There has been a remarkable shift in consumer behaviors - and you are part of it! We don’t just go to the store or hop online, pick out an item, and hand over our hard-earned money without question. We research. We evaluate. We learn. We ask questions. We seek answers from experts, friends, family members, and peers. This is especially true when we make an important purchase, such as a ring. This is an investment that should bring joy for years, for decades! Making the best decision for your needs, tastes, and budget is essential. To do this, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of a diamond. An educated consumer is a powerful consumer!
Parts of a Diamond
In your research, you have no doubt come across the 4Cs - cut, color, clarity, and carat. Having a working knowledge of these terms is useful when selecting the right piece. But let’s dig a little deeper. When gemologists, buyers, and jewelers examine a diamond, they look at details such as the stone’s facets, scintillation, measurements, symmetry, and polish.
The anatomy of a diamond, from top to bottom:
A facet is a flat surface on the diamond, and the table is the largest. It is located at the top of the diamond and allows light to enter the diamond, where it refracts and reflects off other facets. The table is a major player in the brilliance and fire (i.e. the colorful flashes of light that diamonds produce under lights) of a diamond. But bigger is not always better: a larger table does increase brilliance but it also reduces fire.
If you opt for a larger table, be aware that inner inclusions will be more noticeable. To counteract this, prioritize clarity.
In addition to the table, other diamond facets include:
- Star: Star facets connect to the table and produce a star-shaped effect.
- Kite: These connect the girdle to the table facet.
- Girdle: Girdle facets fill space between other facets that connect to the table.
- Pavilion: These facets are often elongated, and they connect the center girdle to the bottom cutlet facet.
- Cutlet: The cutlet is the bottom facet of the diamond. You will only see them when diamonds have a pointed tip - so there is no cutlet on a princess or radiant cut, for example.
The most important thing to know about facets is that they should be cut symmetrically to maximize brilliance and shine.
This is the widest point of the diamond, located in the middle portion of the stone or at the intersection of the crown and pavilion (more on those in a moment!). Girdle thickness refers to the perimeter of the diamond at this point. Very thick girdles can impact the quality of the diamond, so opt for a thickness between very thin and thick.
The part of the diamond from the girdle to the top is known as the crown. The crown includes the table.
This is the lower portion of the diamond, from the girdle down. Depending on the cut, both the crown and pavilion can be either quite deep or quite shallow.
These elements form the basic anatomy of a diamond. There are other terms that are helpful to know as you seek out the perfect piece, including:
You’ll find the depth included on your diamond’s certification report. It refers to the measurement from the table to the cutlet and is given in millimeters.
Girdle Diameter or Thickness
We mentioned this briefly above: the girdle thickness or diameter will also be on your certification report.
Symmetry refers to the quality of the facets and how they are cut and shaped. It is typically rated as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor, Very Poor, and Extremely Poor. Opt for Good and above when it comes to symmetry.
Polish will impact brilliance and fire. Again this is rated on a scale from Excellent to Extremely Poor, and the grade takes into account polish lines, scratches, pits, and nicks.
This is the overall assessment of a diamond’s polish and symmetry, and it will appear on your certification report. Finish will affect the cut grade.
This term refers to the sparkle a diamond produces when in motion. The diamond’s cut affects sparkle: brilliant round, marquise, radiant, and princess cuts, for example, have a higher amount of scintillation, while emerald and cushion cuts have a lower amount.
You may also hear the terms “flash scintillation” (white sparkles) and “fire scintillation” (colored sparkles).
Putting Your Knowledge Into Action
No one expects you to be a walking encyclopedia or expert on the parts of a diamond. Contact the professionals at K. Rosengart to help you make the best diamond buying decision. We're happy to explain all terms clearly and concisely to give you a good foundation and understanding, so you can make a purchase with far more confidence.