It is imperative that you buy your diamonds from a reputable dealer that offers high-quality photos and GIA certification. We recommend James Allen for their huge selection and excellent customer service.
Shine bright like a diamond!
Diamonds are one of the most mesmerizing gemstones available. Due to their unique qualities, they have become the epitome of the best of ''something'' and exquisite beauty. However, as magnificent and glorious as they are, it can be challenging to buy these ''miracles of nature''.
Therefore, it is crucial to do thorough research and planning before buying the diamond of your dreams.
4Cs of Diamond Quality
4Cs of diamond quality is the universal and global method for assessing the quality of any diamond.
4Cs are Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. With 4Cs, customers know what exactly they want to purchase and what they are about to purchase.
- Color: A diamond color grades the whiteness of a diamond. The GIA grades diamonds from D to Z, with D being the most colorless, and Z having a noticeable brown or yellow tint. Diamonds also exist in natural colors such as pink, blue, green, etc. These fancy colored diamonds are more precious and expensive and graded on a different scale.
- Clarity: A diamond clarity grade assesses how clean a diamond is from any blemishes and inclusions.
- Cut: Cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polishing of a diamond. The light will refract and reflect back in the viewer's eyes almost entirely in a finely cut diamond, thereby giving out a radiant shine. The cut is what that finally creates the sparkling brilliance of a diamond. Hence, it is the most vital factor to be considered if you want a sparkling diamond.
- Carat Weight: Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. The price of a diamond increases with diamond carat weight. (However, an important point to be noted is that a diamond's worth is assessed using all 4Cs, not just the carat weight.)
Why is Diamond Cut So Important?
Why is a diamond's ''cut'' the most critical factor over other factors?
A diamond's sparkle depends on its ability to take in light and then reflect the light out to the viewer. The more light the diamond reflects from its facets (one side of something many-sided), the more sparkle it will pour out.
- When light hits a finely-cut diamond, it reflects through countless facets to emit a spectacular sparkle. But in a poorly-cut diamond (even if it is high color or clarity graded), the light will escape, and hence the diamond will emit a dull look.
- Also, a well-cut diamond masks other minor flaws such as blemishes, inclusions, and slight coloring.
- Another advantage of choosing a well-cut diamond is saving your pocket in color and clarity characteristics.
The cut quality of the diamond determines the overall beauty and sparkle of the diamond. Therefore, it is recommended to buy a good quality cut diamond over other characteristics.
Brilliance, Fire, and Scintillation and Their Relation to Sparkle
- Brilliance - the brightness of the white light reflection; this is a term used to describe the total amount of light reflected by a diamond.
- Fire - The dispersion of white light into different colors of light. Once the light is bounced off the inside walls of the diamond towards the center, it shoots back up through the top. Because the diamond slightly bends the light, a color spectrum is visible.
- Sparkle (Scintillation) - A term used to describe the flashes of light produced when a diamond is moved underneath a light source.
An ideal diamond cut redirects light coming into it back through to the top of the diamond. The better the facets can direct the light in and back up, the more fire and brilliance you will see.
The sparkle of a diamond is called ''scintillation .'' It is a product of both brilliance (white light reflection) and dispersion (rainbow of colors aka fire). The light that isn't reflected back enters the diamond and reflects from facet-to-facet toward the center of the diamond. This light, which bounces off the facets of the diamond, is the quality described as scintillation.
Sparkle or scintillation is a dynamic characteristic of a diamond - you only see it when you physically move the diamond to watch how light dances through the facets and across the crown. Ideally, a diamond has many pleasing flashes spread across the stone's surface, with few dull, dead patches.
Sparkle, brilliance, and fire are products of cut (proportions, facet alignment, polish, and symmetry). An excellent cut is meant to take the light entering the diamond from many different angles and internally refract and reflect it back through the crown to your eyes, where you visually appreciate its sparkling beauty.
Watch to see Diamond Grades Explained:
GIA Grades for Diamond Cut
Note that these GIA Grades only apply to round brilliant diamond cuts.
- Excellent: The Highest level of fire and brilliance
- Very Good: Exceptional and brilliance fire
- Good: Brilliance and sparkle
- Fair: Little brilliance
- Poor: No sparkle, brilliance, or fire
Numbers To Consider When Shopping for Diamonds
The depth of the diamond is the measurement from the bottom, or culet, of the diamond to the top. Depth percentage tells you how deep the diamond is in relationship to the length and width.
Generally speaking, you are better off with less diamond weight coming from the depth and more coming from the diamond's length and width or diameter.
A diamond with a lower depth percentage will usually be more brilliant and look larger to the eye. If you purchase a round diamond, try to find something in the 58.5-62.5% depth range.
Another number people see when shopping for diamonds is the table percentage. The table is the large facet on the top of the diamond. A table that is too large or too small will not refract light as well as it should. For a round diamond, try to stay in the 54-59% range.
Length/ Width Ratio
The length to width ratio is measured by dividing the length of the diamond by the width. For example, if a diamond has a length of 5mm and a width of 4mm, the length to width ratio is 1.25.
Diamond-Cuts With The Most Sparkle
Round Brilliant Cut (The most brilliant-cut)
Round brilliant cut diamonds have the most brilliant sparkle. With almost 58 facets in this cut, it allows light to enter the diamond and reflect off every facet proportionately to create a splendid sparkle.
