A diamond’s proportions and their relationship to each other primarily influence the GIA cut grade assigned.  Grading the cut of a polished diamond begins with accessing brightness, fire, and scintillation.  Every proportion of a round brilliant contributes to its interaction with light.  If one proportion is “off” even slightly, a diamond could receive a lower cut grade.  To understand cut grade it is important to know how proportions are evaluated and their relationships to one another.

Grading Proportions – Crown, Table, and Girdle

(Diamonds are always measured in millimeters)

Average Girdle Diameter

Determining average girdle diameter is the first step in evaluating proportions and is the starting point for comparing the diamond’s other proportions.  To determine average girdle diameter, measurements are taken from one edge of the girdle to the other across the diamond in several locations.   Since no diamond is completely round it is necessary to take several measurements.

Total Depth Percentage

Total depth percentage determines why a diamond is underweight or overweight in relation to its diameter.   After obtaining the diamond’s average girdle diameter the total depth percentage can be calculated.  To determine total depth percentage the diamond is measured from table to culet.

Table Facet and Table Percentage

The largest cut facet on a diamond is the table.   The table facet along with the other facets allows light to enter and exit a diamond.  The size of the table facet is an important factor when determining proportions.  Table size is stated as table percentage, which is a percentage of the diamond’s average girdle diameter.

Star Facet and Star Facet Length Percentage

Star facets extend from the edge of the table toward the girdle.  They are very important to consider when evaluating a diamond’s proportions in relation to the rest of the crown as they affect both brightness and fire.

Crown Angle and Crown Height Percentage

Crown angle and crown height percentage are the two crown proportions that affect the diamond’s appearance.   Crown angle is the angle formed by the bezel facets and the girdle plane while the crown angle height percentage is the distance from the girdle plane to the table expressed as a percentage of the average girdle diameter.

The Girdle

The Girdle of a diamond basically prevents damage and provides an “edge” for setting the stone.  A girdle can be bruted, polished, or faceted.  Girdles should be thick enough to prevent chipping, but not too thick where it adds extra weight to the diamond.  Thicker unpolished girdles can created a grayish reflection in the stone which can be unattractive and a girdle that is too thin can create durability problems as well as issues when setting.

Grading Proportions – Pavilion, Culet, and Finish

The Pavilion

The pavilion facets take the light that enters through the crown and reflect it back giving the diamond its brightness.  The pavilion also takes the light and breaks it up into spectral colors known as fire.

Pavilion dimensions are known as pavilion depth percentage and pavilion angle.   The pavilion depth percentage is the distance from the girdle plane to the culet expressed as a percentage of the average girdle diameter and pavilion angle is the angle formed by the pavilion mains and the girdle plane.

Pavilion Depth Percentage

Estimating pavilion depth percentage is done by looking at the reflections seen through the diamond’s table which is most commonly done by rocking the diamond back and forth.   The pavilion facets serve as a mirror reflecting an image to the table.  The reflection should look like a round shape centered on the culet under the table.  It can appear grayish or black in color.  The most common preferred pavilion depth percentage is 43.5%.  Diamonds with a deep depth percentage will appear dark in the center.  Diamonds with a shallow depth percentage will have a grayish ring shape under the table.

Pavilion Angle

Usually, the greater the pavilion depth percentage is the steeper the pavilion angle will be.  Pavilion angles that are very shallow (less than 37.4 degrees) or very steep (more than 44.0 degrees) will have negative effect on a diamond’s appearance.  Steep angles will create a dark area under the table while shallow angles will create an unpleasant reflection under the table.


The culet is a facet located on the bottom of a diamond parallel to the table and its purpose is to prevent chipping on loose diamonds.  The diamond’s culet should be just big enough to prevent chipping, but if it is too large it will appear as a black spot through the table.   Not all diamonds will have a culet.

