Diamond Cut: What Buyers Need to Know

Buying a diamond can seem like a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for. This is especially true when you want to buy a loose stone or create a custom piece. At the end of the day, there are two aspects of cut to know about: cut style and diamond shape. Let’s look at each.

Cut Style

Because diamond shapes can come in different cut styles, let’s talk about this first. In a nutshell, there are three basic cuts: brilliant, step, and crushed ice. Each of these has different patterns.

Brilliant cuts

With a brilliant cut, the facets are shaped like triangles, diamonds, and arrows. In addition, at least some of the surface is curved. Finally, the top of the diamond is called the “table,” and it will have many sides. The center of the gem called the “girdle,” can be cut with curved facets, polished, or left frosted (cloudy). What this means in practice is that a brilliant cut is designed to let as much light “bounce” back off the facets and into the eye of an observer. Modern brilliant cuts are said to have “sparkle,” while older ones have “fire.” Either way, the standard brilliant cut features 58 facets.

Step cuts

Step cuts are a little bit more “boxy.” This is because their facets are typically parallel to the facet on the opposite face. Think of it this way: when you look at a box, it holds together best when the corners are squared off. Most of the facets will have four corners, as well. Most step cuts are either basically square or rectangular, with or without the corners cut off. Overall, these cuts create a “hall of mirrors” effect. Step cut diamonds don’t have much “sparkle.” Instead, they showcase light from deep within the stone.

Crushed ice

One of the cut types t