The Ultimate Guide to Diamond Cuts

The cut of the diamond, one of the 4C's of diamonds, profoundly impacts the appearance of the diamond. Different terms describe how a diamond appears on a person's finger:

  • A diamond's brilliance is the amount of white light reflected from the diamond.
  • A diamond's fire explains how it splits visible light into the different colors we see.
  • A diamond's scintillation is its ability to produce sparkle and the patterns of light and dark seen in its reflections.
  • Luster is the quality and amount of light reflected from a diamond.

The final cut of a diamond ultimately determines its beauty and value. When you have a wonderfully cut diamond, you will possess a one-of-a-kind diamond that will grow in value over the time you own it.

Diamond cuts are just one step of the process. Your choice of diamond cut will ultimately depend on your style preference and budget. For example, you may opt for a fancier cut with a sleeker ring style, such as a hidden halo ring. Or you may be looking for a unique shape of a diamond, like a heart-shaped diamond, as the ultimate final product for your recipient.

How do jewelers cut diamonds?

Jewelers cut diamonds with state-of-the-art tools. During the initial cutting process, they have two goals in mind. First and foremost, they want to maximize the value of the diamond. Jewelers maximize the value of the diamond by retaining as much of its original weight as possible. When they have an octahedron, they tend to make round and square brilliant cuts. Diamonds with a unique shape tend to turn into fancier cuts. Jewelers also analyze the color before they cut. Radiant cuts produce more brilliant colors, which is why certain types of natural diamonds get selected for this type of cut.

The actual cutting of the diamond is done by sawing with a steel blade or using a laser cutter. Then, a mold holds the diamond in place. The diamond is typically cleaved at its weakest point. After cutting, the diamond gets polished with a blocking or brillianteer process for its final look.

How does a diamond's cut impact its value?

A diamond's cut drastically affects its price. Therefore, one would think that a fancier cut tends to increase the value of the diamond, but that's not always the case. However, the amount of "rough" diamond present (the core of the original diamond) after the cutting process tends to lead to a more valuable diamond. For example, a round cut preserves most of the original diamond; therefore, a round cut diamond is often 30% more valuable than the typical diamond. On the other hand, fancier cuts tend to remove most of the original core of the diamond; therefore, a fancier cut may hold a lower value.

How does a diamond's cut impact its value?

Diamond cut is the hardest of the 4C's to gauge when determining the value of the diamond. A round-cut diamond will always be the most valuable. After a round cut, the most valuable diamonds are listed below in order by value:

  • Marquise
  • Pear
  • Asscher
  • Heart
  • Radiant
  • Princess
  • Oval
  • Cushion
  • Emerald

Cut, however, is not the sole determinant in determining a diamond's value. For example, a fancier cut diamond graded D-F in terms of color could be more valuable than a nearly colorless diamond. The quality of the diamond, as determined by the 4C's, will ultimately determine the actual monetary value of your diamond. For some people, the true value of the diamond originates in purchasing it for the person they intend to give it to.

How do people choose a cut for their diamond?

People base their diamond cuts on a wide variety of different factors. A fancier-cut diamond can cost as much as 30% less than a round diamond. Nearly 1/3 of all rings sold today contain a fancy-cut diamond, primarily princess, cushion, and radiant cuts. Fancier-cut diamonds work particularly well with a hidden halo, increasing the diamond's brilliance by as much as fifteen percent. Marquise, pearl, and oval cuts look more extended than a round diamond and are popular among people who want to draw a little more attention to their hands or finger length.

Some people also associate diamond cuts with personality and deeper meaning. For example, the marquise cut is associated with elegance. Additionally, many celebrities also opt for fancier cut diamonds. Many celebrities have worn marquise-cut diamonds, like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ashlee Simpson.

What is the history behind diamond cutting?

The history of diamond cutting spans back to ancient India. A sixth-century treatise entitled the Appreciation of Gems stated that the best diamond form was in its octahedral shape. The fact that a treatise speculated about the best appearance of diamonds indicates that diamond cutting was reasonably commonplace. Additionally, some diamonds from the 13th century in India display widespread shaping and polishing, indicating the jewelers worked hard to deliver perfected diamonds to their clientele.

In Europe, the diamond cutting practice began during the medieval period. In 1375, one of the first diamond guilds was established in Nürnberg, practicing essential diamond polishing. Brilliant cuts appeared during the 17th century. In 1900, jewelers began working with good diamond saws and equipment. Around 1920, Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed the round brilliant cut, formulating the basis of fire and brilliance that jewelers look for today when they approach their craft and finished ring products.

How do the different diamond cuts look?

Each diamond cut possesses a unique appearance. Round diamonds are among the most valuable, maximizing light with all 58 facets. Princess-cut diamonds have a vibrant appearance and look great on almost any type of ring. Emerald-cut diamonds are rectangular with rounded corners. Cushion-cut diamonds are vintage and look elegant due to their combination of characteristics from the round and oval cuts. Asscher-cut diamonds have 74 facets, similar to the arrangement of an emerald-cut diamond. The chart below shows the different diamond cuts and their appearance.

How should you select a diamond?

You've read and heard everything that there is to know about diamond cuts. However, the actual cut of the diamond is just one consideration you should make when selecting an engagement or a wedding band. When purchasing a piece of high-quality jewelry, you should look at it under a microscope when given the opportunity. If you visit your jeweler, you will also have the chance to look at it under a laboratory light and see it in a color grading tray. This will help you understand the diamond's actual color and overall quality.

When you are purchasing a natural, conflict-free diamond, there are several different things that you should take note of. First, each diamond has unique inclusions and minor imperfections in clarity that help identify the diamond. You should also take notice of any abrasions on the surface of the diamond that might impact its structural integrity.

When you buy a diamond, you should also take note of its weight. After viewing your diamond, your jeweler will also help you identify its actual weight to know how much your diamond is worth in value.

You should also strive to select a conflict-free diamond. Conflict-free diamonds originate in countries where the government is not at war, so the diamond you purchase will not fund a repressive government.

What about lab-grown diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds originate in a lab. They are chemically similar to diamonds found in nature. Lab-grown diamonds are always uniform, are not one-of-a-kind, and did not take billions of years to form within the Earth. While they may seem like an affordable substitute for a naturally-mined diamond, they lose their value over time and may not have the same sentimental value for the recipient.

Should you get a diamond grading report?

If you purchase a diamond engagement ring or wedding ring, you should plan on getting a grading report once every five years. A grading report is a great way to protect your investment. A grading report includes commentary on the diamond's color, cut, weight, and clarity. It also provides insights into the diamond's surface and any treatments you might have applied to it. Ultimately, the grading report is the fingerprint for your diamond in the rare instance it is ever lost or stolen. It can also help value your diamond when you want to pass it on as part of your will or if you go to sell it.

Selecting your ideal diamond cut for your ring setting

You want to work with a jeweler you can trust. King of Jewelry has been in business since 1999. Our natural, conflict-free diamonds are some of the best in the industry. You can select any type of ring setting you'd like for any occasion. If you are looking for a brilliant ring with a fancier cut diamond, you can try a hidden halo ring. We also have eternity bands and other unique settings with the possibility of customizing your ring from scratch. Our process involves you every step of the way and ensures that you have a ring your recipient will love.