The Ultimate Guide to Diamond Cuts

Explore our ultimate guide to diamond cuts for insights into brilliance. Uncover the intricacies of cut grades, types, and choosing the perfect cut to enhance natural diamond beauty.

Round Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

Ladies, gents, and bling aficionados, welcome to the ultimate constellation of diamond cuts! 

We’re about to embark on a bedazzling odyssey that’ll make your synapses sparkle, and your heart do the tango. 

The perfect diamond ring that slides onto your finger as if it was made just for you.

It's not just a ring, it's a testament to your unique story and an emblem of love.

You're not just looking for any diamond; you're on the quest for the diamond that reflects your inner shine.

You're right to think this choice is monumental. After all, a diamond is forever, isn't it? It deserves your time and attention to sparkle as brightly as your eyes do when you find the one.

The Basics of Diamond Cuts

What Is a Diamond Cut?

A diamond cut refers to the arrangement, proportions, and quality of a diamond's facets.

A well-cut diamond doesn’t just capture the light; it seizes it, commands it, and makes it do a Broadway number on your finger!

The cut influences its brilliance and visual appeal and makes up one of the Four Cs (cut, carat weight, color, and clarity) used to assess a diamond's value.

Think of the diamond cut as the blueprint of your diamond's brilliance. A well-cut diamond will catch the light, creating a symphony of sparkle that's impossible to ignore.

Whats The Difference Between Diamond Cut and Shape?

While the shape refers to the outline of the diamond (round, princess, etc.), the cut involves the precision of the facets, determining how light interacts with the stone.

Understanding this distinction is key to selecting a diamond that dazzles.

How Are Diamonds Cut?

Cutting a diamond from a rough stone to a polished gem combines art and science.

The process involves key five stages -planning, cleaving, bruting, polishing and inspecting and is carried out by a qualified diamond expert. 

First, it begins with planning to maximize size and minimize flaws. Meticulous planning is undertaken to determine the optimal shape and size of the final diamond. 

Cleaving, or sawing, then separates the diamond along its natural planes or "cleavage" to create manageable pieces. 

Subsequently, bruting shapes the diamond by rounding its edges, followed by polishing to refine each facet to perfection. 

Finally, rigorous inspection ensures that the cut diamond meets exacting standards for symmetry, proportion, and overall quality, unlocking its dazzling beauty.

How Does Diamond Cut Affect Brilliance?

A diamond's cut choreographs the dance of light within the stone.

The angles, the finish, and the symmetry play a part in how light travels through and reflects out of your diamond, resulting in that coveted sparkle.


Every grade of cut has its own way of interacting with light. Your ideal cut will balance your desires for sparkle and shape.

Remember, the cut is what unleashes a diamond's light, so choose wisely. The better the cut, the better the brilliance. 

Grading Diamond Cuts: How Well Is The Diamond Cut?

Diamonds come with their own report cards, and let us tell you, these grades don’t mess around. 

Grades range from Excellent to Poor. An Excellent grade means the diamond returns light like a well-rehearsed ballet - precise and beautiful. 

Even a Good cut grade can dazzle, but the brilliance dims as the grades decrease. Choose wisely; the grade speaks volumes about the diamond’s inner fire.

The GIA cut grading system was initially developed for round brilliant diamonds, however it has been expanded to include other diamond shapes as well.

The GIA introduced cut grading for alternative diamond shapes in 2005, recognizing that consumers were increasingly interested in a broader range of diamond shapes.

However, it's worth noting that cut grading for fancy shapes is not as standardized as it is for round diamonds.

Alternative diamond shapes may have their own set of criteria for ideal proportions and cut quality, and the GIA takes this into account when assessing the cut grade for non-round diamonds.

Cut Grade



Represents the top tier of diamond cuts, providing maximum brilliance and light performance.


Ideal cuts are proportioned to refract most of the light entering them, however ‘ideal’ is not an official grade by GIA. This is used to describe a well-cut diamond as a general term.

Very Good

Diamonds in this category reflect most of the light that enters them, producing a good deal of brilliance. Slightly less precise than ideal cuts.


Good cut diamonds offer a decent amount of brilliance and fire. They are cut to balance quality and size at a more affordable price.


A fair cut diamond will still be quality but allows more light to escape from the sides and bottom. It's less brilliant compared to higher grades.


