What makes a diamond so valuable is its unmatched beauty. Without its sparkle and shine a diamond would appear as just another nice looking gem stone. The colour and clarity of a diamond are both major contributors to its brilliance but it is the Cut that changes the appearance from a shimmer to shine.

Diamond Cut refers to the way that a rough stone is polished in order to reveal its many facets. The intensity of brilliance and beauty embodied in the diamond are revealed through the expertise of a skilled diamond cutter. It is this master craftsman who diligently polishes the diamond, one facet at a time. Ideal proportions, finish and symmetry are the desired end result of the cutter. Poor symmetry will result in misdirected light after it enters then exit the stone.

Cut refers to the reflective qualities of the diamond and it is perhaps the most important of the 4Cs.

Cut Quality is graded as follows:

  • Ideal Cut
  • Premium Cut
  • Very Good (Fine) Cut
  • Good Cut
  • Fair Cut
  • Poor Cut

A polished diamond next to a rough diamond

The four attributes of diamond quality (The 4C's) are all of extreme importance. However, as the single attribute that man has the ability to perfect on his own, a diamonds Cut must be done with patience and care. It is quite amazing when you consider how much concentration and attention that must be given to each and every stone.

The cut of the stone is directly connected with all the other characteristics of quality. How the diamond is cut will influence the diamond Carat weight. Its geometric proportions will affect the diamond Colour. The art of polishing can even help rid of external blemishes and therefore naturally enhance the diamond Clarity.

Cut vs. Make

No two rough diamonds will ever be exactly identical. The theory behind Cutting a diamond is the skill of how to derive the best finished product from any rough stone. By definition, the Cut is the prearranged faceted arrangements of the diamond. Since it is through the Cut that the finished product is created, how professionally the faceted arrangement is organized is referred to in the industry as the 'make' of the diamond.

White diamond on the polishing wheel

People often confuse the Cut with the shape of a stone. However, even though they are closely related, they are not completely the same. The diamond Cut refers to the style used to form the stone regardless of the diamonds shape. The style is created by using different forms of symmetry, polish and geometric proportioning between the many facets, otherwise known as the make. Any diamond shape can have more than one different diamond cut. The style is in every sense of the word both a science and an art

The image above shows a two Pear-shaped diamonds. The stone on the left has a round-edge fancy cut and the stone on the right with step cut

Depth of the Diamond

The cut of a diamond has very much to do with its overall appearance. In fact, if a full certificate is supplied with the stone, the cut grade is included within the many diamond characteristics listed. Along with the various dimensions of the stone that are noted, the depth of the diamond plays a very significant role in the overall appearance.

The image above displays specifically what affect diamond depth has on the appearance of the diamonds shown. From left to right: a 0.45ct stone with a 28% depth, a 1.24ct stone with a 46% depth, 0.56ct stone with a 58% depth, and a 1.14ct stone with a 70% depth.

In a colourless stone, because the objective is to remain as colourless as possible, the amount of time light remains within the stone must be condensed. However, with Fancy Coloured Diamonds, the longer the light remains within the facets of the stone, the more the colour is shown which is more desirable.

Deciding the Shape

First, the diamond rough is categorized into an octahedron or dodecahedron triangular shape. Then the cutter must study the rough and ensure he understands exactly what is going on inside the stone. Once he feels he is familiar with the stone, he can then decide the shape that will be best accomplished from the rough. Keeping the market value in mind, he can then begin the manufacturing stage towards producing the most valuable stone possible.

Cutter marking a rough diamond

Common Diamond Shapes

The diamond shape refers to the geometrical form of a finished stone. The two main styles used to cut down a stone are 'Round Brilliant' and 'Fancy Shapes'. Today, many variations of these two styles have been developed. However, the general idea still remains.

Which Shape Should I Choose

The most common Fancy Shapes used for Fancy Coloured Diamonds are Radiant and Cushion. With white diamonds the goal is to concentrate on the light performance and the brilliance or sparkle of the stone. With Fancy Coloured Diamonds, the goal is to concentrate much more on the colour and intensity of the stone.

Radiant and Cushion shapes are known to best absorb light and often grade very well on the GIA intensity scale. They are therefore considered a 'safe bet' when it comes to shaping a stone. Also, as a result of the facet arrangements in these shapes, imperfections may be less noticeable as well. Other shapes such as Emerald and Princess are a more rare find since it is much harder to keep the colour in these stones. The colour in an Emerald cut can actually seem to sometimes 'fall down' from the stone. However, if the cutter manages to create a Fancy Coloured Emerald Cut diamond with a high level of colour intensity, the value of the stone will increase considerably.

Cushion and Radiant yellow diamonds

Emerald shape Pink diamonds

The facets formed in Fancy shaped diamonds are rarely symmetrical. In fact, many Fancy shapes include elongated and asymmetrical facets. Each fancy shape has their own unique characteristics.

Over time many other shapes have been developed and are seen in the market. These less common fancy shapes might be somewhat less popular but their shine is no less mesmerizing. Cut is the most critical diamond attribute because how the diamond is cut and polished directly affects the sparkle and brilliance of the stone.

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For several months I had considered investing in Fancy Colored Diamonds. I heard all the negative jargon about unscrupulous people in the diamond business and how you could be taken to the cleaners, sort of speak.  However, I called Northern Cross Diamonds and spoke to Stephen who is the owner. My experience with him from the early process to the actual purchase of a Fancy Colored Diamond from him was quite a journey.  He urged me before buying the diamond to do my own due diligence by comparing the price and quality. Needless to say I did not find one of like shape, color, clarity or price that would have changed my decision. If you would like to speak to me directly for more information you can get my telephone number from Northern Cross.

Read MoreAllan C.
Mississauga, Canada

I have used Northern Cross Diamonds for the last couple years. I have a full time job, rental properties, stocks and mutual funds, yet I am always looking for new investment opportunities. Meeting and dealing with the professionals on staff (especially Stephen) has pointed out creative ways of maximizing the investment potential within coloured diamonds. They are always there to answer questions when I am curious on making a new investment and the experience has been nothing but great! 

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Etobicoke, Canada

My husband and I chose NCD to assist us in finding the perfect engagement ring that would compliment my style. We mostly dealt with Stephen who was very knowledgeable and really took the time to listen to what I was looking for and offered a really great selection of options to choose from. Thank you Stephen and NCD; I couldn't be any happier with my brand new canary yellow diamond ring. You wouldn't believe the compliments and interest that people give it. I just love it!! Thank you again for everything!

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Bolton, Canada


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