What to Look for in Diamond Videos
By Bryan Boyne (g.g.) , Tuesday, May 24, 2016
As the saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. That is certainly true about diamonds. When comparing diamonds on the internet, images of various types are indispensable in gaining a full understanding of a diamond’s quality and beauty. While viewing the diamond in person in a variety of lighting environments is essential to the final decision, important information about the stone is conveyed in light performance imagery that may not be readily apparent to the average consumer. This is why it is extremely helpful to have a variety of analytic images such as ASET, Ideal-Scope, and Hearts and Arrows imagery with which to evaluate a diamond’s technical performance and overall cut quality. Diamond video can help pull all that information together into a real world view.
The closest thing to seeing a diamond in person is seeing it in a motion picture. Many of the things that make diamonds beautiful are dynamic and depend on the movement of the diamond, the eye of the observer, or the light source. When combined with gemological data and other light performance imagery, high definition video will give you an excellent overall understanding of the diamond’s quality and appearance.
It is important to understand some variables and issues involved in evaluating diamond videos available in the market today. The first thing to know is that there are presently a wide variety of video capture systems in use in the marketplace, so that comparing two diamonds with videos done by different methods can be of limited value. The lighting environment used can impact the visuals significantly. For example, certain environments are conducive to seeing different aspects of the diamond better than others. Diffuse light (such as daylight on a cloudy day) will favor brightness, whereas directional lighting (such as direct sunlight) will favor fire (color sparkles). Because video systems and lighting environments vary widely, it is necessary to view video in conjunction with all the other information available in order to get the complete picture.
Video and Diamond Clarity Features
The ability to evaluate clarity is affected by both the magnification of the image and the lighting. Directional light (sometimes referred to as “hard” lighting), can sometimes illuminate inclusions in a way that makes them appear more obvious. Inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye can sometimes appear very prominently in video. Therefore, it is important to put the clarity features visible in the video into perspective by referencing the laboratory clarity grade as well as our determination of “eye-clean” posted to each in-house diamond on the website. Diamonds that fit our strict definition of eye-clean will display an Eye-Clean logo on the diamond detail page.
Diamond Clarity Features Intensified by
Magnification and Lighting
Video and Diamond Color
The accuracy in discerning differences in diamond color though video is likewise subject to variances in lighting and photo settings such as “white balance” or the overall color temperature of the exposure. As diamond color grades tend to be very subtle, the color of a diamond in a video should only be assessed in conjunction with a lab report. Due to this inherent inaccuracy of color assessment through video imaging, we have chosen a black background which is more compatible with our overall website look and feel, and also helps to see the diamond’s potential for scintillation and fire.
Video and Diamond Scintillation
A good diamond video is an excellent tool for seeing diamond scintillation patterns. This is the on-off blinking of the diamond’s facets which creates sparkle. In video you can see this dynamic effect and note such things as size and frequency of sparkle events generated by the diamond in motion. This is a good indication of how the diamond will “perform” in terms of sparkle in real world situations.
Video and Diamond Fire
Perhaps the most alluring characteristic of a well cut diamond is its ability to exhibit “fire”. Fire refers to the colored sparkles that result from refraction and the splitting of white light into it individual color components (also known as “dispersion”). Diamond as a material has a high propensity for dispersion, but cut quality will determine how much of that potential is realized in the finished gem.
Diamond Fire Captured and Displayed
Whether a diamond will exhibit good fire depends on how well it is proportioned and polished, and especially on how precisely its facets are aligned in 3 dimension (also referred to as ‘optical precision’). It also depends on the lighting environment. Even well cut diamonds will display only limited fire if the light source is very diffuse. Fire depends on some directional light sources.
The lighting environment used in Whiteflash diamond video is a combination of diffuse and spot lighting. Daylight equivalent diffused LED light combined with multiple LED directional lights create an environment where brightness and fire can be observed simultaneously.
Whiteflash videos are designed to demonstrate the diamond’s potential for fire and brilliance. Real world lighting environments will dictate how much of that potential they will be able to display. Less well cut diamonds will not display as much of this potential, even in the fire friendly lighting environment of our video setup.
High definition 360 degree diamond videos are an excellent way to gain additional information and insight into a diamond’s quality that is not conveyed by lab reports or even light performance photos.
Unfortunately, there is little standardization in the industry in terms of producing diamond videos. It is therefore necessary to understand the variables and limitations of the videos you will see from vendor to vendor. Video can be a great tool, but it must be evaluated together with lab report and light performance photos in order to get a complete picture of the diamond under consideration.
For more specific questions ask our experts