Diamond Cuts

This guide will take you on a journey through diamond cut so that you can choose the one that captures every heart it lights up.

Understanding Diamond Cut

The secret power behind a diamond's sparkle is its cut. As one of the 4C’s of diamond, cut refers to the skillful arrangement of its facets. Cutting a diamond is an art form that requires a keen eye and expert craftsmanship. It's all about maximizing its ability to interact with light. The way the facets are proportioned, how symmetrical they are and the quality of the polish, all of these elements work together to determine how much light is reflected to your eye. Basically, the better the cut, the more fire and brilliance you will see in the finished diamond.

Why is Cut Important?

Why is Cut Important?

The cut of a diamond considerably impacts the appearance of it, and it is what determines its fire, sparkle and brilliance. An expertly cut diamond will reflect more brilliant light, which is exactly what you expect from a diamond. If a diamond is poorly cut, it will seem much duller and lifeless to the eye. The cut grade can also show the quality of craftsmanship behind and how well it was designed. The quality of the cut also plays a critical role in a diamond’s pricing. This is why it is crucial to understand what the cut is and how it can influence the brilliance, quality and value of a diamond.

Cut Grading System

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) established a scientific system to assess a diamond's cut quality. This system considers the stone’s proportions and design, how light interacts with it (brilliance, fire, scintillation), and the quality of its craftsmanship which has to do with polish and symmetry. GIA's cut scale ranks diamonds along a five-point scale ranging from Excellent to Poor.

How to Make Your Diamond Look Bigger

As carat is not the only factor affecting the size, you can create the illusion of a larger diamond with simple tricks.

  • Excellent: To achieve the Excellent cut rating, a diamond needs to excel in all three aspects: ideal proportions for light return, a flawlessly smooth surface, and perfect symmetry when it comes to facet alignment.

  • Very Good: A Very Good cut diamond’s polish and symmetry may not be quite perfect. However, it remains high quality and allows for excellent sparkle at a more modest price point.

  • Good: The properties of Good cut diamonds can show slight imperfections. The light return might be less efficient compared to higher grades, which results in a somewhat diminished brilliance. These diamonds may have minor proportion flaws that create darker areas within the stone, and this gives them a slightly duller look.

  • Fair: A Fair cut diamond has gray or dark areas that lead to slight light refractions. Thus, they may not offer that much of a bright sparkle like higher-cut graded diamonds do.

  • Poor: In Poor cut diamonds, you can see more obvious dark areas that can distract the eye. Light escapes easily from the bottom (pavilion) and sometimes the tip (culet). They offer less fire and scintillation as a result. For quality considerations, we do not offer poor cut diamonds at Eternate.

How to Make Your Diamond Look Bigger

Cut Characteristics that Determine Grading


“Brightness” is what you see on the light reflected from the diamond. If the light you see is scattering and throwing off rainbow colors, it’s called “fire”. The movements of light and shadow across the diamond's surface is "scintillation," and it's what creates that classic sparkle effect you see. So, what you might call "sparkle" is actually the interaction of fire, scintillation and the overall light reflection of the diamond.


The precise crown and pavilion angles and sizes of its facets affect how a diamond looks overall, as these proportions determine how light interacts with the stone. That’s exactly why their size and arrangement are quite important factors influencing how the light is reflected from the diamond. As a result, the proportions of a diamond will determine how well it radiates brightness, fire and scintillation.

Design and Craftsmanship

A diamond's beauty goes beyond just its face-up appearance. Design and craftsmanship also play a crucial role when it comes to its quality. Design covers the fashioning process in which decisions about the diamond’s physical shape, its proportions, weight ratio and durability are made. Craftsmanship is evident in the polish and symmetry. A poorly designed or crafted diamond will struggle to showcase the dazzling display of light, fire and scintillation a well-cut stone possesses.


Polish refers to the smoothness and quality of a diamond's facets, which is crucial for their ability to act like perfect mirrors that reflect light for maximum sparkle. The higher its polish grade, the better a diamond reflects light.


Symmetry refers to how even and consistent a diamond's facets are in size, angle and placement. A well-cut diamond boasts even light reflection and distribution across its surface, and this results in optimal brilliance, fire and scintillation. Conversely, poor symmetry disrupts light performance, which gives the diamond a dull and uneven appearance.

Engraved ring
Engraved ring Engraved ring

Types Of Diamond Cuts

Although the cut is often confused with shape, they are two distinct concepts. The shape is the diamond’s overall silhouette, like a round or a heart. The cut, on the other hand, refers to the way a craftsperson has transformed the stone by considering proportions, polish and symmetry. When it comes to how a diamond's facets are crafted, there are several cut types that inform how the facets are proportioned and how the diamond is given its final shape.

