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Home > Diamonds > The 4 C`s of Diamond > Cut
Cut of Diamonds
CutCut - a short word with a lot of meaning.
Not all jewellers know what they mean when they talk about "cut" or that the word can be used quite ambiguously to mean at least two different things.

Cut can be use to mean:-

Shape would be a more accurate word rather than "cut" when we are talking about whether a diamond is round, square, oblong, or whatever. Some round shapes may have different arrangements or numbers of facets.

The most popular "shape" of diamond remains the round shape, for very sound reasons. Round shaped diamonds come in several varieties:-

o Modern Brilliant Cut
Often known as the brilliant, round, round brilliant, or "brill." Has 58 facets, including the table and culet.

o Eight Cut or Single Cut
Often used for very small diamonds, under 1 or 2 "points". These only have eight facets on the crown, eight on the pavilion, plus the table and culet, making 18 in total.

o Old Cut or Early Modern Brilliant
An older, less precisely cut version of the modern brilliant cut.

o Swiss Cut
Halfway between a brilliant and an eight cut, with 34 facets in total.

o Rose Cut
Most rose cut diamonds are round, but some may look triangular, or have straight edges. Rose cuts look like diamonds, which have been cut upside-down; they rise to a point at the top, and are often flat at the base.

o Chips or Chippings
Chips should only be used to refer to deep fried potato fingers, french fries or pommes frites. To the French, chips mean potato crisps. Any jeweller who refers to chips or chippings meaning small diamonds is not a jeweller. Technically, we suppose that broken pieces of unpolished diamond could be set into jewellery, but we have yet to see it. Only refer to diamonds as chips if you dont mind folk realising that you dont know your crown from your culet!


The square shaped diamond is really only a special case of the oblong shape.

Oblong or Baguette
Most oblong or rectangular diamonds are "step" cut, which means that their facets have been cut in steps, parallel to the edges, in the manner of a pyramid with its top chopped off. Long thin oblongs are often known as baguettes. Tapered baguettes also exist.

Emerald or Octagon
This is another "step" cut, but with the four corners mitred. This is done largely to protect the stone, as any sharp points are vulnerable to getting chipped.

Most oval diamonds are like a squashed round brilliant. Because their depth to diameter ratio varies, they can never be a "perfect" proportion, and therefore lose some brilliance when compared with a round diamond. Actually most "round" diamonds are very slightly off round.

Marquise or navette shape is like a long oval, which has been stretched out to a point at each end. Similar comments apply as to the oval.

Not a popular shape. It is normally a variation of the square cut, in that its facets are step cut, but some triangle shapes are a modification of the round brilliant cut.

One-half oval, and the other half marquise.

Pear shape with a notch cut into the top.

A relatively new shape, oblong, usually square or almost square, but with a modified brilliant cut arrangement of facets instead of a step cut. This produces a much more brilliant and sparkly diamond than a traditional step cut square or oblong. It is not as successful for baguette shapes (long and thin).

This is a hybrid cut, a cross between a princess cut and an emerald cut. It combines the best features of the round brilliant cut, the square shape of the princess or square baguette cut, and the cut corners of the emerald cut. Like the princess cut, it is normally used for near-square stones rather than oblong ones.

Kite or Diamond Shape
A fancy shape, which resembles a kite, or the sectional profile of a diamond, viewed from the side.

Proportion and Polish
"Rough" diamonds, as they are mined or found, do actually look very rough, and need to be enhanced by shaping them using various methods, the process often known as cutting or polishing.

In practise, there are many different parts to creating a finished, ready-to-set, diamond from a piece of "rough".

Cleaving is literally to cleave or part a stone along natural grain boundaries; in the way one might chop a piece of wood along its grain, but not across the grain.

Sawing or cutting is performed across the grain of a stone, and is done using a thin toothless circular saw blade, which is impregnated with diamond dust. It is the diamond grit or dust, which performs the cutting action.

Polishing involves grinding surplus diamond away to leave the facets. Most of the work done, and weight removed from a rough diamond is done in this way.

Bruting involves rubbing the rough diamond against another by rotating it, to make the circular shape of the finished stone. This is performed before the grinding operation.

Polish can be used to mean the actual quality of the polish, which has been achieved on each of the facets.

Proportion also has multiple meanings.
The most important proportion and the easiest to ascertain is the ratio between the depth of the stone and its diameter. Ideally this should be about 58.5%, but a few percent either side of this is perfectly acceptable.

The ratio between the height of the crown and that of the pavilion is also important. The length of the pavilion facets, the size and shape of the various crown facets, the size of the table and the culet all contribute to the overall perfection or quality of the "cut."

Why Proportion Matters
Well proportioned stones reflect more light, and therefore often appear whiter and brighter than poorly proportioned stones. This can make a well-cut diamond look 2 or 3 colour grades better than it actually is. Similarly, diamonds in perfect proportion may also look better than other diamonds of higher clarity, but which are not as well cut.

