Cut is one of the characteristics on which the quality of a diamond is judged. But did you know that there is an ideal diamond cut? Let’s find out why it is important.
What Is Diamond Cut?
Diamond cut refers to the way a finished stone is formed out of rough diamond material.
The cutter will strive to create a diamond with certain proportions and a predetermined number of facets.
What Is an Ideal Cut?
A diamond’s ability to reflect light and exhibit brilliance depends on how the stone is cut, and more specifically, on the proportions of its different parts relative to each other.
If a diamond has an ideal cut, this means the stone has proportions that make it bend and reflect light in a way that maximizes sparkle and brilliance.
There several commonly used standards for what an ideal cut should look like. However, the basic concept behind each of those sets of guidelines remains the same – the best cut should maximize a diamond’s beauty.
How Diamond Cut Works
Cut affects three major characteristics of a diamond that define how light interacts with the stone: brilliance, dispersion and scintillation.
Brilliance is seen when light entering the stone is reflected back to the eye of the observer. If a diamond’s depth (or height) is too high or too low, the light going into the diamond will not be reflected back to create brilliance but will instead leak out of the stone, remaining unseen.
As a result, the brilliance of too deep or too shallow diamonds is poor.
Dispersion is when the structure of the diamond breaks down the entering light into a spectrum of colors. The result is visible as play of colors when looking at the diamond and is also called “fire”.
Scintillation is the ability of a diamond to sparkle in intermittent flashes as you move it before your eyes. A well-cut stone exhibits a lot of sparkle, whereas a poorly cut one looks much less lively.
How Do I Know If a Diamond Cut Is Ideal?
In the context of the classic round brilliant cut, the major characteristics defining a diamond’s quality are the size of its top, the diameter of its girdle (the widest part of the stone), and its depth (or height).
Additionally, the facets of the diamond are evaluated with respect to how regular their shape is and how well they align with each other.
There are a lot of variables considered when evaluating cut, and the process can get very complex.
However, you can easily see how close a stone’s cut is to the ideal standard by looking at the diamond’s certificate and checking the grade of the cut.
The two most respected authorities that grade cut are the A.G.S. (American Gem Society) and the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America).
A.G.S. cut grades range from Ideal to Poor, while the G.I.A. uses Excellent for its top grade and Poor for the lowest.
As a general rule, avoid diamonds rated Poor, and if you buy anything below Good, don’t expect too much of your diamond in terms of brilliance or sparkle.
Keep in mind that the better the cut, the more expensive the diamond will be.
However, don’t forget that how a stone is cut is one of the most important factors determining its appearance, so paying more for a better cut may be well worth it.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).