Your Complete Guide to Diamond Fire

man holding ring featuring diamond with fire

Sparkle. Brilliance. Flash. Shine. The way a diamond catches the light is beautiful and inspiring. Appropriately, there are many ways to describe that effect. In the process of selecting a diamond, we tend to talk about brilliance a lot, but the stone's attractive sparkle is made up of more than just brilliance. One other factor is fire.

What is the Fire in a Diamond?

Think color, like flame. A diamond's "fire" is the effect produced when white light disperses into rainbow colors when it hits the diamond's facets (the angled cuts in the stone).

There are two main kinds of facets: Physical facets and virtual facets. A physical facet is an actual cut in a diamond. Those physical facets can bounce light in multiple directions, creating virtual facets. (These virtual facets are also related to diamond brilliance and scintillation.) The more virtual facets a diamond has, the more it can refract light, adding to the diamond's fire.

diamond fire compared to other aspects of brilliance

(If you think of the prism on the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, which depicts white light hitting a transparent triangle and rainbow light coming out the other end — that wasn't the hallucination of a stoner; that's the fire we're talking about.)

What Diamond Cut has the Most Fire?

Round brilliant cut diamonds tend to have the most fire. That's by design: Gemologists have been working to maximize the fire of that cut since it was created in 1919 by a PhD-educated engineer who used mathematical calculations to optimize its sparkle. The round brilliant has 58 facets — a high number of physical facets that then create even more virtual facets.

How to Make Sure you get a Diamond with Plenty of Fire

To ensure you get plenty of diamond fire, select a stone with excellent symmetry. That affects how the stone can bounce and refract light, which increases those crucial virtual facets. A gemologist can help you with this.

A triple-X stone is probably your best bet. That stands for "triple excellent," meaning excellent cut, symmetry, and polish. This is one of the grades on a diamond's GIA certificate, which any diamond seller should review with you before you buy.

With Clarity has expert on-staff gemologists who are happy to walk you through any part of the diamond-buying process, including the rating for diamond fire on a stone's GIA certificate. Whether your priority is sparkle, shape, or saving money, they're highly skilled at finding the perfect stone for every couple and every budget.

You can reach our in-house experts through our Contact Us page. But if you're not quite ready to talk about a specific stone, they can also hunt down some options for you. Simply fill out the form below with your preferences and budget, and they'll go searching. Once they find three diamonds they feel might be perfect fits, they'll send them straight to your inbox. Love one? Great! Make it official by adding it to your cart or call up a gemologist to discuss. Feel they missed the mark? Just hit reply and let them know a little more about what you're looking for and they'll go back to the drawing board. It's really that easy to find the diamond of your dreams.

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