Fluorescence is a funny thing…
Most people don’t know what it is, or have never heard about it.
And, most jewelers and jewelry stores don’t even bring it up. Not even when discussing certification and the 4C’s.
The only way it’s brought up, is if you ask about it, or if you look at the diamond report yourself.
What is fluorescence?
Fluorescence is a natural phenomenon that occurs in many gemstones. It’s a trait that allows these random stones to glow under UV light (black light). Most glow blue or green. And some, like the famous Hope Diamond, glows red.
This intensity of this glow is graded into 5 categories:
- Very Strong
Having a diamond that glows in the dark seems rather cool, and can be. But some diamonds with fluorescence can also have a negative attribute.
They can visibly appear foggy.
Foggy, blurry, unfocused, the lines and sparkle inside the stone will not be crisp or clean.
This characteristic doesn’t affect all diamonds with fluorescence, only some. The only way to know if it does or not, is to view them with your own eyes.
You have to see the stone to know for sure.
A picture just won’t do.
You can’t see this by looking at a certificate, diamond report, online photo, or magazine. It’s a visual test that you have to judge yourself (the diamond shown below is photoshopped to give you an idea).
Some diamonds appear fine. Others will look odd.
GIA states that usually fluorescence is undetectable, unless it’s “strong fluorescence“. But that’s also not a guarantee. There are always exceptions to this rule. And any diamond you buy, could be one that faces up poorly.
Is it worth the risk?
So does fluorescence affect price?
In fact, the price difference is extreme.
So let’s compare the most popular color and clarity to see. I’ve selected diamonds that are identical; carat weight; 1 carat, color; E, clarity; SI1, cut; Excellent, polish; Excellent, symmetry; Excellent, certified; GIA.
The only difference between them is fluorescence. One doesn’t have any “none”, the other’s do; faint, medium, strong.
Here are the results:
|CARAT, CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, POL, SYM, FLUOR||PRICE||VIEW|
|1.01, SI1, E, EX, EX, EX, NONE||$5,960||VIEW|
|1.00, SI1, E, EX, EX, EX, FAINT||$5,210||VIEW|
|1.01, SI1, E, EX, EX, EX, MEDIUM||$5,100||VIEW|
|1.01, SI1, E, EX, EX, EX, STRONG||$4,860||VIEW|
(P.S. The reason there are only 4 grades listed above, is because James Allen doesn’t sell “strong fluorescence” diamonds, only the better quality ones.)
The difference is insane, $1,100 between them (prices and availability good at the time of this post).
So for all the stores that don’t bring up fluorescence, for all the people that say fluorescence doesn’t affect the beauty of a diamond, or isn’t important…
I say HOGWASH!
If fluorescence didn’t matter, then all these diamonds would be the same price.
But the truth is, it does affect the look and overall price of the stone.
It’s good to know when you’re out shopping and comparing diamonds, and one place is $1000 cheaper. Now you know what to look for. They could be trying to sell you a fluorescent diamond without you knowing. And if that diamond sparkles less, or looks cloudy, it’s not worth the savings. Especially for something you’ll wear and look at for the rest of your life.
The bottom line:
Buying a diamond that has faint or medium fluorescence is fine, as long as you can view the diamond with your own eyes and decide if beauty is compromised. If you don’t see a difference between a diamond that has fluorescence and one that doesn’t, then don’t worry about it.
And, if you’re buying over the web…
If you can’t see the diamond in person (make sure they have a return policy), I would always opt for “none” or no fluorescence. Just to be safe. A hazy or blurry diamond is sad and lifeless (no matter what the color or clarity is).
All diamonds react differently with light. Some look better no matter what. It’s something you’ve got to see to believe.
(With no fluorescence, of course.)
You May Also Like:
You May Also Like:
Top Recommended Vendors:
James Allen is a leader in diamonds. Their real time interactive diamond inspection is the best in the industry. View and rotate any diamond under 20x magnification. Their prices, selection, lifetime warranty, 24/7 customer support and hassle free returns are unbeatable. Visit James Allen today.
Blue Nile is the largest and most well known respected diamond dealer online. They are highly trusted, have a huge inventory, and low low prices (compare anywhere and see for yourself). If you want to save money, or build your own ring, this is the place to shop. Visit Blue Nile today.