Understanding Diamond Cuts

Understanding Diamond Cuts

When many diamond shoppers hear the term diamond cut, they usually envision a dazzling princess or magnificent oval cut stone. However, the cut of a diamond differs from the diamond shape. While many use the two terms interchangeably, it's essential to understand the difference between diamond cuts and diamond shapes.

The shape of a diamond may captivate her heart, but you'll soon learn it's the diamond cut that's responsible for the capture of the eye. We'll share everything you need to know about diamond cuts to prepare you for your selection. Don't worry - we'll also touch on the most popular diamond shapes and share a few of our favorite jewelry pieces! 

What is Diamond Cut?

18K White Gold Oval Center Stone Two Row Shank Engagement Ring

Known as one of the 4C's of a diamond, the diamond cut refers to the dimensions of a stone and how well-proportioned they are. In addition, the cut examines the stone’s facets or surfaces and how their positioning creates each stone’s brilliance, sparkle, and fire. The quality of diamond cuts may, in fact, be the most vital aspect of a stone, as it dramatically affects the overall quality of your diamond. 

Why is Diamond Cut Important?

Yes, the 4C’s of a diamond are critical to a stone's quality. But while color, carat weight, and clarity play a vital role, precise diamond cuts can enhance a stone's overall beauty and value. In addition, every diamond cut can magnify a stone’s ability to magnificently reflect light, whether oval, emerald, or princess.

As you venture out to find the perfect diamond for an engagement ring or pendant, consider the three critical components that makeup diamond cuts.

3 Components of a Diamond’s Cut 

Symmetry: a finished diamond’s arrangement and the measurements of each of its facets

Proportions: alignment and placement of facets; proportion creates the overall outline or the shape of each stone

Polish: describes a finished diamond's glass-like surface and smoothness

How Do Diamond Cuts Affect a Stone's Performance?

Emerald Cut Diamond Halo and Diamond Shank Engagement Ring

A well-cut diamond requires precision and expertise. Each diamond cut determines how the stone will reflect light. They influence the quality of a stone through its brightness, fire, and scintillation.

The brightness of a diamond is determined by its total reflection of all white light. Fire refers to the reflected light’s dispersion into various colors of the spectrum. Finally, scintillation is what is most known as the captivating sparkle. This sparkle is created by a diamond's movement as patterns of light and dark areas present themselves.

When compared to a poorly cut diamond, its performance will appear lifeless and unbecoming. Diamond cuts can produce a dull stone, regardless of an excellent color and clarity grading, if the cut does not allow for optimal reflection and refraction of light.

What is the GIA’s Diamond Cut Grading System?

To determine a diamond's overall quality, each of the 4C's is graded individually.  GIA’s Diamond Cut Grading System is based on a relative scale from Excellent to Poor. 

GIA’s Diamond Cut Grading System Categories

Excellent: Diamonds with a rating of excellent have cut with superior craftsmanship. These stones emit an even pattern of light and dark areas, offering brilliance and light dispersion.

Very Good: The most commonly sought-after cut holds a Very Good rating. A stone of this grading holds great value and quality. Diamonds cut within this rating have great craftsmanship and disperse a very good amount of brilliance and light.

Good: Diamonds ranking within this diamond cut category will disperse a good amount of light. However, the stone's scintillation may not be quite as brilliant.  

Fair: Diamonds with a Fair diamond cut rating emit an average level of scintillation. Fair stones tend to emit a fair amount of light, offering a lack of contrast. As a result, these diamonds typically appear much darker.

Poor: A grading of Poor reflects a diamond cut of poor craftsmanship. Diamonds in this grading category cannot disperse light and brilliance adequately. 

Understanding How Diamond Cuts Affect Light

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Many factors help determine a diamond’s brilliance. A stone’s ability to reflect light is essential. As light enters the surface of a diamond, a portion is reflected through its table. The rays of light that remain will continue to travel to the center of the stone, bouncing off the stone’s internal walls. As the remaining light exits the diamond, dispersion creates the colorful flashes we refer to as sparkle.

Understanding the Parts of a Diamond

Five main parts make up a diamond. Each part plays an essential role in how diamond cuts and light will affect its radiance. 

The 5 Diamond Parts

  1. table
  2. crown
  3. girdle
  4. pavilion
  5. culet

What is a Diamond's Table?

Princess Cut Diamond Twist Shank Engagement Ring

The table is a diamond's most significant facet. Its table partially determines diamond cut quality. The table refracts light rays, directing them towards additional facets as they pass through the stone's center.

If a diamond table is too large, it may affect its ability to disperse light optimally. A diamond’s upper facets, found on the crown, won't have enough room to disperse refracted light brilliantly.

If a diamond’s table is too small, it will be unable to let light in. As a result, the stone's brilliance and overall quality will be significantly affected.

What is a Diamond's Crown?

The crown of a diamond is the top portion of the stone. The crown rests below the table and above the girdle. Diamond crowns can have step-cut facets or brilliant-cut facets. The crown and its facets play a crucial role in the light performance of a stone. They drive the return of light, disperse light, and determine the level of brightness and amount of fire we observe. 

What is the Diamond's Girdle?

A diamond girdle is the thin perimeter of the stone. This perimeter makes up the outer edge where the crown and pavilion meet. The girdle is used to measure a diamond's total perimeter, as it is the widest portion of the stone. Since diamond girdles do not affect the overall quality or appearance of the stone, they may be left rough, faceted, or polished. 

What is a Diamond's Pavilion?

