Diamond Fluorescence Guide, Pros and Cons
The presence of fluorescence in a diamond affects its price negatively because it can make a diamond look lifeless. However, fluorescence does not have the same impact on all diamonds. In some cases, it might even be a positive factor. Here are some scenarios when fluorescence might actually work in your favor:
1) Price: because fluorescence is viewed as a negative factor universally without dealing with it on a case-by-case basis, it presents an opportunity for a buyer to grab an exceptional diamond at a discounted price because of the perception problem that fluorescence face.
2) Positive effects: blue fluorescence can often be a positive factor in diamonds with a yellow tint (H, I, J colors or lower grades). This is because yellow is a complementary color to blue, thus making a diamond appear whiter than its actual color.
3) Level of intensity: the intensity with which a diamond emits fluorescence is fortunately not the same. While stronger intensity often leads to a higher negative impact, diamonds with lower intensity ranges i.e. faint or medium blue often do not harm a diamond's brilliance drastically.
4) It does not hurt all diamonds the same way: in some cases, fluorescence might make a diamond look overly dull or oily, in other cases, it might have no impact on a diamond's visual appearance at all. However, most diamonds with fluorescence gets a discounted price because of the perception problem even if it is not affecting its beauty.
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Fluorescence Scale and Observations:
Carefully review the chart below as it contains our summarized insights on diamond fluorescence. Please also check the subsequent chart on discounts you might get in a given fluorescence range and why color is a significant factor in determining such discounts.
The picture below shows how diamonds that emit different types of fluorescence look in regular settings. It is hard to tell the difference between diamonds with no fluorescence and ones that emit fluorescence while inspecting them with the naked eye. Observing this effect is a lot harder under indoor lighting and might be easier to detect under sunlight.
Key Critical Observations:
- Fluorescence is an invisible glow that some diamonds emit under Ultraviolet (UV) Rays. After evaluating hundreds of diamonds, we can confirm that often exceptional diamonds are unnecessarily avoided due to the presence of mild fluorescence in them.
- In a nutshell, in D-F color diamonds, no fluorescence is a must. In G color diamonds, none to faint fluorescence is good. In H-Z color diamonds, medium to strong blue fluorescence can be a helpful factor because blue is a complementary color to yellow, making the diamond look whiter than its actual color.
- The key relationship of fluorescence is with diamond color among the 4Cs. In order to understand the effects of fluorescence on a diamond, a buyer must understand how it relates to the color of a diamond. In colorless white diamonds (D-F color range), it is generally not a desirable factor. In H and lower color ranges, it can be a desirable/positive factor.
- In case you buy a diamond with fluorescence, make sure you have a solid return policy in case the fluorescence affects the stone in a negative manner (making it look oily or hazy in front of the sun) which is the case in less than 10% of diamonds with fluorescence in them.
- To summarize, the presence of fluorescence in a diamond generally affects its price negatively. However, this is not often the case the in I-Z color range, especially for faint or medium blue fluorescence.
Estimated Discount By Percentage Breakdown:
This diamond price discount breakdown by fluorescence type is our rough estimation based on the color type. The percentage of this discount will change depending on how big the stone is as well as how significant the influence of the fluorescence is on the stone, especially if it is affecting the diamond in a negative manner (making it look dull or hazy).
|Fluorescence||Things to Consider|
D-E Color - Good, 3-6% discount on the price.
F-G Color - Very Good, 2-3% discount on the price.
H and Above - Excellent, 0-2% discount on the price.
D-E Color - Good, 6-8% discount on the price.
F-G Color - Very Good, 2-5% discount on the price.
H and Above - Excellent, 0-2% discount on the price.
D-E Color - Fair to Good, 12-18% discount on the price.
F-G Color - Good to Very Good, 8-12% discount on the price.
H and Above - Very Good to Excellent, 4-10% discount on the price.
D-E Color - Poor to Good, 15-20% discount on the price.
F-G Color - Fair to Very Good, 10-15% discount on the price.
H and Above - Very Good to Excellent, 5-11% discount on the price.
The estimated price discount above should not be viewed as absolute as it might change from diamond to diamond and the degree to which the presence of fluorescence in a diamond affects its brilliance in either a positive or negative manner. Generally speaking, you will get a higher discount on D-E color diamonds that have fluorescence in them. In F/G colors, the discount might be lower in the faint range, but it might be higher in the medium to the strong blue range. in H, I, and J color (and all the way to Z), you might not get any discount at all because the fluorescence might be positively influencing the brilliance of the diamond. As mentioned earlier, blue is a complementary color to yellow and therefore might make such stones look whiter than their actual color grade.
As confirmed in the Gemological Institute of America
we also confirm that in most cases consumers will not be able to detect the
presence of fluorescence in a diamond. Furthermore, a great majority of
diamonds with fluorescence can have as much brilliance as ones with no
fluorescence, and that the milky, hazy, and oily looks in a diamond can also be
found in stones with no fluorescence.
