14 Apr Diamond Cut And The Four Cs of Diamond Grading
The value of a diamond can differ greatly from one diamond to the next. This value is determined based on the 4 Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight, with diamond cut being the most important C and the one that has the greatest influence on a diamond’s beauty and worth.
Unbeknownst to many, a diamond’s cut is one of the most important qualities to consider when buying a diamond ring. Often confused with shape, cut actually refers to the diamond’s overall proportions, as well as the size and position of its facets. A good cut brings out a stone’s beauty, while a poor cut can make a stone with good color and clarity look dull and lifeless.
The Quality of the Cut Determines a Diamond’s Overall Beauty and Sparkle
The cut of a diamond effects what we generally think of as the sparkle, or light performance. It affects how light reflects from, enters and leaves the diamond. When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light is returned through the top, or crown of the diamond and makes it shine with that gorgeous sparkle that gives the diamond the appearance of depth.
If the diamond is cut too shallow as in the picture below, the light escapes out of the bottom of the diamond. If the cut is too deep, the light leaks out the side. In either case, the diamond is left looking dull and lifeless due to poor light return.
The cut of a diamond has three main effects on its appearance: brilliance (the brightness created as a result of the combination of all the white light reflecting from the surface and the inside of the diamond), fire (the scattering of light into the colors of the light spectrum visible to the human eye, seen as little flashes of color), and scintillation (the flashes of sparkle when a diamond is moved). With a cut that is too shallow or too deep, the quality of light return will prevent all three of these qualities that make a diamond beautiful.
An Ideal Diamond Cut
For the best results, the proportions of a diamond’s facets, symmetry and the relationship of its weight to its diameter, girdle thickness and quality of polish have to work together in just the right way.
Many studies have been conducted to find the optimal proportions of a diamond’s cut so that it has the maximum amount of light performance, giving it the greatest amount of sparkle. If its cut is within these parameters, it is considered an ideal cut. Diamonds with these ideal proportions, symmetry and polish optimize their interaction with the light that enters and have increased brilliance.
When Shopping for a Diamond Engagement Ring
When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, it is vital that you, the shopper, understand what a good cut entails in a diamond. A poorly cut diamond will seem dull even with excellent clarity and color, while a well cut diamond can have slightly lower color and still look beautiful due to its superior ability to sparkle and create brilliance.
The cut grade of a diamond is assigned by the GIA with the following scale:
|Excellent||Maximum light return. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond, giving it maximum fire and brilliance.|
|Very Good||Reflects most of the light that enters the diamond, giving it superior fire, brilliance and sparkle. In good lighting conditions, resembles Excellent Cut, but at a lower price.|
|Good||Reflects a majority of the light that enters the diamond and has an above average sparkle. This cut grade is a good choice, as it has an exceptional value compared to higher cut grades.|
|Fair||Much of the light that enters the diamond escapes from the sides or the bottom of the diamond, leaving it with reduced fire and brilliance.|
|Poor||Allows most of the light that enters the diamond to escape from the sides or bottom of the diamond. Diamond appears dull and lifeless.|
As you can see, a diamond cut grade of Good will not necessarily mean the diamond is a bad choice. On the contrary, a diamond of Good cut may be a more acceptable choice, especially for diamonds with fancy shapes, or for those on a budget whose primary concern is size.
When buying a diamond for the first time, it is important to find out what cut grade suits you. Now that you understand how cut affects a diamond’s brilliant appearance, consult a diamond expert who can walk you through the diamond selection process and answer any other questions you have in order to find the perfect diamond cut, size and design that fits your budget and your vision.