If you’ve ever pondered the question, “how are diamonds cut,” this guide will fill you in on some valuable information regarding the process, and why a diamond’s cut is perhaps the most important of the 4 Cs used to determine its grade.
It’s well known that diamonds are among the hardest substances on earth. That’s why it takes diamonds to cut other diamonds–the tools that we use to shape these raw stones into jewels are often either diamond-bladed or feature an edge of diamond dust.
The signature shapes of diamonds that we see in jewelry are not found naturally. Achieving the finished shape of the stones involves a rigorous process that even gem enthusiasts may not know in its entirety. From big diamonds to small ones, here’s a brief look into how diamonds are cut, and what that means for the quality of the stone.
Types of Large Diamond Cuts
There are two primary types of cuts for a large diamond: step cut and brilliant cut. Before a master cutter makes any alterations to a rough stone, they must evaluate its inclusions, or flaws, to determine what cut will be better, and if brilliance can be achieved. A cutter will also use carat weight to determine this outcome.
The standard pattern we’ve come to correlate with diamonds is an octahedron shape, meaning it has eight faces, twelve edges, and six vertices. This shape is perfect for brilliant cuts because it doesn’t lose a lot of carat weight in the cutting process, and exquisitely refracts light bouncing off the stone. On the contrary, a step cut is typically utilized to create a rectangle or square shape with parallel lines running on the length and width of the diamond. This tends to draw the eye to the center of the stone, which in turn makes the diamond look like it has “steps,” giving it its name.
How Are Small Diamonds Cut?
So how are small diamonds cut, and how does the process differ from larger stones? Perhaps the best place to begin is by answering that question with another question: “what are small diamonds called?” And that answer would be the unsung heroes of the jewelry world, melee diamonds.
Compared to larger stones that often act as the main centerpiece for rings and other jewelry items, melee diamonds are significantly smaller in size. In fact, their size ranges from as large as 0.2 carat to as small as 0.001 carat. It’s almost mind-boggling to consider how these tiny diamonds can be cut to perfection, but technology has made the once laborious process much easier to achieve.
Still, achieving feats like the Hearts and Arrows diamond, one of the most sought after cuts in the jewelry world, requires extreme precision done by only the most renowned cutters. These cuts make up less than 1% of the ideal cut diamonds in the world, and for good reason. We’ll get more into those shortly.
The two standard methods for cutting small melee diamonds include:
- Full Cut – A full, brilliant-cut diamond features 57 or 58 facets, and is designed to maximize the interaction of light within a stone, ensuring it displays as much brilliance and fire as possible. These stones can be used for engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, and other items where multiple melee diamonds can be placed together to achieve an elegant shine.
- Single Cut – These diamonds have 17 or 18 facets, and still display a pronounced shine, but much less of a fiery effect. They are quite popular in the production of watches, but have lost appeal in other aspects of the jewelry industry.
What Are Hearts and Arrows Diamonds?
A Hearts and Arrows diamond is a precision-cut round diamond that, like the name suggests, showcases eight arrows in the face-up view, and eight small hearts in the pavilion view. Often referred to as having a super-ideal cut of a traditional 57 faceted round brilliant cut diamond, these stones boast optimal symmetry, which maximizes the light handling potential of the facet arrangement.
Since a diamond can be thought of as a collection of mirrors, the Hearts and Arrows design is optimized for light performance when bouncing between facets. In turn, their brilliance and fire is unparalleled to other cuts, and they remain one of the most desirable gems in the industry.
As one of the world’s premier producers of melee diamonds, Grunberger Diamonds has brought four generations of passion, precision, and experience to the industry. We understand that perfection is key when it comes to fine jewelry–that’s why our company checks every single stone before shipping them out to ensure that they meet our strict Hearts and Arrows pattern guidelines. We cut our diamonds in Vietnam and maintain strict consistency among the stones we provide, making it easier for jewelers to craft stunning pieces.
Learn more about what makes our diamonds so unique, or contact us today for any questions regarding our products or services.