What is Fluorescence in Diamonds? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

What is Fluorescence in Diamonds? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

The answer to whether or not fluorescence in diamonds is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the diamond itself. In some cases it can help improve the color of a low color diamond but in other instances, it can make the stone look milky or hazy. This article helps you understand fluorescence in diamonds and whether or not it's a good or bad thing.

Diamond Fluorescence: What is it?

Diamond fluorescence is a natural effect that occurs in approximately one third of all of the diamonds on the market. It's when a diamond glows when held under a blacklight (like the lights you see at Cosmic Bowling or at a nightclub). That glow most commonly is blue, but it can appear in shades of red, green, white or yellow.

What causes fluorescence in diamonds?

Fluorescence is what happens when a diamond contains a trace amount of an element that reacts under UV light. A diamond is a product of nature, it is a crystal composed of carbon atoms organized in a lattice-like crystal structure. Sometimes some carbon atoms are missing in the lattice, leaving some availability for other elements to sneak into that structure. If nitrogen (or a few other elements) sneaks into those available spots in the crystal structure in a specific way, it causes the diamond to glow under UV light. Depending on the type and concentration of the element that fills the voids in the lattice structure, it could cause the diamond to glow in a wide array of colors. Most of the diamonds that contain fluorescence are blue.

What can fluorescence in diamonds do to the diamond?

This is a short question with a long answer, but in short: it depends.Fluorescence in diamonds has a wide array of possibilities of the effects ranging from absolutely nothing to absolutely destroying the sparkle in the stone. GIA has created a measuring scale for the levels of fluorescence present in a stone which has 5 levels: None, faint, medium, strong, and very strong. With diamonds falling into the none and faint category, fluorescence shouldn't be a concern at all, with diamonds falling into the strong and very strong category, that is a major red flag and almost always cause for immediate rejection, and with diamonds in the medium category, they absolutely need to be examined by an industry professional. So why red flags? Isn’t this just something that happens under a blacklight? The answer is no, aside from glowing under black lights, the more strong forms of fluorescence can destroy the beauty of a diamond. In some stones with the stronger levels of fluorescence can appear to be ‘milky’, hazy, or oily. This means that the diamond can lose its capacity to refract light in the way that it should (even if it has an excellent cut) and the diamond will look dim, dull, and lifeless.

HOWEVER, not every diamond with fluorescence is bad. In some cases, fluorescence is used to help diamonds that are lower on the color grade (meaning that they are warmer in color than the colorless diamonds that come to mind). The blue color of fluorescence can help cancel out some of the warmth in the stone. This results in the stone with the lower color grade looking better than the other diamonds with the same color grade. You can use this to your advantage! The lower color grade will save you money, even if it looks better than the diamonds in the same color grade.

What should I look out for in regards to fluorescence in diamonds?

Look for deals that seem ‘too good to be true’. This is usually a sign of a stone with strong fluorescence that looks hazy. To an untrained eye, you may not be able to easily spot the ramifications of strong fluorescence, so we absolutely suggest having the stone personally examined by a professional. The milkiness, haziness, and just overall lackluster effect of fluorescence is not listed on any certificate and needs to be seen in person.

If you find yourself looking at a strongly fluorescent stone in person, make sure to examine it in ALL lighting types, especially outside. The UV rays of the sun are filtered out of most store windows, and the dazzle lighting in jewelry showrooms are intentionally deceptive. Stones with stronger fluorescence levels may actually fluoresce just being outside in the sun!

So to sum things up, fluorescence is when a diamond glows under blacklight. The effect of fluorescence in a stone needs to be examined on a case by case basis by industry professionals because the effects of fluorescence can range from absolutely nothing at all to completely destroying the sparkle and life in your diamond. Look out for deals that are too good to be true, if a 2 carat diamond is the same cost as other 1.5 carat diamonds, you should look into the fluorescence in that diamond because there is a high chance that it is super hazy.

Don't take our word for it! Take our community's!

If you're not certain about your diamond's fluorescence, contact us for help!

Do yourself a favor and get the right guidance. It'll save some time, money, energy and headaches. It'll also provide you with a pretty ring but most importantly(to me, at least) a diamond worth the price you are paying and something that will keep its value going forward.

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