Whatever else diamonds may or may not do, they’re expected to sparkle, right? And sparkle bright! Yes, the stone size matters. But so does that blinding bling. How do we get that extra sparkle? The simple answer is – with a perfect or near-perfect diamond cut. Miranda Kerr nailed it right with her round brilliant cut diamond engagement ring flanked by tapered baguettes. Sofia Vergara, too, with her 7-carat cushion cut diamond with a micro-pave halo. You can also get the most brilliant, dazzling engagement ring for yourself if you focus on the cut – the relatively underrated but crucial of the 4 Cs.
What Does a Diamond Cut Mean?
A diamond is referred to as a rough diamond immediately after it is discovered or mined. You would be surprised to see one. It barely has any sparkle or shine and looks like a dull glass. The reason? It hasn’t been cut yet! So, a diamond cut means exactly that – the way a diamond surface is cut to optimize its appearance. This cutting directly affects its ability to interact with light or ‘light performance’. Light performance is about how well a diamond can reflect, refract and disperse light. Attributes such as ‘brilliance’ and ‘fire’ are used to assess whether a diamond cut is superior or not.
What Are the ‘Fire’ And ‘Brilliance’ Attributes in Relevance to a Diamond Cut?
Fire is the ability of a diamond to reflect colored light from the rainbow spectrum – violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, or red. A diamond with fire radiates brightly colored reflections, adding to its character and beauty. Brilliance, on the other hand, is the ability of a diamond to reflect white light. The diamonds reflecting more significant amounts of white light shine and dazzle the brightest.
What Is the Difference Between Diamond Cut and Diamond Shape?
Most of us confuse diamond cut with shape for obvious reasons. We are all diamond lovers, not connoisseurs. But, let us initiate you a bit on it. While the shape definitely influences the cut, the two are entirely different. As we discussed earlier, a diamond cut is how the diamond surface is cut to interact with light. This involves surface dimensions, reflective qualities, and so on. On the other hand, the diamond shape refers to the overall geometric shape or outline of the diamond. The confusion arises from the fact that the word ‘cut’ often finds itself in the name of the diamond shape. For instance, diamond shapes range from round-cut to oval-cut and emerald-cut to cushion-cut. Most people choose shape initially and see what cut works best for them in terms of radiating the maximum light.
This design is as modern, quirky, and stylish as it gets! The pear-shaped center stone in this engagement ring, “Alina”, is encircled by a hidden halo for that extra bit of dazzle. And if that isn’t enough, it is flanked by gleaming accent diamonds around the 14k white gold band.
What Makes a Diamond Sparkle the Most?
There’s just one main reason why some diamonds sparkle more than others. The key is in the facets cut onto the diamond’s surface. Each facet acts as a mirror, reflecting and bouncing off the light to add that extra sparkle. In general, diamonds with more facets tend to shine more than those with fewer facets. But the number of facets cannot be boundless. There is always an optimum number depending on the diamond’s shape and size and the facets’ angles, sizes, and symmetry. Of course, the polish of diamond matters. The smoother the diamond is polished along the facets, the brighter it shines.
The diamond setting, too, in a small way, impacts the sparkle. For instance, a prong setting leaves the diamond open enough to let light in and create reflections, while bezel settings block light. Avoid the latter if you want that brilliant shine. Halo settings also enhance the brightness, thanks to the extra diamonds surrounding the center stone. Lastly, consider putting your diamond in a white metal setting such as white gold, or platinum. White metals act like mirrors – reflecting, refracting, and dispersing more light through the diamond.
Which Are the Different Diamond Shapes in Jewelry?
As the name explains, the diamond shape is the geometric shape in which a diamond is cut. Each diamond shape has nuances and unique significance reflecting the wearer’s personality. There are two categories of diamond shapes – round cut diamonds and fancy cut diamonds. A round shape, or round brilliant cut, is the most traditional and sought-after diamond shape. All the rest, like Oval, Princess, Pear, Emerald, Marquise, and others, fall under the fancy diamond shape category. Gabriel & Co. proudly houses brilliantly cut-to-finesse, high-quality diamonds in seven shapes – round, oval, emerald, marquise, pear, princess, and cushion. Select your breathtaking diamond shape, resonating with your personality and tastes, and be assured of the finest diamond cut that brings out the maximum shine.
What Parameters Define a Good Diamond Cut?
Official grading authorities assess a diamond cut based on the number of facets, their angles and sizes, and the symmetry in how they have been cut. The scale ranges from ‘poor’ to ‘excellent’. ‘Poor’ and ‘fair’ rated cuts are usually not recommended because there is a lot of light leakage, making the diamonds appear dull. If you’re looking for a sparkler, avoid these like the plague. ‘Good’ cut diamonds are significantly better, balancing sparkle and price quite effectively, keeping the costs fairly reasonable. ‘Excellent’ cut diamonds set your pocket back more than you like, but they represent some of the world’s top diamonds – 3 percent, to be accurate. These are cut with a lot of thought and precision to reflect the maximum amount of light. ‘Very good’ is usually considered an ideal grade if you’re looking for a solid buy. It has most of the brilliance of an ‘Excellent’ diamond’ at a significantly lesser cost. Remember, even if a diamond possesses superior clarity and color, it looks lackluster with a poor cut. So pay attention to how your diamond cut is graded and make an informed choice about what you’re buying.
