamond Sparkle?

Light enters a diamond, reflecting off its interior surfaces (facets) as it travels through. Then it leaves the diamond as white light (brightness) or divides into the colors of the rainbow (fire).

As the diamond moves, you see something we call scintillation. You’ll see scintillation as alternating flashes of light contrasting with dark shadows that move around the diamond. Scintillation is all about dynamic contrast. Essentially, this is what we see as sparkle.

How to Choose a Sparkling Diamond

We’ve already covered how sparkle is all about how light interacts with your diamond. So where and how you look at the diamond matter. Some diamonds may seem to sparkle more than others under the lights at a jewelry store, but they lose their sparkle when you get them outside.

You should know that this is not an accident. Jewelry stores are designed to have optimal lighting to enhance a diamond’s sparkle. These practices aren’t deception, but they’re more like highlighting a diamond’s best features.

But at a jewelry store, it can be difficult to evaluate whether one diamond sparkles more than another. So here are some tips for getting the most sparkle from your purchase (whether you’re buying online or in-store).

  1. Examine the diamond under 4 light sources.
    1. Spot lighting – As long as the spot light isn’t too bright, you should be able to get a good view of the diamond’s sparkle. If you’re seeing a lot of glare, there are either too many lights or the light is too bright. Choose an area where the light isn’t overwhelming.
    2. Diffused lighting – Look for fluorescent lighting that bounces light off a white ceiling. This should be easy in a retail location.
    3. Mixed lighting – If you can get a spot light and diffused lighting together, this is ideal.
    4. Natural daylight – You’ll want to know how your diamond sparkles in natural daylight. So if you have the opportunity, try to look at the diamond outside.
  2. Choose an appropriate shape.

If you’re like most people, you might be a bit confused by the words “cut” and “shape.” They are often used interchangeably (by people inside and outside of the industry), but they are quite different.

It’s okay to call a diamond a round cut or princess cut. You’re not wrong. But you should know that we’re talking about very different things when we talk about “Diamond Cutting” and “Cut Grades.”

A Diamond’s Cut Grade refers to the geometric proportions within a shape.

But with all that said, both shape and cut can have an impact on sparkle. It’s just important to know which we’re referring to. In this case, we’re separating cut and shape for the sake of clarity.

There isn’t such thing as a bad diamond shape, but if you’re looking to maximize sparkle, you’re going to want to stick with a round brilliant cut diamond. These diamonds have 57 or 58 facets where single-cut diamonds only have 17 or 18. Round is the best for maximizing sparkle, but if you have your heart set on another shape, consider another brilliant cut. Such cuts include princess, radiant, pear, marquise, oval and heart.

There’s nothing wrong with other cuts, including asscher or emerald, but they aren’t designed to maximize sparkle. It’s simply a matter of personal preference.

  1. Choose the best cut quality

We always recommend that clients pay close attention to the cut quality of their diamond because this has the greatest impact on sparkle. You can tell a lot about a diamond’s sparkle from its GIA Diamond Grading Report. This independent grading lab will issue one of five cut grades for a round brilliant diamond.

  1. Excellent – These diamonds are very bright. They show even patterns with great contrast between light and dark. You’ll find crisp and well-balanced reflections in these diamonds. From a cut perspective, it doesn’t get any better than this.
  2. Very Good – These diamonds have bright areas that are evenly distributed with very few areas that are distracting to the eye.
  3. Good – Diamonds with a Good cut grade aren’t quite as bright. They have some reflection, but it isn’t as sharp, and you’ll see a bit of darkness within the diamond. Some diamonds with a Good cut grade may even appear dull.
  4. Fair – Fair diamonds will appear dark and/or dull in some areas, but they may also have some reflection.
  5. Poor – Poor cut diamonds have very obvious areas of darkness or dullness. If you’re looking for sparkle, you won’t find very much here.

Evaluating Excellent Cut Diamonds

The GIA’s cut grades are ranges of what’s acceptable. So within the Excellent cut, there’s a range. This means that one Excellent cut diamond may sparkle more than another. They will all sparkle more than any Very Good cut, but if you want the best, you’ll want to dig a little deeper.

