While there are any number of ways to slice and dice the world’s most precious stone, there is one cut that has taken almost six centuries and many generations to perfect, and it’s called… the round brilliant cut diamond. For a very long time, there was no grading system for diamonds, so everything was subjective, until the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) established the 4C’s: Color, Clarity, Cut, Carat Weight. While color, clarity, and carat weight is controlled by naturally occurring characteristics, the cut is the only one that humans can control… and that is where the craftsmanship comes in.
As society develops in the field of technology, everything becomes more precise and the impossible becomes possible. Diamonds that were cut hundreds of years ago look very different than the diamonds we have now. The precise nature of our equipment allows us to perfectly capture and refract the light within the diamond like never before. We are even able to create perfect lab-grown cultured diamonds with the exact same chemical makeup and properties, and create beautiful conflict free jewelry.
Marcel Tolkowsky, a Belgian gemologist, determined that there is a perfect ratio that a diamond can take on that allows for a maximum light refraction and brilliance. He spent many years trying to hone in on the perfect symmetry of each individual facet until he was able to design the ultimate brilliant cut diamond. He believed that a diamond is a system of mirrors and windows.
The perfect cut and polished diamond allows the light to enter through the top and exit through the back through the top giving it maximum fire, brilliance, and scintillation. In order for the diamond to be considered a brilliant cut diamond it must have 57 facets (58, if it is polished with a culet.) To give you the breakdown, crown of the diamond must have: 1 table, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets, and 16 upper girdle facets. The pavillion of the diamond must have: 8 main pavillion facets, 16 lower girdle facets and a culet.
Not only does each diamond have to have these exact numbers of facets, but the diamond must also fall into the perfect proportions or else the light may escape or not reach far enough into the diamond. When a diamond is cut to perfect symmetry you will get a Hearts and Arrows diamond, which is the ideal cut diamond. It is called that because when you view the diamond from the top, you can see eight perfect arrows, and when you look from the bottom you have eight perfect hearts.
Since this diamond was created another even more brilliant, in 25% more brilliant diamond was cut called the Brilliant 10 and it had 71 facets with 10 arrows and 10 hearts. With the technology developing at breakneck speeds, who knows what the diamond standard will be in another few years, but for now, you know what to look for!