Did you know, the cushion cut diamond can be cut in such a way to have both great fire and brilliance? This makes it a win-win for those who want a blend of both. This 14k white gold cushion cut ring “Brexley” collection is a thing of beauty, enhanced by the row of encrusted diamonds along the band.
Do Diamond ‘Table’, ‘Depth’ and ‘Culet’ Affect the Cut?
Let’s first understand these three terms. The diamond table is the flat facet on top that faces outwards. This flat surface refracts light rays as they pass, directing them to the other facets. The intensity and frequency of this refraction determine the extra sparkle in a diamond. The table has to be just the right size. A wider table does not disperse light, and a narrower one does not let light in. So it is crucial to consider the overall size of the diamond when deciding on table proportion.
This brings us to the next factor – depth. Depth is the measurement from the table to the diamond’s bottom (otherwise known as the culet). The depth-width ratio should impact how a diamond is cut and how it reflects light. The light tends to leave without reflection if a diamond is too shallow. On the other hand, a deep-cut diamond doesn’t do justice to the carat’s weight and size by appearing smaller. So an ideal percentage needs to be considered while deciding how to cut the diamond.
Lastly, the Cutlet is the bottom-most point of the diamond that is usually hidden from view. It is here that all the facets meet right below the center of the table. Pointed culets are considered superior to medium or large-sized ones since these leak light easily. In fact, hardly anyone ever uses the latter anymore, and you most likely find them in heirloom or antique jewelry pieces.
Which Cut or Shape Is Best for a Diamond’s Sparkle?
The best cut for a diamond, as far as sparkle goes, is the brilliant round cut. Experts are unanimous in their opinion of this. In fact, this cut might be extremely popular now, but it wasn’t even in existence until 1911. A new mathematical formula was published around this time, assessing how to achieve the maximum sparkle in a diamond. The result? A brilliant round cut diamond. This cut has 58 facets, allowing light to enter and reflect off many surfaces beautifully. Today, more than three-quarters of the world’s diamonds are round cut. It is the most coveted diamond shape because who doesn’t want to shine as brightly as they can?
Here’s a piece that’s bound to fetch you second, third and fourth looks from everyone in the room! This ring “Silvey” features 0.70 carat diamonds set in 14k white gold. The center stone is a brilliant round cut diamond in a single prong setting.
The downside is that round-cut diamonds are comparatively quite expensive than their other counterpart shapes. The reason is much more of the rough diamond is lost while cutting so many facets. So for every carat retained, there’s quite a bit that’s lost, and that’s bound to cost you. It can’t be avoided, though; the wastage is required to achieve the perfection of a round-cut diamond.
If you’re looking for a lesser extravagant option without compromising too much on the diamond’s brilliance and fire, the princess cut, radiant cut, cushion cut, oval cut, pear cut, heart cut, and marquise cut all dazzle brilliantly if cut well.
The exceptions to this are the Emerald and Asher cuts. These are stunning and elegant shapes, but the way their facets are designed doesn’t allow for the same brilliance that you find in other diamond shapes. If your tastes lean towards these, we suggest you focus more on the clarity instead of the cut.
This emerald-cut diamond engagement ring “Belma” has only few facets but radiates elegance and sparkle nevertheless. Cut with precision to show off the stone’s beauty and clarity, it is set in 18k white gold.
Do Bigger Diamonds Shine More?
The bigger the diamond, the more it sparkles, right? Wrong! A big diamond is great (we’d choose bigger over smaller any day, given a choice), but it doesn’t mean that big diamonds sparkle more than smaller ones. In fact, diamonds that share the same facet proportions, color, clarity, and so on tend to sparkle exactly the same, regardless of size. How much a diamond shines has nothing to do with size or carat weight but only how it is cut.
When Did Diamonds Start Being Cut?
Diamonds weren’t always cut the way they are now. Instead, in the olden days, they would simply polish rough diamonds in their original shape and form to lend some natural sparkle. In the 14th and 15th centuries in Europe, people began experimenting with various diamond cuts. They realized that they weren’t losing anything. Rather, chipping away at the rough edges enhanced the diamond’s appearance and sparkle. Over time, the quality of cuts evolved and improved. Today, diamond cuts have become standardized and graded, with shoppers knowing exactly the shape they want even before they walk into a store!
The next best thing to a round cut diamond is a princess cut diamond. The brilliance of this exquisite engagement ring is further enhanced by the row of glittering diamonds around the band. The prong setting allows beautifully for light to be let in and out.
What Tools Are Used to Cut Diamonds?
Given the value of what is being handled (and the fact that cutting is an irreversible process!), it takes specialized tools and knowledge to cut a diamond. One can cut diamonds either by hand or by machines. Machines offer precision and consistency – highly effective if you’re looking for an accurately-cut diamond, not to mention quicker. Hand-cut diamonds, on the other hand, take up to months and are not very popular. Still, they’re considered the ultimate form of craftsmanship. Interesting, it can take 20 years for a master diamond cutter to be certified in his skill!
The first step in the process is planning, with computer software playing an important role in deciding how to cut the diamond. After marking the outlines, the diamond is placed in a mold made of wax or cement. A steel blade or laser carves the diamond into possessing the desired facets.
Marquise cut diamonds are stunningly beautiful, with an elongated shape that makes half your finger glitter. The center diamond in this 14k white gold ring “Azucena” is surrounded by diamonds, while the split shank band is encrusted with little sparkling diamonds too. How much more can you expect to sparkle?