On our website, you can search for a diamond based on its characteristics. So you can specify that you’re only looking for Excellent cut diamonds. But if you want to narrow your search further, you can also specify that you want the best polish and symmetry. These things will also help enhance sparkle.

We’ve added these settings within our search to help you find not just the best, but the best of the best.

How to Maximize Diamond Sparkle

So the quickest and easiest way to get a diamond with the most sparkle is to purchase the best possible Cut grade you can afford. But there are few other things you may want to keep in mind.

  1. Larger diamonds don’t sparkle brighter

If all else is equal, a 2-carat diamond will not sparkle more than a 1-carat diamond. It may seem that way because of its larger surface area, but their relative light reflection would be the same (assuming everything is equal except the size.

With that said, you may want a larger diamond to amplify the amount of light reflected. This would certainly make the ring more noticeable and add some bling, but it’s not the sparkle-factor that’s increasing when you up the size.

  1. Color and clarity matter too

Although we always recommend splurging for the best cut you can afford, it’s not a good idea to completely ignore color and clarity. A diamond’s brightness will diminish with the more color it has, so color is also important. Clarity is the next factor to consider. At grade SI2 or lower, you may start to see issues with a diamond’s fire. This will reduce sparkle.

If possible, go for an Excellent cut, the best Color Grade you can afford and clarity of VS2 or higher. These diamonds will have the most sparkle.

  1. Choose the right setting type

If you’re looking to maximize light reflection (i.e. sparkle), you’ll want to choose a prong setting. Prong settings secure the diamond in place without covering its bottom half. This way, light can flow freely in and out of the stone.

  1. Add bling

Just like with a larger diamond, more diamonds add sparkle to your ring overall. This is a great way to make your ring appear larger if you cannot afford the carat size you really want. Consider a ring with side accent stones. Three-stone engagement rings are great for adding sparkle to your ring. Pave and channel-set settings also work really well.

But don’t think that you have to choose a diamond-studded setting to get the most sparkle. Sometimes, it’s best to choose the diamond with the most sparkle you can afford and set it in a simple solitaire setting. This way, the diamond (and its sparkle) stands out on its own.

  1. Keep your diamond clean

You can follow all the guidelines from this post, but if you don’t keep your diamond clean, it won’t sparkle. Diamonds have a tendency to collect grease, so it’s important to clean your ring regularly. Invest in a good jewelry cleaner and try to clean your ring at least once or twice a month. This way, you’ll always have that freshly cleaned and sparkling look.

Are Sparkly Diamonds More Expensive?

The short answer to this question is yes. Rough diamonds aren’t sparkly. It’s the cutter that determines the sparkle of a diamond.

You probably already know that weight (carat) has a lot to do with a diamond’s price. But rough diamonds are bought and sold by weight too. As the rough diamond is cut, as much as half might go to waste.

When a cutter can preserve more of the diamond, it produces a higher yield and the price per carat will be better. Some diamonds are cut to maximize their carat size, but these typically aren’t the diamonds that sparkle most. Actually, they ted to be very deep or too shallow, which will inevitably reduce their sparkle factor.

Cutters will produce diamonds like this because there is a market for them. Some people prefer to buy a larger diamond, even if it means sacrificing brilliance.

So essentially, the best cut diamonds produce more waste. Or another way of saying it is that it takes a larger rough diamond to produce an Excellent cut than it does a Very Good cut, in most cases. This is why you can expect to pay more for the diamond that sparkles more.

You don’t need an endless budget to buy a diamond with amazing sparkle. You just need to know what to look for. You may have to sacrifice in some areas, like carat size, but you may be able to make up for it with the setting. For example, halo settings always make a diamond appear larger, so this may be the best choice for your ring.

Everyone can have the ring of their dreams. All it takes is a little know-how and some creative shopping.

If you have any questions about how to get the most sparkle out of your ring, please feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help anyone find the engagement ring of their dreams.

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