Oval Center Diamond Engagement Ring

The pavilion is the area that connects the stone's culet and girdle, making up the bottom portion of the stone. When a pavilion is cut correctly, the maximum amount of light is allowed through, reflecting off the stone's surface.

Light can escape through the bottom and sides if a diamond's pavilion is cut too deep or shallow. This loss of light dramatically reduces the diamond's sparkle.

What is the Diamond's Culet?   

The culet is the smallest facet on the diamond. The culet is the tiny point at the bottom of the diamond where all pavilion facets meet up.

When a diamond's pavilion facets are uniformly cut, the angles will meet at a perfect point, resulting in the lack of a culet. This point is also referred to as a pointed culet.

Today, the lack of a culet is preferred. Modern diamond cutting standards find that Large to Extremely Large rated culets are visible when viewing a stone's table from above. The larger culets tend to allow light to escape through the bottom of the stone and cause the culet to mimic an undesirable, dark circle.

Small to Medium rated culets give the appearance of a point at the base of the stone’s pavilion. Light can reflect magnificently through these diamonds.

What is Diamond Depth?

Diamond depth, also referred to as height, helps define a stone's physical shape while adding to its radiance. A diamond's depth is determined by measuring the distance between the stone’s table and the culet of the diamond. 

How Does Diamond Depth Affect the Quality of the Stone?

Overall, diamond quality is significantly impacted by diamond depth. In addition, the cuts of the stone contribute to its appearance and ability to sparkle.

The Cuts of a Stone are Separated into the Following Classifications:

  • shallow
  • ideal
  • deep

Shallow Diamond Cuts

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A shallow diamond cut will result in light entering the stone to escape through its pavilion. Shallow cut diamonds lack brilliance due to their inability to reflect light. Shallow diamond cuts significantly reduce the quality of a diamond.

Ideal Diamond Cuts

An ideal diamond cut is the superior diamond cut. Ideal diamonds yield well-proportioned, precisely angled cuts capable of producing optimal luminance and performance.

Deep Diamond Cuts

When diamond cuts are too deep, they can cause the stone to appear smaller than others of similar carat weight. In addition, deep diamond cuts produce poor sparkle and tend to have little appeal. 

Exploring Diamond Shapes

Now that you've gained some insight into the importance of diamond cuts, it's time to dive into diamond shape. Besides, it's usually the shape of the diamond that catches the eye of a bride-to-be, right?

Some ladies have had their hearts set on a particular diamond shape for as long as they can remember. Perhaps you've imagined an emerald-cut diamond ring center stone perched upon your finger, or you may be at the start of your search for the perfect stone, wondering which shape suits you best. Wherever you may be on your diamond journey, enjoy this memorable time and try them all on!

Popular Diamond Shapes to Consider 

While deciding on the shape of your center stone is just one of many decisions, our diamond jewelry experts can help you through the process. They've put together a list of the most sought-after diamond shapes to help get you started.

The Round Brilliant Cut

White Gold Ring

The round cut is and always will be a classic. Did you know that over two-thirds of all center stones are round brilliant cut? People are drawn to the round shaped stone for its ability to project magnificent light reflection. Each precise cut plays a vital part in enhancing the round diamond’s performance.

We adore the round brilliant cut diamond as a solitaire engagement ring. Its beauty is exemplified in the 18K White Gold Forevermark Setting, making this a timeless piece.

The Cushion Cut

Double Halo Engagement Ring

Cushion-cut diamonds boast curved sides and rounded corners. In addition, you'll notice many colored diamonds with a cushion cut, as its shape will retain more color when face up.

The cushion-cut diamond will generally have a smaller table, high crown, and a deep pavilion with a more prominent culet facet. A cushion cut is stunning in a halo setting and an ideal choice for the antique-style lover.

The Princess Cut

Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Also known as the square-shaped diamond, a princess cut is considered a more contemporary style. Its wide diameter tends to give the appearance the stone is more significant than its actual carat weight. The good news? This tidbit may save you some money you can use for your honeymoon!

Princess-shaped diamonds with excellent symmetry are dazzling in any setting. From solitaires to diamond shank accents set in rose gold, we love them all.

Keep in mind; the princess cut diamond requires a bit more TLC. Consider a bezel setting or prongs designed to add protection to those precious pointed corners.

The Oval Cut

The oval-shaped diamond is another timeless shape worn for several hundred years. It plays well with light, producing extraordinary fire.

Oval Center Diamond and Halo Engagement Ring

While oval cuts may not have consistently maintained their popularity, recent years have shown quite a desire for this elegant shape. The oval cut’s lack of pointy edges has become ideal for active women concerned with the durability of their center stone. It’s also worth noting oval stones are known to help elongate the appearance of a woman’s fingers.

While there are many breathtaking settings for the oval-cut diamond, we insist you take a peek at our exclusive Oval Center Diamond Halo engagement ring. Set in platinum with a double-row diamond shank, this ring was truly designed to turn heads.

The Pear-Shaped Cut

Pear Shape Center Diamond Crossover Engagement Ring

Pear-shaped diamonds offer an elegant blend of a marquis cut and a brilliant round diamond. Yet, pear diamond cuts are not as forgiving at hiding inclusions, making a well-cut pear stone rarer and more valuable.

The pear cut shape is meant to be worn with its tip pointing towards the finger, giving the appearance of slender, dainty hands. We suggest trying on our Pear Shape Crossover engagement ring in your favorite metal setting.

As you’re shopping for women’s engagement rings, consider all the factors we’ve touched on. Then, when you finally slip the perfect diamond onto your finger, you’ll know it’s your forever ring.