You have probably seen pieces of jewelry studded with small diamonds. Most people call these accent stones “chips.” But how are these diamonds created, and should you buy jewelry made with them?
What Are Diamond Chips?
Diamond chips, as their name suggests, are small pieces that were broken off a bigger stone. They are not polished or shaped in any particular form.
These chips are not really symmetrical, and they can most often be seen in vintage jewelry, where they are used as accent stones.
Real Diamond Chips: Rarely Used Today
Most people use the term “diamond chips” to refer to the small stones surrounding a center diamond in a piece of jewelry.
However, in most cases, these stones are not really chips. In reality, diamond chips are rarely used in jewelry these days.
In the past, when cutting and polishing technology was not as advanced as it is today, it was very hard to shape a small diamond and cut facets in it.
Nowadays, this is not such a big problem, and the stones customers often call “chips” are actually diamonds that have been cut and polished; they are also known as “single-cut diamonds.”
How Chips and Single-Cut Diamonds Differ
Whereas chips don’t really have a symmetrical shape, single-cut diamonds are round and faceted.
What makes single-cut diamonds different from regular round diamonds is the number of facets. The classic round shape has 57 or 58 facets (this cut is also referred to as “full cut”), while the typical single-cut diamond has 16 or 18 facets.
Why Single-Cut Diamonds Are Better Than Chips
So, what difference does it make if single-cut accent stones are faceted while diamond chips are not?
Well, as a result of being cut in certain proportions, single-cut diamonds can reflect light in a way that allows them to exhibit brilliance and sparkle.
Chips, on the other hand, do not bend light as faceted stones do, and as a result, diamond chips do not have the same brilliance. That’s why a ring decorated with single-cut diamond accents will have more sparkle than one with chips.
Another plus for jewelry made with single-cut stones is that their uniform shape gives the piece a more even appearance than that of jewelry made with chips.
Are Real Diamond Chips Worth It?
Even if diamond chips are rarely used to make jewelry today, there are still some sellers who carry pieces with them.
It is true that jewelry made with chips instead of single-cut stones will usually be cheaper. However, since chips are not faceted, the piece will look dull, and you won’t see the typical sparkly liveliness that well-cut diamonds exhibit.
So, if brilliance is important to you, pick jewelry with faceted diamond accents.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).
Also read our Diamond Buying Guide and check out our selection of eye-clean diamonds that we've vetted for quality.