The Four C’s of Diamonds: Cut

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The Four C’s of Diamonds: Cut

Cut is the factor that fuels a diamond’s fire, sparkle and brilliance. The image to the right shows how important the proper cut can be in making the diamond as brilliant as possible. If the diamond is cut too deep or too shallow, it will not reflect light back to the eye in the most optimal fashion possible and the diamond won’t have that fiery brilliance that is so sought after.

The traditional 58 facets in a round brilliant diamond, each precisely cut and defined, are as small as two millimeters in diameter. But without this precision, a diamond wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful. The allure of a particular diamond depends more on cut than anything else.

Though extremely difficult to analyze or quantify, the cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance (the total light reflected from a diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved).

An understanding of diamond cut begins with the shape of a diamond. The standard round brilliant is the shape used in most diamond jewelry. All others are known as fancy shapes. Traditional fancy shapes include the marquise, pear, oval and emerald cuts. Hearts, cushions, triangles and a variety of others are also gaining popularity in diamond jewelry.

As a value factor, though, cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. For example, look at a side view of the standard round brilliant. The major components, from top to bottom, are the crown, girdle and pavilion. A round brilliant cut diamond has 57 or 58 facets, the 58th being a tiny flat facet at the bottom of the pavilion that’s known as the culet. The large, flat facet on the top is the table. The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. A wide range of proportion combinations are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone’s interaction with light.

In early 2005, GIA unveiled a diamond cut grading system for standard round brilliants in the D-to-Z color range. This system, the product of more than 15 years of intensive research and testing, assigns an overall diamond cut grade ranging from Excellent to Poor.

Standard Stone Shapes

As the old saying goes, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, which diamond shape you should choose is a matter of personal preference and why Zadok Jewelers carries many different shapes and sizes of stones. Each have their attraction and benefits and below we try to provide you with some information about each to help you better decide which shape is best for you.

The most popular non-round diamond, its beautiful brilliance and unique cut make it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. Princess-cut diamonds can vary greatly in how square or rectangular they are. To find the dimension of princess you want, ask your salesperson about the length-to-width ratio. This will determine what the diamond will look like when viewing it from above. Here are length-to-width ratios for princess-cut diamond shapes that are pleasing to the eye. For a princess diamond shape that is square, look for length-to-width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios greater than 1.10.

Oval Cut Diamond

An oval cut diamond has beautiful brilliance that’s similar to a round diamond. To find the dimension of oval you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the most traditional oval diamonds, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.33 and 1.66.

Marquise Cut Diamond

The shape of a marquise diamond can maximize carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. To find the dimension of marquise you want, as a salesperson about the length-to-width ratio. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the most traditional marquise-cut diamonds, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.75 and 2.25.

Heart Cut Diamond

The heart is the ultimate symbol of love. The unique look of the heart-shaped diamond helps make it a distinctive choice for a variety of diamond jewelry. When choosing a color grade, consider that while the price of a J-color heart shaped diamond is exceptional, color may be slightly visible in its corners. To find the dimension of heart-shape you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For a more traditional heart-shaped diamond, look for length-to-width ratios between .90 and 1.10.

Emerald Cut Diamond

What makes this shape different is its pavilion, which is cut with rectangular facets to create a unique optical appearance. Due to its larger, open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond. If you choose an emerald-cut with a lower clarity grade, such as SI, be sure to review the clarity plot on the diamond certificate. Also, emerald-cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are. If you’d prefer an emerald cut with a squared outline, look for an Asscher-cut diamond. To find the shape of emerald you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the classic emerald-cut shape, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.30 and 1.40.

Cushion Cut Diamond

This shape has been around for hundreds of years and due to the shape of these diamonds, they are also known as “pillow cut” diamonds. The corners of these diamonds are rounded and the facets are cut larger to increase the shine of the diamonds. The large facets give rise to clarity in the appearance of the diamonds. You can buy these diamonds in square and rectangular shapes. Cushion cut diamonds are rising in popularity by the day. If you take a closer look at these diamonds, they look like a combination of a Radiant and Round brilliant.

Radiant Cut Diamond

The name says it all. The Radiant cut combines the shape of an emerald cut gem with the sparkle of a brilliant cut rectangular gemstone.

Radiant diamonds were introduced to the diamond world in the 1970’s and received their name due to the tremendous amount of brilliant white light and colorful fire that “radiate” from the stone. This radiance is the result of the shape’s high number of facets, totaling 70, which allow white light to be broken into all of the spectral colors and reflected throughout the stone many more times than a shape with less facets. When looking directly down through the table* (large flat facet on top of a diamond) of a well cut radiant diamond, one would see the illusion of infinite sparkle and reflection, often similar to the mirror effect in a “House of Mirrors.” Although the Radiant cut has the same look or outline of an Emerald cut, the difference lays in the amount of facets required for each shape. The Emerald cut has Far fewer facets than most other shapes, which gives it a calmer, pristine look similar to a tranquil pool of water. On the other hand, the Radiant cut diamond, with over 70 facets, lights up with brilliance and color like fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Radiant diamonds are unique and what make them so are the corners that are trimmed with utmost care and perfection. The cut is also one of the reasons why this diamond is used with a number of other diamond cuts and used in making some exquisite jewelry pieces. Even when this diamond shape is set with round or baguette diamonds, it will make a striking appearance and give a new look to the jewelry item. The rectangularity in these diamonds can vary largely. When looking for Radiant cut diamonds, make sure that you take a look at the length width ratio, as they can be cut into perfectly symmetrical squares as well as elongated rectangular shapes.

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