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Ideal Cut Diamonds

Apr 15, 2008
An ideal cut diamond means that the diamond has been cut to a specific set of parameters required to produce the highest light performance possible. Light performance is the refraction and reflection of light that enters the diamond. In order to understand the importance or significance of an ideal cut diamond you'll need to understand how the light is intended to be harnessed by all diamonds. The light enters the crown of the diamond, the crown can be seen when you turn the stone and view it from the side. So the culet is facing down and the top of the diamond is facing up, once in this position it is the upper most position of the stone. Upon entering the crown of the diamond, the light is reflected down to the pavilion of the diamond. The pavilion is the cone shape part with the point at the bottom of it. Next the light is reflected to the opposite side of the pavilion and then straight back at the viewer through the table. The table is the flat surface shaped like an octagon; this is located at the very top of a diamond.

Now that you understand the intended path of light in a diamond you should know more about the facets and their unique relationship with one another. A facet can be defined as any cut placed on a diamond or gemstone that has the intention to reflect light. The following cuts are all considered facets: Pavilion, table, girdle, cutlet, and crown. Each facet plays a part in the symphony of light reflection and performance. The example I always like to give is the reflection of light using mirrors. When I was a child I liked to play with mirrors and watch the light reflect on to other objects. I was intrigued with the notion of controlling the direction of light, and sometimes I upped the ante by using two mirrors while reflecting light from one to the next. Diamond facets work the same way and the facets need to be in a specific position to catch the incoming light from their neighboring facets. When they are, the light is reflected most efficiently and the diamond becomes more brilliant and shiny. Sometimes you'll notice that certain diamonds look especially shiny or that there is something special about them. In most cases, those diamonds are probably an Ideal Cut or an Excellent Ideal. If you want to learn more about a diamond's cut and brilliance visit our diamond education page.

The three main variables that affect a diamonds light performance are the polish, symmetry and proportions. Proportions mostly affect the facets and their ability to reflect light to their partner facets. When the proportions are "off" in a diamond then the facets become misaligned and the gemstone looses light. If you turn the diamond to its side the profile that you see is part of the proportions. If the diamond is too tall then the facets don't meet up with their corresponding facets and once again you loose light. The same thing can happen if the diamond is too deep. Proportions are measured by the table percentage, depth percentage, crown, pavilion, girdle, and culet. The jewelry industry has created an "Ideal"set of parameters for each of these measurements, when a diamond falls within them we call it an Ideal Cut. Meaning, the diamond's proportions have been cut to produce the most amount of light possible. An ideal cut is an actual grade or rating for cut when referring to a diamond's proportions.

Gemologists and diamond graders for the cut commonly agree upon the following grades: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Ideal, and Excellent Ideal. Excellent Ideal is when a diamond has perfect proportions but also has perfect polish and symmetry. The GIA's (Gemological Institute of America) and EGL's (European Gemological Laboratory) highest grade for polish and symmetry is Excellent. The AGS's (American Gem Society) highest grade is "0". With that being said, an Ideal Cut is the second from the highest cut grade possible. When Ideal proportions are present and the polish and symmetry are Excellent then the diamond will achieve its highest cut grade possible. Generally speaking, an Excellent Ideal diamond will be the most brilliant diamond that you can purchase. There are brand name diamonds that are cut specifically with the intent to reach these standards. Some popular ones are Hearts on Fire, Peerless Diamond, Leo Diamond, Biro88, and the Princess of Hearts.

Symmetry is when every facet is cut in the exact size and placed in the same position as the same facet on the opposite side of the diamond. I'll explain further, examine the faceting pattern of a diamond from the top of a stone and draw an imaginary line through the center of the diamond. Once you do you'll notice that every thing on the left side of the stone resembles everything on the right side. If you add an extra imaginary line to create a top and bottom in addition to left and right (now you have a quadrant), you'll see that everything on the top looks like everything on the bottom. When a diamond has perfect symmetry the shape, size and placement of the facets from top to bottom and left to right are an exact mirror image. If a diamond has poor symmetry then the images within the 4 quadrants become distorted. A diamond with perfect symmetry allows the facets on the top of the diamond to properly align with the pavilion facets. This will create a perfect path for light reflection and thus adds scintillation, brilliance, shine, and sparkle. The following grades for symmetry can be seen on most lab certification grading reports: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent.

Polish determines if the diamond has a smooth surface or if it's rough, pitted or abraded. To receive a high grade for polish a diamond's surface must be smooth and free from polishing lines and abrasions. When a diamonds surface is poorly finished it will loose brilliance and light reflection. If a diamond cutter is successful in smoothing the surface of the diamond, he'll eliminate any defects that will hurt the stone's brilliance. This will ad to the surface reflection of the diamond. In effort to make it easier to understand you should think about your bathroom mirror. When you get fingerprints or film on the mirror you'll have trouble seeing your reflection. Once cleaned, you can very easily see your reflection and everything becomes very crisp. A diamond's polish works the same way and can benefit from being free of surface intruders such as polishing lines, abrasions or pits. The following grades for polish can be seen on most lab certification grading reports: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent.

Examine the diamond's certification to determine if it is an Excellent Ideal cut grade. To be such, it should read Ideal under Proportions, and Excellent under Polish/Symmetry. If it isn't certified ask to use a firescope and examine the top and bottom of the diamond. When a diamond is an Excellent Ideal a natural phenomenon occurs that can be seen using a firescope. A perfect pattern of arrows appears on the top and a pattern of hearts can be seen from the back, this is how Hearts on Fire diamonds got their name. Until Recently, only a round diamond could be cut well enough to display the Hearts and Arrows. The company that makes the Princess of Hearts now produces princess cut diamonds that are cut perfectly and display the hearts and arrows. To view an amazing collection of perfectly cut ideal princess diamonds use the rokstok diamond search.

Keep in mind that you don't need a perfectly cut diamond in order to own a pretty gemstone. However, if you want to own the most brilliant and shiny diamond that money can buy then you should consider an excellent Ideal.
About the Author
Andy Moquin has spent 16 years in the jewelry business buying and selling over $20,000,000 in diamonds and custom jewelry. He can be reached at: custom jewelry design jewelers buffalo
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