Diamonds and Engagement Ring Design

Working in central London, I see a lot of people who have been up and down Hatton Garden looking at engagement rings. They have also talked to a lot of sales people and so I get to hear about what they will say in the attempt to sell rings.

Thinking about this made me take notice of a photo my photographer showed me. Have a look at this photo from my Perfect Proposal product shoot. This is one of several shots that are combined to make up a single image. The diamond in the frame is lit from behind only, in a dark room. You can see that no light comes through the front of the stone.


One of the most misunderstood properties of a diamond, with regards to the brilliance of the stone, is the role that the cut of the diamond plays in how much light the stone throws out, particularly in round brilliant cut diamonds.

The grading of the cut of a diamond, is a simplification of the mathematics that goes into cutting the diamond so that it will reflect light. Certain angles and proportions must be adhered to, to ensure optimum total internal reflection. It’s high school physics – if you remember shining a beam of light at a block of perspex and seeing it bend, then changing the angle until the beam reflects, that was total internal reflection.

This is exactly what happens in a diamond. This means that you can completely block out any light entering through the back of the diamond and it will still shine. Light coming through the table and crown (the top of the diamond) will be reflected back out at your eye.

So, when someone tells you that a ring has the diamond set high to allow light to come into the stone they are either ill informed,  or simply trying to sell a ring by giving it properties that it can not have.

In general, mass produced engagement rings will have the centre stone set higher than in a bespoke ring. This allows for several sizes of stone to be fitted into one size of setting, and it also means that the ring is easier to manufacture in the factory. The person finishing the ring has a bit more room to work with.

A bespoke engagement ring designed and made by me will have your diamonds set at a height that is pleasing for the design, not for ease of manufacture or sale.

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