To learn more about the grading proportions of a round brilliant, click here

Shop all Since 1910 loose diamonds and engagement rings to choose the right one for you


Determining which clarity of diamond to select can feel a bit like shopping for the Emperor’s New Clothes. A diamond free from all natural inclusions will command a much higher price than one that shows the telltale signs of “nature’s fingerprints.” The bottom line is, you will pay much more for things you can’t see!

Flawless diamonds are very rare. Most diamonds will contain what experts call inclusions. These can be microscopic carbon crystals, tiny fissures in the crystal structure, or just a small pinpoint or cloudy spot. Clarity is an important criterion in diamond selection because internal inclusions may affect how the diamond reflects light back to the eye. Keep in mind that most clarity characteristics in stones graded SI-1 or higher will only be visible under magnification. Still, a one and a half carat diamond of good color with only slightly visible internal inclusions may sell for $10,000.00-$12,000.00. But if you are lucky enough to find even an internally flawless diamond of comparable color and size, expect to pay upwards of $16,000.00.

Diamonds with a clarity grade of SI-2 or lower may have natural characteristics that can be seen without the aid of magnification. If a flawless diamond is beyond your budget, consider the following: inclusions are observable evidence that you are buying a natural diamond. Clarity characteristics can add personality to a diamond and make it easy to identify. Not all clarity characteristics are negatives. Imagine a gentleman rejecting Marilyn Monroe on account of the distinct beauty mark on her face!

Once you determine your budget, you will find an enticing array of diamonds to choose from. Understanding how clarity affects a diamond’s price and performance will give you the necessary knowledge to make a smart buying decision, one you will be happy with for years to come.

Buying a diamond should be a great experience and one that is not confusing or overwhelming.  Like any other large purchase you make, education and knowledge is key.  Before purchasing your diamond make sure you have at least a basic understanding of the 4Cs, diamond shapes, diamond terminology, and what to look for on a diamond grading report.  This will prepare you to ask the right questions and will give you the confidence that the decision you make is the right one for you.

The 4Cs of Diamonds: Cut, Clarity, Carat Weight, Color

Diamond Cut

Of the 4Cs, Gemologists believe that cut has the greatest influence on a diamond’s beauty.  Cut is the factor that determines the diamond’s fire, sparkle, and brilliance.   Diamonds have a unique ability to effectively manipulate light.  This unique quality can only be realized with an extremely high level of accuracy during the cutting and polishing process.  Where nature dictates the uniqueness of color and clarity, humans affect the cut.  While cutting diamond rough, cutters must not only consider the proportions of a diamond, but also the craftsmanship of overall symmetry and polish as well.

A diamond’s brilliance comes from light entering the crown and reflecting from one facet to another and returning back out the crown.  A diamond that is cut too shallow or too deep will not reflect light properly and the diamond will not be as brilliant as a diamond with an excellent cut.

Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to the absence of clarity characteristics in the diamond. The GIA clarity scale consists of 11 grades ranging from flawless to included.  When determining a diamond’s clarity grade, GIA considers the size, nature, color, position, and quantity of clarity characteristics under 10x magnification.  The lesser the number of inclusions or blemishes a diamond has the higher clarity grade it will receive.  A diamond with no inclusions using 10x magnification will be considered flawless and is very rare and more costly.


An inclusion is a clarity characteristic either totally enclosed in a polished diamond, reaching or extending into it from the surface, or one that is caused by treatments or the cutting process.  Note – Inclusions caused by treatments or the cutting process may not always be documented on the diamond certificate.


A blemish or external clarity characteristic is on the surface of the diamond only and can be caused by wear, the cutting process, or may be a result of the diamond’s crystal structure.   Blemishes play a lesser role than inclusions do when determining the clarity grade, but may affect the polish grade.

GIA Clarity Grades

FLFlawless – no blemishes or inclusions under 10x magnification.

IFInternally flawless – no inclusions and only very minor surface blemishes.

VVS1 and VVS2 Very, very slightly included – very, very small microscopic inclusions extremely difficult to see under 10x magnification.

