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Diamond Cut, Clarity and Color Grade Guide


Anatomy of a Diamond

The cut of the diamond is one of its most defining characters. This is what determines its brilliance over the fire, if the cut is poor, diamonds will appear dull irrespective of how flawless it may look. Although carat, carat weight and color matters, it is the cut of the diamond that determines its ability to reflect light.

Components of Diamond

The following components makes up diamond. Here are they.

1. Table: The largest facet of the diamond is referred to as the table.

2. Crown: This is the part that extends from the top of the stone right down to the girdle. They can be made of steep or brilliant cuts.

3. Girdle: This is the outer edge of the diamond, it is the part where the crown and the pavilion meets. It is measured in the perimeter of the diamond, it can be faceted polished or even rough.

4. Pavilion: This is located at the base of the diamond. It connects the girdle and the culet. It is fundamental to the reflective properties of the stone. If properly utilized, it will allow for a generous reflection of light from the stones.

5. Culet: This is located at the bottom of the stone, it is the smallest facet of the stone located at the very base of the diamond. Its original design was to protect the diamond, but today’s stones are strong enough to make this part unnecessary.

Cut Definitions

The geometric properties of a diamond is referred to as the cut. There are some characteristics that should be evaluated when considering the cut of the diamond. Here they are

• Measurement: The unit is in millimeters and dimensions are used in the determination of the symmetry of cut.

• Proportions: This is the measure of the number of sides of the facets of overall dimensions in the determination of the quality of cut.

• Table Percentage: This is the ratio of the width of the top facet of the diamond with respect to the width of the entire stone. When the ratio is right, there is a higher amount of fire and brilliance.

• Depth and Depth Percentage: The height of the stone from the table to the culet is referred to as the depth. It is measured in millimeters. The ration of the stone depth to the outer diameter of the stone is referred to as the Depth percentage.

When properly cut, diamonds reflects more light and a higher levels of fire and brilliance, while poorly cut diamonds will not allow for the proper reflection of light hence it will always appear dull.


Two methods are commonly used for the cutting of diamonds. Each method reflects light uniquely. Here they are:

• Step-Cut Faceting: With this design, the facets are elongated and a mirrored staircase is simulated by placing the facets in rows. This gives the crown and the pavilion view.

• Brilliant-Cut Faceting: This design creates facets shaped like triangles that faces outwards from the center of the diamonds. The Crown view and the Pavilion Views are generated from this design.

Additional Variables

Other factors that are key to the quality of diamonds are polish and symmetry. These are critical to the cut of the diamond. They are:

• Polish: After cutting, every facet of the diamond should be properly polished as this will allow for maximum brilliance. This gives a high quality surface finish.

• Symmetry: When they are properly symmetrical, they will have a well-balanced and excellently aligned facet. This will result in a high level of fire and brilliance. If there is no excellent symmetry, there will be neither spackle nor allure.

• Cut Grade:• A cut grade is assigned by a gemologist, this serves as a means of determining the proportion of craftsmanship, polish and light reflecting properties. When the cut grade is high, the brilliance will also be high.

Effect of Light on Diamonds

Diamonds refracts direct rays of light. It has the ability to break light into different spectrum’s and direct it into the observer’s eye. This is a very important characteristics of diamond. When exposed, tiny flashes are visible, these are known as sparkles or scintillation. It is an effect of the stone’s reflection and refraction of light.

Cut & Value
The value of a diamond is significantly impacted by the diamond’s cut. When a stone is properly cut, more of the rough properties are expunged during the cutting process, it also leads to better reflection properties. When improperly cut, the reverse becomes the case as it will look dull and have less appeal.

Cut & Depth
Diamonds are generally categorized into three main types of cuts. They are Shallow cuts, ideal cuts and deep cuts.

For shallow cut diamonds, they are made to look larger. They are not as bright because they allow light to escape from the sides. For ideal cuts, they are of a higher quality and they are an excellent reflector of light. Deep cuts have the poorest cuts hence they reflect light poorly.

Brilliance Diamond Make

The overall appearance of diamonds is described as the “make”. This is the looks of the diamond as a result of the shape, cut, polish, symmetry and reflective properties. The make is directly impacted by the beauty and brilliance. The following are used to rate the make of diamonds;

• Good Make, (Single Star): It has economical choice, reflecting light and offering beauty at an attractive value.
• Very Good Make, (Double Star): This reflects nearly all light that enters it, it is less expensive as compared to the Excellent make, but has a reasonable level of sparkle.
• Excellent Make, (Triple Star): This is cut to a high level of symmetry, it reflects all light brilliance and fire.
• Ideal make, (Four Star): The level of craftsmanship is superior hence it reflects the most brilliance of light, preferred by premium consumers.
• Super Ideal Make, (Five Star): This is the highest quality attainable. It reflects the highest amount of light, exhibiting the highest level of brilliance. It is an extremely rear make.

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