Strain-induced birefringence in natural diamond: a review

Daniel Howell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Birefringence in diamond is an anomalous optical property. Its occurrence is the result of strain in the diamond lattice, modifying its natural isotropic properties. However, an understanding of the resultant patterns can give us insights into the causes of the strain, which in turn can provide us with an idea of the growth and/or stress history of the diamond. The simplicity of imaging a diamond between crossed polarizers means that observing its possible birefringence pattern is a useful tool for learning about its history. In this paper, the causes of birefringence in diamond are reviewed and considered in the context of a modern understanding of diamond as well as the modern analytical techniques available to study them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-585
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Mineralogy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


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