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Cut of a Diamond

Hacking the 4Cs: Cut of a Diamond

Cut is the cardinal aspect that makes some diamonds shine and blur others.

For any diamond buff, the first serious techneme of recognizing a real diamond is based on its cut. The brilliance of a diamond is captured within its facets and cut of a diamond refers to the facet arrangement and polish of the diamond, which further determines the sparkle or interaction of the light that enters it.

What does Cut of a Diamond Mean?

If color, carat and clarity are responsible for the intrinsic makeup of the precious rock, cut determines whether the diamond is capable enough to brighten or dull the light that falls on its surface. Cut is an umbrella term that refers to the symmetry, polishing and proportions used to cut the rock. The direct resultant of cut of a diamond is its brilliance.

While all the other 3Cs highlight the diamond at its natural best, cut of a diamond helps to draw the magnificence of the diamond’s characteristics based on the artificial work done on it. The work done by a diamond cutter must amplify the reaction of the diamond facet to light.

When light falls on a diamond, 20% is immediately reflected back as the radiance of the diamond, while the rock absorbs 80%. A small part of the light escapes via the culet or bottom of the diamond and the rest reflects the light rays back and forth through the diamond. It also exits without blurring the sight. The secret to cutting the diamond for such a brilliant effect is by proportionately cutting each facet to let maximum light pass out of the crown or table, where the observer can see it.

The basic divisions of the cut of a diamond are- Round, Ideal, Brilliant and Fancy Cuts.

Definitely the job of a master diamond cutter, an expert cut of diamond will not only maximize the reflection and refraction of light, but also exaggerate the other 3Cs of the rock in addition to fattening its outlook. While a shallow cut of diamond pushes the light from the culet of the rock, a deep cut lets the light escape from the pavilion, where in both cases; the observer cannot see the scintillation!

History of Diamond Cutting

Thought of as first introduced by Tolkowsky in early 20th century, diamond cutting began as early as in Middle Ages. Unlike today’s octahedral state, diamonds were cut in anhedral symmetry at first. The rock looked black and the unappealing look of the rock prevented it from being used as jewelry at that time.

In mid 14th century, the point cut diamond evolved, which was further changed by halving the octahedron to make the table cut type of cut. Gradually, four facets were added to the four corners of the diamond, which created the old single cut. Indian diamonds influenced the creation of rose-cut of diamonds, which led to the making of the first brilliant cuts termed Mazarins (17 facets), in mid-17th century. Adjacent to Mazarins, other polishers, Vincent Peruzzi also hit fame with his 17 to 33 faceted diamonds called the Peruzzi Cut. Tolkowsky cut is also known as the old European cut, which ran throughout 19th century.

Cut Scale of Diamonds

From what was perceived as black once to what we know today as shining, searing precious rocks, diamonds have come a long way in its evolution of cut. The scale for grading the finesse of cut in a diamond differs based on many factors. But, namely there are Signature Cuts, Ideal Cuts, Good Cut, Fair Cut and Poor Cut.

·         Ideal Cut or Excellent

The optimum angle of cutting of this diamond results in maximum brilliance, fire and scintillation from the diamond. The reflection and dispersion of light is best for this cut of diamonds and there are six types of ideal cuts. The balance of the sparkle and fire is what makes the diamond of superlative quality.

This diamond also claims to have a proportionate number of dark and light spots. Comprises of 3% of the total diamonds and reflects almost all the light that enters the diamond.

·         Very good Cut

Representing up to 15% of total diamonds, the very good cut refers to rocks that reflect light almost as the ideal cut, but are slightly lesser in the sparkle. These diamonds are priced lower than excellent cuts; and boasts of a near-perfect symmetry as well as polish.

·         Good Cut

The best dashing diamonds with expert cutting, good cut diamonds are known to reflect all the light, but do not disperse or refract all the light. These diamonds constitute up to 25% of the total diamonds allotted for ornamental purposes.

This diamond is known to produce darker hues at the main of its pavilion.

·         Fair Cut

Constituting oddly 35% of the total diamonds allotted for jewelry purposes, Fair cut diamonds have lesser scintillation, in addition to a duller look than the higher cuts.

This diamonds look fairly remarkable in its appearance.

·         Poor Cut

The lowest cut grades of diamonds are the poorly cut diamonds that look unremarkable to the naked eye and tend to have too many flaws or blemishes. These rocks are usually cut without any adherence to angles and tend to have deep or shallow cuts and let the light escape without reflection or dispersion via the culet or the pavilion of the diamond.

Apart from the above, the highest cut grade of a diamond is the super ideal cut. Such diamonds constitute less than 5% of the good grade of diamonds and are rare to find. These scintillate the most and radiate a fiery brilliance.

There are two cuts for all diamond facets-Round Brilliant and Fancy Cuts.

