The 4 C's are essential to understand when you are shopping for diamond rings: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Together the 4 C's determine a diamond's value. In this series, we'll look more closely at each of the 4 C's - what each one means and what you should be aware of when shopping for diamond engagement rings and wedding band sets.
First up: diamond cut!
Diamond Cut vs. Diamond Shape
People often confuse diamond cut with diamond shape. A diamond's shape is its appearance - such as round, square, rectangular or oval.
A diamond's cut, on the other hand, is its ability to reflect light; how well it is cut affects its facets and angles and how the light reflections appear. If a jeweler cuts a diamond too deep or too shallow, light escapes from the sides or the top - leading to lackluster engagement rings or wedding band sets. Diamond cut is evaluated on a scale ranging from excellent - reflecting as much light as possible - to poor - losing light on different sides. The most common diamond cut is the round brilliant, which features 58 flat, polished facets that reflect the maximum amount of light.
Diamond cut influences three important factors:
- Brilliance: the white light reflections combined from the surface and the inside of a polished diamond
- Scintillation: the flashes of dark and light that cause a sparkle when the light source, the diamond or the observer moves
- Fire: the flashes of color you see when light is dispersed throughout the visible spectrum
- Scintillation is often thought of as contrasting dark and brightness that alternates from facet to facet and attracts our eyes as the diamond, the illumination or the observer moves.
Diamond Cut Guide
The Gemological Institute of America has an interactive tool on its website that allows you to see how a diamond's cut affects its brilliance, scintillation, fire and overall quality.