The hardest natural substance on the planet is diamond. It can cut any type of rock or metal, but it can only be cut by another diamond. A diamond must be heated to between 1290 and 1650 degrees Fahrenheit to burn. However, the oil deposited by a fingerprint can cause dirt to gather, causing this seemingly indestructible gemstone to swiftly lose its lustrous appearance.

So, how do you keep your diamond in tip-top shape? Here are some pointers on how to keep your diamond gleaming and sparkling in the way it should.

Why Do Diamonds Sparkle Anyway?

Before we get into just how you can keep your emerald cut diamond ring, diamond earrings, fancy colored diamonds or any other precious diamond sparkler beautiful, if you are like many people, you may be wondering how and why diamonds sparkle in the first place. When a diamond is mined, it certainly does not look too much different to any other lump of rock.

Three factors contribute to the brilliance of diamonds: reflection, refraction, and dispersion. The light that strikes the diamond and is immediately reflected back up, giving it an instantaneous sparkle, is known as reflection. While this gleam is stunning, it merely scratches the surface of a diamond's full brightness.

A diamond reflects just a part of the light it receives; the rest passes through it. Light is scattered and broken as it passes through the diamond, giving it the dazzle that diamonds are renowned for. Diamonds are, in essence, tiny, intricate prisms; light enters through the top and is slanted around the inside of the diamond before returning to the top and exiting through the surface. This adds to the brilliance and creates a rainbow look. This is what we mean by dispersion.

Depending on where the light hits along the diamond's surfaces, this refraction and dispersion creates natural light and dark patches in the stone that are unique to each one.

Diamond wedding ring

Diamond wedding ring

A diamond's cut also determines how bright it is. Much of the light will be wasted if the shape is too deep or shallow, never bouncing back out as it should. The angle of refraction would allow light to pass through the diamond's bottom.

Shape Matters Too

The brightness of a diamond is determined to a lesser extent by its form. The most popular shapes nowadays were created with the finest light performance in mind. These are the cuts that improve a diamond's brightness by utilizing the diamond's natural qualities and intricate angles to not only achieve the best sparkle, but also to ensure that the diamond's actual shape is also visually beautiful.

How to Keep Your Diamonds Sparkling Safely

Now that you know why your diamond engagement ring and its stones are so sparkly, it's time to look at how you can keep them that way. And the good news is that doing so is not as complicated or as time-consuming as you might think.

Handle Your Diamonds as Infrequently as Possible

As we mentioned earlier, the oils from your fingers can dull a diamond quickly. So, as far as possible, keep your fingers off it. Yes, it's tempting to twist and turn that brand-new diamond engagement ring, so you can admire it, but you can look without touching.

You might want to check your emerald cut diamond ring when cooking too. Splashes of oil and grease that you might not notice hitting your ring can dull it even further, and while we would hope you are not cooking with oil hot enough to burn your diamond, or cause it any lasting harm, oil and grease splashes will dull it immediately.

Clean Your Diamond Regularly - But Carefully

However careful you are about touching your diamond jewelry, or keeping it away from dirt and grime, everyday wear will leave it in need of regular cleaning anyway. You probably don't need to do so every day, but once every few weeks will help keep that sparkle stunning and impressing all that see it (yourself included)

Contrary to popular myths (more on those in a moment), you don't need all kinds of specialist cleaners and cleaning tools to keep your diamonds, fancy colored diamonds and other gemstones clean. It's probably you have everything you need on hand right now.

That's because the best way to clean a diamond is in a 'bath' of warm water and a few drops of a gentle, dye free dish soap. Don't soak the jewelry, but swill it around in the bath to loosen and wash away the dirt, dust and grime. If needed, use a soft toothbrush to clean around the prongs, but keep your touch light. Once cleaned, blot the ring dry with a clean, lint free cloth. Make sure the ring is completely dry before you put it back on, as wet, slippery rings fall off easily.

Diamond Cleaning Myths Busted

While the metal your ring is crafted from may sometimes benefit from a specialist cleaner, whatever some shady Internet sites say, your diamond does not need one.

If you have not been very diligent about cleaning your diamond jewelry, if yours is an older piece that has just been given to you, or if you have been doing something very messy some people may suggest making use of an ultrasonic cleaner to get rid of difficult dirt (especially around delicate prongs or smaller accent diamonds.)

These can be effective in this case, but you'll need to proceed with caution. To tackle dirt, low-frequency sound waves are sent through a solution, creating a vibrating fluid to remove dirt and grime. Which is great, except prongs, and even stones, can be loosened in the process, and if a diamond has inclusions or tiny fractures it may make those worse.

Diamond wedding ring

Diamond wedding ring

Therefore, before you use an ultrasonic cleaning machine, you might want to consult your jeweler first. They will be able to tell you the best way to deal with very dirty diamonds, and will probably clean it for you, while also offering you tips for future diamond care.