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an intro to

Diamond Cut

Discover the art of diamond cutting, a crucial factor shaping a diamond's brilliance, fire, and scintillation. This process defines the diamond's captivating sparkle and fiery beauty.


What is Diamond Cut?

At GOODSTONE, we emphasize the importance of diamond cut, a pivotal factor in revealing a diamond's intrinsic beauty and brilliance. The cut encompasses the diamond's proportions, symmetry, and polish, skillfully executed by the cutter. It's not merely about the shape but how well the diamond interacts with light. An expertly cut diamond offers superior light reflection and refraction, enhancing its sparkle and fire.

Natural diamonds start as octahedral shapes, akin to two square pyramids joined base to base. Early diamond cuts, like the point cut, maintained this natural form with minimal polishing, but didn't fully harness the stone's potential to interact with light.

Three key proportions - the table size, width, and depth - critically influence how light is reflected within a diamond. The right balance ensures light is returned through the diamond's top, optimizing the interplay of white light (brilliance) and colorful flashes (dispersion).

A diamond cut with precision ensures light travels and exits through the top, maximizing the stone's luminous beauty. However, a diamond cut even slightly off can result in light leakage, where light escapes from the bottom, leading to diminished brilliance and a lackluster appearance.

At GOODSTONE, we highlight that the highest recognized cut grade is "Excellent," as established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). It's important to note that while some may market a 'super ideal' cut, this isn't an established grade honored by GIA. Our focus is on providing diamonds that meet these rigorous standards, ensuring each gem's captivating beauty and exceptional light performance.

The Three Elements of Sparkle

Diamond Brilliance
Brilliance is the heart of a diamond's allure at GOODSTONE. It's the diamond's ability to reflect and radiate white light, making it truly mesmerizing. Expert diamond cutters understand that maximizing this brilliance involves crafting mirror-like facets that reflect light back to the viewer, creating an illusion of countless twinkling lights within the diamond.

Diamonds feature two types of facets: physical and virtual. Physical facets are the actual cuts on the stone, which play with light to create the appearance of numerous lights within, known as virtual facets. These facets work together to scatter light in various directions, recombining it into a brilliant white as it exits the diamond.

A diamond with more physical facets has greater potential to produce a spectacular light show. Well-cut diamonds achieve exceptional brilliance by reflecting light across multiple surfaces, creating a dazzling effect greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Diamond Fire
Fire refers to the dispersion of light in a diamond, revealing a vibrant spectrum of colors. When white light, composed of various colors, enters a diamond, it slows down and scatters, displaying shimmering hues. This process, known as dispersion, adds a dynamic vitality to the diamond, showcasing deep flashes of color like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

For a diamond to fully display its fire, it must be precisely cut to refract and scatter light effectively. Inaccurate cuts may allow light to escape without breaking into its colorful components, diminishing the diamond's fiery potential.

Diamond Scintillation
Scintillation, often synonymous with a diamond's sparkle, is the dynamic interplay of flash scintillation (white light) and fire scintillation (colorful light). As the diamond moves, its facets split the light into a spectrum, creating lively sparks that seem to dance on the surface, contrasted with deeper colored flashes within.

The scintillation's magic lies in the balance of light and dark areas, creating the overall sparkle. Without this contrast, much of the light would escape through the diamond's lower facets, losing its enchanting sparkle. At GOODSTONE, we ensure each diamond is cut to maximize this scintillation, bringing life and radiance to every gem.

How are Diamond Cuts Evaluated?

For over a decade and a half, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has meticulously studied the interaction of light with round brilliant cut diamonds, leading to the identification of seven key components that determine a diamond's cut grade. These components include brightness, fire (dispersion), scintillation, weight ratio, durability, polish, and symmetry.

In the grading process, each of these factors is assessed and assigned a grade ranging from Excellent to Poor. The overall cut grade of a diamond is determined by the lowest rating in any of these categories. For instance, if a diamond scores 'Fair' in durability but 'Very Good' in other aspects, its final cut grade would be 'Fair'.

