The World's Shiniest Natural Object (Is A Little Berry!)

September 12, 2012


These are the berries of Pollia condensata. Scientists have just named them the world's shiniest natural object after tests revealed they reflect nearly 30% of light. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? "I bet they pass through undigested like corn?" What? NO. I was gonna say we should rename them sparkleberries.

Twisting layers of cells scatter and reflect incoming light, and as the light bounces around inside layers, it gets intensified, and by the time it makes it out it's a vivid blue color. Slight differences in the spacing of the layers inside the fruit also create glittering reds, greens and purples.

Apparently the berries have no nutritional value, but trick wildlife into eating them and spreading their seeds by being so damn attractive. Not unlike myself. "You're ugly as shit, GW." I'm a monster, don't look at me! Okay, now look at me. "...Did you really just tape a picture of Christian Bale's face from 'American Psycho' to yours?" Nope! I glued it.

Hit the jump for a closeup of a dingleberry.


Thanks to VEINED and Keith, who, just like babies, are attracted to shiny objects. Dammit, let go of my earring!

  • ZomBBombeR

    I was gonna get into that diamond discussion but I think billgates handled it well enough, and like others said I'm still interested to see what kind of booze you get from this???

  • Pretty!

  • McfeelySmackup

    Yet again, something mildly interesting that is over hyped to the point of ridiculous nonsense. These berries are quite obviously NOT the "worlds shiniest natural object"

    If you track the story back to it's original source at, no mention is made of them being worlds shiniest anything, or any reference to them even being shiny..the article is about the berries PERSISTENCE of color for decades after being picked.

    The interesting thing is the intensely colored berries have no pigment, the color is completely an artifact of reflective iridescence.

    But it seems some jackass at couldn't think of a way to describe that (or understand it) in less than 10 words for a headline...and just made shit up.

  • MAS

    i thought it was water

  • Christopher Benson

    Does anyone else want to smear them all over their face? or is that just me?

  • Pascale Laviolette

    I dunno... I've seen some REALLY shiny beetles. What was the shiniest natural object up until this point?

  • Jermain Palmen

    Shinier than fish scales?
    Shinier than diamonds?
    Sure, seems legit...

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    diamonds don't reflect they refract.
    and I am fairly certain a fish scale doesn't reflect more than 30%

  • McfeelySmackup

    Fair point, except for it being nonsense.

    Diamonds reflect AND refract. If they didn't reflect you wouldn't see light reflecting off of them.

  • ZomBBombeR

    I believe he knows they do both, however if diamonds only reflected light they would not be anywhere near as brilliant as they are, he's just saying the refraction is responsible for the shine, if they were cut to just let light shine through they wouldn't be so bright. Also stop trolling becuase I'm sure I really didn't have to explain that to you. Oh and before I forget the article did state natually occuring which in that state diamonds don't shine much at all.

  • McfeelySmackup

    If he "knows they do both", then the statement "diamonds don't reflect they refract" was fairly poorly worded, and his insistence in defending it was rather pointless.

    You might want to google up some photos of raw diamonds, "don't shine much at all" is utterly incorrect. They are quite shiny by most people's definition.

  • ZomBBombeR

    Took your advice looked 'em up, not impressed, I stand with my statement that raw diamonds are not that shiny at all; once cut the refraction and reflection make them look quite bright, but raw they look like quartz stones which aren't that shiny, I didn't say not at all just not that much, also I'm not most peoples and therefore don't accept their definitions and realities but instead substitute my own in which raw diamonds are not that shiny.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    they may reflect but the radiance you see from a diamond is due to the high refractive index they possess.

  • McfeelySmackup

    cool story. But diamonds do reflect, a fact that is obvious to anyone who has ever looked at one.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    yes...most things reflect. if they didn't you could not see them and most likely would be staring into a black hole. facets in a diamond are cut in a way to refract the light through them and capture through inside reflection.
    the glitter of a diamond is due to refraction, not reflection

  • McfeelySmackup

    It's far less subtle than staring into a black hole.

    Diamonds are in fact VERY reflective. the fact that they refract also is just trivia. The "radiance" you refer to IS a reflection...a very bright one.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    refraction of a diamond is trivia? so the knowledge of shaping a polished diamond to bend (refract) light is trivial knowledge. take note any gemologists out there. your job is trivial
    reflection, refraction and dispersion.20% of light directly reflects off the surface of a polished diamond. the other 80% enters the stone and is bent (refracted) by the pavilion facets and is directed back out the crown facet of the diamond. as that light is bent (refracted) back out of the diamond the light is dispersed and the spectrum of color is seen.
    the high refractive index and moderate dispersion properties give polished diamonds their brilliance not reflective light.

  • ZomBBombeR

    You should have just dummed it down most people don't understand the difference between the two {in caveman voice} "refraction shiny from inside, reflection shiny from outside" the only thing I will say is natually diamonds aren't that shiny at all they look like quartz before they're cut and the only reason fish seem shiny is becuase they're wet, if fish weren't covered in water their scale would not apear as bright. After all water reflects almost 100% of light.

  • McfeelySmackup

    in the context of this discussion, refraction is trivia. It is unrelated to the subject at hand.

    The only reason it is IN the discussion is because you made an utterly false statement regarding it. You also made an incorrect statement about the reflectivity of fish scales.

    No amount of googling is going to make the statement "diamonds don't reflect they refract" correct.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    so facets are cut into a diamond for what purpose? to reflect? no. to refract the light inside the diamond in a controlled manner and to control dispersion of said light. that is refraction. and seeing how diamonds are graded with a refraction index not a reflection index proves that refraction is not trivial in regards to polished diamonds. trolling is trivial. rule 14

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