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Diamond Cuts – what does it all mean?

Buying the perfect diamond can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Knowing what makes the right diamond for you in amongst a flurry of numbers and the ‘Four C’s’ (cut, color, carat and clarity) can make anyone’s mind boggle.

And out of these four categories that make up the measurement of the calibre and standard of every diamond on the market, cut is perhaps one of the hardest to pin down. So here’s your very own quick and easy guide to picking the best diamond cut for that next big buy.

First of all, you should know that ‘cut’ does not refer to the diamond’s shape, as is often believed, but to the measure of its reflective qualities. When diamond dealers use the word ‘cut’, they can mean one of two things. The word can either refer to the shape of the diamond, such as ‘emerald’ or ‘oval’ cut, or to refer to the reflective qualities of the diamond, which is determined by how well the diamond has been cut. The reflective quality is measured by a grade and gets a score on the diamond certificate, whereas the shape of the diamond is purely aesthetic.

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The traditional meaning of ‘cut’, the reflective quality of a stone, is one of the most important of the ‘Four C’s’, because a diamond’s cut directly affects its brilliance – the brightness and sparkle it gives off as it moves. That’s because the angles of the diamond affect its ability to handle light. When a diamond is well-cut, light enters the diamond at the perfect angle to reflect back into the human eye, so, the less well-cut the diamond, the less sparkle it will have. Poorly cut diamonds will ‘leak’ out light from the sides or the bottom instead of reflecting it back into the eye, making them less brilliant. So, although you can see this with your eye to some extent, the grading of the ‘cut’ of the diamond is key when deciding which stone to buy.

Diamonds can be cut in many different ways; to be heavier, to increase the diamond’s value, or to hide inclusions or imperfections, which sometimes mere polishing can mask away. The three main cutting style of diamonds are ‘brilliant cut’, ‘step cut’ and ‘mixed cut’. However, the best cuts are normally those in which the depth of the diamond perfectly compliments its diameter, which is a mathematical calculation best categorised by jewelry stores as their ‘ideal cut’ range, so simply ask your jeweler if you’re looking for the best in show.

With regards to the second use of the word ‘cut’ in the diamond world, referring to shape, the decision here is mostly one about personal style and taste as opposed to quality. The ‘round brilliant cut’ is usually the most impressive diamond cutting style, as this cut has been developed over the past century with advanced light theories and mathematical calculations to achieve the highest quality of shine and brilliance possible, with perfectly defined proportions every time. However, aside from that, it’s really up to you, because different shapes look better on different people and it’s your diamond, after all. So, why not come in store or give us a call to find the stone that suits you perfectly.

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