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Diamonds Cut

Ideal Cut



Diamonds: A cut above

How well a diamond is cut determines how well the diamond will shine.

A cut above

Making the Cut
Cut is possibly the most important factor in the Four Cs, because cut is what gives a diamond its brilliance. Cut is certainly the most misunderstood and controversial of the four Cs. When we talk about cut, we mean much more than the shape of a diamond. We are talking about the exact angles, proportions, symmetry, and polish that affect the way a diamond handles light.

How can you tell if a diamond is well cut? The most common answer is to talk about proportions: whether the stone is too shallow, too deep, or just right. But fine cutting is not just a matter of proportion. A well-cut stone is carefully and precisely crafted: all the facets are exactly where they should be and polished until they gleam. To be well cut, a diamond must have the right proportions, precise symmetry, and a fine polish. Diamond dealers refer to this as "make," and it is the only thing about a diamond's quality that can be controlled by man. A stone with fine make has been carefully fashioned by the cutter to maximize its potential.

Whether you choose an emerald cut, an oval, a marquise, or any other diamond shape, a well-cut diamond will reflect light back evenly in the face up position, with no dark areas. A well cut diamond returns the maximum amount of light to the eye as brilliance. A well cut diamond also displays dispersion or fire: spectral colors of light that add richness to its sparkle.

The most popular diamond shape is the round brilliant, which is also the most standardized cut, since it always has a round outline. Fancy shape diamonds will vary somewhat in their outline, since the cutter individually shapes each one to suit the shape of the rough.

Because the round cut is more standardized than the others, cutters have argued for about a hundred years about the best possible set of proportions for a round brilliant cut. How deep should it be? How large should the table be? What combination of angles results in the best balance of brilliance and dispersion?

One particular set of proportions for the round brilliant called the "ideal cut" has become very popular. Is it the best? The industry is still actively debating this point. Not all diamonds that are exceptionally brilliant have these proportions, and not all diamonds with these proportions are exceptional when it comes to handling light. Ideal cut diamonds also look smaller than finely cut diamonds with other proportions because they are more deep and less wide than standard cuts.

Should you buy an ideal cut? For a detailed explanation of just what an ideal cut is and what all the debate is about, see our detailed article: A Consumer Guide to the Ideal Cut. There is a lot of confusion about what qualifies as an ideal cut. At Alrashid Cyber Mall we only classify a diamond as "ideal" only if it conforms to the standards for ideal cuts defined by American Gem Society Gemological Laboratories, the leading issuer of cut grades for diamonds. All our "ideal" diamonds are AGS "triple zeros": these diamonds have received the highest possible grades for proportions, polish, and symmetry on the respected AGS Diamond Quality Document. As you comparison shop for diamonds, be aware that diamonds that are called "ideal" by other retailers may not have an AGS report and may not meet that lab's strict standards for proportions, symmetry, and polish.

At Alrashid Cyber Mall, we give you the choice between well cut diamonds that are AGS ideal cuts and finely cut diamonds that don't fall into this category. If cut is important to you, you will want to look at the stones on our site marked as Alrashid Cyber Mall Top Selections. Mayer Herz, our vice president of diamond acquisitions, has personally judged these diamonds to be in the top 20 percent of all diamonds with regard to cut.

Whether or not you choose a diamond with ideal proportions, don't forget to look at the quality of a diamond's symmetry and polish. These will be noted on all diamond grading reports as excellent, good, fair, or poor. At Alrashid Cyber Mall, we evaluate all our diamonds, including the fancy shapes, to judge how well they are cut. We don't accept any diamonds that only have a "fair" evaluation of polish and symmetry from GIA or AGS: all of the diamonds we sell have at least a "good" grade for these important factors.

As you may have guessed, symmetry refers to how well the facets line up against each other, which determines how efficiently they will "throw" light between them. Polish, of course, refers to how well the diamond has been buffed to a smooth finish. Poor polish will dull a diamond's sparkle, which comes from its reflection and refraction of light. When a beam of light touches the surface of a diamond, some is reflected back to the viewer. This is known as "external reflection." As the rest of the ray penetrates the stone, it is deflected by the stone's density toward the center of the diamond. This is called "refraction." The ray is then reflected from the internal surfaces of the stone and back out the top. This is known as "internal reflection."

Rough Decisions
In a mechanized world, most diamonds are still cut by hand. Each rough diamond is evaluated by a master craftsman who decides what size and shape to cut to achieve minimum weight loss and maximum brilliance.

Cutting a diamond is a complicated, multi-step process that requires detailed knowledge of the stone, a precise hand, and perfect judgment. The aim, of course, is to produce the largest and cleanest stone possible. The temptation is to sacrifice good proportions for bigger size, since most consumers don't take the time to learn about cutting quality and just choose a larger stone.

If what you are looking for is the most brilliance for your money, you are better off choosing a smaller stone that is well cut rather than a larger stone that has not been finished with the same attention to detail.




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