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What you need to know about diamonds: A four part series – Cut

Before you start looking for a diamond, you want to have all of the necessary information that is available to you, because the more you know, the better prepared you are to make decisions regarding your purchase. Throughout history, the diamond has been an enduring symbol of the powerful bond of love. Its strength, brilliance and value are as unique as the individuals who wear them. A diamond’s worth is evaluated on four levels. We call these criteria the 4 C’s — cut, carat weight, color and clarity.

How a diamond is cut is extremely important. In fact, it might be the most important factor of the 4 C’s. The cut determines the diamond’s reflective qualities and directly influences its value. A diamond’s cut affects its brilliance. The better the cut, the brighter the diamond appears. More often than not, a diamond’s cut is sometimes confused with its shape. Shape is the actual appearance of a diamond, like round, pear, princess, oval, emerald, etc.

A diamond’s cut grade is an objective measure of a diamond’s light performance, or, what we generally think of as sparkle. When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond, which gemologists refer to as the table. If it is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side.

A diamond’s cut is harder to quantify than color, clarity or carat weight. That’s because cuts can vary from diamond to diamond and have to do with how the diamond cutter chooses to shape, facet and polish a diamond. Sometimes diamonds are cut so they’re heavier, thus fetching more value for their carat weight; sometimes they’re cut to hide or minimize inclusions.
But many diamond companies are focused on cutting diamonds for beauty. A diamond is essentially a prism of light, and diamond cutters work to let the most light shine through each stone. When grading the cut of a diamond, cutters evaluate the diamond’s: brightness, as the light that reflects from the diamond. They evaluate the fire, which is how the light scatters through the diamond to create a rainbow of light, as well as, the scintillation, the amount of intense sparkle or flashes that occur across the surface of the diamond as it moves under the light.

As cut can becomes to the most important factor in purchasing a diamond, learning how cut and the rest of the 4 C’s will ensure that you are buying a quality diamond.