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Every diamond, regardless of its shape, size, or color, begins as a rough diamond, void of carefully crafted facets. The process these stones go through, which involves cutting and polishing, results in the shimmering gems that we know and love. An important distinction that needs to be clarified is that a diamond’s cut is not synonymous with a diamond’s shape. There are several cutting styles that are used by diamond cutters to transform a rough stone into a glimmering diamond. These include the brilliant cut, the step cut, the modified cut, and the mixed cut. Once the diamond has been carved, it can be shaped. A pear-shaped diamond can have a brilliant cut, but it can also have a step cut.


Different Cutting Styles


The brilliant cut is the most popular and most common cutting style, as it is the best way to display a diamond’s brilliance, also known as its fire. Round brilliant diamonds usually have 58 facets. The step cut is intended to look like it sounds: like steps. Therefore, the step cut is quite different from the brilliant cut. Its facets are parallel to one another and in general much more symmetrical. Though the emerald shape looks best with this cut, other shapes can also be created from the step cut.

The modified cut, or the modified brilliant, is the brilliant cut with a little twist, used mainly for shaping oval, pear, and marquise shapes. Lastly, the mixed cut combines the two main cuts, the brilliant cut and the step cut, together. The princess diamond is the most popular diamond shape that is based on the mixed cut.


A Diamond’s Depth


Another aspect of the way in which a diamond is cut is its depth. A deep diamond can make a diamond appear small while heavy, and a shallow diamond can give a large appearance while not carrying much carat weight at all. This can be used for one’s benefit when on a tight budget, however, it must never be forgotten that the depth also plays a role in terms of a diamond’s color and shine. For color diamonds, it is important for light to remain within the stone for as long as possible, since that is how the color shows best. With colorless diamonds it is the opposite: the light needs to leave the stone as quickly as possible in order for it to shine well. Color diamonds have the difficult job of balancing both responsibilities: displaying the utmost color and supplying brilliance.


The cut of the diamond is the only one of the 4 Cs that is up to man to determine. The remaining 3 Cs, color, clarity, and carat, are largely left to nature. By cutting a stone in a knowledgeable and accurate manner, a diamond can have the chance to have its color, clarity, and even carat size utilized to the maximum. Thus, a diamond’s cut should never be taken for granted, for each painstakingly cut can fatefully impact a diamond’s final value.

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