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A brief introduction of the old era diamond cuts


The old era or non-modern cuts tend to be off-make, or poorly proportioned diamonds. Now that we’ve had a look at some diamond shapes, let’s go over the parts of the cut diamond. There are three basic parts to every cut diamond: The crown (top), the girdle (around the middle), and the pavilion (the bottom).

The crown consists of a large flat area on top called the table, and a number of facets. As the diamond catches the light, the job of the crown is to split the light entering the diamond into white light, which gives the stones its brilliant and colored light, which gives it fires, or dispersion.

The girdle is the thin, unpolished band around the widest part of the diamond. The function of the girdle is to protect the edge of the stone from chipping (even though diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, it can be chipped!)

The pavilion has the most important job, which is to reflect the light that passes through the crown back into your eyes. Think of it as a cone lined with mirrors. The light enters the diamond through the crown, split into the light and colored light, bounces off the facets of the pavilion back up through the crown, where you see it as – sparkle. But to achieve the maximum sparkle, that magic combination of brilliance and fire – the diamond must be well cut and cut in the proper proportions. The size of the table, the symmetry of the facets, the thickness of the girdle, and the angle of the pavilion must all work together to give the diamond the sparkle you want.

Table – The size of the table, as a percentage of the crown, is important because it determines the amount of brilliance, or white light the diamond will reflect. So, how do you determine exactly what the table area is? It’s obviously a measurement that’s pretty difficult to make unless you have the right instruments.

Facets – The typical diamond is cut with 58 facets, 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion. On a well proportion stone, these facets will be uniform and symmetrical. If they are not, the diamonds ability to refract and reflect light will suffer. Furthermore, a poorly cut diamond just won’t look right to the eyes.

Girdle – This is a Goldilocks problem. You don’t want a diamond with a girdle that’s so thin, or one that’s too thick – you want one that’s just right. The whole purpose of the girdle is to protect the edge of the stone from chipping. A girdle that’s too thin does not give enough protection; a girdle that’s too thick does not look good. So you want a diamond with a medium girdle, neither too thin nor too thick.

Pavilion – The job of the pavilion is the most important of all: to reflect light into your True Love’s eyes. I think it’s important to understand that when you look at the diamond and see it sparkle, you are not just seeing light reflected off the surface of the diamond.  

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