Diamonds which "spread" more than their weight often appeal to the less informed who believe, naively, that they are getting something for nothing. A spread stone will lack brilliance and sparkle compared with a perfectly proportioned stone. (By spread, we mean that the diameter is too great in relation to the depth of the stone, which is the same as saying that the diamond is too shallow.)

The Dealers Cut
This often has more bearing on the price than any other meaning of "cut", and sometimes more effect than all the other 3 Cs put together!

Recycling Old for New Jewellery
We are often asked can we make a new piece of jewellery from an old one. The answer is yes, but...

Recycling is Good
We are firm believers in recycling old things, including scrap gold, wedding rings, diamond ring, and other jewellery. Some old jewellery is worth repairing or refurbishing. other items are only fit to be scrapped, and the answer often depends on personal factors such as sentimental value. We dislike waste, and believe everything should be repaired or recycled providing it can be done economically. There are many occasions however where it is uneconomic or undesirable to do so.

Best Practice is to Scrap and Remake New
Almost always the best solution is to sell or part-exchange the old items, and use the proceeds to purchase new items. This means we can make excellent quality goods economically.

In the following paragraphs when we refer to recycling, we mean by using the same actual precious metal from the original items as opposed to selling for scrap and then purchasing new.

Why Recycle Old Jewellery Items?
There are two basic reasons people cite when we ask why they wish to recycle their specific jewellery items.

Most people seem to think it will save them money. This is almost always wrong, especially if they want a good quality product. Just imagine asking Mercedes if they would make you a new car using your old one as scrap. Even if they could and would do it, it would produce an inferior product and cost more money. Apparently some Japanese and other eastern shipbuilders were making tankers and other ships from recycled scrap steel, and the ships then broke up in bad weather. Hopefully their insurance companies have now exerted some influence, and also hopefully they didnt build too many passenger ships or ferries.

Great Sentimental Value
The other reason cited is that the old jewellery items posses great sentimental value, having been their mothers wedding rings or similar. Whether there is also an undisclosed element of cost saving, we do not always know. As you will be able to guess from the comments we have already made, it is sometimes possible to recycle in this manner, but there will always be a price to pay, whether it be in lower quality products, or in a far higher processing cost.

Again lets take the Mercedes example. If you had a vintage Jowett Javelin which once belonged to your great grandfather, if you had enough money, you may be able to persuade Mercedes to have your old car melted down, refined into pure new steel, and then process you new car through their production line individually. Our wild guess at the extra cost of this would be 1 million, and even at that, Mercedes might be reluctant to supply you with an inferior product.

The situation would be similar when applied to jewellery. To make something out of your own gold would necessitate a substantial extra refining, alloying, and casting charges, possibly adding hundreds or thousands of pounds extra. This is completely outside our normal way of doing business. Our normal assumption about out customers is that they are normal intelligent, well educated, and interested in getting reasonable or even excellent value for their money.

Two Other Possibilities
Occasionally, there is something we can do at a reasonable cost, and not too great a quality penalty. For example, if somebody wants a handmade torq bangle, a solid item, where porosity is not too great a problem, then we can, and have on occasion, been able to help.

The last possibility is an illusion. We have on a significant number of occasions, seen gold items which the owners believed had been made from their own gold, and in every single case, we believe that they had been conned by a dishonest jeweller. There is at least one in Blackpool, who we would love to name here, but wont, who regularly sells items as being made to order from the owners own gold, and in almost every case, we are quite certain that the original gold items have been scrapped and ordinary new items supplied. Indeed on one occasion, we were consulted by a local man who had purportedly had several items made from old sentimental value items, only to become suspicious because some of the new items were different colours. He had begun to suspect that he had been deceived, and we are certain he was right.

Its important to remember that not all salesmen or jewellers are honest. Many will tell you what they think you want to hear.

Another practical problem is that for jewellery castings, the caster has to use more gold than he needs, to allow for the sprues and button. Sprues are the metal in the feeder channels which connect the individual castings to the casting tree, and the button is the extra metal which needs to be present to allow for contraction (shrinkage), and to provide extra weight to ensure that the mould fills correctly. A 200 gram casting tree may only need 20 grams for sprues and button, but a 10 gram casting may need 10 grams of extra metal. The upshot of this is that if you provide a jeweller with only the correct weight needed, it will be impossible to complete the job without using extra gold, if you receive 20 grams of finished article, then up to about 30% of the metal it contains may not have been your original material.

Non-cast jewellery does not need sprues, but it does usually need some extra material which gets wasted and needs to be recycled.

We would strongly recommend against getting any jewellery made using recycled actual gold from old items whatever your reason for it.

If you do quite rightly believe in recycling, and wish to sell your scrap or second-hand jewellery, we will be happy to buy or take it in part exchange at fair and competitive prices.

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