Diamonds Defined: Understanding Cut

When it comes to understanding the 4Cs of diamonds - cut, color,clarity, and carat - cut far too often gets confused with shape. But cut actually refers to the arrangement of a diamond’s facets and affects the way the diamond’s surface interacts with and catches light. A delicate balance of proportion, symmetry and polish, this “C” is what delivers a diamond’s much-desired brilliance and is the only marker dealing in human touch and craftsmanship.

Why is cut so important?

More than color or clarity, cut can have the most significant impact on a diamond’s overall beauty and value. An ideal cut invites in maximum light for breathtaking brilliance, fire and scintillation. It can be the difference between a lower color grade diamond appearing more expensive or a nearly flawless diamond appearing dull. Also, a higher carat diamond with a poor cut can appear smaller than a lower carat diamond with a better cut.

Determining diamond cut quality

A number of measurements and their proportions contribute to a diamond’s cut quality. The depth, culet, table, and girdle of diamonds with a higher cut quality will be more perfectly proportioned, symmetrical and polished. When a diamond’s proportions are cut to exacting precisions, light enters and exits the diamond through the same surface, the table. In diamonds cut with proportions too shallow or deep, light escapes through the bottom or sides of the diamond, resulting in less reflection and a duller appearance.

diamond cut

Your cheat sheet to understanding cut


  • Brilliance: The total light reflected from a diamond

  • Fire: The dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum

  • Scintillation: The flashes of light when a diamond is moved


  • Table: The flat, top surface of the diamond

  • Culet: Pronounced cue-let, this is the small point at the bottom of the diamond pavilion where the facets meet

  • Depth: This refers to the distance between the “table” (top of the diamond) and culet (the point of the diamond), or how “tall” your diamond is

  • Girdle: The outermost edge, where the top meets the bottom

  • Precision of Cut: How the size and angles relate to the different parts of the stone

  • Symmetry: How precisely the various facets of a diamond align and intersect

  • Polish: The details and placement of the facet shapes as well as the outside finish of the diamond


  • Ideal+Hearts: : A superior ideal cut with perfect optical symmetry displaying hearts and arrows-shaped patterns when viewed from the table down and up. Rare quality held by <1% of all diamonds and takes up to 3X the time to polish.

  • Ideal : Cut to maximize brilliance with perfect proportions. A rare quality held by <1% of all diamonds.

  • Excellent: Perfect premium cut, proportioned to return the maximum brilliance possible.

Cut styles

  • Brilliant cut: The brilliant cut is composed of triangular and kite-shaped facets spreading outward from the diamond’s center. It is most commonly paired with round shapes, but is also used in more unique cushion, marquise, oval, pear, and trillion shapes.

  • Step cut: The step cut is composed of rectangular facets ascending in size outward and descending in size down the diamond. It is most commonly paired with emerald and baguette shapes.

  • Mixed cut: The mixed cut is composed of both types of facets and can encompass princess, cushion, and radiant diamonds.

A cut above the rest

VRAI created diamonds are cut to perfect proportions to reveal a superior, striking brilliance ranging from Ideal + Hearts to Ideal to Excellent. Our cutting and polishing studios are full of true artisans to ensure high-quality cuts each time. And the diamonds sustainably grown in our zero-emission foundry are inspected more than 1,300 times, from the moment the diamond seed is placed into a reactor to the finished ring. Fewer than 1% of all diamonds on the market meet this high standard of quality.

Naturally, the exacting precisions and craftsmanship of higher cut quality garner a higher price, but because cut offers the greatest value, we recommend investing in the highest cut quality one can afford.

Discover more about our VRAI created diamonds and explore our current selection of available diamonds.


Diamonds Defined: Understanding Color

Learn more about color - part of the 4Cs - and why the absence of color in a white diamond makes it rarer and more valuable than others.

Diamond Clarity: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Learn more about diamond clarity, an important part of the 4Cs that is the most obscured to the naked eye.

Diamond Carat: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Learn more about carat - the most famous of the “4Cs” - and how this reference to your diamond’s weight, not size, can affect its overall beauty.

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