Diamonds with a poor cut grade lose most of the light out the sides and bottom, appearing dull and lifeless. These are often cut to maximize carat weight over brilliance.

Excellent Cut

An Excellent cut diamond is a masterpiece of precision.

These diamonds are cut to reflect nearly all light that enters them, resulting in exceptional brilliance and fire.

The angles and finishing of an Excellent cut diamond ensure that it displays a vivid sparkle and a beautiful pattern of bright and dark areas. 

Consider this the A-lister of diamond cuts, the kind that turns heads and sparks conversations.

Choosing an Excellent cut diamond means getting the best in light performance.

Very Good Cut

These diamonds reflect most of the light that enters them, producing superior brilliance. 

While they are cut for slightly more weight retention than the absolute precision of an Excellent cut, they still provide a high degree of fire and sparkle.

A Very Good cut diamond is often an intelligent choice for the savvy buyer who wants a stunning gem at a slightly lower price than an Excellent cut.

Good Cut Grade

Good cut diamonds are the workhorses of the diamond world. These stones offer quality performance, with much of the light that enters being reflected back. 

Although the craftsmanship on a Good cut grade diamond isn't as meticulous as higher grades, a Good cut diamond still offers brightness and can appear lovely to the untrained eye. 

They're priced lower than their more illustrious counterparts, making them an appealing choice for those on a budget who still desire sparkle and size.

Fair Cut Grade

These stones still emit a fair amount of light but direct a more significant portion out the sides and bottom, reducing the perceived fire and brilliance. 

They are often deeper or shallower than the ideal proportions, making the diamond appear smaller with its weight.

Fair cut diamonds are generally best suited for smaller carat weights or diamonds set in pieces where sparkle is not the primary concern.

Poor Cut Grade

Lastly, we have the Poor cut diamonds, which deliver an underwhelming performance, as the name implies. 

These diamonds allow most light to escape from the sides and bottom, resulting in a dull and lifeless appearance. 

Poor cut diamonds lack the fire, brilliance, and scintillation that diamonds are renowned for, and they often appear glassy or muted.

They are priced considerably lower, reflecting their lackluster show of light.

The Brilliance of High-Quality Cuts

Choosing a higher cut quality is crucial for those who desire the quintessential diamond sparkle. The shape also plays a factor, with round-cut diamonds 

The cut is the most critical factor in a diamond's beauty, dramatically influencing the overall visual impact.

While high-quality cuts such as Excellent and Very Good demand a higher price, they guarantee that the diamond's beauty is maximized by reflecting the most white light. 

Which Diamond Cut Sparkles The Most?

The diamond cut that typically sparkles the most is the Round Brilliant cut.

This cut is renowned for its exceptional ability to reflect and refract light, creating a dazzling display of brilliance.

The Round Brilliant cut has 57 or 58 facets, each strategically placed to maximize the diamond's interaction with light.

The specific proportions and angles of a well-cut Round Brilliant diamond are designed to optimize the internal reflection of light, enhancing its sparkle.

The symmetry and precision of the cut contribute to the diamond's ability to scatter light into a spectrum of colors, known as fire.

While other fancy diamond shapes like Princess, Cushion, and Emerald cuts can also exhibit stunning brilliance, the Round Brilliant is often favored for its unparalleled sparkle.

It's essential to consider personal preferences and style when choosing a diamond cut, as different shapes may appeal to different individuals.

Can A Diamond’s Cut Affect Its Color?

While the cut of a diamond doesn't alter its intrinsic color, it can significantly impact how we perceive the diamond's color. 

A well-cut diamond, particularly one with excellent light performance and brilliance, can minimize the visibility of color by effectively managing light and creating distraction through sparkle. 

The distribution of color across the diamond's face-up appearance may also be influenced by the cut.

It's important to note that while cut enhances the visual appeal of a diamond and may mitigate the apparent impact of color, the actual color grade is determined by the inherent color of the diamond's body. 

When choosing a diamond, it's crucial to consider a balance among the Four Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

Personal preferences, budget constraints, and the desired appearance of the diamond all play roles in the selection process.

The Right Diamond Cut: Tips for Picking the Perfect Cut

Choosing for Brilliance

A diamond's cut influences its brilliance more than any other factor. An Excellent or Very Good cut grade is preferable for maximum sparkle.

Celebrating Inclusions and Blemishes

Diamond secrets are the best kind. 

Those inclusions and blemishes? 

