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Diamond Cut: The Make

Diamond Cut: What is the make of a diamond, and how does it influence a diamond price? Is make the same as the cut?

The cut of a diamond refers to two different things: the shape (pear, round, marquise, princess, radiant, emerald, heart, or trilliant) and the make (the quality of the work in fashioning the shape).

Make of a diamond refers to how well a stone is cut and faceted to bring out the full beauty of the rough crystal. Good proportions, symmetry, and polish effect the beauty of a diamond much more than perfect color or clarity.

With all the attention given to the 4 Cs of diamond grading and evaluation (cut, color, clarity and carat weight), the make is actually the single greatest factor in the beauty. Oddly, the make is not generally graded on most laboratory certificates. (Only the American Gemological Society — AGS — assigns a grade to the make, with “0 deductions” being the best grade.)

Color, shape, clarity and carat weight determine the rarity and value of a diamond, but the make determines its beauty.Without any cutting, bruting, faceting or polishing, a rough diamond might very well go unnoticed in a pile of rocks. It is the diamond’s unique combination of durability, rarity and potential beauty that makes it so valuable.

Proportion is the single most important factor, because it determines the flow of light more than other quality factors. Proportions that are too deep or too shallow both allow light to leak out the bottom and lessen the amount of light that strikes your eye.

Diamond proportions have evolved over the last 100 years to increase the brilliance, scintillation and fire to dazzle the eye. Many details must be precisely managed and executed to create a truly beautiful diamond of excellent make.

Proportions determine a diamond’s brilliance (amount of light reflected back to your eye), fire (the flashes of color due to prismatic separation into the colors of the rainbow) and scintillation (sparkling movement of light as you move the diamond).

Below are the approximate proportions to create a round diamond of maximum beauty, achieving an excellent balance between brilliancefire and scintillation. (NOTE: These proportions only apply to round diamonds. Detailed guidelines have not yet been determined for other shapes. However, it is good news that AGS has received a grant to research and publish guidelines for fancy cuts in the next few months.)

In addition to the proportions, polish effects the final cut grade too. A well-polished diamond produces sharp sparkle and undistorted brilliance and fire. If the polish is poor, even a well-proportioned, symmetrical diamond can look dull or fuzzy.

Ideal Cut diamonds from many manufacturers have become popular in the past few years, and for good reasons. Stones with these ideal proportions are noticeably more beautiful to most people. These are in high demand, however, and usually require more loss of the rough to achieve ideal proportions. These factors combine to cause a slight premium in price. Ideal Cut diamonds include name brands such as Hearts and Arrows, Hearts on Fire, Eight Star, and others.

Knowing the 4 Cs is NOT enough to price a diamond accurately.

At least 13 factors affect diamond value, including fluorescence, table percentage, symmetry and other crucial details. However, you do need to be familiar with the 4 Cs before you can go beyond the basics and learn the other crucial details.

To learn how to calculate a good price for any diamond, please read our fast, easy, step-by-step online Diamond Pricing Tutorial. It shows you how to use the large online databases to research and calculate a competitive price on any description of diamond. The advantage is that this method uses live data, not an algorithm which only guesses at a price, no matter how much research has been done to create the algorithm. This I say as someone who spent years creating and maintaining a complicated (and I think the best) pricing algorithm online, on this site and others. Using the databases, you will be looking at real prices for real diamonds for sale right now. The only thing you need to do then is find a jeweler you can trust to deliver what they promise, and that is where our testing comes in. If you cannot find a good jeweler, we rate the top dealers for you.