VS1Very slightly included – very small microscopic inclusions difficult to see under 10x magnification.

VS2Very slightly included – very small inclusions somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification.  These diamonds represent a good value to someone looking for a high quality diamond, as the very small imperfections do not affect the beauty of the diamond.

SI1Slightly included – small inclusions that are easy to see under 10x magnification. This clarity is an excellent choice for someone looking to stay within a budget, but wants a diamond that will look as good as a higher clarity diamond except when viewed under magnification.

SI2 – Slightly included – small inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification. Depending on their location within the diamond, they may sometimes be visible to the unaided eye without magnification.  SI2 diamonds are attractively priced and typically no visible difference can be seen without magnification.  If you are interested in an SI2 diamond and would like us to personally verify if it is eye-clean, please give us a call at 1-800-979-1910.

I1* and I2Included – imperfect with inclusions that are obvious to the unaided eye and may affect the diamond’s durability.

I3*Included – imperfect with inclusions that are extremely obvious to the unaided eye and pose a definite threat to the diamond’s durability.

*At, we do not sell I1, I2, and I3 clarity diamonds.

Diamond Carat Weight

Carat weight refers to the size of the diamond.  Carat is the standard term used for the weight of a diamond and received its name from the seed of a carob tree.  The carob seeds were used by early diamond traders on scales as units of weight for small amounts of diamonds because of their consistent size.  The weight of the carob seed was 200 milligrams and the weight of a carat is exactly 200 milligrams or as it is know today, 0.2 grams

Many believe that the term carat represents the size of the diamond however; carat represents the weight of a diamond.  One carat is divided into 100 points.  So, for example, a quarter carat or 25 point diamond weights .25 carats (cts).   Diamonds weighing over one carat are expressed as carats and decimals.   They are measured to the hundred thousandths of a carat and rounded to a hundredth of a carat.   For example, a 1.25 stone would be described as one point twenty five carats.

The cost of a diamond is not measured in weight alone.   Several diamonds of the same weight can be priced considerable different.  When calculating the cost of any diamond, clarity, cut, and color are major factors as well.

Diamond Color

Color refers to the absence of color in the diamond.  Diamonds composed of pure carbon are colorless and extremely rare and costly.  Most diamonds contain nitrogen, boron, or hydrogen all of which impact color.  A majority of white diamonds sold on the market today contain traces of nitrogen, which causes slight shades of yellow or brown.  Small, subtle differences in color can make a substantial difference in a diamond’s value.

In a effort to eliminate confusion related to diamond color, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) implemented the color grading system in the 1950s which is still being used industry wide today.   Diamonds are graded on a scale beginning with the letter D (colorless) and ending with Z (light yellow or brown).   When creating the new color scale GIA chose to start with the letter D as a means of starting over.  Prior to GIA implementing the D-Z scale, other systems all of which were inconsistent and inaccurate, already used the letters A-C, numbers 0-3, and the Roman numerals I-III.  It is important to note that diamonds at the end of the color range with a noticeable yellow tinge are not considered fancy yellow color diamonds.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Diamond Color

  • When a diamond is well cut the diamond’s refraction and dispersion will often disguise certain degrees of color and may make a darker diamond appear whiter when viewed with the unaided eye (without magnification).
  • The size of the diamond will also affect the appearance of its color.  Color can easily be seen in larger diamonds as opposed to smaller diamonds.  Often times it is difficult to see color in diamonds under a 1/2 carat with the unaided eye.
  • The shape of the diamond will affect its color as well particularly step cut diamonds such as the Asscher and Emerald that have large open facets and do not display the brilliance of other cuts.  The center of these diamonds display a “window effect” where some of the color in the diamond can appear washed out and make it appear whiter then its actual color grade.  The shallower the cut of the diamond the more apparent this will be.

Diamond Shapes

Diamond shape is the basic outline of the diamond.   Here are some popular shapes sold today.

