Insider Diamond Terms


Everyone knows a few words and phrases associated with diamonds.  “Clarity” is obviously how clear a diamond is.  “Brilliance” refers to its sparkle.  A “blood diamond” is …just bad.  But what in the heck is a “bort?”

Here is some dazzling insider terminology that you can use to impress friends at parties and knock the socks off of any jeweler you come into contact with.


Milky” – yes, this refers to a diamond that looks like the stuff you put your Corn Pops in, but the interesting thing here is why.  A diamond appears milky (cloudy) when it has both high fluorescence and a high color gradation (from “D” to “H”).  What’s odd is that a diamond with a lower color grade and high fluorescence will still appear relatively clear.  So a lower valued diamond may be clear, while one of higher worth may actually look like a typical night described in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (aka – foggy).  So…Got Milky?  Maybe you need still need clarification on:


Fluorescence” – is really weird.  It technically refers to colored light given off by a diamond when it is exposed to ultra violet light, as a result of relatively invisible mineral deposits within the diamond.   This begs the question: who is shining an ultra violet light on a diamond??  While it seems there should be a more technical answer as to the significance of fluorescence, there really isn’t any; people used to view diamonds with fluorescence as less valuable, but now that opinion varies drastically.  More info on this here and here.


Bluffy” – the clarity slayer.  A diamond is considered “bluffy” when you hold it in the “face up” position and it looks to be of fairly decent quality, but when you turn it around – BAM! – it’s a piece of garbage.  It’s all because the inclusions (aka – small pieces of crusty dirt inside it) are angled in a way that you can’t really see them with the *gasp* nude eye.


Spread” – Diamonds that have big tables (aka – tops) are said to have a ‘nice spread’ (like a 1930’s gangster describing an exquisite meal about to be consumed).  Spread means the brightness a diamond gives off.


Burnt” – a diamond’s facet can look burnt when the polisher is inexperienced (and possibly is just a shoe polisher) and buffs the diamond against its grain.  This unfortunate adjective can be used also when a diamond is literally burnt, that is to say overheated and the surface oxidizes.  Ouch!  You just got burned.


Bow-Tie” – the bow tie effect is similar to The Butterfly Effect: Ashton Kutcher likes both.  In certain fancy cut diamonds, like the marvelous Marquis and the pulchritudinous Pear, there is a shadow that can be seen inside the stone.  That’s right: it looks like a cute lil’ bow tie.


Potential/Improvable” – just like a guidance counselor describing a chubby kid who knifes his initials on to school property, a diamond that is considered to have ‘potential’ can be internally improved.  By losing a little bit of (carat) weight, it’s clarity level can be noticeably boosted.


Fish Eye” – this one sounds fun…but it’s actually very technical.  A diamond’s brilliance is largely determined by the angles of its pavilion (ideally, 40.5-41.5 degrees, in round cut diamonds).  Fluctuations in these angles can cause this fish-eye thing to happen, which is a reflection of the diamond’s girdle (the part that basically connects the top portion of the diamond (the crown) to the bottom (the pavilion)) that you can see when looking through the table.  It appears as an opaque white ring, like the ocular region of a carp that has expired.


Eye Clean” – more eyeball related words.  This just means a diamond that has no visible inclusions, when seen without the aide of magnification.  So you’re dealing with at least an S1 clarity (obviously).


Bort,” and in some exotic cultures “Boart” – here we have a classic example of onomatopoeia.  The undesirable sounding bort is simply a rough diamond that is of such low quality that there is no point in even attempting to polish it.  Aww.  Sad little borts.


Picking” – if you’ve got a huge amount of diamonds (and what self respecting citizen doesn’t?) then you’ve got to sort them into size groupings.  This process is known as picking (possibly because “sorting” was already used for sorting out the type of people who have copious amounts of diamonds and those who don’t).


Well we hope you enjoyed gaining a little inside knowledge on how the inner circle of diamond people talk.   Now that you can sling their lingo around and not let anyone pull a fast one on you, you can get the best prices for your diamonds too.  Come to Diamond Lighthouse to find out how you can sell your diamonds, make the absolute most money possible, and not get ‘burnt.’


Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-finding-your-way-logo -Joe Leone


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