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What is a poorly cut gemstone?


If you were to ask gem dealers to describe an ideally proportioned ruby, sapphire or other gemstones, you will get a variety of answers. But even though a standardized system for evaluating cut has not yet been adopted, gem experts would agree that a stone is poorly cut if it has the following characteristics:

-    An obviously unsymmetrical shape or profile. It’s common for rubies and sapphires to look less symmetrical than stones such as diamonds and amethysts. However, when corundum stones are so lopsided that their brilliance is seriously diminished, the lack of symmetry is unacceptable. A culet that is extremely off center is one of the most serious symmetry problems. It prevents the pavilion from reflecting light evenly.

-    An excessive depth that makes it impractical to set in jewelry. Some star rubies and sapphires and other gems are cut so deep that they always look like marbles. These stones are impractical for jewelry because they must be set awkwardly high to avoid touching the skin. Also you end up paying for weight you can’t see face up and which does nothing to contribute to the beauty. Pale, facets stones are sometimes cut abnormally deep to intensify their colors. Dark stones are cut this way too in order to save weight from the original rough. This unnecessary weight adds to the cost of the stone since prices are calculated by multiplying in the weight times the per-carat cost. Consequently, when you compare the prices of the stones, you should consider their overall depth.
-    A very lumpy, bulging pavilion. It decreases brilliance and help create dark or window-like areas in the stone. This is because the pavilion is not slanted at an angle that will maximize light reflection. The bulging pavilion is common in corundum, and it is another example of how you can end up paying for extra weight that only reduces the beauty of the stone.

-    A big window area which allows you to see right through the stone. Windows can occur in any transparent, faceted stone no matter how light or dark it is and no matter how deep or shallow its pavilion is. Improper crown and pavilion angles are in the main cause of windows. In all colored stones, these windows are undesirable because they mean reduced brilliance and color.

Sometimes when a gem with a large window is shown to you in a stone paper or on a pad, it may appear well cut. This is because the stone is right next to the background, and there is not enough light underneath it to expose the window. That’s why it is important to examine the stones above a contrasting background.

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