Diamond Cuts: Everything You Need to Know

January 3, 2019 By swj-eric

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According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), “a diamond’s cut unleashes its light.”

Most people have heard of the 4Cs of Diamond Quality — carat, color, clarity, and cut. It all sounds simple enough, until the jeweler starts talking about things like “table size, crown height, girdle thickness, and depth.”

And, if you think that’s a bit confusing, don’t forget, “brightness, fire, and scintillation.”

Wait! Do you have to know all this to sell a diamond?

Well, when it comes to selling diamonds, it certainly helps to have a basic understanding of the 4Cs of Diamond Quality to ensure you’re getting the best price for your piece.

The 4Cs of Diamond Quality, established by the GIA, is the global standard for describing and evaluating diamonds. And to help you better understand, we created a simple guide for you to follow:

Carat Weight

A carat is a metric measurement of 200 milligrams.

This measurement determines how much a diamond weighs. A jeweler may describe a diamond as being “a half carat” or in terms of its points. Each carat contains 100 points, so a .25 carat weight diamond may also be described as a “25-pointer.”

Carat weight can be deceiving because the other three Cs also factor into the value of the diamond. Therefore, two diamonds of equal carat weight may have significantly different values (and price tags) as a result of their inequalities in cut, clarity, and color.

Color (or absence of)

Interestingly, a brilliant, high-quality diamond is one that lacks color. A structurally and chemically pure diamond has no color at all, which allows it to reflect light perfectly. The GIA’s color grading scale begins at D (colorless) and ends at Z (the most color).

While many of these color distinctions are not visible without a microscope, diamond color can make a big difference in price.


The clarity of a diamond refers to the number, size, and placement of internal “inclusions” and external “blemishes.”

Since a diamond forms within the earth as a result of pressure, carbon, and heat, it’s more than likely to find diamonds with inclusions and blemishes. A “flawless” diamond is one that has no visible imperfections, even when magnified 10 times and viewed by a skilled diamond grader (like the jewelers at Southwest Jewelry Buyers).

After the Flawless category, diamonds fall into five more clarity levels:

  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3)

Remember: To the naked eye, most of these imperfections are too small to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader with a microscope. However, like the other Cs, clarity affects the quality and value of the diamond.


Finally, the cut of a diamond influences its ability to reflect light and sparkle. Most people think of a diamond’s cut as its shape — like round, oval, pear, princess, or marquise. However, the cut of a diamond, as far as the experts are concerned, describes how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.

The GIA cut scale goes from excellent to poor. The cut is a crucial element to determining the stone’s beauty and value.

Of the 4Cs, cut is the most technically complex feature of a diamond.

The cut influences a diamond’s brightness, fire, and scintillation.

Brightness, on the other hand, refers to the internal and external white light the diamond reflects, while fire is the scattering of white light into the colors of the rainbow. Scintillation is the amount of sparkle in a diamond.

The highly skilled, GIA-trained diamond appraisers at Southwest Jewelry Buyers know all there is to know about the 4Cs. At your private appraisal appointment, we’ll closely examine your diamonds, based on the 4Cs, and give you an accurate, no-obligation appraisal on-the-spot. Should you decide to sell your diamonds, we offer the highest prices in the Valley for all your diamond jewelry.

Who you sell your diamond to is just as important as who you purchased it from. Southwest Jewelry Buyers has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we work hard to maintain our stellar rating, so you can be assured you’re going to have an outstanding experience.

Contact Southwest Jewelry Buyers today, for a free estimate on your diamonds, and other precious gemstones and jewelry.