The most important factor in a diamond is its appearance, and if you’re happy with how it looks, don’t worry about the fluorescence in it. In addition, enjoy the 4-15% discount that you might get when you buy a diamond with fluorescence in it. In our opinion, the discount should be up to 2% for faint fluorescence, up to 5% for medium blue fluorescence, up to 12% for strong blue fluorescence, and up to %18 for very strong blue fluorescence.
Summary of GIA's Study:
Of the diamonds submitted to GIA over the past decade, around 25% to 35% of them exhibited some level of fluorescence. In under 10% of these diamonds, fluorescence affected the appearance of the diamond. However, this effect is not necessarily negative and could sometimes be complementary to the brilliance of the diamond. The visible color is blue in more than 95% of the diamonds that exhibit fluorescence and because blue is a complementary color to yellow, it would make tinted diamonds look more like colorless diamonds.
None or No Fluorescence: After reviewing a random sample of 26,010 diamonds, GIA found that only 9,175 or 35% exhibited some level of fluorescence. GIA notes that “a report description of “none” means that any fluorescence exhibited is weaker than that of the reference stone that marks the none/faint boundary.”
Faint Fluorescence: After reviewing a random sample of 26,010 diamonds, GIA found that only 9,175 or 35% exhibited some level of fluorescence. Of the 9,175 diamonds, 38% or 3,465 were reported to have faint fluorescence. Please note that GIA considers faint fluorescence as the lower end of the blue fluorescence e.g. faint blue fluorescence, medium blue fluorescence, strong blue fluorescence, and very strong blue fluorescence.
Medium to Very Strong Blue Fluorescence: After reviewing a random sample of 26,010 diamonds, GIA found that only 9,175 or 35% exhibited some level of fluorescence. Of the 9,175 diamonds, 62% or 5,710 had blue fluorescence ranging from medium to very strong blue fluorescence. While 97% of these fluoresced blue in varying intensities, 3% or 162 stones fluoresced other colors such as yellow, white, and orange.
Of the 11,901 diamonds in the D-to-F range, a similar proportion fluoresced (4,250 diamonds, 36% of the total).
Key Findings of the GIA study:
- For average buyers (consumers), no systematic effect of fluorescence was observed.
- Even experienced observers or graders did not agree on the effect of fluorescence on the stones they were given to evaluate.
- Diamonds with strongly blue-colored fluorescence were perceived to be having a higher grade than the actual color grade of the diamond.
- Most observers did not find any connection between fluorescence and diamond clarity.
Please watch the video by Petra Gems to learn important tips about diamond fluorescence and how it affects the price of a diamond.
Some of our key thoughts on diamonds with fluorescence:
- Fluorescence in most diamonds does not affect the overall appearance of the diamond. In fact, fluorescence can be a positive factor for the appearance of the diamond in near colorless or tinted diamonds.
- Blue fluorescence can help look near colorless diamonds look colorless. We have seen H color diamonds with medium blue fluorescence that look like colorless diamonds to the naked eye.
- Strong blue fluorescence is not necessarily bad! We have seen many diamonds with strong blue fluorescence that has not had any negative effect on the appearance of the diamond. In fact, once we observed an M color diamond look like a near colorless diamond because of very strong blue fluorescence.
- Diamonds with very strong fluorescence is not common. Most diamonds with very strong fluorescence are in blue color.
- Fluorescence is your friend, not foe because it can lower the price of the diamond by 4-10%. The price of a diamond is not significantly affected if the diamond has medium blue or faint fluorescence.
- In some cases, diamond fluorescence might affect the overall appearance of the diamond. Avoid diamonds with fluorescence that makes the diamond look hazy, oily, or cloudy. In very few cases, fluorescence might make diamonds look hazy or cloudy, and it is good to avoid such diamonds. Ask your diamond dealer about such a possibility prior to making the purchase.
- Inquire about the return policy of the diamond dealer and make sure you have a strong return policy if you end up not liking the look of your diamond because of its fluorescence or for any other reason/s.
- It is common for high-grade diamonds to have blue fluorescence such as D or E color diamonds. Fluorescence is also common in F color diamonds.
Important facts about Fluorescence in a Diamond:
Does all diamond fluoresce? No, when GIA analyzed about 26000 diamonds, only 25-35% of them exhibited some level of fluorescence.
Can fluorescence be seen with the naked eye or in any lighting? You might see fluorescence under very bright sunlight or in places where there are strong UV rays such as a tanning bed. Once the source of UV rays is removed, you will not able to see the fluorescence.
Can fluorescence be easily identified and detected? No, it is extremely hard even for trained gemologists to detect fluorescence in a diamond and most gemologists often use advanced tools to determine the level of fluorescence in a diamond.
What is the effect of fluorescence on diamond color grade? Technically there is no impact on the color grade, but because blue is a complementary color to yellow when you look at the same color diamond with fluorescence in it in H or above color range, it can make the diamond look whiter than its perceived color grade.
Why is fluorescence not a grading factor like the 4Cs? While GIA considers fluorescence as an identifying characteristic in a diamond, we believe it is an important price factor, and therefore quality factor. It can be a helpful factor in certain diamonds, but generally a slight negative factor in colorless diamonds.
