Shape is a matter of preference and has less bearing on the value of the diamond
than other characteristics. The diamond cutter determines the final shape of a diamond
while the diamond is in the rough material state. The cutter’s primary objective
is to maximize the finished product’s carat weight and proportioning while minimizing
Round: The most in-demand of the diamond shapes is the round brilliant. The art
of cutting round diamonds has evolved over the last 100 years. Today, a perfectly
cut round diamond which displays maximum brilliance is known as an “ideal cut”.
Princess: The princess cut is the second most popular shape, noted for exceptional
brilliance and a more contemporary style than traditional round diamonds. Princess
cut diamonds vary from square to rectangular and are often a superior option for
Emerald: Emerald cuts have the least facets of the popular cut diamonds and therefore
tend to exihibit the least brilliance. Since the interior of the emerald cut diamond
can be viewed with ease through the large open table, having a high clarity grade
in an emerald cut is key.
Asscher: The Asscher cut is essentially a square shaped emerald cut diamond. Its
unique and rare beauty has made this cut highly sought after with many diamond collectors.
Marquise: The long and slender characteristics of the marquise cut diamond provide
the appearance of being larger than it actually is. Marquise cut diamonds are an
optimum way to maximize the appearance of carat weight.
Pear: Also known as a teardrop, pear shaped diamonds are in high demand for ultra-luxury
Cushion: Also known as a Pillow Cut, the square cushion cut diamond has rounded
corners and less facets than other diamonds which tends to highlight the clarity
of the diamond similar to the emerald cut.
Radiant: With more facets and brilliance than the traditional round diamonds, the
rectangular radiant diamonds have become one of the more popular choices for diamond
Oval: Oval diamonds, similar to the round brilliant, provides intense fire with
an elongated table.
Heart: The heart shape diamond is known for being the ultimate expression of love.
The cut of a diamond primarily refers to the diamond’s proportions and the quality
of craftsmanship pertaining to the facets of the diamond. Facets are the flat edges
of the diamond intended to draw light into the stone. When the proper proportions
are used during the cutting process, light reflects out of the table (the top of
your diamond). If the diamond is cut too shallow, you will see very little sparkle
as light will simply be lost out of the bottom of the stone.
Likewise if the diamond is cut too deep the light will simply vanish out of the
sides. The better the diamond’s cut, the more brilliant the diamond will also be
when viewing the stone from the top down.
The most perfectly cut round diamond is called the “ideal cut”. Less than 2% of
the world’s faceted round diamonds can be classified as ideal cut. Diamonds that
are not ideal cut will lose some light through the bottom or sides of the stone.
Many diamonds are intentionally cut with less than ideal proportions for the purpose
of maximizing carat weight or to give the diamond a larger appearance.
For white diamonds, color grades indicate the lack of color. Color is widely considered
the second most important characteristic after cut, as the color grading scale determines
the whiteness of your diamond. How high a diamond will be graded on the scale will
be decided by the least amount of color in the stone. Completely colorless diamonds
are at the top of the color grading scale as D, E or F. These are the rarest and
most expensive color grades.
When moving down the color scale to G, H and I, diamonds will begin to manifest
extremely slight nuances of yellow, which typically cannot be detected by the untrained
eye. Further down the scale, diamonds begin to reveal more color.
Of the Four Cs, clarity is the easiest to understand and grade, and leading experts
believe that clarity generally bears the least impact on a diamond's appearance.
Clarity refers to the naturally occurring inclusions inside the stone, these are
also known as the diamond’s “finger prints”. As inclusions tend to be minuscule,
they do not in most cases affect the beauty of a diamond in a noticeable way. Inclusions
can appear as white spots or black carbon deposits which formed inside the stone
during the crystallization process. Other inclusions can occur as tiny cracks, feathers
and other internal vein-like characteristics. Diamonds that have the least amount
of inclusions will be given the highest clarity grades.
The clarity grading scale begins at the top with Flawless, also known as F. Flawless
diamonds possess zero blemishes both on the exterior and interior of the stone.
These are the most rare and expensive of the clarity grades.
F, on the clarity scale, is followed by Internally Flawless, or IF. An internally
flawless diamond has no interior inclusions, but may possess one or more exterior
imperfections. Internally flawless diamonds are also extremely rare and valuable.
Following IF is VVS, or Very Very Slightly Included. VVS is split into two categories,
VVS1 and VVS2, the latter having marginally more inclusions than the first. After
VVS is VS, or Very Slightly included. VS also has two sub-grades, VS1 and VS2. VS
is followed by SI, or Slightly Included, which has three sub-grades, SI1, SI2 and
Inclusions in the VVS, VS and SI grades are not visible to the naked eye and can
generally only be viewed under intense magnification by a trained professional.
Following SI on the clarity scale are I, for included, and C, which are commercial
Carat refers to the weight of the stone, but does not wholly encompass the actual
size of the diamond. Diamond size should be measured by 1) The carat weight, 2)
The proportioning of the diamond and 3) The cut grading. For example, a diamond
that is one carat in weight but is proportionally smaller across the top of the
stone with a poor cut grading can appear significantly smaller than an ideal cut
one carat diamond. If a diamond is cut using the correct proportions a diamond of
a lower carat weight, but higher cut grade can appear considerably larger than a
stone with a larger carat weight with a lower cut grading.
A single carat is comprised of 100 points. So 1/2 of a carat equals 50 points. The
higher the carat weight, the rarer, and generally, the more expensive the diamond
will be. Diamonds can range from 1 point to 545 carats, which is the largest known
cut diamond on record today called the Golden Jubilee.
The price of a diamond goes up exponentially once it reaches the full- and half-carat
weight benchmarks, whereas stones with a carat weight just under the round numbers
of 1 Carat, 2 Carats, 2.5 Carats and so forth, can often reflect a lower price.