Nite-Glow Diamonds

Night Glow Diamonds®

An evaluation of the marketing claims of Night Glow Diamonds and their Ocular Cut Diamond™

When I first heard the “pitch” by Night Glow Diamond owner Bill Disinger on the Jewelers Helping Jewelers group on Facebook, I was amazed at the new technology he claimed to have developed that could make a natural diamond “glow” in the dark.

Here, read for yourself some of the claims made by this company regarding their product::

“The Ocular™  Brand Diamond is the single greatest advancement since the conception of the Tolkowsky Cut Diamond.” Night Glow Website“Night Glow Diamonds and Gemstones is home to the most technically advanced diamond in the world that truly glows at night” Night Glow Facebook page“We make 100% genuine diamonds & gemstones that glow in the dark. No batteries, no LEDs, no radiation, just some magic and a little bit of science.”
Night Glow Facebook page

Perhaps most impressive was that Night Glow Diamonds are so unique that they have been awarded a United States Patent #9,462,859. Wow! Amazing! What a great idea.

And then it hit me, this is exactly how the LifeGem Cremation Diamond hoax started out. An amazing story that just sounded too good to be true, but had been awarded a US Patent. As we learned in the LifeGem case, what was in the patent deviated greatly from the imbellished claims of the actual sales pitch.

As a result, I spent a couple of days reviewing the claims made by Night Glow Diamonds, alongside the 14 pages of United States Patent #9,462,859. Here is what I found:

Ocular Cut Diamond: “the single greatest advancement since the conception of the Tolkowsky Cut”

The Ideal Cut Diamond

For over 100 years, the diamond cutting industry has worked to achieve the mathematical formula of Marcel Tolkowsky for the perfectly cut diamond. The concept is to cut a diamond in such a manner that controls the path of light inside the stone so that all light entering the diamond exits through the top of the diamond. This is how we get “brilliance” of a diamond. A demonstration of this is seen at left from a previous newsletter. The light enters through the top or “table” of the diamond, travels through the diamond in a controlled path based on the cutting angles of the facets, then exits back out the top of the diamond.

That is the purpose of the shape and proportioning of a diamond.

This is not at all what the Ocular Cut Diamond does. In fact, it is cut to do just the opposite.

The Ocular Cut Diamond

The Ocular Cut Diamond takes a 100-year step back in cutting technology, specifically cutting the diamond to produce massive “light leakage” through the diamond. At left is one of the demonstration panels from our earlier study of diamond cutting, showing light leakage out the bottom of this stone. The whole purpose and intent of the Ocular Cut Diamond is to allow light to pass straight through the diamond with minimal return of light, as demonstrated at left. We will look at why in just a minute.

First, let’s look at one more panel to fully demonstrate what the Ocular Cut Diamond looks like compared to an Ideal Cut Diamond.

Below left is a depiction of the Ideal Proportions from Mr. Tolkowsky. Below right is taken direct from the Night Glow Diamond Patent. It is not difficult to see the difference. According to the Night Glow Patent the girdle of the diamond (#22), the edge where the top and bottom meet, must be 10% – 15% larger than an Ideal Cut diamond. Same for the culet (#26) at the bottom of the diamond, 10% to 15% larger.

The most difficult part of this section is that what Bill Disinger says in his presentations is not what his patent says. In the recent Facebook presentation, when asked about the enlarged culet size and its impact on the beauty of the diamond, Bill Disinger stated: “the Culet is High polished and slightly oversized to approx. 5% to allow the light to reflect back up through the diamond….”

The US Patent States: “The culet may be about 10 percent to about 15 percent larger than a culet of an ideal cut diamond…The culet is relatively oversized to increase a surface area engagement between the gemstone…and the light-emission system…”

In other words, the enlarged culet is there to allow more light to pass through the diamond down into the “light emission system” we will talk about in a minute. This was where I realized the claims of “glowing diamonds” was going to have problems.

The result of the Ocular Cut Diamond’s claimed “single greatest innovation” is a diamond with massive light leakage and far less brilliance. In fact, the Ocular Cut Diamond is far closer to an Old Mine Cut diamond (seen at left) than any kind of “greatest innovation” in diamond cutting, from where I sit.

I can understand why Night Glow needs a diamond with as much light leakage as possible to work, but I must wonder just what these diamonds look like during the normal daylight hours, or taken out of the Night Glow Diamond setting?

According to owner Bill Disinger in his Facebook presentation: “The Gemstones are about 15% brighter during the day vs. a standard cut gemstone”.

I personally find that very hard to believe. In fact, the diamond information contained in US Patent #9,462,859 specifically requires a diamond with massive light leakage out the bottom of the stone to operate. Here is why…

Technically Advanced Diamond: “the most technically advanced diamond in the world that truly glows at night

At left is an image from the Night Glow Diamond website, showing one of their products. They make this claim about their “technically advanced diamond” that glows in the dark.

This is where the red flags started flying in my head. A “technically advanced diamond…that truly glows in the dark”. How could they advance a diamond technically so that it would glow in the dark?

