There are four characteristics to find out the true value of a diamond – Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight, known as the 4Cs.
Let’s see what the Cut means. Diamonds are sold in many shapes like Princess, Round, Emerald, Radiant, etc. The Cut does not mean these shapes. Instead, the Cut of a diamond refers to symmetry, angles, slants, polish and the precise dimension techniques by which a raw diamond is actually cut and beautified with faceted features.
A rough diamond in its natural & unearthed form is generally not shiny and looks like an ordinary piece of glassy & transparent rock with an uneven surface. That is when the diamond cutting process begins – a highly specialized profession that requires years of expertise to master. To know more about the Clarity of a diamond, read here.
Why is Cut so important?
Let’s explain it with a short example.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond weighed over 180 carats in the beginning. Later, it was acquired by various royals, passed on to succeeding dynasties and preferentially cut several times by different monarchical artisans to improve its luminosity. Without high-tech precision machines in the old times, Koh-i-Noor, The Mountain of Light, was cut but imperfectly a few times to considerably lose weight before its final acquisition by Queen Victoria in due course of history.
The English empire’s final order of re-cutting their prized possession made this diamond stand at 105.6 carats, currently glorifying the British Crown as a prime jewel. Due to constant dissatisfaction with its luster and brilliance, the Koh-i-Noor was cut down from more than 180 carats to 105.6 carats over the centuries.
Therefore, as the saying goes –
‘Get your diamond cut once, get it done perfectly.’
A diamond indeed becomes a diamond with the art of Cut. If carved flawlessly, you won’t take your eyes off one.
Cutting is done to achieve a perfect equilibrium for the reflecting facets (faces) of a diamond. Due to diamond’s physical properties, maximum shine is obtained with a ‘brilliant-cut,’ as shown in the image. For the same reason, the iconic conical shape is an ideal choice for the most cherished stone in the world.
The scientific explanation in simple words:
Total internal reflection: Complete reflection of light within a medium, back to the light source of another medium. A mirror also reflects the light back to you. But in the case of a perfectly cut diamond, the light keeps reflecting within its structure for a good number of times due to multiple facets, which are critically cut for this very purpose.
To understand this phenomenon, imagine if a small ray of light is trapped inside a diamond, multiplied a hundred times while trying to reflect back to your eyes. The result – a scintillating stone so beautiful that even the dark allows it to shine for a while. The sparkle which emerges from a diamond are ‘refracted rays.’ Hence, the Cut of a gem is directly responsible for enhancing its glittering properties.
What should you do before buying a diamond?
Ask for the diamond certificate and look for the ‘Cut’ parameter in that report.
A Deep Cut diamond means that the diamond was finished to obtain a higher Carat weight. Similarly, a Shallow Cut classification is also done in which a diamond is kept wider but with a lower depth for a better yield by weight. However, a Well Cut diamond is smaller but illuminates brighter due to its symmetry, and therefore, priced higher for its exceptional appearance.
Also, an Excellent Cut diamond has facets so perfect that it reflects almost all the light to the viewing angle, creating an eye-catching radiance. This rating falls down to Very Good, Good and Fair Cut with a diminishing intensity of sparkle, hence decreasing the price of a diamond.
Usually, a diamond is analyzed in detail before finding its way to a jewelry shop and being used as an ornament. There are renowned Diamond Grading Institutions in the world that issue elaborated reports for all kinds of diamonds for a fee. The retailers should present authentic reports prepared by any well-known certifying company like Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gem Society (AGS) or the International Gemological Institute(IGI) for all the diamonds they wish to offer to their customers.
The final price of a diamond depends not on one but four factors – the 4Cs. A diamond certificate contains a comprehensive explanation to describe all of these four factors to estimate the right value.