Round Brilliant is the most popular.  It consists of 56 to 58 facets and displays the most brilliance, fire, and scintillation of all diamond cuts on the market today.

Asscher is a stepped square cut also known as the modified square emerald cut.  It consists of 72 facets and resembles the shape of an octagon.

Cushion is not as brilliant as many of the more modern cuts, but has a classic romantic look that definitely stands out in a crowd.

Emerald is a cut that provides a very elegant classy look and is known for its long lines.  The pavilion is cut with large rectangular facets to create an open effect or optical appearance.

Heart is known as the most romantic of all shaped diamonds.  The heart consists of 59 facets and is essentially a pear cut with a cleft at the top.

Marquise resembles the shape of a football when viewed from above.  The marquise is bright, clear, and has a great deal of sparkle.

Oval is an adaptation of the round brilliant and usually looks larger than the round brilliant of the same carat weight.

Pear is half oval and half marquise.  The pear has 58 facets and displays the brilliance, fire, and sparkle of the round brilliant.

Princess is square shaped with uncut pointed corners.  The princess has 58 facets and is known for its brilliance, fire, and sparkle.

Radiant has 70 facets and has the brilliance and fire of the round brilliant.  The radiant is square/rectangle in shape with cropped corners.

Diamond Certificates

A diamond certificate (aka – diamond plot, diamond grading report) is a document certifying a diamond is genuine and is created by a group of gemologists after the diamond is carefully evaluated.  The report contains information such as carat weight, color, clarity, proportions, and a cut grade for round diamonds.   The certificate also contains a “blueprint” of the diamond’s clarity characteristics.

To understand all aspects of the diamond grading report, click on the GIA link below:

To understand all aspects of the diamond anatomy, click on the GIA link below:


The Internet offers a unique shopping experience all within the comfort of your own home.  Buying an engagement ring online is quick, convenient, and you’ll not only get a great selection, but great value for your money as well.

Here are the top things to look for when choosing an online site…

Customer Service – is #1. Choose a site that has a customer service phone number and/or e-mail address.  This will allow you to take advantage of shopping online, but if you want to ask a question someone will be there for you.

Personal Shopper – not all online sites offer a personal shopper service.  This is a great benefit because it allows you to ask specific questions about the diamond and setting you are purchasing.  Your personal shopper, usually a certified Gemologist, will be there to assist you every step of the way from explaining the 4C’s to what metal choice and setting may be best for you.

Hold policy – what is the diamond hold policy?  24 hrs – 48hrs?  Some sites will require a deposit, but will hold the stone for you.  Be sure to use a sight that gives you a little time to think about your purchase.

Return policy – is there a return policy?  Choosing an online site with a 30-day return policy is highly recommended.   No return policy – no purchase.

Shipping method – how are items shipped?  Be sure to choose a site that uses insured carries such as UPS, USPS, or FedEx.

Lost or Damaged packages – how will your item be replaced if lost or damaged?  If the online site ships using an insured carrier you’ll have no problem.  For this reason, be careful with online sites that offer to ship your packages using other methods.

Privacy Policy – what is the privacy policy?  How will your personal information be used?  Be sure to look for this information and read it very carefully.

Security –will your transaction be secure?  Most websites guarantee your personal information will be kept secure.  Be sure to check before entering any personal or credit card information.

Shop all engagement rings to find the perfect one for you

For a list of the top 10 most common places engagement rings are lost, stolen, or just misplaced we reached out to Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

Here is a list of the top 10 most common places in no particular order.

Public Restroom – a little soap will never hurt anything.  It is never a good idea to take your ring off and place it on the counter when washing your hands.  When applying soap, face your palms toward the ceiling and bend your fingers slightly, so if it were to slip it will stop at your knuckle.

Home – just can’t remember where you left it.  Pick one safe place in your home where you can always put your ring.

Work – if you find you take your ring off on certain days or just can’t do certain tasks while wearing it why not hang it around your neck on a nice chain?

