A diamond’s brilliance is a direct result of both its optical properties and its cut. This brilliance gives diamonds their unique sparkle and helps to mask any inclusions or imperfections which they may have. Generally speaking, the more facets a diamond has, the more brilliant it will be. If a diamond had no facets, it would resemble a piece of glass, making inclusions very noticeable. One of the most heavily faceted cut styles is “brilliant cut”. A considerably less faceted style is “step cut”. Both of these styles result in beautiful, brilliant diamonds. However, because of their decreased facet count, inclusions within a step cut diamond can be much more noticeable.
Step cut diamonds are characterized by sloping, four-sided facets, which are layered below the table, and run parallel to one another. They come in numerous cut styles including Emerald, Asscher, Trapezoid and Baguette.
Due to their lower facet count, prominent inclusions can be relatively noticeable in step cut diamonds. This is especially true if the inclusion is black or centrally located. Any step cut diamond with a clarity grade below VS2 will have visible inclusions. Because of this, many people avoid step cut diamonds in the SI1 or lower clarity grades.
Step Cut diamonds are a classic, beautiful style. If they appeal to you, there is no reason to avoid them. You should, however, be careful if you are purchasing one with a clarity grade of SI1 or lower. Be sure to inspect it closely to make sure the inclusions do not seriously detract from the diamond’s appearance.