The diamond's culet can be found at the base of the pavilion and is the tiny point where the facets meet. How important is a diamond's culet grade? Find out this and more with our diamond culet guide.
What is a diamond culet?
The culet is the very bottom tip of the diamond, where the pavilion facets taper into a sharp point. In a well-cut diamond, the pavilion facets meet at such precise angles, that the tip is a perfect point. Large culets are not pointed, but instead feature another flat-surfaced facet at the base of the diamond. Large culets appear like a black dot at the centre of the stone. A pointed culet (sometimes referred to as ‘no culet’) is ideal, making for a more beautiful diamond.
Diamond culet: none vs pointed
When a diamond is referred to as having a pointed culet, it actually means the same as having a culet graded ‘none’. A perfectly pointed tip is the most ideal form for enhancing a diamond’s beauty - in which the culet grade will be referred to either as ‘Pointed’ or ‘None’. A large culet can usually be seen when viewing the diamond from above, appearing like a little dark circle that looks a little like a hole. Diamonds without a culet (or a very small culet) will have no such visible mark. Sound confusing? Read the full list of diamond culet ratings below.
Diamond culet grades
Diamond culets are graded in descriptive terms, from None (or Pointed) to Extremely Large. The smaller the culet, the more ideal the diamond will appear. GIA certificates feature a diagram of the diamond, noting all diamond proportions. A perfectly proportioned culet will be labeled ‘None’.
None & Pointed - the pavilion facets meet at the perfect point. This is ideal for the diamond’s aesthetics, but the tip can be prone to chipping. Goldsmiths must take extra care when setting the diamond, but the culet should be protected one the diamond is safely safe.
Very Small & Small - the culet is still considered ideal, and bears beautiful aesthetics for the stone. The culet is slightly less vulnerable to breakage.
Medium - Slightly less visually ideal as the culet is less pointed, and features a very small facet where the tip would otherwise exist. The culet is not particularly vulnerable to breakage.
Slightly Large & Large - the appearance of the diamond is slightly negatively affected
Very Large - the appearance of the diamond is notably affect
Extremely large - the large culet is visible and significantly affects the appearance of the stone
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You might find that older heirloom diamonds have large culets, like old mine cuts - which can be part of their charm. But for the most part, we advise steering clear of a new diamond with a noticeable culet!
Should my diamond have a culet or not?
Aesthetically, diamonds with no culet appear the most beautiful, but the pointed tip is vulnerable to breakage. If the culet breaks, the diamond could crack, showing unattractive white or black fissures. Diamonds with Very Small, Small and Medium culets still appear ideal, and are slightly less vulnerable to breakage. When buying a diamond, the best advice is to find a diamond with a Very Small to Small size cutlet.
Why do some diamond shapes have culets?
Much loved diamond cuts, like the old mine cut and old European cut, feature large, visible culets. This is because these diamond shapes were cut by hand, before diamond cutting became so precise. In these instances, it can be argued that the culets are not a negative feature, but celebrated as a historical feature. In modernity, however, visible culets devalue a diamond.
How do I know if a diamond has a large culet?
Certified diamonds, like GIA graded diamonds, will define the culet grade within the report - so you needn't worry about assessing it yourself, and can instead depend on the experts' analysis. You’ll know if a diamond has a large culet if it looks like it has a black or dark dot at the centre, when viewed from above. Ideally, you won’t see any black dot at the centre of the diamond, which demonstrates a Pointed, Very Small or Small culet.
What does a large diamond culet look like?
A large diamond culet appears as a black dot at the centre of the diamond, when viewing the diamond from above. This is not considered ideal, but can sometimes indicate that a diamond is an old diamond. Diamonds cut hand pre-20th Century were cut far less precisely than today’s diamonds, and shapes like the much loved Old Mine Cut and Old European Cut diamonds feature large culets because of this.