For consumers, the diamond and jewelry industry can be difficult to navigate when it comes to terms and jargon. One of the most frequent questions asked when we talk with people outside the industry about what we do is, what is a melee diamond? And let’s face it: the details of niche segments of the industry can be confusing even for some jewelry professionals at times! We’ve found this confusion most often with the word “brilliant.” 

Our goal is to provide clear, accurate information because we believe a successful business owner is an educated one who can offer pieces of stunning beauty and value while keeping their costs in line and their margins strong. So let’s find the answers. What is a melee diamond, and what do we mean when we say it’s “brilliant”?

Brilliant Melee Defined

What Is a Melee Diamond?

We will start with what a melee diamond is not. Melee is not a byproduct of the cutting process of larger diamonds. That’s a misconception. Melee diamonds are, in many respects, the unsung heroes of the custom jewelry world. 

Melee is defined by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as diamonds weighing less than 0.2 carats. Some of these stones are as small as 0.001 carats. But the impact of these tiny stones is significant. They are integral in creating intricate pieces and the most sought-after designs among today’s consumers. Halo settings, for instance, are exceptionally popular, and without melee, these eye-catching pieces would not be possible.

What Is Brilliant Melee?

While brilliant has many definitions, it has a specific meaning in the diamond industry. It is used in reference to the shape and cut of the diamond; brilliants are round, and they are cut to maximize sparkle and shine. Each has 58 facets (including the culet); these flat surfaces are arranged in a meticulous geometric pattern to enhance light refraction. As light enters the stone and plays off the different facets, we see that much-beloved sparkle.

The word “brilliant” does not relate to the color and clarity of the stone. Since all brilliant diamonds have the same number of facets, it is essential that we are selective when it comes to symmetry and polish: very good or excellent marks in these categories maximize brilliance.

Now that we know what a melee diamond is, we can delve into what they do. These small stones are often used in rings, earrings, and necklaces and they offer a number of benefits:

  • Melee makes it possible to create intricate designs with ease. Not only are they used in halo settings but they are essential in pavé settings, which come from the French for “paved.” Paved with diamonds – we love it!
  • They highlight the center stone, making it appear larger and more dazzling. This way, business owners and consumers can “cost engineer” a bit, downsizing the center stone.
  • Melee is the best way to add sparkle and elegance in the most cost-effective way.
  • Melee stones have value and beauty independent of the larger stone; yes, they play a supporting role, but they are gorgeous in their own right.

When You Buy Melee Diamonds

As you know, when you purchase a larger carat stone, it should come with a grading report from an independent lab. GIA is a world-renowned leader in this space and you will receive a thorough description of the diamond and crucial information regarding its color, weight, measurement, cutting style, and whether it has been treated in any way (e.g. High-Pressure High-Temperature processes to enhance color).

Because melee stones are so small, however, GIA does not certify each individual stone. It would take an enormous amount of time to do so – and it would be very expensive for the owner. A GIA-certified melee expert can, however, test and grade the stones in batches. GIA’s Melee Analysis Service uses an automated system to analyze and sort melee. An expert can separate – with incomparable accuracy – natural diamonds from lab-grown and treated diamonds. Round melee can be further sorted by color, and customers can specify a size range.

This eliminates a big concern for melee buyers; you do not want to pay for natural diamonds and receive lab-grown or treated stones. Not that these do not have an audience – but you certainly want to get what you pay for!

Reputable suppliers will never mix lab-grown and treated stones into melee parcels. K. Rosengart strives to deliver the highest quality melee on the market, and you can be sure that our melee is put through a thorough vetting process before it ever arrives in your hands. 

Now that you have a better understanding of melee, how will you use it to transform your inventory and your business? Please reach out to us and schedule a consultation and we will give you free shipping on your next order!

Melee Diamond Buying Guide | K. Rosengart