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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Brillance and Luster of Gems

Is there a difference between brilliance and luster in gemstones?

Brilliance and luster have loose meanings in everyday language, but they are technical terms in gemology. Brilliance refers to the light reflected from the interior of a gem. Thus only a transparent gemstone can be said to have brilliance. Luster, on the other hand, refers to the light reflected from a gem's surface. Brilliance is graded from low to high, but luster is usually described in terms such as vitreous (glass-like), adamantine (diamond-like), silky, resinous and greasy.

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  • First Published: February-20-2006
  • Last Updated: March-22-2017
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Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart