Cut is one of the most important quality characteristics of a diamond. This is why it is very important to know how diamond cut is classified and graded in order to make the best choice when shopping.
Let’s see what different types of diamond cuts are there and what their characteristics are.
Diamond Cut vs. Shape
People often use the words “cut” and “shape” interchangeably when talking about diamonds. However, these two terms have slightly different meanings.
Shape refers to the general outline of a stone.
On the other hand, although a specific cut implies a certain shape, the term cut technically refers to the number, arrangement, shape, and proportions of a stone’s facets.
So, a diamond’s shape tells you how a stone looks, whereas its cut gives you information as to how this shape has been achieved through cutting.
Technically, two diamonds may have the same or similar shapes, but their cuts will be considered different if their facets are arranged or shaped differently.
Although cut and shape mean different things, in most cases, a diamond’s cut tells you what its shape is, and vice versa.
When talking about diamond cuts, we should also say a word about facets. 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, Step Cuts, and Mixed Cuts
Brilliant cuts have facets that are arranged in such a way as to maximize the stone’s brilliance. The classic round cut is a brilliant cut.
Step cuts, in contrast, have facets that are parallel to each other and to the stone’s edge, and they do not enhance the brilliance and sparkle of the diamond. The emerald cut is an example of a step cut.
Mixed cuts have features of both brilliant and step cuts. For example, the radiant cut is a type of mixed cut.
A fancy cut is any diamond cut that is different from the classic round cut. For example, the pear cut, the heart cut, and the oval cut are all fancy diamond cuts.
There are different grading scales for diamond cut, but in general, cut is graded according to how close its proportions are to those of an accepted benchmark.
The round cut benchmark is the most developed standard for cut grading, and the guidelines for its proportions are very detailed. The grading standards for other cuts are not as well established and are, in general, much less restrictive.
Common Types of Cuts and Shapes
Although there are a number of diamond cuts available in the market, here are the ones you are most likely to see when shopping for jewelry:
The round cut is perhaps the most popular diamond cut sold today.
This is the cut that is specifically designed to maximize brilliance, and for this reason, flaws and yellow tints in round-cut diamonds are less visible than in stones of other cuts.
Many consumers consider the round cut the classic diamond cut.
The princess cut is similar to the round cut in that both are brilliant cuts, but the princess cut has a rectangular outline instead of a round one.
Although not as brilliant as the round cut, the princess cut is a good alternative to it if you are looking for a diamond that has a square or rectangular shape while exhibiting a good amount of sparkle.
Emerald and Asscher Cuts
The emerald cut is a rectangular step cut with trimmed corners, and its square variation is called “Asscher cut.”
The emerald and Asscher cuts differ only in outline, but the shape and arrangement of their facets are the same.
These cuts do not have as much brilliance as the round or princess cuts, and thus any imperfections or color tints in the emerald and Asscher cuts are more visible.
Cushion-cut diamonds look rectangular or square, but their corners are rounded, making the stone’s shape look like a pillow. The cushion cut belongs to the group of brilliant cuts.
The radiant cut has a rectangular or square shape with truncated corners. This is yet another brilliant cut, and it is often compared to the cushion cut.
The radiant cut has some features that are characteristic of the emerald cut, and this commonality leads some people to classify the radiant cut as a mixed cut.
The oval cut is another brilliant diamond cut and can be viewed as a modified version of the round cut.
An oval-cut diamond is a good choice if you want your piece of jewelry to create the impression of length, especially if the stone is mounted in a ring.
Marquise-cut diamonds have an oval-looking outline, but they have two pointed ends.
These sharp points are especially vulnerable to chipping and should be protected properly by the setting when the diamond is mounted in a piece of jewelry.
The pear cut has an oval-looking shape, and one of its ends is pointed, making this cut’s outline look like a drop or a pear.
Pear cuts combine features of the marquise cut and the oval cut.
If you have a pear-shaped diamond, make sure its sharp end is protected when set in a piece of jewelry.
The heart cut looks very similar to the pear cut, but the rounded end of a heart-shaped diamond has a cleft.
If you are buying a heart-cut diamond, make sure its left and right parts are symmetrical.
Trilliant Cut (Trillion Cut)
The trilliant (or trillion) cut has a triangular outline.
Its ends can be pointed or rounded, and if they are sharp, they will be vulnerable to chipping, so they should be protected accordingly when worn.
Trilliant-cut diamonds are often used as side stones, but they can also be worn as center diamonds.