What You Need to Know About the Fluorescence of Diamonds

Jeweler Hand-Inspecting Diamond at Fink's Jewelers

Selecting a diamond for a significant event like an engagement or anniversary is a very personal and meaningful decision. Just like you did not enter the decision of commitment with the love of your life lightly, choosing a diamond also takes thought and time.

There are so many factors to consider when finding your perfect stone. One aspect of diamonds that is not as commonly talked about is the fluorescence of diamonds. Let’s explore together all there is to know about this unique aspect diamonds can hold.   

What is the Fluorescence of Diamonds?

The Studio Collection Emerald Center Diamond with Diamond Gallery and Shank Engagement Ring

Diamond fluorescence describes the visible light or glow a diamond gives off when subjected to ultraviolet light, like a black light. This occurrence has been coined the “fluorescence effect” and is present in approximately 30% of diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) rates the fluorescence of diamonds on a scale from none to very strong.

Diamond Fluorescence Scale

  • None - No fluorescence, no influence on color
  • Faint/Slight - Weak fluorescence, not a significant influence on color (barely perceptible)
  • Medium - Average fluorescence, small influence in color
  • Strong/Extremely Strong - Strong fluorescence, substantial color influence 

Is Fluorescence of Diamonds Common?

Although diamond fluorescence is present in about 30% of diamonds, only 10% have an extremely strong fluorescence that affects a diamond’s appearance. For diamonds that do display fluorescence, 95% of them exhibit a blue color.

Blue is a complementary color to yellow, which is the most common hue in diamonds. Blue fluorescence makes yellow-tinted diamonds look white or colorless. On very rare occasions, the fluorescence of diamonds can present as yellow, white, orange, or red.

In most cases, the average person will not be able to decipher or notice a difference between a diamond with fluorescence and a diamond without. Interestingly, most people prefer the appearance of diamonds that have medium to strong fluorescence.

Can Fancy Colored Diamonds Have Fluorescence?

Sabel Collection 14K Yellow Gold Fancy Color Diamond and White Diamond Halo Stud Earrings

The answer is yes! Just like colorless stones, colored diamonds can also have fluorescence. However, most fancy colored diamonds look best if they are none or faint on the fluorescence scale. The greater the fluorescence in colored diamonds, the more it can dilute or degrade the color quality of fancy colored diamonds.

Does Fluorescence Compromise the Structure or Quality of a Diamond?

The fluorescence of a diamond does not affect its integrity in any way. A diamond is crystallized carbon and is usually formed where volcanic or historic volcanic sites are located. Fluorescence in diamonds occurs if traces of boron, aluminum, or nitrogen are present during the crystallization process of a diamond.

It should be noted that diamond fluorescence can only occur in naturally formed diamonds.

Fluorescence and Diamond Shape

The Studio Collection Pear Shape Diamond Halo and Diamond Shank Engagement Ring

You may be wondering if the fluorescence of diamonds affects certain diamond shapes more than others. The answer to this question is no. Diamond fluorescence does not discriminate when it comes to diamond shapes. Round, cushion, princess, or pear shape diamonds can all be equally impacted by fluorescence.

Diamond Fluorescence and Value

While the fluorescence of diamonds is not the most important thing to think about when purchasing a diamond, it is something to take note of. At times, a diamond’s fluorescence will have no effect on its value, and in other instances, it will.

Diamonds with a color grade of D-F (colorless diamonds) are typically sold at a discount if fluorescence is shown under ultraviolet light. Because of the high quality of color grade in these diamonds, fluorescence is seen as an imperfection, thus lowering the value. In rare instances, diamonds in this color grade with high fluorescence appear slightly milky, hazy, or oily.

On the other hand, diamonds with the color grade of I-M that exhibit fluorescence are considered a good value. This is because the fluorescence of the diamond causes it to appear whiter and clearer, making it look like a higher-quality stone. 

Should I Buy a Fluorescent Diamond?

Roberto Coin Diamonds by the Inch Diamond Bezel Necklace

Whether you are choosing a diamond for an engagement ring, anniversary gift, or to commemorate a significant life milestone, it is always a big decision. While knowing all the details about a stone before making the final decision is vital, when it comes to diamonds, the 4C’s are much more important than fluorescence. However, knowing the fluorescence of a diamond can be helpful as there may be a small reduction in price on a diamond that appears more colorless or white.

The final decision and selection are yours, and the most important detail is finding the right diamond that fits your taste and just feels right. Allow us to help guide you through finding the perfect diamond for any occasion. It is our honor and privilege at Fink’s Jewelers.

Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Diamond

Besides asking about diamond fluorescence, it is vital to ask additional questions to make a well-educated, thorough diamond choice. Any expert jeweler at Fink’s would be happy to answer and guide you through these questions:

  • What are the different diamond types?
  • What affects diamond quality?
  • Can I view and compare the clarity of the stones I am considering?
  • Can you help me understand the difference between carat weight and cut and provide some comparisons?
  • Do you have a grading report for diamonds I am considering?

Detecting Fluorescence in My Diamonds

Fink's Jewelers in Virginia Beach

The fluorescence of diamonds may be something you have recently learned about, which has you thinking about all the diamond jewelry items you own and whether they are fluorescent or not. The experts at Fink’s can help with this!

While you may be tempted to take your diamonds and put them under a store-bought black light at home, it’s important to have them examined by a reliable jeweler with specialized equipment and knowledge. Not only will we be able to detect fluorescence and scale but also other unique qualities in your beautiful diamonds. And it’s never a bad idea to have your diamonds examined to make sure they are in tip-top shape.

Still unsure about the fluorescence of diamonds? The next best step is to look at some diamonds yourself at Fink’s Jewelers. See for yourself if fluorescence matters to you by comparing diamonds with and without it. But most importantly, pay attention to which diamonds feel like the perfect fit for you.