While millennials have dropped most luxury goods and are less able than previous generations to achieve some life milestones, they're still buying diamonds. If you're looking at buying a diamond for yourself or for a loved one, it's important to know what makes them valuable so you get your money's worth. Diamond cuts determine a lot about price points so it's important to know how cuts and shapes impact the cost.
Here is everything you need to know about finding the perfect engagement ring.
Why People Care About Cut
The four most important characteristics of a diamond are often called the four Cs. Between carat, color, clarity, and cut, cut makes the biggest difference in how brilliant, shining, and beautiful a diamond is. The cut is what makes the light pass through it and allows for the "oohs" and "ahhs" that accompany the sight of a diamond.
A diamond that's roughly cut won't have much of a shine. While a diamond is meant to sparkle, it's only going to sparkle as much as the cut of diamond allows it to. Cut gives the diamond proportions, symmetry, and a potential polish.
When light hits a well-cut diamond, it bounces around inside. It reflects, refracts, and even amplifies the light in certain ways. The most brilliant diamonds are engineered to deal with the way that light moves.
If light enters the top in a diamond with the right cut, it should bounce around and exit through the top. Ideally, light bounces out at almost the same rate that it nits the diamond. Diamonds that are poorly cut and shaped will leak light, which causes them to look dull.
When you have a diamond that's well cut, it looks more attractive and becomes more valuable. Since a diamond is only as valuable as it is attractive, the cut is a concrete way of determining the value. The craftsmanship of the cutter determines just how valuable the diamond is going to be in the end.
What Is a Brilliant Cut?
While it might seem like a purely descriptive title, a brilliant cut is actually a standardized type of cut in the diamond industry. The purpose of this cut is to return the maximum amount of light for the maximum amount of brilliance. You'll find that this is going to be the classic type of round diamond you probably think of when you imagine a diamond.
The modern brilliant cut has 57 facets but you'll find that the modified brilliant cut is quite different. It's not based on the same kind of round shape.
A modified brilliant cut will use many of the same patterns of the brilliant cut but modified to fit different settings. You can find these in an oval shape, a pear shape, a marquise, or even a heart. However, you'll expect them to have a very similar kind of brilliance as is standard in the round shape.
When the goal is to be as brilliant as possible, these types of cuts offer most of what you're looking for even if they're not a standard round shape.
What About Other Cuts?
There are a variety of other cuts that are commonly found in jewelry stores and from diamond dealers. There are step cuts, mixed cuts, and rose cuts, all aimed at giving a variety of different looks to your diamond in terms of attractiveness and shape.
A step cut is named as such because it has many "steps" that run down the sides of the diamond and then on the top of it. There's typically what looks like a window on top that allows you to look inside of it. When you have a clear diamond, this is one of the best cuts because instead of reflecting and refracting, you get to look at the quality of the stone.
A mixed cut is going to resemble the top of a standard brilliant cut in its round shape. However, the bottom is going to look more like a step cut, which allows the diamond to be heavier while it still sparkles. Mixed cut diamonds are usually princes, cushion, or radiant diamonds which are shaped for a variety of unique settings.
A rose cut is a vintage style of cut that offers a flat bottom and a dome at the top. If you look at it face up, it looks like a rose but. It's less brilliant but more of a stylistic choice that offers less brilliance than modern cutting techniques do.
What About Shapes?
As suggested above, there are different cuts and different shapes. Sometimes the cuts are associated with the shape, while some shapes only allow you to do certain cuts.
If you get a brilliant cut, you'll end up with a round diamond. As far as the geometry and physics go, this is the shape that's going to offer the most brilliance and beauty.
There is a shape known as a princess shape which offers some intense sparkle. You can put it in a lot of different settings and allow it to sparkle around the main diamond.
There are pillow shaped diamonds that offer more rounded edges. These are romantic and becoming a popular cut for lots of settings. It's not quite as brilliant as other cuts but is still quite attractive.
Even oval shapes are becoming more popular. They allow for a larger diamond and can make fingers appear more long and slender. They're cut similar to a round diamond so they offer a lot of the brilliance.
Check out this guide to learn more about what makes diamonds so special.
Diamond Cuts Make the Stone
If you're looking for diamond cuts that can help you to really impress your loved one and their friends, you need to learn about how value correlates with the cut. When you buy a well-cut diamond that really shines, they'll know you spend a lot of money.
To know what to expect when you present that engagement ring, check out our latest guide.