When most people hear the word "cut" they think of shape. Most diamonds are round, but diamonds are also cut into almost any shape imaginable. When diamond graders thinks of shape, they consider both the shape of the stone and the way each individual facet or flat polished surface is placed on the diamond. Most experts agree that it is the arrangement and positioning of the diamond's facets that has the most affect on the diamond's beauty.
Let's Talk Angles and Proportions
The shape of a diamond is important, but even more critical is the way the facets are arranged on the stone and the angles and proportions they create. A diamond owes its beauty to the way it handles light. A well-cut diamond is the most brilliant and sparkling of all gemstones. A poorly cut gemstone, no matter how high its other quality factors, will seem lifeless and unappealing to the eye. That's just another reason to spend some time looking at diamonds before you decide to make a purchase.
A traditional round brilliant cut diamond has either 57 or 58 facets or flat polished surfaces. Sometimes the diamond cutter won't cut a tiny flat facet on the point of the stone. If this is the case, you'll have a diamond with 57 facets. With the tiny facet (called a culet) you get 58 facets. Don't worry if your diamond doesn't have a culet. It doesn't make a difference when it comes to the value or looks or your stone.
Round brilliant cut diamonds have the facet arrangement you see here. The stone is divided into three basic parts or areas - the crown (above the girdle), the pavilion (below the girdle) and the girdle itself.
Each facet on a diamond has a special name. The big facet on the crown is called the table. Surrounding the table are eight star facets. The kite-shaped facets are called bezels. Just above the girdle are sixteen upper girdle facets.
On the pavilion are sixteen lower girdle facets and eight pavilion mains. You may or may not have a culet at the point.
There are certain angles, percentages and proportions that must be considered and evaluated to determine the quality of a diamond's cut. The most important factors experts look at are table size, crown angle (measured in degrees), girdle thickness, pavilion depth (as a percentage of the total depth) and total depth.
What's the best cut?
What's the prettiest color or the most attractive flower? There's just no correct answer to a question that has so many variables and is so subjective. There are definitely factors that determine a well-cut stone and factors that would indicate a poorly cut stone, but trying to say there is one best cut is like saying there is one best political party. You might think so, but there are lots of people who will disagree.
Changing and evolving since about 1920, a cutting style referred to as the "Ideal" cut is popular in many jewelry stores today. Though marketed as "ideal", recent studies by major international diamond grading laboratories have discovered that there are many cutting variations outside the "ideal" parameters that yield equally brilliant and dispersive diamonds.
This is not to say that and "Ideal" cut diamond is not beautiful. On the contrary, it is one of the most beautiful cutting styles in existence. But it is not the one, single best cutting style for round diamonds. Recent research into a diamond's optics has confirmed what many diamond cutters have been saying for decades - that there are many combinations of angles and proportions that create a beautiful diamond. Smart diamond buyers today turn to professional jewelers to help them make sense of all the different cut variables - angles, proportions, percentages and dimensions. And finally, the smartest buyers of all use their eyes to find a diamond that radiates the beauty and brilliance they find attractive.
All that glitters…
There are four aspects of a polished diamond that directly relate to the stone's optical and physical properties. These factors are greatly impacted by the way the diamond is cut.
They are luster, brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.
Luster can be described as the quality and amount of light that is reflected off the surface of a diamond. Luster is directly related to the hardness of the stone and the quality of its polish. A well polished diamond is the most lustrous material on earth because diamond is also the hardest material known to man.
Brilliance refers to the amount of white light that is returned to the eye from both internal and external surfaces. The amount of brilliance you see coming from inside a diamond is determined by the quality of the stone's polish the number and size of any inclusions inside the gem. External brilliance is controlled solely by the quality of a stone's polish. It that regard brilliance and luster are closely related.
Dispersion is sometimes called "fire". Dispersion is the display of spectral or rainbow colors seen coming from the inside of a diamond. The amount of fire produced in a diamond is directly related to how well the stone is proportioned. A well-cut diamond will offer a pleasing balance between dispersion and brilliance.
Scintillation is just a big work for "sparkle". A diamond will show scintillation or sparkle only when movement is involved. The diamond, the light source or the viewer must be in motion for scintillation to happen. A well-cut diamond in motion is absolutely the most dazzling gemstone in the world.
A diamonds beauty is largely measured by how well the cutting process maximizes the stone's inherent physical and optical properties. There is no way a high color or clarity grade can offset the visual results caused by poor cutting. But a well cut diamond with less than average clarity and color can be a dazzling spectacle of light and fire.
Remember - Cut really is all about beauty!
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