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The shape you choose for your diamond is one thing, but it’s cut can make or break its quality and overall appeal.

With any shape of diamond – be that round, emerald, princess or anything else – the cut is paramount. This is about the precise angles, symmetry, proportion, balance of facets and polish that a skilled cutter will be able to achieve. A well-cut diamond will take in and reflect light perfectly, so that the radiance, fire and sparkle of the stone are at their absolute best. Many hundreds of years of study and experimentation have allowed for an increased scientific knowledge of the way diamonds work, and how light reflects and refracts within their crystals. Now, we are able to maximise the natural brilliance of diamonds through the careful cutting of exact measurements.



Reflection: The Many Varieties of Sparkle

To fully understand the way cuts work, it’s helpful to have an idea of the way light behaves inside a diamond. It may come as a surprise that when jewellers use the following terms, they are referring to specific elements of a diamond’s light-giving properties.



Dispersion, otherwise known as fire, refers to the coloured light that has been split into its full rainbow spectrum. While white light enters and exits through the table, flashes of colour are visible when light is propelled out from the centre of the stone and through the crown.


When we talk about brilliance, we are really discussing how bright a diamond is – that is, how much white light it exudes and reflects out. The way this works is a little like a mirror. The wide table at the top of a diamond takes in natural light, which is then split apart into the full spectrum of colours. These rebound and reflect within the main body of the diamond before being projected upwards and out through the table, exiting once again as pure white light.


Lastly, scintillation. This is the glitter and twinkle – it is the way in which light bounces and plays off the facets of a diamond when it is moved. When a diamond is well cut, light will emanate from every angle, and provide the mesmerising sparkle we all know and love.






There are six main components that make up a diamond cut, each with their own role to play and specific calculations.


A Precise Art: Diamond Cut Grading

While colour and clarity can be graded with relative ease, the cut can be a little harder to judge. However, cut undoubtedly has the most effect on the value and beauty of a diamond. A good cut will emphasise colour and clarity, and can even make a lower carat-weight stone seem larger. An expert cutter’s work will combine polish and proportions so that brilliance, fire and scintillation work together in harmony to produce a symmetrical and enticing diamond.

Getting these proportions right is an exact art, and missing the mark even slightly can drastically affect the end result. Facets that do not line up at the correct angles can cause ‘light leakage’, whereby light is reflected out of the pavilion or culet rather than the top sections of the diamond. These mistakes and bad craftsmanship will lead to a dull stone and a dark centre.

Instead, a well-cut diamond should reflect light out through the top sections, (both the table and crown) to provide an eye-catching balance of white and coloured light. To achieve this, it’s important to consider the size of the table and the depth of the main section, and how they combine with the overall width.

Diamond cut is graded on a sliding scale from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor’. We rarely stock diamonds that are any less than Very Good at Queensmith.



This diamond's grade is limited by its weight ratio. Although most of the proportions for this diamond are fairly standard, the extremely thick girdle greatly increases the total depth. Therefore, this diamond's diameter is much smaller than its carat weight would indicate.


Still in the top 35 per cent of all cut diamonds, these specimens are of a good quality and show skilled cutting that displays some brilliance and fire, but also optimises weight. 


Well-cut diamonds of an excellent quality that still handle light play well, examples in this category make good use of a stone’s natural size and shape. These diamonds are included in the top 25 per cent.


These diamonds fall into the top 15 per cent, providing an exquisite cut that optimises light reflection while demanding a lower cost than those in higher categories.


Diamonds that fall into this cut category are exemplary specimens, with facets exhibiting a clear ‘hearts and arrows’ arrangement. Meticulous craftsmanship places these stones in the top three per cent of all finished diamonds. 






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