The 4 C’s: Cut
Understanding the 4 C’s will help you find the perfect diamond for your partner
A diamond’s cut doesn’t just refer to its shape. It also determines how well the diamond captures and refracts light, which produces its inimitable sparkle. Well-cut diamonds are extremely brilliant, fiery, and desirable. Poor-cut diamonds, on the other hand, can appear dull and dark even if they have a high grade of color or clarity.
The intense radiance of well-cut diamonds also give them the illusion of appearing larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight. Ideal diamonds have elevated levels of brilliance and diameter compared to diamonds with deeper cuts.
Cut is often considered the most important characteristic of the 4 C’s. This is because it has the biggest impact on the diamond’s overall appearance and quality. Jewelers recommend paying attention to the cut of a diamond above all else.
Types Of Diamond Cuts
The quality of the cut is defined by the diamond’s proportions and symmetry. A high quality cut can only be created by a highly skilled craftsman.
Diamonds are graded according to a scale, which goes from Ideal to Poor. Even the untrained eye will notice that diamonds with higher cut grades will be more sparkly than diamonds with lower cut grades.
- Ideal Cut diamonds have outstanding sparkle and flawless symmetry. They are cut to perfect proportions for refracting light.
- Excellent Cut diamonds have exceptional sparkle and even patterns.
- Very Good Cut diamonds have great sparkle and polish. They are considered symmetrical.
- Good Cut diamonds have a fine sparkle. They have a reasonable level of polish and symmetry.
- Fair Cut diamonds have a low level of sparkle and polish. They are not always symmetrical.
- Poor Cut diamonds appear dim and asymmetrical, with uneven spots on their surface.
Diamond Cut vs Diamond Shape
These two terms are often mistakenly interchanged. A diamond’s cut focuses more on its proportions and symmetry, while the shape describes the physical form of the stone.
The most common diamond shapes are round, oval, princess, cushion, emerald, pear, marquise, radiant, asscher, and heart. Any shape other than round is considered a fancy shaped diamond.
A diamond cut, on the other hand, is determined by its grade. Two completely different diamond shapes could have the same cut. For example, an oval and asscher diamond could both have Excellent cuts, even though one diamond is rounded and the other is square.
It’s also important to note that “fancy” is also a term used to describe colored diamonds. This means you could have a diamond that is both fancy colored and shaped, such as a Fancy Blue cushion diamond.
Round & Fancy Shape Diamond Cuts
Only round brilliant diamonds can have an Ideal Cut. The alignments of their facets make it easy to cut perfect proportions for optimal sparkle and symmetry.
Fancy shaped diamonds such as oval, pear, and emerald have different facet alignments, which makes it difficult to attain Ideal Cut level. However, this does not mean that fancy shaped diamonds are of a poor quality. They can still attain Excellent grades and display an exquisite sparkle.
Brides that desire unique shapes shouldn’t feel like they’re sacrificing quality or beauty when choosing a fancy shaped diamond. Seek out diamonds with Excellent polish and symmetry grades to ensure you’re getting a high quality stone that highlights your love’s individuality.
Grading Fancy Shape Diamonds
Fancy shaped diamonds have the same grades as round diamonds, but gemologists use a different approach when evaluating them. Round diamonds are graded using precise measurements, while fancy shaped diamonds use a more subjective approach that measures the stone’s appearance and cut execution.
Brilliance, Dispersion, Fire & Scintillation
Any well-cut diamond will have four key characteristics: brilliance, dispersion, fire, and scintillation.
- Brilliance refers to the light reflected off a diamond’s surface. Whenever light hits the surface of a diamond, it will either reflect off the surface or enter the stone. A well-cut diamond will allow the light to reflect rather than enter, creating a stunning shiny appearance.
- Dispersion occurs when light rays separate into flashes of color after hitting the surface of the diamond.
- Fire is the result of dispersion. White light separates into the spectral colors of the rainbow, creating a fiery appearance on the diamond’s surface.
- Scintillation are the flashes of color that are visible whenever the diamond is in motion. It is the play between the fire and whiteness inside the facets of the diamond.
All four of these elements come together in a well-cut diamond, no matter what its shape is, to create a magnificent and beautiful sparkle.
Determining Cut In Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are cut using the same processes and tools as mined diamonds, and are therefore graded using the same system.
Another benefit of choosing lab grown diamonds, aside from their ethics and value, is that they tend to have better cuts. Synthetic rough is generally more uniform and has fewer imperfections than mined rough. This means that cutters can sculpt higher quality stones from synthetic rough, since they are faced with less limitations. Lab grown diamonds can easily be cut to optimize the stone’s beauty and intrinsic sparkle.
Cut should be your biggest priority when selecting a diamond, since it will directly impact its radiance. Clarity, color, and carat weight can all be secondary factors. Remember that a smaller diamond with a higher quality cut will be more alluring than a larger stone with a worse quality cut!