Glowing in the dark after the external light source is turned off is known as “phosphorescence” There are indeed natural diamonds that display the phenomena of phosphorescence. But Night Glow Diamonds claim they make “technically advanced” diamonds that all glow in the dark, and all night long!

From the Night Glow website regarding how long their diamonds glow: “…have been tested to glow up to 8 hours at night.”

How do they do that? How does this company alter natural, non-phosphorescent diamonds to glow in the dark for up to 8 hours at night?

The better question became: Are the diamonds really glowing or are they simply cut so poorly that something else is glowing behind or around them, making it appear that the diamond is glowing? That turned out to be the better question.

No batteries, no LEDs, no radiation

“We make 100% genuine diamonds & gemstones that glow in the dark. No batteries, no LEDs, no radiation, just some magic and a little bit of science.”
Night Glow Facebook page

Here is where the whole thing started coming apart, or perhaps I should say it started REALLY coming apart. The first issue is the claim of “no radiation”. Let’s start with Night Glow’s own US Patent:

“In the illustrative embodiment, the first and second light sources are powered through radioluminescence”.

Now, lets turn to Merriam-Webster to get a definition of “radioluminescence”

Definition of radioluminescence
1: luminescence excited by impact of radioactive particles

We have three situations here:

  1. Night Glow claims to have diamonds that glow in the dark with “no radiation”, but
  2. The Night Glow US Patent specifically lists two light sources that are “powered through radioluminescence”, and
  3. Radioluminescence is defined as “luminescence excited by impact of radioactive particles.”

This all sounds to me like the power source of the Night Glow Diamond is radiation, which totally contradicts the Night Glow advertising claim. But wait, there’s more! These companies that get US Patents for one type of product, then turn the promotion into something totally different…they screw themselves up with the US Patent. Mainly because patent lawyers do not bend the truth with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If one has enough time and patience, the truth is usually in the Patent document.

This is exactly what happened with this Night Glow Diamond.

Gaseous Tritium Light Source

It’s called Tritium-illumination. It is what is used to make the hands of watches, pedestrian signs, and other common products glow in the dark. At left is an image link from the NiteWatch dot come website. They describe Tritium Illumination like this:

“GTLS is a unique highly specialized technology that uses a combination of tritium and phosphors to create visible light. As a cold light source, it requires no external electrical energy and is used for numerous applications such as emergency exit signs, military equipment, kit markers, compasses and wristwatches. It is a completely self-powered, cold light source.” nitewatch dot com.

This website information may also explain why the Night Glow Diamond is available only in Seafoam Green or Caribbean Blue. From the nitewatch dot come website:

“Green is always the preferred colour as the human eye perceives green as the brightest. Blue GTLS, which is 60% as bright as green, is often used in diving watches as it remains visible at up to 60m/187 feet in depth – longer or deeper than any other colour.” nitewatch dot com

Here is the explanation from Night Glow Diamonds on the available colors:

“Currently, the only colors are Sea Foam Green and the Caribbean Blue, but I’m experimenting with other colors”. Bill Disinger, Facebook post.

Now, let’s go back to US Patent #9,462,859. In the patent the source of the glow is not the diamond at all. Here is the quote:

“In the illistrative embodiment, the first and second light sources, 176,178 are powered by tritium-illumination”

Let’s turn to the actual US Patent #9,462,859. Take just a minute and find #176 and #178 below at the arrows. Now I can see why the Ocular Cut Diamond requires such a huge alteration from an ideal cut diamond. The Night Glow Diamond folks require huge windows in the girdle and culet for the tritium-illumination to shine through and artificially create the “glow” of the diamond.

In fact, the diamond is not glowing at all, it is simply transmitting the light generated by the tritium illumination.

The Night Glow Diamond is lit up by the same light source as used to light the dials of watches, emergency signs and exit markers in theaters. The claim of “”Night Glow Diamonds and Gemstones is home to the most technically advanced diamond in the world that truly glows at night” is not an accurate representation of the facts in the patent or reality. In fact, it is tritium illumination materials located at the points of the enlarged girdle and culet that create the glow. The diamond is simply cut in such a fashion as to be transparent. This same Night Glow Diamond patent could be used for cubic zirconia, glass or even a piece of a Pepsi-Cola bottle if cut to the proportions required.

Even a properly fashioned Pepsi-Cola bottle could glow in the dark using Night Glow Diamond technology. It has nothing to do with the diamond!

Considering the above, how much does the Night Glow Diamond cost?

Sisters of Saint Benedict

The Night Glow Diamond folks have gone to great effort to promote their endorsements from the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. I personally found this interesting as the story runs parallel to the Direct Shopping Network’s endorsement by the 2008 Beijing Olympics of the now-debunked Tibet andesine sold by DSN. I have no knowledge if the Sisters of St. Benedict know that it is not really the diamonds that are glowing in this cross below, but rather tritium illumination. However, the endorsement by the Sisters of St. Benedict is highly touted on the Night Glow website in an obvious attempt to bring in the religion-oriented customers. As a Southern Baptist preacher’s kid, I have seen a lot of traveling evangelists use this same sales tactic to generate revenues based on religious endorsements and representations. But what about the cost?

