The term “diamond cut” can be a bit confusing, because initially when people think cut, they think shape – a round brilliant or a heart shape diamond. And that is part of a cut, but the cut that goes along with the four C’s, that is, clarity, cut, colour, and carat, is referring to the way the diamond is cut that maximizes its facets to give it the biggest sparkle and shine.
The cut of a diamond is what makes a diamond sparkle, and the brilliance of a well cut diamond can make it appear larger than it actually is. The facets in a diamond are what catch the light and reflect it, causing the diamond to shimmer and shine. So in many cases, the cut of a diamond is the most important characteristic of your ring, at least as far as the four C’s go. If a diamond is cut correctly to maximize its facets, the light will reflect off the top, or table, of the diamond. If it is cut too deep, the light leaks out the side, and if it is cut too shallow, the light is trapped at the bottom of the diamond, meaning that it does not reflect much at all.
There are several different cut grades, ranging from ideal to a poor cut. The price of a diamond corresponds to its grade, so an ideal cut would cost significantly more than a poor cut, but for good reason. Well cut diamonds are very rare, and they also require a diamond cutter with a great deal of precision and skill. A well cut diamond also takes much more time and effort.
• Ideal Cut – Only the top 3% of diamonds make it into this category. This cut reflects almost all the light giving it incredible brilliance.
• Very Good Cut – Approximately the top 15% of diamonds have this grading. This cut reflects almost as much light as an Ideal Cut but with a lower price.
• Good Cut – The top 25% of diamonds have a Good Cut rating. It reflects most of the light that enters the diamond.
• Fair Cut – Fair Cut is the top 35% of diamonds. Not as brilliant or reflective as a Good Cut.
• Poor Cut – These diamonds are too deep or too shallow to reflect the light.
The other cut of a diamond is known as its shape, but the two terms are often used interchangeably. The shape of a diamond is the way it is cut, and there are several to choose from. Each different cut boasts different benefits, and the choice of which shape to choose will come down to personal taste and, if you have already chosen a ring setting, it will also depend on what shape fits in that setting.
• Round Brilliant – Round Brilliant is the most popular shape for engagement rings, by far. Because of its popularity, much research has gone into maximizing its brilliance and sparkle.
• Princess – The Princess cut is the most popular non-round cut. It is a square cut with pointed corners, although it can vary between strictly square to a rectangular shape.
• Emerald – An emerald cut is also square to rectangle shape, but with rounded corners. What sets it apart is the way the pavilions are cut to maximize clarity.
• Asscher – Asscher cuts are very similar to the emerald cuts, but the asscher cut is always square. It is cut to maximize clarity as well.
• Marquise – A marquise diamond is oval in shape, with pointed ends. It is cut to maximize brilliance and has a slenderizing affect on the finger.
• Oval – An oval cut has all the benefits of a round brilliant, because it is cut to maximize sparkle, and like the marquise shape, it also elongates long, slender fingers.
• Radiant – A radiant cut is a square cut, similar to the princess, but the corners are trimmed. The facets are cut to maximize brilliance and shine.
• Pear – The pear cut is also known as the teardrop because of its rounded bottom and pointed top. It has the ability to create a slimming illusion on the finger.
• Heart – The heart shape is one of the fancy cuts. It is cut simply because a heart is the symbol of love, and what better symbol to grace an engagement ring than one that represents love?
• Cushion – The cushion cut has been hugely popular for more than a century. Also known as a pillow cut, this shape has a square or rectangle cut with rounded corners. Their larger facets give this shape even more brilliance because of its ability to catch and reflect the light.