Round Brilliant Cuts

Round brilliant cuts are by far the most popular and favored cuts and their enduring popularity is for a reason. They are masterfully crafted with 58 facets, which optimizes the fire, scintillation and brilliance. Each facet interacts nicely with light and offers a stunning display of prismatic colors and spark we love to see in a diamond.

Fancy Cuts

  • Modified Brilliant Cuts
  • Modified brilliant cuts take the brilliance of the round cut and transform it into a variety of elegant shapes, including pear, marquise, oval, cushion and heart.

  • Step Cuts
  • Step-cut diamonds are known for their rectangular facets, and this cut type prioritizes clarity over brilliance. While they may have a subtler sparkle compared to brilliant cuts, their clean lines and geometric brilliance create a 'hall of mirrors' effect. Emerald, Asscher and baguette cuts are considered step cuts.

    Diamonds can be cut into a variety of shapes beyond the classic round brilliant. These unique shapes are called fancy cuts.

    Choosing Your Diamond

    When picking out your perfect diamond, it's all about finding that sparkle that gives you joy. But with all the cuts, color, carats and clarity, things can get a bit confusing. You should keep in mind that the cut is the most important aspect to consider before buying a diamond as it has the most effect on its brilliance and fire. Even a high-quality diamond with a bad cut won't be as dazzling. A well-cut diamond might also let you choose a slightly smaller carat weight while still giving you that sparkling, eyeful look. So, focus on finding that cut that makes your eyes light up while still considering the other elements of the 4C’s.

    Diamond Cut FAQs

    Which diamond cut sparkles the most?

    If sparkle is your priority, then the round brilliant is the way to go. This classic shape is especially given a carefully designed facet pattern and a compact form that increases light return. Each facet reflects light back at your eye and creates that brilliant fire and sparkle you want to see on diamonds. But fancy and elongated shapes, like oval, emerald, or Asscher, can still deliver satisfying brilliance if the diamond is well cut and graded colorless or near colorless. The best cut for you comes down to your priorities and what style appeals to you in the end.

    How to cut a diamond?

    Cutting a diamond is a professional process that requires a skilled craftsperson and specialized equipment. A highly skilled cutter first examines the rough diamond to determine the best way to maximize its beauty and value. The rough diamond is then precisely split or sectioned. With the initial shape established, the diamond is given its basic outline with the help of a rotating wheel. The final step is polishing each facet, which brings out the fire and brilliance for which diamonds are renowned.

    What is the most expensive diamond cut?

    As you might expect, the most expensive diamond cut is the round brilliant cut for several reasons. This cut has the most facets, typically 58, and these facets are arranged in a way that the diamond returns the light at its best potential. Achieving this fine adjustment in faceting requires a high level of skill and artistry from the cutter, which adds to the overall cost. The popularity and market demand of round brilliant cuts also drives up their price.

    Which diamond cut looks the biggest?

    The marquise and the elongated cuts like oval and pear are the ones that make the stone look bigger than its actual size. Elongated forms with pointed ends maximize the surface area and that’s what makes the diamond appear larger than its carat weight might suggest. But remember that carat weight is still a significant factor in a diamond's overall size.

    What cut of diamond is rare?

    The round brilliant, princess and emerald cuts dominate the market, and they are the ones we commonly see and associate with engagement rings mostly. But there are many other unique shapes that are much less frequently seen. The rose cut, shield cut or the trillion cut are among these rare cuts. Certain cuts were of great popularity in certain times but are less common today. The Asscher cut, for example, was a favorite in the Art Deco era but may be rare at present.

    Which 4C diamond is most important?

    The round brilliant, princess and emerald cuts dominate the market, and they are the ones we commonly see and associate with engagement rings mostly. But there are many other unique shapes that are much less frequently seen. The rose cut, shield cut or the trillion cut are among these rare cuts. Certain cuts were of great popularity in certain times but are less common today. The Asscher cut, for example, was a favorite in the Art Deco era but may be rare at present.

    Is diamond cut the same as shape?

    No, diamond cut and shape are two different aspects, but they both influence a diamond's overall look and value. The cut is the way a diamond is actually fashioned, specifically the arrangement and proportions of its many tiny flat surfaces called facets. The shape, on the other hand, simply refers to the overall outline or silhouette of the diamond when viewed from above, such as round, princess, emerald, oval and heart.