The shine seemed from a diamond is something which is truly unrivaled.
This shine or lustre comes from the exceptional hardness and unusual optical properties of diamonds. It’s the very careful task of the Diamond Cutter’s to release the exquisite shine. The cut diamond will produce two different types of light.
Firstly pure white light called ‘brilliance’ comes from the centre of the stone. The shape of a round ‘Brilliant cut’ diamond is mathematically calculated to make the back facets or ‘pavilion’ of the stone act like mirror. This means that light which enters a diamond, instead of passing through it, will be reflected back.
Secondly, the side facets act as a prism producing spectral colours which in a diamond is called ‘Fire’. The fire of diamonds can only be showcased by faceting and this is where the famous and classic stone shape is derived. All other stones are cut to angles and proportions similar to that required for diamonds, as it is the shape most suitable to be worn on the finger.
The method used for cutting diamonds has undergone little change in nearly 100 years. Its advances, which are closely related to advances in engineering due to diamonds extreme hardness, mainly took place to the early 1900s. The cut used today has been evolving since the 11th century with its first recognisable ancestor being achieved in the early 17th century. By the end of the 1600s a cut had been formed with 58 facets, the same today’s modern cut.
By the 1800s it was finally possible to produce a completely round diamond cut by a method called ‘ bruting’. This involves two diamonds rotating against each other and it is still used today as only diamond is hard enough to cut another diamond. Each individual facet is cut to a specific angle. They are formed by the diamond being polished against a large metal disc called scaife which is itself coated with diamond grit.
If a diamond is not cut correctly it will not give a good return of light, the stone will look dark and not dazzle as it should. Sometimes diamonds are cut with poor proportions in order to gain a bigger stone out of the rough crystal. This may produce a heavier carat weight, but it sacrifices the beauty of the stone, as the cut of a diamond is its most important visual factor.
Diamonds are naturally beautiful, the aim of cutting them is to reinforce its beauty and good cutting will reveal the true life of the diamond. In the past, before mass ruled the art of diamond cutting, it was done to achieve eye-catching gems, and lighting during the Victorian times was very different to modern light. At this time diamonds were designed to behave to their optimum in candlelight.
Today the stones have lost their magic under our modern lights, but if you have any inherited diamond jewellery, try looking at the stone in candlelight, as they were when they were first made, and you’ll see them come to life and dance just as much as a recently cut diamond.
Traditional cuts now known as old cuts were the most common up until around that 1920s when new machinery and maths allowed the production of the ‘modern round brilliant’. This is still the most popular cut today. Many have tried to add facets to increase the amount of rainbow colours that seem to sparkling from diamonds but despite all this most people still love the balance of white light the and dancing sparkle of colours from the round brilliant.
Diamond is unrivalled as a gem to be worn every day; it is unbelievably hard and will not react with anything. That is not to say that they do not need a little looking after. The way a diamond is cut to reflect the light works best when the light is travelling from the diamond to air. If a diamond is dirty the dirt will cause light to be lost out of the stone. This is why, over time, diamonds will begin to look dull. They simply need a good clean. An old toothbrush can be used with some warm soapy water, in and around the settings, but the best method of cleaning diamond jewellery is an ultrasonic cleaner.
The ultrasonic bath will remove all of the dirt from behind a stone which comes from hand cream and other such things that diamonds may come into contact with. It sucks the dirt from around even the most delicate setting, reaching places no other cleaner can.
If you are shopping in Leamington, ask is about ultrasonic cleaning. It only takes about an hour and will bring the diamond back to life, shining as much as it did the day it was cut.