Hotel – most rings are left on the night stand, dresser, or even in the room safe.  Hang a quick note on your door and you’ll always remember it on your way out.

At the beach – rings can always be cleaned.  No one likes seeing globs of suntan lotion or pieces of sand in their ring, but looking at that is much better than never seeing it again.

Down the drain – when washing dishes or your hands if you need to take off your ring place it far away from the sink.  Often times rings are left in a cup or ring stand very close to the sink and either can be knocked over easily.

Boating/Snorkeling – rings are lost when doing water sports because your finger shrinks from the cold water.  Whenever possible, leave your ring in a safe place at home or the hotel safe when on vacation.

Shoveling snow – whether wearing gloves or not your ring can easily slip off due to the cold weather.

Airports – every time you go in and out of your bag always check your finger to make sure your ring didn’t slip off.  We already talked about public restrooms!  Also, bringing a small bright colored ring box with you is a good idea.  Should you need to remove your ring when passing through security the box can easily be seen in the security bin.

Dog ate it – and we thought this was only for home work!

Average Dollar Amount of Claims

Accidental Loss (drain, beach, hotel) – $4,250

Crime (robbery, burglary)– $10,500

Damage (chipped stone, prong) – $1,500

Other (flood) – $7,500

Our recommended Jewelry Insurance Company

Shop all Since 1910 loose diamonds and engagement rings to find the perfect ring for you

engagement ring

Diamonds graded and certified by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society) guarantee the diamond’s authenticity and quality.

The GIA Diamond Grading Report and the AGS Diamond Quality Document contain information related to the diamond’s 4Cs, proportions, and a plot identifying the clarity characteristics.  GIA uses a sliding letter scale to describe clarity, cut, and color while AGS uses a numeric sliding scale.

Both GIA and AGS have a similar process for evaluating diamonds.   When evaluating diamonds, several Graduate Gemologists independently assess each diamond for color, cut, clarity, and carat weigh adhering to the strict guidelines set forth by the lab.  Having several Gemologists evaluate each diamond reduces errors, as all must agree on the final grade given to the diamond.

Why Buy A Certified Diamond?

When purchasing a certified diamond you know exactly what you’re buying and the seller knows exactly what they’re selling.   Every important aspect of the diamond is listed on the certificate.  When buying a GIA or AGS certified diamond the certificate should always be available to you at the time you are viewing the diamond.

How can I tell if the GIA Diamond Grading Report or AGS Diamond Quality Document is authentic?

All GIA Diamond Grading Reports will contain the GIA logo along with the wording GIA GEM TRADING LABORATORY on the certificate.   Each certificate is also dated and given a certificate number.  The certificate number can be verified on the GIA website.

All AGS Diamond Quality Documents will contain the AGS logo along with the wording AMERICAN GEM SOCIETY LABORATORIES on the document.  Like the GIA certificate, all AGS Documents contain the date and are given a document number.

At Since 1910 we only sell GIA and AGS certified diamonds, so you can have the confidence that you are purchasing the best diamond possible for your engagement ring.

loose diamonds

In a previous post we discussed diamond clarity and the GIA clarity grading scale.  In this post we wanted to take a closer look at each clarity grade to give you a better understanding of why diamonds with a higher clarity grade are more rare and therefore more costly.

For diamonds in the VVS range and lower the grader is looking for clarity characteristics totally enclosed within the diamond or extending into it from the surface.  For Flawless or Internally Flawless diamonds the grader is looking for clarity characteristics on the surface of the diamond.

GIA Diamond Clarity Grading Scale

Flawless (F)

F diamonds have basically no inclusions or blemishes.  They are extremely rare, so rare in fact that many will never see one.  A Flawless diamond can have some clarity characteristics and still be considered Flawless such as: extra facets, naturals confined to the girdle, or internal graining.

