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Diamond Cut 101: Why Cut Reigns Supreme Among the 4Cs

When it comes to selecting the perfect diamond, understanding the significance of the diamond cut is crucial. Known as the most influential of the 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat), the cut of a diamond goes beyond mere shape, influencing its overall brilliance and beauty.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the art and science behind diamond cutting, exploring how this intricate process can transform a rough stone into a dazzling masterpiece. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned jewelry enthusiast, gaining insights into the world of diamond cut will empower you to make informed decisions and appreciate the true artistry behind each sparkling gem.

What is Diamond Cut in Jewelry?

The term “diamond cut” in jewelry refers not just to the shape of a diamond, but to the precision and craftsmanship involved in its faceting, proportions, and overall symmetry. This meticulous process is what transforms a rough diamond into a mesmerizing gemstone, capable of capturing and reflecting light in a way that maximizes its brilliance and fire. A well-executed diamond cut ensures that each facet, or flat surface, works in harmony to enhance the stone’s natural beauty, dictating how light enters and exits the diamond. The quality of the cut determines the diamond’s ability to sparkle, making it a critical aspect for jewelers and consumers alike in assessing a diamond’s value and aesthetic appeal. The quality of diamonds is significantly influenced by their cut, making it a critical aspect for jewelers and consumers alike in assessing a diamond’s value and aesthetic appeal.

How Diamonds are Cut

The process of cutting diamonds is an intricate blend of art and science, requiring both precision and a deep understanding of gemology. Initially, expert diamond cutters assess the rough diamond to determine the most efficient cut that will maximize its size, shape, and clarity while minimizing imperfections. Using advanced technology and tools, such as laser cutting and traditional hand-held tools like cleaving and sawing, the cutter shapes the diamond into a basic form.

Afterwards, they meticulously facet the diamond, carving numerous flat surfaces at exact angles to optimize the stone’s ability to reflect light. This stage is crucial, as the quality of the cut directly influences the diamond’s brilliance and fire. Each facet must be carefully aligned and polished, a process that requires immense skill and precision. The result of this painstaking process is a breathtakingly beautiful diamond, with each facet working in concert to produce the mesmerizing sparkle and depth that diamonds are renowned for. This transformation from a rough stone into a polished gem is what makes diamond cutting a true art form, revered in the world of fine jewelry.

The diamond grading process plays a vital role in evaluating the final product of this meticulous craftsmanship. Reputable diamond grading services assess various aspects of the cut, ensuring that each diamond meets high standards of quality and beauty.

Types of Diamond Cuts

Diamonds are celebrated for their timeless beauty, a quality largely determined by their cut. The type of diamond cut not only dictates the stone’s overall shape but also its ability to reflect light, creating that sought-after sparkle. Here, we explore some of the most popular types of diamond cuts, each with its unique charm and characteristics:

Round Brilliant Cut

The most popular and classic of all, the Round Brilliant Cut features 57 or 58 facets that maximize light return through the top of the diamond. It’s known for its unparalleled brilliance and is a favorite for engagement rings and fine jewelry.

Princess Cut

Second in popularity, the Princess Cut is characterized by a square or rectangular shape with pointed corners. It’s designed to maximize sparkle while maintaining a modern, geometric look.

Cushion Cut

Combining a square cut with rounded corners, the Cushion Cut resembles a pillow, hence its name. It’s an antique style that has regained popularity, known for its soft appearance and romantic appeal.

Emerald Cut

Distinguished by its elongated, rectangular shape and stepped facets, the Emerald Cut is known for its understated elegance. It offers a unique hall-of-mirrors effect, rather than the sparkle of a brilliant cut.  However, for this specific cut, Clarity is given the most priority due to the large table; inclusions are easily seen even with the naked eye so the Emerald Cut, or any other shape that has a huge table, falls exception to the rule.

Oval Cut

As a variation of the Round Brilliant Cut, the Oval Cut offers a similar brilliance but with a unique elongated shape. This cut can create the illusion of greater size and is favored for its flattering, elongating effect on the hand.

Relationship Between Diamond Cut and Quality

The relationship between diamond cut and quality is a fundamental aspect of diamond valuation and appeal. A diamond’s cut is often considered the most crucial factor in determining its overall quality and beauty. This is because the cut directly influences a diamond’s ability to interact with light, which in turn determines its brilliance, fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the sparkle seen when the diamond or light source is moved). Even if a diamond scores high in other aspects like color and clarity, a poor cut can result in a dull, lifeless appearance.

Conversely, a high-quality cut can enhance the perceived clarity and color of a diamond, making even lower-grade stones appear more vibrant and visually appealing. Expertly cut diamonds will have well-proportioned and aligned facets that maximize the stone’s inherent beauty, showcasing its true potential. Therefore, the quality of the cut is paramount in bringing out the best in a diamond, significantly impacting its value and desirability.

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GIA Cut Grades

When evaluating diamonds, one of the most respected standards in the industry is the grading system developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA Cut Grading system specifically assesses a diamond’s cut, ranging from Excellent to Poor. This grading plays a crucial role in determining the overall appearance and value of a diamond. Here’s an overview of the GIA Cut Grades:


This grade is awarded to diamonds that provide maximum brilliance and fire. An Excellent cut diamond has been crafted to deliver the highest levels of light return, indicating top-tier artistry in cutting. These diamonds exhibit a balanced and proportionate appearance, with precise symmetry and optimal polish.

