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Diamond Cut

Shopping for diamonds can be daunting especially when you are not familiar with the terms. We all know that diamonds are sold on the 4Cs but understanding what the 4Cs mean could be problematic. Luckily, we are here to help so let’s get started. To begin, the 4Cs stand for Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat. Today we will be looking at just one of the Cs, Cut.

We have all heard of the cut of the diamond but what exactly do we mean when we say the cut of the diamond? Diamond cut refers to the proportion and symmetry of the polished diamond. It is not the shape of the stone but sometimes the cut is used to refer to the shape of the stone. People refer to the shine of a diamond as that of ice and this is directly related to the cut of a diamond. The cut tells us how the stone will react with light and radiate. Achieving the best cut for a diamond will increase the value of the diamond. Cutting a diamond takes some skill and the cutter has to balance where he places the facets- small flat faces, in order to maximize the amount of light entering the stone or as gemologists say, the optical efficiency of the stone.

What is the ideal cut of a diamond? To begin, we take a trip back in time to the year 1919 where a young mathematician named Marcel Tolkowsky wrote a thesis on the proportions that would allow a round diamond to sparkle the best. This cut became known as the ideal cut. I won’t get into the mathematics of the ideal cut but the ideal cut gets the best sparkle out of a diamond.

When we say the diamond sparkles we look at 3 things:

1. Brightness, how light is reflected;

2. Fire, the scattering of white light; and

3. Scintillation, the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections in a diamond.

Today, the most widely used grading scale is the one used by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Their scale uses the ratings of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor, with Excellent being the most desirable rating. This rating system is used mainly for round diamonds which is the most popular shape of diamonds today. The other shapes of diamonds use a wider range of proportions to determine the best cuts. Most of the diamonds on the market today have an excellent or very good rating.

Poorly cut diamonds will not shine as bright as their better cut counterparts. A poor cut occurs when the cutter gets the proportions wrong, and the diamond is cut too shallow or too deep and light then “leaks out”. A poor cut will diminish the value of a diamond.

Diamond Cut terms to know

Brilliant Cut

This is the most popular type of round cut. This cut enhances the gem’s sparkle without sacrificing much of the carat weight of the diamond. A brilliant cut diamond has 57 facets, 33 on the crown and 27 on the pavilion. A brilliant cut diamond will usually receive a high GIA grade making them more expensive than other cuts of round diamonds.

Rose Cut

The rose cut is one of the oldest cuts around and is another cut used for round diamonds. This cut is often called a romantic cut because it mimics the spirals of the petals of a rose and looks like a rose bud. A rose cut diamond only has 24 facets making the stones less expensive than a brilliant cut stone. Today, it is rare to see a rose cut diamond but this cut is making a comeback, so you might see it on an engagement ring or two soon.

Step Cut

Step cut is a modern way of cutting a diamond and features parallel facets on all 4 sides. The parallel lines look like steps hence the name step cut. This cut is popular in Emerald and Asscher shaped diamonds. It is one of the best cuts for showing the clarity of the diamond.

Radiant Cut

The radiant cut is a modern cut. Radiant cut diamonds have facets cut similar to that of a round diamond. The radiant cut is typically used on rectangle shaped diamonds. Radiant cut diamonds have a great carat to brilliance value as cutters are able to utilize more of the diamond’s rough.

Now that we have provided you with some basic information about diamond cuts it is hoped that this will make buying your ideal diamond easier. The most important thing to you, our customer, is that you understand the terms that we use. We look forward to explaining more jewelry related terms in our subsequent blogs. Remember to subscribe to our page at to receive our latest blogs.

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