Internally Flawless (IF)

IF diamonds may have blemishes, but no inclusions.  In the 1970’s GIA added this clarity grade for diamonds that didn’t meet the strict guidelines of Flawless.  The blemishes on an IF diamond can be removed by polishing.

Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)

VVS diamonds contain very tiny inclusions that are difficult to see under magnification.  The inclusions in VVS1 diamonds are extremely difficult to see in the face up position and they may be visible only through the pavilion.  Inclusions in VVS2 diamonds are very difficult to see.

Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)

VS diamonds contain minor clarity characteristics that range from difficult to see (VS1) to somewhat easy to see (VS2) under magnification and to a trained grader.  In some very rare cases, a VS diamond may have eye-visible inclusions.  The common inclusions found in a VS diamond are clouds, crystals, or groups of pinpoints.  These inclusions do not affect the diamond’s beauty and are a great choice for engagement rings.

Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)

SI diamonds contain inclusions that are visible when viewed under magnification and some may also be visible to the unaided eye.  The common inclusions found in SI diamonds are crystals, feathers, and clouds.  Because some SI diamonds are “eye-clean” they offer a great value for your money.

Included (I1, I2, I3)

I diamonds contain inclusions that are visible to the unaided eye.  Since 1910 does not offer I clarity diamonds.

To learn more about diamond clarity characteristics, visit our diamond education section

Shop all Since 1910 diamonds to find the right one for you

The details of a diamond’s cut are referred to as its finish.  Finish is made up of two categories; Polish and Symmetry.  Polish is the overall condition of the diamond’s facet surfaces and symmetry is the exactness of the shape and placement of its facets.

Diamonds that are well polished will look brighter and will produce sharper light reflection than those that receive a lower polish grade.  Poorly polished diamonds may reduce the light reflected to, into, and out of the diamond even if it has the best proportions possible.

Because of their hardness, diamonds can take a better polish than any other gemstone.  Polish characteristics can be a result of the finishing process or be affected by blemishes created after cutting.  Polishing characteristics are caused by the minute diamond crystals embedded in the polishing wheel used by a diamond cutter to polish the surface of the diamond.  When gem laboratories evaluate polish, the diamond is examined under 10x magnification and the Gemologist will examine the diamond facet by facet.  They look for blemishes that don’t affect the clarity grade.

A diamond’s polish grade and the abbreviation of the polish characteristic are listed on all diamond grading reports.

The GIA polish grades are:  Excellent (E), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F), and Poor (P)

The AGS polish grades are: Ideal (AGS 0), Excellent (AGS 1), Very Good (AGS 2), Good (AGS 3 and 4), Fair (AGS 5, 6, 7), Poor (AGS 8, 9, 10)

Common polish characteristics

Abrasions (ABR) – minute nicks along the facet junction that look white and fuzzy

Burn mark (Brn) – whitish haze across a facet caused by excessive heat

Lizard skin (LS) – wavy or bumpy area with a transparent pitted texture

Nick (Nk) – small notch on a facet junction with no depth when viewed under 10x magnification

Pit (Pit) – very tiny opening that looks like white dot

Polish lines (PL) – fine groves and ridges left by the polishing process

Rough girdle (RG) – an irregular girdle surface

Scratches (S) – thin tiny white lines across the surface of the diamond that have no depth

Surface grain lines – transparent line that is part of the grain of the diamond

When budget allows, Since 1910 recommends purchasing a diamond for an engagement ring with a polish grade of Good or higher.

To learn more about diamonds, visit our diamond education section


The details of a diamond’s cut are referred to as its finish.  Finish is made up of two categories; Symmetry and Polish.  Symmetry is the exactness of the shape and placement of a diamonds facets and polish is the overall condition of the facet surfaces.

Almost all diamonds on the market today have some minor symmetry problems; which are usually not visible to the unaided eye and have very little effect on a diamond’s appearance and beauty.

