Well–proportioned diamonds exhibit three different properties: brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. As light strikes a diamond's surface, it will either reflect off the table of a polished stone or enter the diamond. The light that is reflected is known as the diamond's brilliance — the flash of white light one sees when looking at a stone. As light travels through a stone, some of the light rays are separated into flashes of color. This is known as dispersion. The result of dispersion—the separation of white light into its spectral colors — is known as fire. Scintillation is flashes of color that are viewable as an observer moves a diamond back and forth.
Use this interactive tool to see how depth and table percentages can affect the brilliance in a round diamond. Please Note: this example is for a round diamond only—fancy shapes have their own set of unique properties.