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The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance. There is no single measurement of a diamond that defines its cut, but rather a collection of measurements and observations that determine the relationship between a diamond's light performance, dimensions, and finish.

The width and depth can have an affect on how light travels within the diamond, and how it exits in the form of brilliance.

TOO DEEP: When the cut on a diamond is too deep, light escapes out of the sides causing the diamond to appear dark and dull.
TOO SHALLOW: When the cut on a diamond is too shallow, light is lost through the bottom causing the diamond to lose brilliance.


Determining a diamond's cut grade, however, goes beyond simple measurements of width and depth. Using an optical measuring device, a three-dimensional model is created to determine the diamond's proportions and angels. The interrelations between these various dimensions will greatly affect how light reacts once it enters and how it behaves once it exits; by using sophisticated computer modeling, it is possible to trace light behavior and measure its level of brightness, fire and scintillation- the face-up appearance.

  • DIAMOND: The width of the diamond is measured through the girdle.
  • TABLE: The largest facet of a gemstone.
  • CROWN: The top portion of a diamond extending from the girdle to the table.
  • GIRDLE: The intersection of the crown and pavilion which defines the perimeter of the diamond.
  • PAVILION: The bottom portion of a diamonds, extending from the girdle to the culet.
  • CULET: The facet at the bottom tip of a gemstone. The preferred culet is not visible with theunaided eye (graded "none" or "small").
  • DEPTH: The height of a gemstone measured from the culet to the table.



Polish and symmetry are two important aspects of the cutting process. The polish grade describes the smoothness of the diamond's facets, and the symmetry grade refers to alignment of the facets. With poor polish, the surface of a facet can be dulled, and may create blurred or dulled sparkle. With poor symmetry, light can be misdirected as it enters and exits the diamond. The polish and symmetry grades are clearly listed in each diamond detail page and within the GIA or EGL diamond grading report. For the most beautiful diamond, look for a symmetry grade of excellent (EX), very good (VG), or good (G) for a GIA graded diamond, and ideal (ID), excellent (EX), very good (VG), or good (G) for an EGL graded diamond. Avoid diamonds with symmetry grades of fair (F) or poor (P), as the alignment of their facets may misdirect light so severely that it affects the brilliance of the diamond.

Diamond measurements are calculated and applied to a cut grading scale that makes it easy to understand how well each reflect light:

  • IDEAL CUT: This exquisite and rare cut represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality bases on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond.
  • VERY GOOD CUT: Reflecting nearly as much light as the ideal cut, but for a lower price, this cut represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut.
  • GOOD CUT: Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. This cut reflects most light that enters and is much less expensive than a very good cut.
  • FAIR CUT: Fair cuts are still a quality diamond, but are less brilliant that a good cut. They represent roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut.
  • POOR CUT: This includes all diamonds that do not meet the performance standards of a fair cut. These diamonds are generally deep and narrow or shallow and wide and tend to lose most of the light out the sides and bottom.



For a diamond with the best cut, that will look exceptional even when viewed under a microscope, look to an ideal cut. These diamonds reflect the most brilliance because they are cut to the most exacting proportions. They have the highest polish and symmetry grades available for round diamonds.

For the best value in a brilliant diamond, choose a diamond with a cut grade of good or very good, and polish and symmetry grades of very good or good.

If your diamond has an ideal or very good cut with very good or good polish and symmetry, you may want to consider less expensive grades of color and clarity - look for a diamond with G or H color and SI1 or SI2 clarity.