Very Good

Diamonds with a Very Good cut grade reflect most of the light that enters them, producing substantial brilliance and fire. They are skillfully cut but may not meet all the criteria to achieve an Excellent rating. These diamonds offer a high-quality appearance at a slightly lower price point than Excellent cuts.


Good cut diamonds provide a decent amount of brilliance and fire, though less than Very Good or Excellent cuts. These diamonds are typically cut to maximize size over other qualities, which might result in less precision in terms of symmetry and polish.


Fair cut diamonds offer modest brilliance and are usually cut deeper or shallower than ideal proportions. This grade often indicates that a considerable amount of light escapes from the sides and bottom of the diamond, diminishing its potential sparkle.


Diamonds that receive a Poor cut grade typically have been cut without much regard for maximizing their optical performance. They often appear dull or glassy, as a significant amount of light escapes from the diamond unreflected. These cuts are usually too deep or too shallow, with poor symmetry and polish, significantly affecting the stone’s overall appearance.

What is a Poor Cut Diamond?

A Poor cut diamond refers to a diamond that has been cut in a manner that severely compromises its ability to reflect light effectively. These diamonds often suffer from extreme cutting errors, such as being cut too shallow or too deep, resulting in a significant loss of potential brilliance and fire. In a Poor cut diamond, light that enters through the top often escapes from the sides or bottom, rather than being reflected back to the viewer’s eye. This mismanagement of light can lead to a dull, lackluster appearance, making the diamond less attractive and desirable. They are also generally less expensive due to their lower aesthetic appeal and diminished sparkle, making them a less popular choice for fine jewelry.

Diamond Cut FAQs

How can you tell if a diamond is an excellent cut?

An Excellent cut diamond will exhibit high levels of brilliance, meaning it reflects a majority of light that enters it, resulting in a bright and lively appearance. It will also display significant fire, which is the scattering of light into various colors, and will have a balanced and proportional look with even and aligned facets. Additionally, a diamond certificate from a reputable gemological laboratory, like the GIA, indicating an Excellent cut grade, is a reliable indicator of its quality.

Which diamond cut is most expensive?

The Round Brilliant Cut is typically the most expensive diamond cut. This is due to several factors: its high demand, the significant amount of rough diamond lost during cutting (up to 60%), and its unparalleled brilliance and fire. The complexity and skill required to create a Round Brilliant Cut also add to its cost. Its exceptional light performance and timeless appeal make it a highly sought-after choice for engagement rings and fine jewelry, which further drives its premium pricing.

Which diamond cut has the most sparkle?

The Round Brilliant Cut is renowned for having the most sparkle among all diamond cuts. This is attributed to its precise geometry and the way its 57 or 58 facets are proportioned and aligned. These facets are specifically designed to maximize light reflection and refraction, resulting in exceptional brilliance and fire. The Round Brilliant Cut’s ability to reflect nearly all the light that enters it, creating a dazzling display of sparkling light, sets it apart from other cuts.

Which diamond cut holds its value?

The Round Brilliant Cut is generally considered to hold its value better than other diamond cuts. Its enduring popularity, timeless appeal, and superior sparkle make it a perennial favorite in the diamond market. This cut is always in high demand, which helps maintain its resale value over time. Additionally, the Round Brilliant Cut’s versatility in various jewelry settings and its ability to appeal to a wide range of tastes further contribute to its sustained value.

Discover the Brilliance with W. Villarica Jewelry

As we conclude our exploration of diamond cuts, it’s evident that the cut of a diamond is not just a detail—it’s the defining factor that ignites a diamond’s inner fire and brilliance. Understanding the nuances of diamond cuts enables you to appreciate the artistry and precision that go into creating these stunning gems. Whether you’re selecting a timeless piece for a special occasion or investing in a future heirloom, the importance of a well-cut diamond cannot be overstated.

At W. Villarica Jewelry, our commitment to excellence and expertise in fine jewelry make us your ideal partner in discovering the perfect diamond. Ms. Willyn Villarica, our in-house expert, is a licensed appraiser and certified gemologist in the Philippines. She is the only member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers from the Philippines. NAJAappraisers.com

Willyn Villarica is your trusted partner for jewelry appraisal services, catering to clients around the globe. Our expertise and commitment to excellence ensure accurate and reliable assessments of your precious gemstones. It’s important to note that while we offer our services worldwide, clients are responsible for covering all travel expenses. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have your diamonds expertly graded by Willyn Villarica.

Send your inquiries to +63279497547 or book an appointment now. You can also contact us via email at admin@willynvillaricajewelry.com, or find us on Facebook (Willyn Villarica Jewelry) or Instagram (@willynvillarica_jewelry).

  • Willyn Villarica

    Willyn Villarica, a third-generation jeweler from the Philippines, brings a wealth of expertise to the world of gemology and jewelry appraisal. As a licensed Graduate Gemologist, accredited by the prestigious Gemological Institute of America, she is not only a master of her craft but also holds the distinction of being the first Filipino member of the National Associ...

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