Why does cut matter?

The cut of a diamond directly influences both beauty and price. But because the cut grading factors in so many variables, buyers can find themselves going around in circles trying to figure it out. This article will make it a little easier for you.

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What is diamond cut?

First things first: it’s not the shape of the diamond. But we’ll get to that.

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The cut of a diamond refers to its unique proportions, symmetry and ability to catch and reflect light. The diamond cutter will cut many facets (or flat surfaces) at various angles, all over the diamond to affect how it looks and behaves in the light. In short, cut is what makes your diamond sparkle and shine. And when it comes to visual impact, a diamond depends more on cut than any of the other 4Cs.

Because cut brings so many variables into play, it can be extremely difficult to define. However, the main purpose of cut is to affect the appearance of the stone, and much of this is to do with how the different facets absorb and return light:

  • Brilliance: the brightness, or the amount of light the diamond returns

  • Fire: when the dispersed light appears as flashes or ‘rainbow’ colours

  • Scintillation: the intense ‘glittering’ when the diamond is moved.

Diamonds can be cut in almost unlimited ways. The size, angle and shape of every facet of your diamond greatly affects how the light interacts with your stone.

Types of cut

Only Round shape diamonds have a cut grade. However, being that this is the most popular diamond shape, it’s worth knowing what to look for.

When researching cut, it’s easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of information on girdle width, culet size, diamond depth percentage, and diamond table percentage. Fortunately, your GIA grading report has already taken these factors into account – the result is the awarded cut grade.

Excellent
  • Maximum fire, maximum brilliance

  • Proportions are usually smaller

  • Excellent cut diamonds are the most expensive of all the cuts.

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See excellent diamonds
Very good
  • Superior fire and brilliance

  • Reflects most of the light that enters the diamond

  • Usually a larger proportioned stone

  • Combine beauty and value: Very Good cuts usually appear very similar to Excellent cuts, with a lower price.

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See very good diamonds
Good
  • Majority of fire and brilliance

  • Reflects much of the light that enters the diamond

  • The cutter has usually prioritised carat weight over cut

  • Combine beauty and value: Good cuts are budget friendly, but still retain the quality and beauty of the diamond.

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See good diamonds
Fair
  • Reduced fire and brilliance

  • Most of the light escapes the stone

  • The cutter has usually prioritised carat weight over cut

  • Acceptable for smaller stones the sparkle is much harder to see.

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See fair diamondss

Cut vs. shape.

Cut is often confused with shape. However, they are two different things. Only Round shape diamonds have a cut grade, while there are many different types of diamond shape.

Cut.

  • The cut has the biggest influence on a diamond’s aesthetic: beauty and sparkle.

  • There are two types of cut: brilliant and step

  • Unless you’re investing in a stone of great clarity (i.e. it’s quite flawless), go for a brilliant cut.

Shape.

  • The shape speaks directly to the wearer’s personality and style. There are many different types of diamond shape, each with its own unique level of brilliance

  • Most brilliant: round

  • Highly brilliant: oval, marquise, pear

  • Very brilliant: princess, heart, trilliant

  • Brilliant: cushion, emerald, asscher, radiant.

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