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Looking for a gemstone that’s a “Cut Above”


One of the most important things to learn is how to look at a gem, even if you won’t see all that a gemologist will. Let’s begin by making sure you understand the terms you will be hearing and using to describe what you want – especially terms pertaining to the stone’s “cut” and the names for the parts of a cut stone.

It’s important to be familiar with a few general terms that are commonly used when referring to faceted stones. The parts of a stone can vary in proportion and thus affects its brilliance, beauty, and desirability.

Girdle. The girdle is the edge pr border of the stone that forms its perimeter; it is the edge formed where the top portion of the stone meets the bottom portion – its “dividing line.” This is the part usually grasped by the prongs of a setting.
Crown. The crown is also called the top of the stone. This is simply the upper portion of the gemstone, the part above the girdle.
Pavilion. The pavilion is the bottom portion of the stone, the part from the girdle to the “point” at the bottom.
Culet. The culet is the lowest part or point of the stone. It may be missing in some stones, which can indicate damage, or, particularly with colored stones, it may not be part of the original cut.
Table. The table is the flat top of the stone and is the stone’s largest facet, often called the face. The term table spread is used to describe the width of the table facet, often expressed as a percentage of the total width of the stone.  

The most important – and least understood – factor which must be evaluated when considering any gem is the cutting. When we talk about cut, we are not referring to the shape, but to the care and precision used in creating a finished gem from the rough. There are many popular shapes for gemstones. Each shape affects the overall look of the stone, but if the stone is cut well its brilliance and value endures no matter what shape it is. For the average consumer, choosing a shape is simply a matter of personal taste. Some of the most popular shapes are pictured.   
 
The shape of the stone may affect the personality it displays, but it is the overall cutting is making. Having a “good make” is especially important in diamonds. A diamond with an “excellent make” will sell for much more than one with a “fair make.” The difference in price between a well-cut and poorly cut diamond can be as much as 50 percent, or more. Even more important, careless cutting, or cutting to get the largest possible stone from the rough, can sometimes result in faults that may make a stone more fragile and vulnerable to breakage. Such stones should sell for much less, although the fault may not be visible without careful examination by an expert.  

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