Definition In its rough state, a diamond’s beauty is well concealed. Through cutting, the magnificent optical beauty of a diamond is revealed. A diamond cutter’s challenge is to balance beauty with weight retention from the rough diamond crystal.
In the best-case scenario, approximately 50% of the weight is lost from the original crystal in the cutting process. Because size is important to many consumers, often cutters sacrifice diamond beauty in order to save weight, maximizing the size of the finished diamond.
Note that cut is also referred to as make.
Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. The shape you select is a matter of individual taste, and today your choice is only limited by the skill and imagination of the craftsman. It is their effort during every stage of the fashioning process that reflects the maximum amount of light back to the eye. Most round, brilliant-cut or fancy-shaped diamonds possess 58 carefully angled flat surfaces, called facets, whose placement will affect the fire, brilliance and ultimate beauty of your diamond.
The way a diamond reflects and refracts light is dazzling to the beholder. There are four factors that determine the optical beauty of a diamond: luster, brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.
Luster The quantity and quality of light reflecting from the surfaces of a diamond.
Brilliance The amount of white light returned to the eye from the diamond.
Dispersion The amount of rainbow colors returned to the eye from within the diamond.
Scintillation The sparkle, which is the combination luster, brilliance, and dispersion when there is movement by the wearer or light source.
How Cut is Graded
In the past diamonds were analyzed, not graded, for cut by visual estimation. Today, there are several electronic machines used to determine the angles and proportions relating to the quality of cut. A diamond’s finish, including polish and symmetry, is graded by human examination through a binocular microscope.