Fluorescence - good or bad?
If you know nothing about fluorescence, it is safe to assume that a fluorescent diamond is a bad choice. The reality is a little more complicated. If you do not care about the “resale” value, a fluorescent diamond without haziness associated with strong fluorescence is an excellent buy. The problem is that the ill effect of fluorescence is often elusive and not always obvious. With certain diamonds, fluorescence is even considered marginally beneficial.
Why do diamonds glow?
Up to 35% of all diamonds glow when subjected to ultraviolet light, in a phenomenon called fluorescence. There is little science to back up claims that fluorescent diamonds are inferior stones. Fluorescence commonly occurs in only 25-35% of all diamonds. According to GIA, fewer than 0.2% of fluorescent diamonds appear “hazy or oily,” so the ill effect is infrequent.
Fluorescence is the light emission caused by absorbed electromagnetic radiation of a shorter wavelength. Diamonds absorb ultraviolet (UV) light and emit visible light. The color of the glow depends on the type of impurities present in the diamond. For example, diamonds with nitrogen impurities will glow blue, while diamonds with boron glow yellow.
What is fluorescence?
Fluorescence is an ability of a diamond to emit a glow when subjected to ultraviolet light, just like stains left by Fido. According to GIA research, up to 35% of all diamonds in the world fluoresce. Fluorescence intensity depends on the UV light strength and ambiance lighting. Disco lighting, fluorescent bulbs, and natural sunlight all have a UV component that triggers the glow.
According to GIA, fewer than 0.2% of the fluorescent diamonds appear “hazy or oily” due to the fluorescence, so that phenomenon is infrequent. It refers to diamonds that refuse to glow under the black light. When we say a diamond has fluorescence, we mean medium to very strong. Faint fluorescence does not count because it cannot be seen and is not detrimental to the diamond’s value.
Reasons to buy a fluorescent diamond
A fluorescent stone is the cashmere sweater with the red dot of the diamond world – the regret lingers long after the joy of getting a bargain is forgotten. Strong blue fluorescence is thought to enhance a diamond’s appearance in the I to K color range, but this is highly debatable. Because diamonds with strong fluorescence are sold at a steep discount, even crystal-clear ones, you get a bargain. Buy a fluorescent stone when:
- You can’t afford the diamond you want
- It is the only option available
- You are mesmerized by the glow effect
- The diamond is H-K color
- The diamond is tiny
- The diamond is not certified
- You believe in the magical properties of fluorescent diamonds.
In countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia, near colorless to faint yellow diamonds with fluorescence are more desirable.