ScopifyROM: Shine on You Crazy Diamond

Posted: October 16, 2013 - 09:10 , by royal
Earth and Space, ROM Scopify, Collections | Comments () | Comment
View of broach glowing under UV light.

Gems, and most especially diamonds, appeal to virtually everyone. So when I was asked to select an object from the Mineralogy department for the ScopifyROM project, I chose a diamond brooch made by the renowned Italian jewellery house Bulgari. What more is there to love about diamonds other than their intense beauty, which is after all skin deep? Well, as ScopifyROM demonstrates, beneath the “wow” factor of this stunning piece lies a multitude of treasures to discover about diamonds. 

One of the most significant elements of this brooch that is not obvious to the Museum visitor is that it is set en tremblant, meaning it is designed to tremble as the wearer moves, drawing the eye to the sparkly coloured gemstones. With the 3D Scan mode within ScopifyROM, visitors are able to see “the fire” as the brooch is spun around.  This is an interactive piece of jewellery, and it is fabulous that the ScopifyROM app allows visitors to interact with it without risk to the object.

Another reason the Earth Science team was so excited by ScopifyROM was the opportunity to highlight the phenomenon of fluorescence in diamonds. In simple terms, diamond fluorescence is how ultraviolet light affects a diamond.  Some diamonds appear to glow blue, green, yellow, orange, or a combination of colours when exposed to UV light (though only as long as the diamond is exposed to the light source). Fluorescence only occurs in 30% to 35% of all diamonds with varying strength, so the intensity as well as the particular colour of the fluorescence can help “fingerprint” each gemstone.  Of course, the effect is virtually impossible to display in the gallery though using ultraviolet light with gems and jewellery is common practice in our lab. This is a cool phenomenon so it is neat to be able to show visitors something that lurks in some diamonds whether they are displayed in a museum or in a jewellery store. Now, using the Spectralize filter in ScopifyROM app, Museum visitors can examine the brooch in UV light and determine which, if any of the diamonds fluoresce.

So, while beauty may indeed be skin deep, thanks to ScopifyROM one and all can see that the appeal of diamonds runs deeper.