This cut is designed and engineered specifically to exhibit the most brilliance possible. No doubt, a round brilliant cut is the most popular diamond cut. So, if you want a diamond that sparkles above all others, then a round brilliant cut should be your choice.
When buying a round brilliant, look for a length/width ratio of 1.0 - 1.03 for the most aesthetic diamond.
Exceptionally Brilliant Diamond Cuts
We understand that you may want to own a cut other than a traditional round one and still want that sparkling shine. Well, we have a solution for that too.
Exceptionally brilliant diamond cuts sparkle less than the round brilliant, but they still stunningly reflect a generous amount of light. Further, these cuts are not as expensive as round cuts. These diamonds cuts are a perfect option for those looking for a super-radiant diamond with a unique shape (other than round).
Note that these fancy diamond cuts do not have a cut grading issued by the GIA. For that reason, I have included the ideal table and depth percentage and the ideal length/width ratio for each diamond cut to get the best brilliance. If you shop on James Allen, you can see every stone's length/width ratio and inquire about the table and depth percentage.
Let's examine three exceptionally brilliant diamond cuts:
An oval cut is more oblong than a traditional round, but still retains a brilliant sparkle. Advantages include:
- It appears larger than a round cut
- Rare and unique shape.
- Look for a table percentage of 52 - 65% and a depth percentage of 56 - 66%.
- The ideal length/width ratio is between 1.30 - 1.50.
Marquise is one of the oldest diamond cuts and also one of the most unique shapes. If you are looking for a classic and historic shape with a brilliant sparkle, then marquise is surely going to win you over.
- Look for a table percentage of 52 - 65% and a depth percentage of 56 - 66%.
- The ideal length/width ratio is between 1.85 - 2.10.
Contains the same amount of facets as the round brilliant, pear diamond cuts reflect a generous amount of light so that you can expect a superb light return and sparkle from this cut.
- Stick to a depth percentage of under 68%.
- The ideal length/width ratio is between 1.45 and 1.75.
Highly Brilliant Diamonds Cuts
Heart and princess cut diamonds are two shapes that are classified as highly brilliant.
These diamond cuts reflect about seventy percent of the light entering it. What is to be noted is that these diamonds cuts distribute light perfectly and hence give out a beautiful sparkle.
The princess cut lies second in popularity to round brilliant in the race of engagement ring settings.
- When purchasing a princess cut diamond, the ideal cut parameters include a depth percentage of 68% - 75% (note that under 70% is very hard to find),
- Look for a table percentage below 75%, and a length/width ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 for a square princess cut.
Heart cuts have between 56 and 58 facets, making them similar to round brilliants. When cut well, they can have a fantastic level of brilliance and fire.
- The ideal length to width ratio is 1.00. A lower ratio will give the heart shape a more "chubby" look. A ratio above 1.10 will make the heart appear more stretched (elongated, tall, and thin).
Brilliant Diamond Cuts
We are now entering the middle gradation of diamond cuts for sparkle. Four-diamond cuts fall in the category that generates a fine amount of brilliance: Cushion, Radiant, Asscher, and Emerald.
These diamonds have less sparkle, but they create a unique visual effect due to their "step cut''. So, when light hits the diamonds, it looks like a hall of mirrors.
If sparkle is not first on your priority, these cuts may offer a fancy and unique alternative.
Very good at reflecting light and creating a high level of brilliance and fire. It offers a strong sparkle at a lower price point than round brilliant.
- Look for a depth percentage under 70% and table percentage under 70%.
- Cushions are often square but can also be rectangular. For the square shape, keep the ratio between 1.0 -1.09. Slight rectangles usually range from 1.15-1.25 in ratio.
- Stick with a depth percentage of 59 - 74%, and a table percentage of 57 - 72%.
- The ideal length/width ratio is 1.00 - 1.05 for square and 1.15 - 1.35 for rectangle (but you can go all the way up to 2.0).
Asscher and Emerald Cut
Highly prized for clarity and luster, these cuts aren't as bright and sparkly as those based on the brilliant cut, but they offer a unique and elegant appearance.
- For Asscher cuts, look for a 60 - 68% depth percentage, a table percentage of 60 - 68%, and a length/width ratio of 1.00 - 1.05.
- For emerald cuts, find a diamond with a 59 - 67% depth percentage, a table percentage of 57 - 72%, and a length/width ratio of 1.30 - 1.60.
Diamond-Cut with the Least Sparkle
Baguette-cut has the least sparkle of all the cuts. You may skip this cut if you are insistent on sparkle, as this cut emits less than half the amount of sparkle than that of the round brilliant cut.
If you want to buy a Baguette cut diamond, the ideal length to width ratio ranges from 1.50-2.40.
And that covers everything you need to know about diamond cut and sparkle!
In the end, we want to reiterate that a high-quality cut is the most vital factor to consider, as it is the cut that brings out the sparkle in a diamond. For the same reason, it is imperative that you purchase diamonds from reputable and trusted vendors who prioritize superior craftsmanship over and above anything else.
We strongly recommend buying diamonds from James Allen. They are the most reputed sellers who provide GIA certificates with their diamonds. In addition, they are the leader in online diamond sales. With 18+ years of experience and a prime focus on customer satisfaction, they provide an exceptional shopping experience and excellent pricing. They also have the highest tech diamond imagery in the industry, making it easy to search and preview diamonds accurately.
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