  • Round Brilliant Cut

The safest cut to get for your diamond, round brilliant cut is renowned for its uber-safe cutting technique. Modern round cut diamonds have 58 facets with 25 on the pavilion and 33 on the crown. The flawlessly round diamond has a polished girdle that may or may not be faceted. The facets are- 16 Lower Girdle Facets, 16 Upper Girdle Facets, 8 Star Facets, 8 Kite Facets, 8 Pavilion Facets and 1 Culet.

The proportion of the crown- height and angle and pavilion- depth and angle plus table size is taken into account. The six ideal cut diamonds are Practical Fine Cut, American Ideal, Scandinavian Standard, Parker Brilliant, Ideal Brilliant and Eulitz Brilliant.

A popular effect of a round cut brilliant diamond is the Hearts and Arrows phenomenon where the diamond radiates light to form the silhouette of hearts and arrows. Another similar phenomenon is due to the passion cut. The 8 pavilions are split in this case, increasing the total facets to 81.

  • Fancy Cut

Fancy Cut diamonds are a category of diamonds that involve a variety of cuts or anything other than brilliant cuts. The four types are step cuts, rose cuts, modified brilliant cuts and mixed cuts. Two common cuts to know are step cutting and brilliant cutting. The former refers to terraced facets that are elongated and in rows, looking akin to a staircase. The latter refers to triangular facets that protrude out from the core of the diamond.

What you should worry about?

There are many things about a diamond that you can know if you can distinguish and understand different cuts in the diamond. Keeping the aesthetics of a shallow or deep cut diamond aside, how do their functionally differ?

Shallow cut is usually preferred to make a diamond look bigger than it really is. In this case, the light that enters the rock is lost via the culet. Often called a fish eye cut, even though you might think that you are getting more than your rock’s value, the shimmer will prove otherwise. You must be worried if your diamond is cut too deep too. In this case, the light enters the diamond and escapes via its sides or the pavilion. As the rock itself has a lot of depth that was primarily done to retain its mass, the light is uncontrolled and escapes easily.

Deep cut diamonds look small while shallow diamonds look dull and not-so-diamond-like!

What you should be proud of?

Apart from the tiny flashes of light that a diamond emits, there is a clear arithmetic behind how the light travels. For an expert diamond polisher, this is a cakewalk, but, in order to appreciate the same, you must know what your diamond can do or not.

Reflection is the most important result of a good quality cut, in a diamond. The light entered must not just reflect, but it must reflect out the light via the table of the diamond.

Refraction refers to the entered light bouncing within the diamond facets and eventually exiting the diamond via its table or crown. Dispersion is a superlative characteristic of high quality cut and light that enters a diamond then exits by dispersion through the table, which separates the light into many colors.

You must be proud if your diamond reflects, refracts and disperse the light that enters it. Diamond experts might use the words- Fire and Scintillation to refer to the sparkling power of a diamond.

Fire refers to the scattering of white light that enters a diamond, into the VIBGYOR colors while scintillation is the sparkle that a diamond can radiate and the subsequent patches of light and dark spots that appear on the rock.  In addition, if a diamond is referred to as bright, it means both the internal and external white are reflected in the color white, referring to specific or signature cuts.

How does the Cutting of diamonds take place?

For diamonds with brilliant light performance, flawless symmetry and artisanship, the value increases.  A diamond cutter always try to get the best value for any stone and hence, in order to exempt the natural flaws of a diamond, the carat or the brilliance might be compromised occasionally.

GIA allots a tracking number and then checks if the diamonds falls under the category of round brilliant cuts. All the other diamonds are tracked separately. The laboratory focuses on scintillation, fire and brightness within a diamond to grade its cut.  In order to calculate the specific cut that a diamond has, many factors such as the polish, culet size, girdle width and symmetry are taken into account. Using another diamond or benchmark values, a diamond’s many aspects are analyzed.

The diamonds proportions include Facet Angles, Facet Lengths, Symmetry descriptions and pattern of the sparkle within the rock.

What Cut of Diamond will look good for just-engaged Couples?

The best cut to look out for is one that offers the highest durable and safest symmetry. If you already have the symmetry in mind, then you certainly know what to look out for. When choosing the rock, make sure that it is proportionate and has scintillating angles all over

Signature or special collection of cut in a diamond is the best attraction of most diamond makers. Avoid choosing diamonds with cut grade less than good.

The considerations for Cut Grading

When cutting a diamond, often, diamond cutters look to make the heaviest diamond out. Seldom is the cut given weight and hence, larger diamonds can have lower cut qualities too.  While depth and shallowness in a diamond determines its sparkle and guarantee of looking precious, cut can also help to make a diamond look bigger or valuable.

The chief consideration of cut in a diamond is the skill of the diamond cutter.

The Bottom Line

To most diamond enthusiasts, cut of a diamond defines its style and outlook. The same is why, the misconception that cut of a diamond refers to the shape of a diamond is silly. Nevertheless, the truth is that, cut is not the shape, but the symmetry of a diamond. One easy way to determine if your diamond is of poor or superlative cut is its luminescence. Simply put, the sparkle of the diamond determines the efficiency of its cut.

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