One of the most defining characteristics of a diamond is its cut. While high grades of color, clarity, and carat weight affect a diamond, it's the cut that determines the symmetry of the stone's facets, its overall proportions, and its ability to reflect light.
An expertly-cut diamond will achieve high levels of brilliance, sparkle, and durability. Even if a diamond is graded well in other areas, a poor cut can result in a dull, muted effect.
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A diamond is comprised of five main parts that affect its shape and radiance. Knowing these terms will help you understand the important components to consider when selecting a diamond.
There are many factors that affect a diamond’s brilliance, the most important of which is its ability to reflect light. As a diamond passes through a light source, tiny flashes will be visible within the stone.
The cut of a diamond determines how much light is reflected back to the wearer, directly impacting its brilliance and fire. Diamonds are generally categorized into three main types of cuts:
A diamond's cut is an integral factor in determining its brilliance and fire. Even a flawless diamond will appear dull and muted if the cut is poor. When evaluating the cut of a diamond, there are some core characteristics and terminology that should be known:
With modern diamond-cutting techniques, there are two common methods of cutting facets, each with its own unique, light-reflecting properties:
In this approach, the facets are elongated and placed in rows to simulate a mirrored staircase.
This technique creates triangular-shaped facets that face outwards from the center of the diamond.
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A diamond's polish and symmetry are critical to the quality of its cut. For maximum brilliance, every facet of a diamond should be professionally polished after the cutting process. A high quality polish will leave little to no scratches and marks, while a poor polish can result in imperfections on the surface of the diamond, which can lower its value.
A symmetrical diamond will have well-balanced, properly aligned facets, resulting in a high level of fire and brilliance. If the facets are not symmetrical or not optimally shaped, they'll display less sparkle.
A gemologist assigns a cut grade as a means of measuring a diamond's proportions, craftsmanship, quality of polish, and light reflecting properties. A diamond with a high quality cut grade will exude a large amount of brilliance and fire.
A diamond's ratings for symmetry, polish, and cut grade may vary based on which Gemological Laboratory is evaluating it, as each agency uses a different scale. To learn more, visit our Diamond Certification page.
The cut quality of a diamond can vary depending on the stone’s shape. To learn about each diamond shape, please visit our Diamond Shape page.
The quality of a diamond's cut has a significant impact on its value. A well cut stone sacrifices more of the rough diamond during the cutting process, resulting in a higher market value. It will, however, exhibit better light reflecting properties, exuding greater fire and brilliance. Improperly cut diamonds will have less visual appeal and a decreased value. To ensure the best value, look for a certified diamond with polish and symmetry ratings of 'Good' or better.
Not all certification labs offer a “Cut” on their certificates especially when it comes to fancy shaped diamonds (non-round cuts). Understanding that this is a crucial factor when purchasing a diamond, Brilliance gives its own rating on a diamond called a “Diamond Make or Cut”. Combining all the different factors that are important in a diamond cut, “Make” is a term used to describe the overall appearance of a diamond and is based on a combined analysis of its shape, cut, proportions, polish, symmetry, and light reflecting properties. The “Make” of a diamond directly impacts its brilliance and beauty; if a diamond is designed, cut, and finished properly, it will have a much more desirable appearance, even when compared to diamonds of higher color and clarity grades. Brilliance gemologists use this term to provide our customers with a general assessment of cut to simplify shopping for the perfect loose diamond.
We use the following designations to rate the 'Make' of our diamonds: