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Why Cut is the Most Important Factor When Buying a Diamond

What is Cut and How Does it Affect a Diamond’s Appearance?

Cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polish of a diamond. It is not the same as shape, which is the outline of a diamond, such as round, oval, or pear. Cut determines how well a diamond reflects and refracts light, creating the visual effects that make a diamond attractive.
A well-cut diamond will have three main attributes: brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Brilliance is the white light that is reflected from the surface and the interior of a diamond. Fire is the flashes of color that are dispersed from a diamond when it is exposed to light. Scintillation is the sparkle and contrast that are created when a diamond or the light source moves.
A diamond’s cut is influenced by several factors, such as the depth, table, crown, pavilion, girdle, and culet. These are the parts of a diamond that affect its angles and dimensions. The diagram below shows the anatomy of a round brilliant diamond, which is the most popular shape and the one that has the most standardized cut grading system.
Anatomy of a round brilliant diamond
The ideal cut for a round brilliant diamond is one that has a balance between the depth and the table, which are the percentages of the diameter that measure the height and the width of the diamond. The ideal depth percentage is between 59% and 62.5%, and the ideal table percentage is between 53% and 58%. These proportions allow the maximum amount of light to enter and exit the diamond through the table, creating the optimal brilliance, fire, and scintillation.

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How to Compare Different Cut Grades and What They Mean

The cut grade of a diamond is determined by a grading agency, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), based on a set of criteria and standards. The GIA cut grading system for round brilliant diamonds has five grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. The table below shows the range of proportions and angles that correspond to each grade.
| Cut Grade | Depth % | Table % | Crown Angle | Pavilion Angle |
|———–|———|———|————-|—————-|
| Excellent | 59 – 62.5 | 53 – 58 | 31.5 – 36.5 | 40.6 – 41.8 |
| Very Good | 58 – 63.5 | 52 – 60 | 30.5 – 38.5 | 40.2 – 42.4 |
| Good | 56 – 64 | 51 – 64 | 28.5 – 40.5 | 39.8 – 43.2 |
| Fair | 53 – 71 | 51 – 69 | 22.5 – 44.5 | 38.5 – 45.5 |
| Poor | < 53 or > 71 | < 51 or > 69 | < 22.5 or > 44.5 | < 38.5 or > 45.5 |
The higher the cut grade, the better the light performance and the visual appeal of a diamond. A diamond with an excellent cut will have the highest level of brilliance, fire, and scintillation, while a diamond with a poor cut will have the lowest. You can see the difference between cut grades in the image below, where an excellent cut forms arrows patterns on the left, while a poor cut is just an ugly mess to the eye on the right.
Difference between cut grades
However, cut grade is not the only factor that affects a diamond’s appearance. Other factors, such as clarity, color, and fluorescence, can also influence how a diamond looks. Clarity is the degree of internal and external flaws, or inclusions and blemishes, that a diamond has. Color is the hue and saturation of a diamond, ranging from colorless to yellow or brown. Fluorescence is the glow that a diamond emits when exposed to ultraviolet light, which can be blue, yellow, or other colors.

How to Choose the Best Cut for Your Budget and Preference

When you are buying a diamond, you may have a certain budget and preference for the shape, size, and quality of the diamond. Depending on your priorities, you may have to compromise on some aspects of the diamond to get the best value for your money. Here are some tips on how to choose the best cut for your budget and preference.
– If you want the most brilliant and sparkling diamond, you should go for the highest cut grade possible, which is excellent. This will ensure that your diamond has the optimal proportions and symmetry to maximize its light performance. However, an excellent cut diamond will also be the most expensive, so you may have to sacrifice on other factors, such as clarity, color, or carat weight, to fit your budget.
– If you want a good balance between quality and price, you can opt for a very good or a good cut grade. These diamonds will still have a high level of brilliance, fire, and scintillation, but they will be more affordable than an excellent cut diamond. You can also find diamonds with very good or good cut grades that have higher clarity, color, or carat weight, which can enhance the overall beauty of the diamond.
– If you want a larger or a more unique diamond, you can consider a fair or a poor cut grade. These diamonds will have lower light performance and visual appeal, but they will also be cheaper and more available than higher cut grades. You can also choose a different shape than the round brilliant, such as oval, pear, or marquise, which can have more variation in their cut quality and can create the illusion of a bigger or a more distinctive diamond.
Ultimately, the best cut for you is the one that meets your personal taste and expectations. You should always look at the diamond in person or in high-resolution images and videos, and compare it with other diamonds of similar or different cut grades, to see how it performs in different lighting conditions and angles. You should also ask for a grading report from a reputable agency, such as the GIA, to verify the cut grade and other characteristics of the diamond.

Conclusion

Cut is the most important factor when buying a diamond, because it determines how well a diamond reflects and refracts light, creating the visual effects that make a diamond attractive. A well-cut diamond will have three main attributes: brilliance, fire, and scintillation. A poorly cut diamond will have less of these attributes and will look dull and lifeless.
The cut grade of a diamond is determined by a grading agency, such as the GIA, based on a set of criteria and standards. The GIA cut grading system for round brilliant diamonds has five grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. The higher the cut grade, the better the light performance and the visual appeal of a diamond.
However, cut grade is not the only factor that affects a diamond’s appearance. Other factors, such as clarity, color, and fluorescence, can also influence how a diamond looks. Depending on your budget and preference, you may have to compromise on some aspects of the diamond to get the best value for your money.
The best cut for you is the one that meets your personal taste and expectations. You should always look at the diamond in person or in high-resolution images and videos, and compare it with other diamonds of similar or different cut grades, to see how it performs in different lighting conditions and angles. You should also ask for a grading report from a reputable agency, such as the GIA, to verify the cut grade and other characteristics of the diamond.
We hope this article has helped you understand why cut is the most important factor when buying a diamond, and how to choose the best cut for your budget and preference. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help you find your perfect diamond. 😊
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