Marc Aronstam on: Judging gemstone brilliance

judging-gemstone-brilliance-smallerThere really is nothing quite like staring at a brilliant diamond as it reflects fire and light and scatters a rainbow of colors across a room. But what are you really talking about, when it comes to discussing a gemstone’s “brilliance?”

Scientifically speaking, when light enters a gemstone, it can either be reflected back out of the ‘table,’ or top of the faceted stone, or it can escape from another point on the gemstone. The light returned to the eye from within a gemstone is referred to as its “brilliance.” Think of a diamond as windows and mirrors. The light enters the diamond through a facet — a window. Once inside it is reflected on the inside “mirrors” or facets and, when properly cut, exits through the top of the diamond which act as windows again.

The importance of this is critical in 2 meanings. If the diamond is not planned or cut well, when light hits the facet in what is called the critical angle of escape, light “leaks” out of the diamond, which affects its brilliance. This is why expert cutting is so critical, allowing maximum light to explode out of the diamond to create the brilliance which makes a diamond so beautiful.

The nature of brilliance is best appreciated by looking through the ‘table’ of a gemstone. As the gem is rotated or turned, the cut facets on the back of the gemstone reflect light back through the table to display brilliance, which can be measured. Any facet that can be ‘seen through’ is said to be ‘bleeding light’ from that angle.

I love all shapes of diamonds, IF they are well cut. You look at 5 different diamonds, and if asked to pick the prettiest, invariably, you will pick the best cut. Other gemstones follow the same rules and you will always find what I pick out to be the most brilliant. I am a pain in the rear about proper cutting, but it shows in my selection of diamonds and other gems.

The more you know about gemstones, the better you will be about understanding the gemstones in your personal jewelry collection, including any “brilliant” pieces from the Aronstam collection you may wish to add!

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