Diamond Cut – What you need to know to be informed

The diamond cut is really important stuff. Let us first start with some definitions. Some new, one a reminder.

Fire – The light dispersion that appears as flashes of rainbow colors. Particularly lovely when seen in darker environments. Like candlelight.

Brilliance – This refers to the light reflected in and out of the diamond. Perfect proportions will prevent light leakage, so then the gem appears brighter.

Scintillation – The pattern of dark and light facets that intensely sparkles when the diamond is moved. This is seen well under regular ‘daytime’ lighting, such as fluorescent. The opposite of the fire environment.

Diamond facets – These are the flat surface areas of a diamond which have been cut, polished and positioned at different angles allowing light to enter and reflect from the stone. Read on for our diamond cut information!

What is it about a diamond that captivates us? The shine, the sparkle! Let’s face it, you’re not going to get a diamond’s shimmering effect from an emerald, a ruby or any other gem. Diamonds are unique that way and ‘The Diamond Cut’ is what unleashes the dazzle.

‘Cut’ refers to the proportions of the diamond that delivers its level of brilliance. It becomes confusing at times because there are so many other terms the word ‘cut’ chases around. You’ve probably heard a few of them like ‘heart cut,’ ‘pear cut,’ or ‘emerald cut.’ Personally, I think we need to lose the ‘cut’ and replace it with ‘shape,’ because that is the thing to which those names refer. So, it’s the Diamond 4Cs, not 4Cs and an ‘S.’

When you consider those 4Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight remember that the most important of all is Cut. Yes, King Cut! Let’s talk about His Majesty.

Diamond cut is a measurable, technical path aimed at maximizing the brilliance of your chosen gem. Seriously, it’s a whole science.

Light strikes a diamond and instantly 20% of that light is lost as surface glare. The rest of the remaining 80% will have a portion escape through the bottom of the diamond where it’s never seen or appreciated. Well-proportioned diamonds have each facet placed and angled to maximize the amount of light reflecting through the top (crown) of the diamond. The light reflected is what we refer to as scintillation, fire, and brilliance.

Let’s talk about cut grades for a minute. The names of the cut grades are self-explanatory: Excellent/Ideal, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. However, I am also including this link from Ritani’s Educational page because a picture is still worth a thousand words (source).

Diamond cutting is an amazing thing. The Cut can direct light so that it passes through the bottom of the gem, then reflects all the way to the top and beyond. Diamond cutters can alter the color of the reflection that leaves the stone, or they can emphasize it’s brilliance or scintillating aspects. When you look down at the top of an excellent cut stone you can see precise lines. It reminds me of a compass. Then as the grading quality lowers, those lines become murky until they disappear. Which begs an obvious question: Why make a bad cut?

There are a few reasons. Here’s an important one to watch out for: people tend to give most of their attention to carat weight because they know that’s the biggest ‘ring question’ friends and family will ask the moment you get engaged. However, carat weight sharply increases the diamond’s cost. So, from the viewpoint of pure human nature, the diamond cutter is going to make sure the gem retains as much weight as possible while suggesting a lower grade cut to slightly offset some of the prices. This makes you happy, but still paying more than you needed to pay.

You see, if a cutter produces a deeply cut gem, that hides extra weight in the diamond making the stone more expensive, but not better looking. It’s all about what you want. If you can afford a huge diamond with an excellent cut, great! But for the rest of us, I would go to a jewelry store armed with facts. Ask to see a few different grades right there and you’ll see. I’d take a diamond with a great cut but fewer karats, over a higher karat count and a so-so cut any day. Because, when you place the emphasis for your ring on Cut, your diamond may not cost a million bucks, but it will look like it. Hmmm…

Leave a Comment