What Really Matters When Shopping for a Diamond

Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019 at 11:56 am by Josh

What Really Matters When Shopping for a Diamond

If you've ever researched diamonds, you've inevitably been introduced to the 4 C's.

In case your memory needs refreshing, those 4 C's are clarity, color, cut, and carat weight. But did you know that just one these four equates to over 50% of a diamond's beauty and value?

Yep, it's true. That one all-important C is cut.

When I say cut, I'm not talking about the shape of the diamond. A diamond's shape and cut quality are two different things.

Generally, when we discuss cut quality, we are talking about round diamonds. For the purpose of this post, I am only going to talk about round diamonds.

Why Cut Matters

Have you ever looked a diamond and reacted "WOW! That diamond has some serious sparkle!" or (my personal favorite) "It's like looking at the sun!"? You're reacting largely to the cut quality of the diamond.

Diamonds are a system of windows and mirrors. The top of the diamond, comprising of the table and crown, plays the role of the mirrors while the bottom of the diamond, also known as the pavilion, plays the role of the mirrors. There are 57 facets in a traditional round brilliant diamond. The goal of a well-cut round diamond is to have all 57 facets working harmoniously so that the maximum amount of light is reflected.

Diamond Cut Diagram

The placement of these facets, also known as symmetry, is just as important as the actual cutting of the diamond. If one mirror (facet) or one window (facet) is improperly angled, light will escape through the bottom of the diamond and never return to your eye as sparkle.

Lastly, the smoothness of the facets, also known as polish, determines the overall shine of the diamond. Think of it as a finishing coat of wax on your car after it has been meticulously detailed. That finishing coat of wax reveals the inherent beauty of the car's paint job just like polish releases the brilliance of a perfectly cut diamond. It is safe to say that the better the diamond's cut, symmetry, and polish, the better the light performance of that diamond will be.

While many people may think they want clear, colorless diamonds (AKA diamonds that are high in color and clarity), it's the cut of a diamond that will truly determine how a diamond performs. A diamond that is not cut well will not sparkle well, no matter how clear or colorless it is. Some people search for big diamonds with the dream of making a big statement. But they usually find is that it is sparkle — not size — that will really travel across a room.

What's more fun is that a well-cut diamond will maximize whatever light it is given. That means that even in a dimly lit room, it's going to sparkle. And, if an ideal cut diamond gets dirty (as diamonds easily do), it will continue to sparkle as long as it's receiving some light.

As you might guess, well-cut or "ideal" cut diamonds are also priced higher than their equal-weight counterparts. This higher pricing is appropriate considering that most diamond cutters are paid by weight. This means that most cutters will take a rough diamond and try to get the biggest carat weight possible out of it. The beauty or performance of the diamond is often sacrificed for size. In contrast to this, a diamond cutter whose aim is to create an ideal cut will sacrifice much rougher. It only makes sense that you will pay more for that ideal cut diamond than for one that is cut for weight. It is a more valuable stone because it took more time, effort, and material to create.

But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you want from your diamond.

We encourage our customers to ask themselves this question: "What do you want your diamond to do?"

The answer we hear most often: "I want it to SPARKLE."

After all, isn't it the sparkle of diamonds that draws us to them?

If you want to see the difference that cut quality makes to a diamond, stop in and see us at Koser Jewelers. We would love to show you.

To read more of our tips on diamond shopping, check out our post "How to Buy a Diamond...Like a Boss."

Contribution by Mandy Youtz