Diamond Cut - The 4Cs of Diamonds

As soon as you start delving into the scintillating world of diamonds, the word ‘cut’ will appear. In this article, we explain the diamond cutting process and introduce you to a range of cuts that are appropriate for diamond engagement rings and diamond dress rings.

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What is diamond cut?

Diamonds come out of the ground as rough crystals. They resemble small chunks of pale-coloured glass and they don’t sparkle. Cutting is how a diamond is transformed from its rough just-mined state into an object of glittering perfection.

TIP: It can be hard to tell the difference between a rough diamond and a piece of quartz, so be wary of buying a diamond in its raw state. You might not be looking at the genuine article.

Because cut is so crucial to a diamond’s beauty, it’s important to have an understanding of how cutting is planned and executed. Doing your ‘Diamond cut 101’ will allow you to talk with a certain amount of authority when you’re choosing a diamond; it will also help you to choose the style of cut you like the most.

How diamond cuts are planned and executed

Modern diamond cut planning is done with computer software, the most accurate way to assess a rough diamond and work out how best to separate it into pieces (cleaving). After cleaving, each piece is finished as a separate gem. The goal of the plan is always to minimise waste and ensure the raw diamond is efficiently used.

Cutting each piece of raw diamond involves these stages:

  • Bruting or cutting, to shape the stone. Bruting involves grinding two diamonds together to form a rough shape of the girdle, cutting refers to using a machine or laser.

  • Polishing, to create each of the facets on the diamond. This is done in a way to maximise the sparkle of the gem.

  • Final inspection, where the diamond is cleaned carefully and examined for quality.

How is diamond cut quality measured?

Before a diamond is released to the jewellery market, the quality of its cut is assessed using the ‘diamond cut scale’, which has five grades – poor, fair, good, very good and excellent.

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The cut grade directly affects the beauty and value of a diamond. When you’re buying a diamond, you should ask about its cut grade, as well as other benchmarks (clarity grade, colour grade, carat weight). Visit the GIA site to learn more about diamond cut and quality.


Types of diamond cuts available from Diamonds on Richmond

Diamonds are cut to maximise sparkle, fire and brilliance. When light hits a cut diamond, it bounces around inside the jewel, then returns to your eye as a beautiful explosion of light. But there’s more than one way to cut a diamond. Here’s a quick guide to some of the cuts available from DOR:

  • Round brilliant cut diamond: This is the most popular diamond cut in the jewellery world. Its use dates back to 1919.

  • Rose cut diamond: A predecessor of the round brilliant cut, rose cut diamonds date back to 1500, and feature a flat bottom and a faceted dome, designed to look like the narrowing petals of a rose.

  • Princess cut diamond: Either square or rectangular, princess cut diamonds can exhibit excellent brilliance.

  • Marquise cut diamond: Pointy at both ends, this cut is universally flattering and makes the fingers of the wearer more elongated. .

  • Cushion cut diamond: Shaped like a pillow, cushion cut diamonds have rounded corners and larger facets.

  • Emerald cut diamond: Often used for emeralds, this cut has rectangular facets that are step-cut towards the top of the diamond.

  • Radiant cut diamond: Like a cross between a round brilliant and an emerald cut, this cut has beautifully detailed corners.

  • Pear cut diamond: Also known as a teardrop cut, this cut has similar benefits to the marquise – it makes hands look long and slender.

  • Oval cut diamond: Known for its incredible brilliance, the oval cut is a popular choice for a modern engagement ring.

  • Asscher cut diamond: A stepped cut that’s like a square version of an emerald cut. Born in the Art Deco years, it’s experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

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Diamond Cut FAQs

Which diamond cut is best?

This is subjective. Some people would say the round brilliant is the best cut; others might rank a more exotic cut, like asscher, as their number one. The popularity of diamond cuts is affected by fashion and history. Interestingly, the princess cut was created in response to a poll that asked women what diamond shape they most desired. The real question here is ‘which diamond cut is best for you?’, and that depends on personal preferences and budget. See a range of diamond rings made in New Zealand.

Which diamond cut sparkles the most?

There is a definite answer to this question. The round brilliant cut sparkles the most, because it has 58 facets. That means more angles and planes for light to bounce off inside the diamond.

Which diamond cut is most expensive?

Round brilliant again, because of all those facets. It takes a lot of time and expertise to cut each facet. If you want a more cost effective alternative to a round brilliant, you could try a princess cut.

Want to know more about diamonds?

This Diamond Cut article is part of: The Diamond Buying Guide - The 4Cs of Diamonds. Learn more about the important aspects to consider when purchasing a diamond.

Then, to take it one step further, let one of our client managers take you through the exciting process of choosing the perfect diamond cut for your engagement ring.

Get in touch with us and book an appointment to kick things off.


At DOR we've made buying an engagement ring stress-free. Simply choose from our Collection, start with a proposal ring or customise one of our classic designs.


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