When it comes to diamonds, there are only four concepts that you really need to know: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. But of course, there are plenty of other terms you may encounter, such as ‘fire’ or ‘scintillation’ (we’ll get to those in another post). And then there are also concepts that are a bit more obscure, and sadly misunderstood... concepts like today’s topic: fluorescence.
So, today, instead of the usual discussion about quality standards, let’s take a look at what fluorescence means in the world of diamonds...
First and foremost let’s take a look at the definition: Basically, fluorescence is the faint glow that shows when a diamond is exposed to ultraviolet light (including sunlight), caused by the reaction of trace minerals within the diamond. This phenomenon can be found in about a third of all diamonds. Amongst those, the most common color you’ll see is blue, followed by yellow.
More importantly, however, fluorescence is often regarded as a negative trait that undermines the value of a diamond. Is this true?
Well, according to a number of studies conducted by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), fluorescence has no noticeable effect on the appearance of diamonds. In fact, quite a few observers actually preferred diamonds with medium to strong fluorescence. Yes, extreme fluorescence can cause a diamond to appear hazy or oily, but this only happens to about 0.2% of all diamonds.
Fluorescence has also been proven to have no effect on a diamond’s structural integrity.
So, does fluorescence have any effect on a diamond’s value? Well, yes, but not in that fluorescence is an inherently bad trait. For one, blue fluorescence can be considered a positive factor, as it makes the diamond look whiter; a yellow glow, however, can cause the diamond to appear as if having a lower color grade. Also, as mentioned before, if the fluorescence is too strong, the diamond can appear “hazy” or “oily”. But diamonds with this kind of fluorescence tends to be rare.
In conclusion: don’t worry too much about fluorescence. More often than not, they are a harmless side effect, and some people seem to like it...
Maksim Shebeko / 123RF Stock Photo