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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The luster of a diamond is described as 'adamantine', which simply means diamond-like. Reflections on a properly cut diamond's facets are undistorted, due to their flatness. The refractive index of diamond (as measured via sodium light, 589.3 nm) is 2.417. Because it is cubic in structure, diamond is also isotropic. Its high dispersion of 0.044 (variation of refractive index across the visible spectrum) manifests in the perceptible fire of cut diamonds. This fire—flashes of prismatic colors seen in transparent stones—is perhaps diamond's most important optical property from a jewelry perspective. The prominence or amount of fire seen in a stone is heavily influenced by the choice of diamond cut and its associated proportions (particularly crown height), although the body color of fancy diamonds may hide their fire to some degree.[15]

Many other minerals have higher dispersion than diamond: sphene 0.051, andradite 0.057, cassiterite 0.071, SrTiO3 0.109, sphalerite 0.156, synthetic rutile 0.330 ![18] However, the combination of dispersion with extreme hardness, wear and chemical resistivity, as well as clever marketing, determines the exceptional value of diamond as a gemstone.


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