Engagement Rings

The 4Cs of Diamond Buying: Cut

The cut is the first, and probably most important, of the four C’s.

A diamond is not born beautiful. It has to be cut and polished into the form that dazzles potential brides.

The cut is probably the single most important factor in a diamond’s worth: done wrong, it can render the stone worthless; done right it will turn an unremarkable raw diamond into an object of wonder.

Why does all this concern you? Because, as a potential diamond purchaser, you need to know what each stone is truly worth, and at least half of that value depends on the cut.

What makes the cut so important? It’s this: the brilliance of a diamond–how brightly it sparkles–depends on the quality of the cut.

With an ideal cut, light enters the top of the stone (called the table), is reflected off the inner facets and, ideally, shoots back out the top and into the eyes of whoever is looking at the ring, causing them to ooh and ahh and gush to your fiancé.

If the cut is too shallow, too deep, or otherwise imperfect, the light will bounce out of the side of the ring. Some people call this “leaking.” It dulls the brilliance of the stone and lowers its value.

The most typical diamond shape is the round cut (more on shapes here), which is basically the shape we described at the start of this article. A round cut has 58 or so separate facets. Each facet has to be made just right for the overall cut to be considered “ideal.”

That takes some serious workmanship, so we don’t want to hear you complaining about how much it costs.

In addition to the brilliance of the stone, there are a few other attributes that are affected by the cut:

Fire, which is the term to describe the flashes of color that can be seen in the depths of the stone, especially in darker environments.

Scintillation, which describes bright sparkles of light that are most visible when diamond is in motion.

All of these attributes will play into the cost of the diamond. But you can’t consider them alone. You forgot:

The other 3 Cs: clarity, color and carat.

Bottom Line

The diamond’s cut is as important to its appearance as a good haircut is to yours. Think about it: if you go to an expert stylist, they will leave you looking like Brad Pitt. Go to a cheap barber and you’ll end up about as sexy as Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber.

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