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Diamond Cut

Most people believe that the cut of a diamond is its shape. But this is incorrect. The cut of a diamond has nothing to do with whether it’s a marquise or a heart, but rather has everything to do with how the surrounding light interacts with its facets. One of a diamond’s best selling points is how it sparkles and flirtatiously twinkles away while nestled safely on your finger. While the quality and clarity of the diamond itself has a lot to do with that, the surrounding light that dances upon its facets has even more to do with it.

The Diamond Cut Scale

Diamond cuts are typically graded into 5 different categories. Let’s take a look a look at them.


An excellent cut is the very best cut of diamond that money can buy. Regardless of the shape or proportion, these diamonds will possess an even pattern of bright and dark areas.

Very Good

A very good cut still grades high in terms of brightness, scintillation and final polish but has a darker pavilion main. Very good diamonds will usually feature a splintered pattern which slightly limits the accessibility for light to travel through its facets.



Diamonds with a good cut tend to sparkle less than the diamond cuts listed above. Dark pavilion mains are caused by the angles of the diamond. Good diamonds typically feature a darker ring around the edges, meaning it won’t shine as much as diamonds with a better cut will.


A fair cut is defined by its lack of contrast between light and dark & its overall darker appearance. While you can expect a fair amount of sparkle, diamonds in this cut range will not provide a lot of scintillation.


Diamonds with a poor cut feature low fire, brightness and scintillation meaning that while they’ll look beautiful on your person they won’t react beautifully with the light. A lot of the time a diamond is determined to have a poor cut due to a heavier weight.

The cut of a diamond is a huge determining factor to its value and aesthetic appeal which is why proper care needs to be taken when establishing the cut. Of all of the 4Cs, the cut is the most crucial. On top of this it’s also incredibly difficult to do and requires a complex analysis.

To establish the cut grade of the shape that remains most popular within the world of diamonds, the brilliant round diamond, GIA determines the grade by evaluating how a diamond interacts with the surrounding light and how desirable the visual effects of the diamond are.

A diamond’s cut is graded to assess:

  • Its brightness:

    This refers to the white light reflected from a diamond, both internally and externally.

  • Its fire:

    Ever noticed when the sun hits your diamond just right, an assortment of colors will appear and reflect all over nearby surfaces? This phenomenon is known as ‘fire’ in the diamond industry.

  • Its scintillation:

    Scintillation, while you might not have heard of the term, is something all diamond owners will know well. It is the amount of sparkle produced by a diamond.

Also taken into account when determining the cut grade is the design of the diamond and its overall craftsmanship. This includes its relative weight, the durability of the girdle, the symmetry of the facets as well as the facets’ quality of polish.

Most jewelers grade the cut of their diamonds from ‘Excellent’ all the way down to ‘Poor’, so be sure to specifically inquire about a diamond cut before you choose it to become your new best friend.


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