What is Cut in a Diamond? – MTD
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What is Cut in a Diamond?

Diamonds are graded by 4 C's: clarity, color, carat, and cut. 

When considering the C's, looking at the cut of a diamond is essential. We realize that understanding cut can be complicated and so... we are here! Finding a topnotch cut is our forte, and while we know the ins and outs of cut, here is some info to help you out too! 


What is Cut? 

Cut is not the diamond's shape. Shape refers to the physical form of the diamond (we will discuss more on another blog). Cut refers to the faceting and dimensions within a diamond. It analyzes the symmetry of the facets and proportions of the angles to determine how much light a diamond will reflect.

Is light reflecting within a diamond important? 


Light creates the sparkle, brilliance, and rainbow colors that make you stop in awe. Light emphasizes the shimmer of a diamond and is why diamonds are renown for their beauty. Cut directly affects how much light a diamond will reflect, causing cut to be a determining factor for how sparkly your diamond is. 

When considering cut, here's what you need to know: cut has the biggest impact on how much sparkle, brilliance, and light will reflect from the stone and so it is necessary to chose a diamond with a high grading in cut.  

How is Cut Graded?

Cut analyzes factors within the diamond through grading three categories: cut, polish, and symmetry.

In each of these categories, the diamond will receive a score from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) ranging from excellent to poor, as seen in our graph above, with excellent being the best. The GIA diamond cut grade is calculated from cut, polish and symmetry while also looking at the brightness, fire, scintillation, weight ratio and durability to help in the grading.


To understand cut, we must first understand the diamond formation and process. Naturally, the earth creates rough diamonds that need to be refined and cut and so, upon collection, a diamond cutter studies the diamond to determine how to cut both its faceting and shape.

When grading cut, the grade will be based upon the diamond's natural formation and how precisely and skillfully cut the facets and shape are. A diamond with an excellent cut grade has crisp cuts that make the diamond bright and sparkly. A diamond with a poor cut grade is a dull diamond, with less shimmer. 

The cut grade also reflects the analysis of a diamond's weight relative to its diameter, the thickness of a diamond's girdle (the girdle is where the crown of the diamond meets the pavilion... or in other words, where the top of the diamond meets the bottom), and polish and symmetry which we will talk about below.


A diamond is cut with precision in order to create a very smooth, fine finish. The analysis of the smoothness of each facet is called polish. Polish looks at the finishing details of the diamond and grades the diamond based on the different marks, such as scratches, nicks, and pits. A polish with an excellent to very good grading will not have marks visible to the naked eye.


Symmetry looks at the facets to see how similar and precise each facet aligns and intersects with the other. An excellent symmetry grading means the diamond is perfectly symmetrical and light will bounce around and through the center of the diamond proportionally to meet your eyes. With a poor symmetry grading, light will be directed to side angles or guided underneath the diamond and thus reducing the diamonds brilliance.   


The Characteristics of a Well Cut Diamond

In calculating a diamond's cut, the GIA looks at the diamond's face-up appearance and how the diamond looks when in light. Listed below are three visual tests that the GIA incorporates to help determine the gradings of a cut.


Brilliance is the intensity of white light reflected off the diamond. When it comes to cut, the better cut the diamond is, the higher intensity of white light will be reflected.


Fire is the colorful rainbow sparkle that shimmers off of the diamond when in light. The higher the cut grade, the more fire there will be.


Scintillation is the movement of sparkle within a diamond and the contrast between dark and light areas that create a pattern. Like the other two, the higher cut the diamond is, the more scintillation it will have.

What's the Final Word? 

When deciding what is the best cut, we tend to love diamonds that are called Triple Ex, which means: excellent, excellent, excellent on cut, polish, and symmetry. It is important to look at and know the scoring to help determine what YOU want, but a Triple Ex is what we typically prefer for our customers.

People can get bamboozled by shopping on large diamond websites online because they do not know that cut is a huge factor in the visual beauty of the diamond. A diamond with a lower cut grade is not wanted by jewelers who have seen it in person, and so to the average person, the less expensive diamond seems like a great deal, but in actuality is not. 

We believe that it is SO important for a jeweler to look at the diamond and find you a diamond that is overall beautiful. We want you to be in love with your diamond, and so, we are committed to finding you a diamond that looks beautiful in all 4 C's, including cut! 

From 20 years of experience, we know how to find you a diamond that you love and that is within your budget!