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Diamond Cut

A diamond’s cut is a very important quality to consider — a good cut truly brings out a stone’s beauty, while a poor cut can make a stone with good color and clarity look dull.

The cut of a diamond is one of its most important qualities, allowing its beauty to shine and downplaying any imperfections. The cut affects how light reflects from, enters and leaves the diamond.

A good cut focuses light back out through the top or crown of the diamond and makes it shine. A poor cut can make a diamond — even one with good color and clarity — appear dull. Just how many facets does a diamond’s cut involve? For a traditional round brilliant diamond, there can be as many as 33 facets in the crown and 25 facets in the pavilion (the section of facets between the midsection and the bottom tip of a diamond — see below). That’s why, when selecting a diamond, its cut should be a top consideration among the 4Cs.

When referring to the cut, jewelers are talking about more than a diamond’s shape. The cut of a diamond also has to do with how the angles and facets are proportioned to one another, the symmetry or precision of its cut, and how well its surface has been polished so that it reflects the maximum amount of light.  

Five basic parts to the cuts in a diamond


The top facet, or the flat surface on the top of the diamond.


The section of facets between the table (top facet) and the girdle of the diamond.


The midsection and widest part of the diamond.


The section of facets between the girdle and the bottom tip (culet) of the diamond.


The bottom tip of the stone.

Three basic diamond cut styles

Brilliant-cut diamonds 

Contain 58 facets. This cut returns the most light out through the top or table of the diamond. Brilliant-cut diamonds include round, princess, radiant, cushion, oval, pear, heart and marquise shapes.

Step-cut diamonds

Have facets that are cut like steps down from the table. Most step-cut diamonds are square or rectangular and don’t have a single tapered point at the bottom (a culet). Rather, if you turn a step-cut diamond over, you’ll see a line or ridge running the length of the pavilion. Step-cut diamonds include emerald-cut and baguette shapes.

Mixed-cut diamonds

Are a combination of brilliant and step cuts.

Diamond shapes

Round diamonds

Are the most popular shape; a style that has stood the test of time.

Oval diamonds

Are a beautiful twist on a traditional round shape.

Pear-shaped (or teardrop) diamonds

Are a subtly unexpected shape for a unique ring.

Heart-shaped diamonds

Add romance and fun.

Marquise diamonds

With their “pointed oval” shape, show off slender fingers to perfection.

Emerald-cut diamonds

Create a classic look that showcases larger stones especially well.

Baguette diamonds

Slender and rectangular, are typically used as accent stones on either side of a center stone.

Princess-cut and radiant-cut diamonds

Are square or rectangular in shape and can be incorporated into many different ring settings and styles.

Cushion-cut diamonds

Have larger facets and rounded corners that soften a classic style and impart romance.  

Ready to shop? Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry have a great selection of diamond rings.

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