How well a diamond is cut will ultimately play the greatest role in how much a diamond sparkles, how much fire it has, and how much brilliance it has.
The shape that has become synonymous with the word diamond is a shape, or more correctly termed a cut, called the round brilliant cut. The design of this particular cut lends itself to excellent light performance and it has held its place as the preferred cut for engagement rings for many decades.
A well cut round brilliant's 57 facets bounce the available light at precise angles to create effects that have been named brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Brilliance is the total light reflected from a diamond. Fire is used to refer to how light is dispersed into all the colors of the rainbow. Scintillation is the word used to describe the flashing sparkles caused by the contrasting dark and light areas that occur when a diamond is moved.
Though some of these effects may, at first, seem unquantifiable, a great deal of research has gone into studying the attributes that cause these effects.
The results of such studies are used when a grading laboratory examines a newly cut diamond with the purpose of issuing a Diamond Grading Report, or in the case of smaller diamonds a Diamond Dossier. These are frequently referred to as diamond certificates.
When a diamond's polish, symmetry, weight ratio, durability, brightness, fire, and scintillation combine to present a desirable result its grading report, when issued by the Gemological Institute of America, will contain the words "Cut Grade: Excellent".
These words indicate that the diamond has been cut in such a way that it adheres to the standards that created the effect in the prime diamonds that were studied, which had optimum qualities.
Basically this means that a diamond is may not be graded according to how it actually looks, but rather how close it measures up to ideal standards, symmetrically, proportionally and mathematically. This can, of course, cause some diamonds to receive a top cut grade from a laboratory only because they fall within the tolerable range of optimum angles and proportions - but they may not display optimum attributes in real world situations.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Some diamonds with top grades may not exhibit the traits that result in maximum appreciation. This may alarm you if you are placing a mail or internet order, without being able to see the diamond in person. There are several ways of overcoming this problem. Fortunately the way to solve this problem is easy once you know what to do. Some easy solutions are listed below:
More solutions and additional details can be found in the
free eBook "Cracking The Diamond Code".
- Buy from online jewelers that exclude inferior diamonds from their inventory.
- Buy from online jewelers that provide you with a high resolution photo of the diamond you want.
The three examples above fulfill this requirement. Here are some more examples in this category.
- Buy from a bricks and mortar jeweler; in other words, go in person to a physical location.
Fortunately the first two options are becoming easier as an increasing number of online retailers are uploading photos of every individual diamond within their inventory, rather than relying on potentially misleading stock photos.