Is fluorescence only blue color in diamonds? No, while blue is a dominant feature of fluorescence, there are also yellow, orange, red, white, and green fluorescence colors. The other colors are usually less desirable and least preferred compared to blue.
How bad is strong blue fluorescence? We have explained this in detail in this article. In general, it depends on the color grade, and it isn’t always a negative factor. You will have to look at it case by case, and inspect the diamond in person. You might end up lucky and get an extra discount while also getting a diamond with strong blue fluorescence that has no negative impact on the diamond.
Can diamond fluorescence make a diamond less durable? No, fluorescence has no impact on the durability of a diamond as the structural integrity of the diamond remains the same.
Fluorescence working to your advantage:
- You might be able to get between a 4% to 10% discount on your diamond purchase without compromising on the overall quality of the diamond. In our opinion, the discount should be up to 2% for faint fluorescence, up to 5% for medium blue fluorescence, up to 12% for strong blue fluorescence and up to %18% for very strong blue fluorescence.
- Medium blue fluorescence might enhance the color of your diamond if it is within the H-L range or higher.
- Faint fluorescence will also help you save money on your diamond without losing its overall brilliance.
- When buying a diamond with fluorescence make sure you have the option of returning it just to be on the safe side.
Range of Diamond Fluorescence in GIA grading reports:
None or no fluorescence, medium blue fluorescence, strong blue fluorescence, very strong blue fluorescence, faint fluorescence, yellow fluorescence, and green fluorescence, among others. Blue is the most common form of fluorescence in diamonds.
Most of you have probably noticed the term "Fluorescence"
on GIA or AGS Diamond Grading Reports or in
Petra Gems blogs. The concept of
fluorescence is often misunderstood. According to GIA, fluorescence is the
effect that ultraviolet (UV) light has on a diamond. It delineates how much
strength the diamond has against the long-wave UV light. Fluorescence is an
invisible glow that a diamond emits under UV rays. GIA scale uses the following
grades to identify fluorescence: None, Faint, Medium, Strong, and Very Strong.
More than 95% time, the color of the fluorescence is blue, but diamonds can fluoresce
other colors as well. Yellow is the next common color a diamond will fluoresce,
and any other color of fluorescence would be rare.
Because of the invisible property, the majority of the time, fluorescence will have almost no impact on the aesthetics of the diamond. According to GIA, of the 25% to 35% of the diamonds submitted to them that had fluorescence, only 10% of those diamonds had a slight effect on the appearance of the diamond. A typical diamond wearer will not see that effect if the grade of Faint, Medium Blue, and in some cases Strong Blue fluorescence is chosen.
What are the misconceptions about Fluorescence?
There are some websites that discuss fluorescence as a negative factor for diamonds. The two most misunderstood concepts in fluorescence are the color and the strength of the fluorescence. A diamond will look whiter if the diamond fluoresces blue. Do not panic if the diamond fluoresces blue, in fact, it is recommended in H to J color range diamonds. Most high color grades such as D-E will often have blue fluorescence as well. In some diamonds, it is a negative factor if the diamond fluoresces yellow color.
As stated at the beginning of this blog, the grade of fluorescence ranges from None to Very Strong. Sometimes diamonds with very strong fluorescence tend to have a milky look even under everyday lighting conditions. To a typical observer, rarely your diamond might appear dirty or cloudy under very strong fluorescence. A good rule of thumb would be to double-check with your diamond dealer about the effect of fluorescence in the diamond you are considering purchasing. Avoid purchasing a diamond with extreme fluorescence in terms of strength.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diamond Fluorescence:
If I had the option to pick between no fluorescence or faint/medium blue fluorescence, what would be the best choice for me?
Generally, no fluorescence is preferred. In H, I, and lower color diamonds, blue fluorescence is a helpful factor, so, therefore, it can be a positive factor in such color ranges. If you can, avoid it in D-G color diamonds. Faint is also great for G color.
Why is fluorescence perceived negatively?
Because it is not a black and white topic such as carat weight or color, there is no clarity among consumers about how to go about fluorescence, hence they generally try to be on the safe side and assume the worst.
What about fluorescence in D-F color diamonds and Why should it be avoided in such a range?
In most cases, fluorescence in D to F color diamonds do not have any negative impact on the stone at all. In very few cases, it can make the diamond look bluish, that's why people prefer to avoid it in such range. However, for some, they actually prefer the blueish hue in white diamonds, so it might be your preference!
Is strong blue fluorescence really bad?
You could get really lucky with strong blue fluorescence. People generally assume that it is a super negative factor and avoid it. However, in reality, it really isn't a bad factor in H and low color diamonds. It can help them look much whiter than their actual color as blue is a complementary color to yellow, making diamonds look whiter than their natural color. In D- G color diamonds, it can be somewhat negative, so, therefore make sure you either see the diamond in-person or have a very strong return policy if you buy a D-G color diamond with strong or very strong blue fluorescence and determine how the fluorescence affects the stone in-person.