However, symmetry and polish are exceptions to this rule. A diamond with 'Very Good' polish can still achieve a higher overall grade. At GOODSTONE, diamonds rated 'Excellent' by GIA are considered under the top tier of our selection. We use the GIA grading scale, along with specific characteristics like polish and symmetry, to distinguish between the finest grades.

In cases where a cut grade is not provided by a laboratory, especially for fancy-shaped diamonds, we at GOODSTONE assess using a combination of depth, table, secondary measurements, and subjective evaluations. This comprehensive approach ensures that each diamond's cut quality is accurately determined, reflecting its true beauty and brilliance.

Diamond Cut Grades


An exquisite quality cut known for its superior brilliance and fire. Reflects nearly all light that enters, representing the top tier of diamond cuts. This is the only Diamond Cut Quality offered at GOODSTONE.

Very Good

Reflects most light that enters. GOODSTONE does not carry this grade.


An OKAY quality cut that often pushed by low end retailers. GOODSTONE does not carry this grade.


Adequate quality cut that reflects some light while maximizing weight. GOODSTONE does not carry this grade.


While this grade may be available in the market, it does not meet the standards set by GOODSTONE, thus it is not offered.

How Diamond Cuts Influence Price

At GOODSTONE, we recognize that the cut is a pivotal factor in determining a diamond's overall beauty, and it significantly influences its price. A higher cut grade often commands a higher price due to the skill and precision required in the crafting process. Moreover, a masterfully executed cut can enhance other aspects of the diamond. It can amplify its light display, masking inclusions and even making the diamond appear larger than its actual carat weight. This interplay of craftsmanship and optical illusion underscores the cut's critical role in a diamond's value.

The Role of Diamond Cuts in Sparkle

Sparkle, characterized by the interplay of white light and dispersed colors within a diamond, is what gives it its unique character and mesmerizing allure. At GOODSTONE, we understand that sparkle is the 'wow factor' that captivates from afar, created by a symphony of light dancing within the diamond. The cutting process is an intricate balancing act, considering the relationship between the table, crown angle, pavilion depth, and overall depth. When these elements are perfectly aligned, with precise angles and proportions, they produce a vibrant array of colors that enhance the diamond's pure white brilliance, truly making it stand out.

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Diamond Cut FAQ

The term 'diamond shape' specifically pertains to the physical form or outline of a diamond, often a primary consideration for couples in their diamond selection journey.

Common diamond shapes encompass round, oval, cushion, princess, pear, emerald, marquise, asscher, radiant, and heart. Two of the older diamond shapes, popular for vintage inspired pieces are old euro, and old mine. Contrarily, 'diamond cut grade' does not denote the diamond's shape but focuses on the cutter's skill in achieving ideal proportion, symmetry, and polish in the diamond.

Diamonds graded as 'Excellent' adhere to the highest standards of precision cutting, achieving maximum sparkle due to their optimal proportions designed to reflect the greatest amount of light possible.

Focusing solely on cut grade, Excellent diamonds tend to command the highest prices. However, it's important to note that a diamond's overall cost is influenced by a combination of factors including color, clarity, and carat, in addition to its cut grade.

Diamond cuts can be categorized into three main types: brilliant, step, and mixed. Brilliant cuts are designed with 58 facets to maximize sparkle, creating an almost ethereal shine. This includes round brilliant and princess diamonds. Step cuts, on the other hand, introduce edged facets to the sides of the diamond, allowing light to cascade beautifully through the center. The best examples of this are emeralds and asschers. Mixed cuts merge these two styles, featuring a step cut on the pavilion and a brilliant cut on the table, offering a harmonious blend of sparkle and structured light play, as seen in radiants.

Attaining an 'Excellent' cut grade based on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) standards is a notable achievement for a diamond, as it necessitates meeting stringent criteria across seven key components. These include brightness, fire (dispersion), scintillation, weight ratio, durability, polish, and symmetry. Only diamonds that excel in each of these areas are awarded the coveted 'Excellent' grade.

The cut is often regarded as the most critical characteristic of a diamond, as a skillfully executed cut can make a diamond appear larger than another of the same carat weight with a lesser cut. Additionally, a well-cut diamond can seem to possess improved color and clarity, showcasing the importance of the cut in enhancing the overall appearance and brilliance of the diamond.