The Importance of Cut When Selling a Diamond
by    |  December 4th, 2012

Selling diamonds is not nearly as easy as selling gold, which has an easy to define value based on purity. Diamonds are valued according to many characteristics, including the cut, carat, color, clarity and fluorescence. Without an objective way to easily determine the value of a diamond, it’s easy for an inexperienced seller to feel overwhelmed or even get taken advantage of by diamond buyers who make a low offer.

While all of the characteristics of your diamond affect its value, cut is especially important as it really determines the beauty of the diamond. A good cut can hide many imperfections or inclusions, while a poor cut with off proportions can affect the light return, which occurs when light enters the diamond and reflects back to the eye.


Let’s take a look at what a diamond’s cut is, exactly, and why it affects the price you receive when you sell a diamond.

What is a Diamond’s Cut?
The cut doesn’t actually refer to the shape of the diamond but its proportions, polish and overall symmetry.  This is one of the most difficult characteristics of the diamond to analyze although it has three major affects on the appearance of your diamond:

  • brilliance, or the brightness that’s created when light reflects off the surface or the inside of the diamond,
  • fire, or the way light disperses to show the colors of the spectrum in flashes,
  • and scintillation, or those flashes or sparkles you see when the diamond or a light source is moved around.

When a rough diamond is cut, the diamond cutter needs to carefully balance the ideal cut against the highest yield, which means maintaining as much of the weight from the stone as possible. Most people want diamonds that are large with a fair cut rather than small diamonds that are well cut, so most diamond cutters sacrifice the appearance of the diamond to maintain a higher weight.

The Importance of Cut Proportion on Appearance
The way the diamond is cut affects how light reflects (bounces back) or refracts (bends when it passes through one of the diamond’s facets). If the diamond is cut very shallow, light will hit the pavilion low and refract, leaving through the bottom of the diamond rather than reflecting back to the eye. Diamonds cut too deep, on the other hand, hit the pavilion sharply and reflect to the second pavilion. Light then refracts and leaves through the bottom of the diamond. A well cut diamond allows light to hit the pavilion facets perfectly, reflecting the light back to the top of the diamond, or crown.

How Your Diamond’s Cut is Graded
Before you sell diamonds, it’s always advisable to have them graded by a respected lab like GIA or a GIA-certified gemologist. To grade your diamond’s cut, the gemologist will analyze how the symmetry, polish, culet size, facet angles and girdle width affect the appearance of your diamond. These factors will go into a single rating that can be used to evaluate your diamond. Your diamond’s cut may be graded as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor by GIA.

Does Your Diamond Have a Popular Cut?
While the diamond’s cut and its shape are different factors, they are related. The most popular diamond cut, or shape, today is the modern round brilliant, with ideally arranged facets and proportions that have been created with mathematical analysis. Fancy cut diamonds also go in and out of popularity, so remember the value of your diamond relies in part on how much demand there is for its shape. The step cut baguette diamond was very popular during the 1930’s although no one really asks for this diamond shape anymore. The Princess cut diamond is also popular lately with both consumers and diamond cutters, as it wastes very little of the original rough stone.

For tips on selling diamonds in Miami, be sure to check out our blog post Diamond Selling Tips to Help You Succeed.

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