They’re like whispers from the earth, tales of journey and formation, making your diamond an original manuscript of natural art.

Inclusions are the intimate secrets of a diamond, visible under a loupe but part of what makes your diamond exclusively yours.

Like a freckle on the face of someone you love, these tiny imperfections can be endearing, a whisper of the stone’s identity.

The "Eye-Clean" Illusion: Smoke and Mirrors in the Diamond World

Eye-clean diamonds are the illusionists of the gem world. 

They might not pass the loupe test, but in the limelight? 

They’re pure David Copperfield, making everyone believe in magic.

"Eye-clean" is a term coined by the GIA. Essentially, an “eye-clean” diamond is one where inclusion cannot be seen while looking down at the top of the diamond.

 These stones are like the understated elegance of a little black dress – they don’t need pomp and circumstance to be noticed; their beauty lies in their subtlety.

Carat Weight: The Heavyweight Champion

Carat weight is like the anchor of a great ship—it’s the heft, the gravitas, the undeniable presence of your gem.

But here’s the real talk: it’s not the carats that matter; how the cut helps them shine!

A larger stone doesn’t always mean more presence.

A 1-carat diamond cut to perfection can outshine a poorly cut 2-carat stone.

It’s not just the party's size but the host's charisma that counts.

Carat Count and Cash Flow: The Balancing Act

The 4Cs are like the Beatles of the jewelry world: individually unique, but together? Unstoppable. 

While the cut is crucial, consider the other 4Cs (Carat, Clarity, Color) in harmony. 

Find a balance that brings out the best in your diamond without breaking the bank.

We all know that more carats can mean more cash. But there’s a sweet spot—a perfect balance where carat and cut coalesce to create something transcendent that says ‘affordable luxury’ without saying a word.

More carats often mean a heftier price, but a savvy shopper knows to balance carat weight with cut quality.

A smaller, well-cut diamond can have the presence of a larger stone, and the money saved can go towards a setting that will enhance its size and appearance even further.

Remember, the 4Cs are your roadmap, not your jailer. There's a wild side to diamonds that don't fit neatly into a box.

Sometimes, a diamond with a rebel heart speaks louder than any grading chart ever could.

What Your Diamond Cut Says About You

The 4Cs are the symphony of the diamond world, each note crucial to the harmony. 

Beyond the 4Cs lies the intangible realm, where diamonds resonate with your very being.

It's where you find a gem that doesn’t just sparkle—it dazzles with the intensity of a thousand suns in a language only you understand.

You want your diamond to sing with a clear, resonant voice, and that’s where the balance of carat, color, clarity, and cut comes in. It’s a composition that plays on the heartstrings.

The diamond cut you choose is a reflection of your personal style. Consider what each cut and shape symbolizes and what it says about you. 



Are you traditional, modern, romantic, or boldly unique?

And sometimes, a diamond defies the 4Cs. It’s the rebel with a cause, the stone that says, "I don't fit the mold, but I'm perfect for you." 

These are the diamonds that remind us that our rules are there to guide us, but sometimes, the heart wants what it wants.

The ineffable quality makes you say, "This is it. This is my diamond." It’s about how the stone speaks to you and feels in the light and the shadow – the diamond captures the essence of your story.

Think about the ring's wearer. What's their style? Their daily activities? Then, match the cut to their life – it should complement their finger and their entire essence.

Shop with trusted jewelers and ask to see diamonds under different lighting conditions. Learn about the diamond's journey from mine to market. An informed choice is a value choice.

Your Sparkling Takeaway

Choosing a diamond is an adventure in beauty and science.

You're now equipped with the knowledge to pick a cut that resonates with your story and find the balance between brilliance and value. 

Go forth, diamond hunter, and find that gem that speaks to your heart.

And remember, your perfect diamond is out there, waiting to shine with you - it may very well be in our showroom!

Let Ben Garelick make your dream a reality. 

Visit our collection and consult with our experts online.

Your diamond story starts here!

Peter Manka Jr

Peter Manka Jr. - Owner at Ben Garelick

Peter Manka Jr. is a passionate member of the family business who joined Ben Garelick in the early 2000s after working in product licensing for Sesame Workshop & The Jim Henson Company for many years. He obtained a degree in diamonds and jewelry from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in order to sharpen his jewelry skills. He takes great pride in providing exceptional customer service and helping clients find the perfect piece of jewelry.

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