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Cut: delivers the sparkle
Cut is the only feature of a diamond that is controlled by man — all other characteristics of the diamond are determined by Mother Nature when she created the diamond billions of years ago. The cut of a diamond may be the single most important characteristic that determines its value. Two diamonds of the exact same size with similar CLARITY and COLOR grades may appear dramatically different to the eye, and have significantly different values due to the cut.
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 a diamond is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side.
Though extremely difficult to analyze or quantify, the cut of any diamond has three attributes:
The cut unlocks the beauty that lies within each diamond, and the quality of the cut determines how well a diamond reflects and refracts light. In other words, the better the quality of the cut, the more scintillation, brilliance and fire a diamond has. Many gemologists consider cut the most important diamond characteristic because even if a diamond has perfect color and clarity, a diamond with a poor cut has dulled brilliance.
There is a set of mathematical proportions for diamond cutting that is accepted as "ideal." The closer a diamond is cut to these proportions, the more it will sparkle.
Ideal: Represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. Exquisite and rare.
Very Good: Represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly as much light as the Ideal cut, but for a lower price.
Good: Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Much less expensive than a Very Good cut.
Fair: Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Still a quality diamond, but a Fair cut is not as brilliant as a Good cut.
Poor: Diamonds cut deep and narrow or shallow and wide.
The traditional 58 facets in a round brilliant diamond, each precisely cut and defined, are as small as two millimeters in diameter. But without this precision, a diamond wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful.
An understanding of diamond cut begins with the shape of a diamond. The standard round brilliant is the shape used in most diamond jewelry. All others are known as “fancy shapes.” Traditional fancy shapes include the marquise, pear, oval and emerald cuts. Hearts, cushions, triangles and a variety of others are also gaining popularity in diamond jewelry.