The image at left, and verbiage below are from the Night Glow Diamond website offer:

Night Glow Celtic Cross Pendant: Divinity NG.105.LRP.SG.30 – 14k & 18k two tone antiqued Celtic Cross with .33ct Ocular Night Glow diamond center option of reflective color Caribbean Blue or Seafoam green. 

Retail $4,600.00

I searched a .33ct round diamond on Polygon’s CertNet, H color and VS2 clarity and quickly found one available for $360.00 with a GIA Grading Report. While we do not have enough information on the weight of the cross at left to get an accurate replacement estimate, just dealing in averages of a 14k/18kt piece of this size, with the above referenced .33 carat diamond from Polygon, the value of the piece would be in the general area of $1400.00 +/-.

However, based on the Night Glow Diamond website, the addition of the tritium illumination under the diamond more than triples that cost. These, of course, are estimates but the .33 carat properly cut diamond with GIA Grading Report would be less than 10% of the cost of this piece. Given that the Ocular Cut Diamond is seriously altered in cut quality, it can be assumed that the landed quality of the Ocular Cut Diamond outside this mounting would be negatively impacted.

This brings us to my conclusion of this study, in the form of a question: What is the real value of this whole Night Glow Diamond concept?

My Conclusion

Based on the above there are five main points that I conclude from this situation:

  1. Despite their claims of the Ocular Cut Diamond being “the greatest advancement,” it is actually stepping back 100 years in diamond cutting design. The huge girdle and culet are required for the tritium glow to transmit through the diamond. I believe the Night Glow people created this facade of “greatest advancement” to deal with the issue of these diamonds being so poorly cut that if the diamonds are ever unset and sold the return on investment will be virtually nothing. This does not even deal with the fact of how lifeless the diamonds must be due to the poor proportioning.
  2. The claim that Night Glow Diamonds makes about creating “the most technically advanced diamond in the world that truly glows at night” is simply not true. There is nothing technically advanced about these diamonds, and they do not, themselves, produce a “glow”. They transmit a glowing light from the tritium illumination material embedded in the bottom and sides of the setting, but if you pull the diamonds out of the mountings they will not glow. What appears to be glowing diamonds is just artificially produced light passing through a diamond.
  3. Night Glow Diamond advertising misrepresents the source of the light passing through these diamonds when they claim “… no radiation, just some magic and a little bit of science”. In fact, Night Glow Diamond’s very own US Patent proves this claim to be patently false. The fact is: “light sources are powered through radioluminescence” according to their own patent.
  4. If the Night Glow Diamonds are ever taken out of their settings to be reset or perhaps sold, they are going to be butt-ugly diamonds. Extremely poor proportioning when compared to an ideal cut diamond. The cutting design required to make their tritium illumination system work causes the value of the diamond to become virtually worthless outside the Night Glow setting..

And #5 which for me is the most important point as a question: How many times do you wear your diamond jewelry in the dark?

During all the daylight hours the Night Glow Diamond concept is moot. You are wearing a very lifeless diamond that lacks brilliance. Then, how about at night at the party? How many parties do you attend in a dark room, or even a dimly lit room to the point that a small diamond transmitting a glow would be visible?

Basically, the Night Glow Diamond will be of interest when you shut off the lights in the room and show your friends. Turn the light back on and POOF! The magic disappears. And for this, someone is going to pay almost 3 times the value of the piece if it was an ideal cut diamond that would be brilliant in almost any lighting environment! Points to consider.

I admit this is sort of a cool invention just on its face. Having studied all 14 pages of the US Patent I found the innovation fun. The problem is that the story being told by Night Glow Diamonds is not the story told by the US Patent #9,462,859. The embellished terminology in the sales pitch of Bill Disinger makes claims about this being “advanced” diamond technology that fails to accurately represent the facts, in my opinion.

Perhaps the whole thing about the embellished claims and bending of patent facts can be summed up in the following quote from the Night Glow Diamonds website. To me, this sounds is if Night Glow Diamonds has an advanced cutting technology that if available 100 years ago could have been used to make diamonds glow back then. Read it and think about this.

“If the Old World Master Diamond Cutters would have made a few modifications and honed the polish of the diamond’s surface to that of the finest telescopic lens, the old world diamonds could have been made to glow at night.” Night Glow Website

This quote would be accurate if they added the phrase: “if they had tritium illumination packets to light the diamond” but that is not what this quote states. In my view, this quote is intended for the sole purpose of making people think that Night Glow Diamonds has special technology that can make diamonds themselves glow, which is not true. The diamonds are not glowing, they are simply transmitting the glow from the tritium illumination. That is the problem with Night Glow Diamonds. In places they tell the part of the story that fits their promotional needs, and in other places they omit important facts that would change their marketing strategy.

Any time I see something new, unusual and amazing that seems just too good to be true, and the seller claims to hold a US Patent on the thing, my first step is to get the full US Patent and compare what is in the patent to what is in the rhetoric. Rarely do they match up when it comes to fantastical claims and magical products.

The Night Glow Diamonds are no exception.

That is my opinion, I welcome your rebuttal, retort or constructive critique.

Robert James FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc.
a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization

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