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Ideal Cut Gemstones

We've all heard of the 4C's in diamond grading with Cut being one of the "C's".  Since I facet my own gemstones, I also refer to a well-cut stone, but what does Cut refer to when grading?  It goes beyond the craftsmanship and artistry involved in faceting.

When referring to diamonds (actually all gemstones), the ideal "cut" refers to the overall cut of the stone. When light enters a gemstone through the table, the desired result is for that light to be refracted back out through the table. This is what gives us the brilliance and sparkle of a faceted gemstone. Different materials allow light to refract differently - and this is one characteristic used to determine one type of gemstone from another.

Typically diamonds are cut to maximize yield. This can mean cutting a pavilion more shallow than desired in order to utilize a piece of rough that is wider than it's length (or height). A shallow cut pavilion can result in a diamond that doesn't refract as much light back through the table resulting in a less brilliant diamond, but there are ways of cutting the crown to compensate for this. As a consumer, it is up to you to decide if you can accept a less flashy diamond in exchange for having a wider, bigger-looking gemstone - a trade-off of cut and carat factors.

GIA has a good article on Cut which explains the appearance of a gemstone versus what factors are considered related to craftmanship such as polishing and symmetry.

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