There are different types of diamond cuts, but some look so similar that it is hard to tell them apart. Let’s see what defines a particular diamond cut and how you can tell one cut from another.
The Defining Characteristics of Diamond Cut
The term “diamond cut” refers to the profile of a stone and the shape, number, and arrangement of its facets.
So, the characteristics you should focus on when trying to recognize the cut of a particular diamond are its shape and facets.
Two different cuts can have the same shape, or they can differ in this respect.
For example, the emerald cut and the princess cut are both rectangular cuts, but they differ in the configuration of their facets.
Or, if you compare the princess cut and the round cut, you will see that they differ in terms of both facets and shape.
The facets of a diamond play a very important role in how it reflects light and, consequently, how much brilliance the stone gives off.
As we already saw, you can have two cuts with the same shape, but what makes them different is how they are faceted.
For example, some cuts have more facets than others; other cuts can have facets of the same shape, but they can differ in how these facets are arranged.
Brilliant Cuts vs. Step Cuts
One important distinction in the world of diamonds is between brilliant cuts and step cuts.
The brilliant cuts, as their name suggests, are designed to enhance the brilliance of the stone. This is why their facets are shaped and arranged in a way that maximizes the light reflected and returned to the eye of the observer.
The round cut and the princess cut are examples of brilliant cuts.
The step cuts are not created to maximize brilliance. Their facets are arranged in a more linear fashion compared to brilliant cuts, and the shape of the facets follows a more rectangular pattern.
The emerald cut and the Asscher cut are good examples of step cuts.
Recognizing Diamond Cuts by Shape
The easiest way to recognize a certain cut is to look at its shape and then, if needed, examine its facets to pinpoint the exact cut type.
Here are the most common cuts you are likely to see when shopping for diamonds:
The round cut is easily recognizable – it is the most popular cut, and you can see it in almost every jewelry store that sells diamonds.
This cut has 57 or 58 facets and is designed to maximize the brilliance of the diamond.
Oval Cut and Its Derivatives
The oval cut is also easy to recognize because of its shape.
If its length-to-width ratio is low, it will look very similar to the round cut.
The marquise cut is a derivative cut based on the oval cut’s shape. Marquise-cut diamonds have oval profiles, but they have two sharp ends.
The pear cut has a similar shape, but it has only one sharp end.
The heart cut is shaped like a pear cut, but with a cleft opposite the sharp end.
Rectangular Diamond Cuts
Rectangular cuts can have a square or a more oblong profile.
The princess cut is a typical rectangular cut, and its shape is usually square, with four sharp corners.
The radiant cut is also a rectangular cut, but its four corners are not sharp but truncated.
The emerald cut is also shaped like a rectangle with cut corners, but what makes it different from the radiant cut is the shape and arrangement of facets.
While most of radiant cut’s facets resemble irregular triangles or quadrangles, most facets of the emerald cut have parallel sides and look more rectangular. An emerald-cut stone will also have less brilliance and sparkle than a radiant-cut one.
The Asscher cut is faceted in the same way as the emerald cut, but the difference between them is that the Asscher cut is shaped like a square – i.e., it is basically a square emerald cut.
The cushion cut does not actually have a strictly rectangular shape. Its outline has a rectangular profile, but its corners are neither sharp nor cut but are actually rounded. This is why a cushion-cut diamond’s shape is said to resemble a pillow.
Triangular Diamond Cuts
The trillion cut, or the trilliant cut, is the most common triangular cut. It usually has sharp corners.
There are also trillion cuts whose sides are not straight but slightly rounded.