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Is diamond cut more important than clarity?

Is diamond cut more important than clarity?

Is diamond cut more important than clarity?

Posted by Sharif Khan on 5th Aug 2022

Diamond Cut Vs Clarity

Bottom Line

In terms of priority, cut is more important than clarity. However, both should be equally prioritized; one is a natural factor, while the other depends on craftsmanship. Follow these guidelines on how to compromise on the 4Cs to understand the issue better.

James Allen

Diamond Cut versus Diamond Clarity: Why are they Important?

The cut is considered the most important of the 4Cs when evaluating a diamond's sparkle and fire (brilliance). Clarity is also essential because it can impact the perceived brilliance of a stone. These two factors play a significant role in determining the value of a diamond.

The Implications of Diamond Clarity

Clarity may be defined as a standard that describes the number of inclusions and flawlessness of a diamond. Diamonds are made in the earth's core under intense pressure and heat. Hence, it is not surprising that they tend to have solids, liquids, and gasses trapped in them, leaving most diamonds with imperfections.

Diamonds without imperfections are rare and therefore more expensive. Grading helps to determine the inclusions and blemishes in the stone. You do not need a flawless diamond since defects are difficult to detect. However, diamond experts can use the clarity factor to help save money if understood by diamond buyers.

Clarity is important because it will affect your choices regarding the other 4Cs. For example, for diamonds with minimal inclusions, such as VS1 and SI1, you will be limited to choosing stones below 2 carats. Choose a stone above 2 carats, and the imperfections will start to show.

A professional grader examines the stone under 10x magnification to determine the nature of blemishes and inclusions. Since certain inclusions can only be spotted under a magnifying glass, people choose lower ones that do not show imperfections. This allows diamond buyers to get the style of diamond they want without selecting an expensive flawless piece.

Clarity Grades

  • Flawless (F): No inclusions and blemishes can be detected by a grader when looking at it at 10x magnification.
  • Internally Flawless (IF): Under 10x magnification, no inclusions can be found.
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS): Has inclusions, but it would be difficult for a professional grader to detect even under 10x magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS): Inclusions are difficult to spot but can be detected under 10x magnification.
  • Slightly Included (SI): Inclusions can be easily spotted under 10x magnification.
  • Included (I): Has inclusions that affect the quality of the diamond.

Diamond Cut

The cut can be a styling or design standard for grading diamonds and refers to their proportion, polish, and symmetry. It is important not to confuse it with the shape of a diamond.

These characteristics defined by design standards are essential to quantify since they impact quality. The physical factors of the stone are considered before choosing a cut.

A diamond from the mines looks rough and unappealing in its natural form. The external surface is dull and covered by unattractive clumpy and cloudy deposits. Therefore, a jeweler strives to remove the facets to bring out the most when it comes to a stone's brilliance.

A jeweler must carefully consider the shape of a diamond and its symmetry, among other physical characteristics. The arrangement of the facets inside a stone determines the amount of light reflected to the viewer—the more the facets, the more luminous the stone. The round brilliant cut has 58 facets and is the brightest compared to the other styles.

Polish is also important to a jeweler when contemplating a cut for a rough diamond. It describes how neatly and smoothly the facets are arranged inside a stone, whose proportion and symmetry must be factored in to determine how light is reflected inside it.

Types of Cut and Their Implications

Given that a rough diamond comes in various sizes and characteristics, cut types vary widely. One of the most common types of cut is round brilliant. The symmetry of this type of cut results in more brilliant diamonds than most other shapes. Unfortunately, this cut may make a stone more expensive because a great deal of material is wasted while shaping it.

The industry offers other fancier cut types, which can give a unique style to your stone. The flip side is that shaping a stone too much can limit its power to disperse light. Thus, fancy styles are more common in bigger stones; the bigger a stone is, the more dispersive power it will have.

Clarity Versus Cut

There are different styles of cut. Notably, a stone's cut can affect its clarity. Since these factors determine the cost of a diamond, many consumers consider them before making a purchase.

If a diamond is unclear, the type of cut may affect its brilliance. This is because the way light is dispersed internally can make blemishes and imperfections more noticeable. For example, an emerald stone with low clarity is bound to make it dull.

To make the best choice, you must look at the relationship between these two factors. Here are some of the common types of cut and how the relationship affects each:

  • Round Brilliant: The Round Brilliant is one of the most common styles. Two-thirds of the diamonds sold have been of the brilliant round cut. It has more facets than other styles, which boosts its brightness. Its brilliance means that inclusions are much harder to spot, even under magnification. However, its popularity may have impacted its perceived value.
  • Emerald: Emerald diamonds are shaped such that they have edges that create the "hall of mirrors effect." One advantage of this style is that it can make the stone appear larger. However, this cut, unfortunately, does not provide the highest level of brilliance. You should choose a high clarity grade diamond, such as VS1, to avoid inclusions showing.
  • Asscher: The Asscher cut is a step cut style similar to the emerald cut. The positioning of the facets creates a dispersion of light internally. But it is not close to being as brilliant as the Round Brilliant. You will need to choose a stone with a clarity of SI1 since inclusions may be noticeable at lower clarity grades.
  • Cushion: It is called "cushion" since it is fashioned into a square or rectangle with rounded edges. It was developed in the late 19th century when the technology at the time could only allow round and cushion cuts. It remained outdated until the early years of the 21st century. They are currently amongst the top four most popular cuts for engagement rings. For this cut, we recommend considering SI1 clarity or higher.
  • Marquise: This style resembles the oval shape of a football, hence its more prominent appearance. It is considered one of the most fashionable styles of diamond engagement rings since it makes the fingers look longer. The main issues with this style are its symmetry and bow tie inconsistencies. For symmetry, the endpoints need to align; otherwise, the viewer will feel something is wrong. Bow tie inconsistencies are black spots or lines common with this type of stone.
  • Princess: The princess diamond is considered the most popular style for engagement rings. It can either be a square or rectangular shape and looks like a pyramid when viewed from above. The shape employed in this style results in minimum waste since it is similar in structure to one-half of a round diamond. Therefore, the princess style offers more value per carat than other types of cut. While the princess does not have the brilliance of a round brilliant, it has the most sparkle compared to different types of fancy styles.

Clarity vs. Cut Considerations

Before choosing a diamond, you must understand the constant relationship between the 4Cs. For example, a stone may have a high clarity grade but may have colors that make it look dull. Similarly, some cuts may be fancy, but their clarity may make them look cloudy on the inside or magnify imperfections. You, therefore, need to be clear on what you want based on your preferred style or budget. Consider the 4Cs carefully, and you will not be disappointed.