To evaluate symmetry, gem laboratories consider the evenness of a diamond’s outline and the size, shape, and placement of its facets.  For grading purposes, two types of symmetry are considered; proportion symmetry and facet symmetry.  Proportion symmetry is the alignment and balance of the diamond’s table, culet, girdle, and angles while facet symmetry is the shape, placement, and presence or absence of the facets themselves.  Proportion symmetry and facet symmetry make up the diamond’s symmetry rating.

Before assigning a symmetry grade, GIA and other gem laboratories look for symmetry variations under 10x magnification.  A diamond’s symmetry grade and the abbreviation of the symmetry characteristic are listed on all diamond grading reports.

The GIA symmetry grades are: Excellent (E), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F), and Poor (P)

The AGS symmetry grades are: Ideal (AGS 0), Excellent (AGS 1), Very Good (AGS 2), Good (AGS 3, 4) Fair (AGS 5, 6, 7), and Poor (AGS 8, 9, 10)

Common Variations in Proportion Symmetry

Crown angle variation (CV)

Culet off-center (C/oc)

Extra facets (EF)

Girdle thickness variation (GTV)

Misalignment of crown and pavilion facets (Aln)

Misshapen facets (Fac)

Missing facet (MF)

Non-pointing (Ptg)

Out-of-round girdle outline (OR)

Pavilion angle variation (PV)

Table off-center (T/oc)

Table/culet alignment (T/C)

Table and girdle not parallel (T/G)

Wavy girdle (WG)

Excellent and Very Good symmetry grades are rare.  Diamonds with a symmetry grade of Good offer exceptional beauty and are the most frequently purchased diamonds today.  Diamonds with a high symmetry grade are more important in diamonds that have very high clarity grades such as flawless or internally flawless than diamonds with a lower clarity grade.  Symmetry is important for both round brilliant cut diamonds as well as fancy cut diamonds.

When budget allows, Since 1910 recommends purchasing a diamond for an engagement ring with a symmetry grade of Good or higher.

To learn more about diamonds, visit our diamond education section.

diamond symmetry chart

A fancy cut diamond is any diamond shape other than a round brilliant.  The most popular fancy cut diamonds sold today are asscher cut, cushion cut, emerald cut, heart shaped, marquise shaped, oval shaped, pear shaped, princess cut, and radiant cut, but there are many others.

The face up shape of a fancy cut diamond is usually the first thing people notice and the main reason why they are purchased.  Fancy cut diamonds provide a way for you to express your individuality and appeal to those looking for that less traditional look.  Fancy cut diamonds are also a great choice as side stones for a three stone engagement ring or accent stones on a solitaire setting.

Each fancy cut diamond has its own characteristics, so you should take the time to familiarize yourself with each.  Most fancy cut diamonds on the market today are cut using the brilliant cut facet arrangement allowing for the same brilliance, fire, and scintillation of that of the round brilliant cut diamond, but some are cut using step cuts or mixed cuts.  The round brilliant cut features triangular and kite shaped facets that begin at the diamond’s center and go out to the girdle.   A step cut has long, narrow, four sided facets arranged in rows parallel to the girdle on both the crown and pavilion.  Mixed cuts are a mix of both the round brilliant and step cuts.  They can either have brilliant cuts on the crown and step cuts on the pavilion or step cuts on the crown and brilliant cuts on the pavilion.

fancy cut diamond

Some Diamond Terms for Fancy Cuts

Belly – the center area of the side of a heart, marquise, oval, or pear where it curves out slightly.

Head – the rounded end of a pear

Shoulders – the curved edges between the head and belly of a pear

Lobes – the rounded part of a heart

Cleft – the v-shaped part of a heart

Symmetry and length-to-width ratio are important factors to consider when purchasing fancy cuts.  You always want a fancy cut that is symmetrical.  For example, both lobes of a heart should be the same size, both ends of an emerald should be the same width.  Length-to-width ratio determines the shape of a fancy cut.  There are preferred ranges for each shape, but this is also a personal preference.

To learn more about the characteristics of each fancy cut diamond visit our diamond education section.