What is an Ideal Cut for a Diamond?

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Out of all four C’s (color, cut, clarity, and carat), many diamond experts believe that cut is the most important. People use the term “cut” in two different ways. First, it is used to describe the shape of the diamond. For example, round cut indicates that the diamond has a circular shape. However, when used on diamond certifications, “cut” refers to the proportions, symmetry, and reflective qualities of the stone.

The Diamond Cut Grade Scale

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses the following scale to grade a diamond’s cut:

  • Excellent: Diamonds with this grade reflect nearly all of the light that enters the stone. Excellent cut diamonds have maximum brilliance and will sparkle more than any other.
  • Very Good: Most light is reflected in a very good diamond cut. Under certain lighting conditions, very good and excellent cuts may look similar, but a skilled professional will be able to spot the difference.
  • Good: These diamonds have an above average brilliance and reflect more than half of the light that enters through the stone.
  • Fair: Diamonds with a fair cut grade do not have much brilliance because the majority of the light that enters the stone escapes through the sides.
  • Poor: Diamonds with a poor grade do not have any brilliance and may appear very dull to the naked eye.
The Diamond Cut Grade Scale

Factors That Influence The Diamond Cut Grade

GIA looks at several factors before assigning a cut grade to a diamond, but it all comes down to a diamond’s facets. Facets are flat, polished surfaces on the diamond that reflect light off of one another to create brilliance. The size, angle, and placement of facets will affect a diamond’s brilliance, and therefore, its cut grade.

When grading a diamond, the GIA looks at the brightness of the stone and how well it reflects white light. The graders also look at the light and dark areas within the stone caused by the reflection of light.

Besides its brilliance, GIA will also look at the design of the diamond when assigning a cut grade. Diamonds with good symmetry and polish will score high on the scale. The proportions of the diamond, specifically how the depth compares to the width, will also play a role in how it is graded.

Factors That Influence The Diamond Cut Grade

So What is an Ideal Cut for a Diamond?

If you are shopping for a diamond, you may be wondering which cut should you buy. The whole answer depends on your budget, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to make your decision easier.

First, it’s important to note that the cut grading scale above is the not only scale you should rely on when choosing a diamond. Some retailers will use grades such as “ideal” or “super ideal” to describe their stock. While these are often great indicators of quality, be sure to always ask for the GIA grade as well as the retailer-specific grade.

When it comes to choosing your cut grade for a particular diamond shape, the grade that you need to get the right amount of brilliance can vary.

If you are buying a round diamond, it’s recommended that you choose one with a grade of very good or excellent if you want as much brilliance as possible. If you are buying other shapes, such as emerald or Asscher cuts, which hide imperfections better, you can go with a grade of good or higher and get the same amount of sparkle.

Note that a diamond with a high cut grade will still appear brilliant even if it has a low clarity grade. On the other hand, a diamond with a high clarity grade will not appear brilliant if it has a low cut grade. Because of this, you should prioritize finding a diamond with a high cut grade, instead of looking for a stone with a high clarity grade.

Finally, it’s best to avoid diamonds with a poor cut grade. Even if you are on a tight budget, a poor cut diamond is not a wise investment!

The ideal cut for a diamond is the one that catches your eye and fits within your price range—so follow these tips to find the right one for you!

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