Diamond Contrast Effect on Brilliance

In your search for the perfect diamond you might have stumbled upon the term “diamond contrast”.

In this post I will explain why diamond contrast is so important and more importantly how to choose a diamond with great contrast!

What is diamond contrast?

Diamond contrast refers to the contrast between black and white within a diamond. The black you can see in an ideal cut diamond is the arrows pattern which is caused by the the pavilion mains of a diamond.

    • James Allen diamond with high contrast
    • Brian Gavin diamond with high contrast

A pavilion main in a diamond is the facet that goes right from the girdle to the culet. On the picture below you can see the the pavilion mains and the crown facets depicted in white:

Diamond pavilion mains and crown facets depicted in white

On the left side you can see the pavilion mains in white. It is exactly these pavilion mains that create the arrows pattern of a diamond. The tip of the arrow looks different than the rest because it gets reflected through the facet crown.

This black contrast pattern should ideally look like 8 symmetrical arrows. At least this is the case with so called hearts and arrows diamonds which are diamonds of superb symmetry.

Diamonds with less contrast don't have a distinct black pattern about themselves and look something like that:

    • Diamond with a very weak contrasting pattern
    • Diamond with a very good arrows pattern but still weak contrast

Now look at the diamond on the right. Although it does exhibit a perfect arrows pattern it still has a weak contrast. The arrows pattern itself is just a sign of very good diamond symmetry. But whether a diamond exhibits a strong contrast or not comes down to the overall cut quality of a diamond and not so much the diamond symmetry.

Why is diamond contrast important?

A diamond with great contrast will exhibit much more scintillation. Scintillation is the sparkle of a diamond that is caused by the contrast of black and white.

In the same way for instance a chess board appears brighter than a completely white board when both are moving:

Chessboard with dark contrasts appears brighter than a completely white area

Now, looking at the static image just like that the chess board does not appear brighter but it does when it is moving very quickly!

Have a look at the video below to see the difference between a diamond with an excellent contrast and another one with a very poor contrast. Unfortunately, there is no movement in the video so that you cannot really see the difference in terms of its scintillation. But still it gives you a good idea about the differences:

So usually diamonds with a weak contrast have a whole lot of accompanying problems such as light leakage. It need not necessarily be that way but it is highly likely.

Thus, whenever you can try to make sure to go for a diamond that has a great contrast!

How to make sure you get a diamond with great contrast?

In order to buy a diamond with great contrast you will have to take a close look at it.

I recommend checking out James Allen with their magnified 360° videos of all their diamonds. You can even view diamonds in up to 40x magnification! There is no other place where this would be possible:

Comparing diamonds with different contrast levels to each other

If you want super ideal cut diamonds with the highest amount of contrast Brian Gavin and Whiteflash are also absolutely worth checking out!

In order to get a diamond with the highest level of contrast you will simply have to look for a diamond in which the arrows pattern has the most distinct black color. The more black color you find within the arrows pattern the better the contrast of the diamond will be!

Thus, for instance you would rather want to go for the diamond on the left than for the diamond on the right:

    • Diamond with an excellent contrast pattern
    • Diamond with a very weak contrast

If you ever have any more questions about diamond contrast or something related, please leave me a comment or write me a mail!

Diamond Contrast Effect on Brilliance
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About 

Sebastian Naturski loves to write about diamonds and share his knowledge with his readers.
When he is not working on his website he is studying law at Humboldt University of Berlin.
He has taken part in several international law competitions and likes to broaden his horizons.
His other big passion are languages. He is fluent in German, English, Polish and Japanese and got basic skills in French and Spanish as well.