A Guide to: Round Diamonds
Known for their classic beauty and brilliance, round diamonds are the most popular diamond shape, making up nearly 75% of all diamond sales worldwide. This cut offers fire and sparkle like no other diamond shape. Round diamonds are fashioned under strict specifications to meet modern demand. Often described as classic or elegant, round diamonds are timeless and can be the perfect stone choice for many women.
Cut: The distinguishing feature of a round-cut diamond is the 57 to 58 facets that make up the classic shape. The facets can be seen as “sides” of the diamond, or the flat planes that make up the shape. The 58th plane can sometimes include the culet, or base, of the diamond. A uniformly cut diamond will have all the facets meet at the bottom in a perfect point and have no culet. When a culet is present, the diamond will have 58 facets.
The diamond industry recognizes two types of round diamonds: Brilliant cut and Old European cut.
Brilliant cut round diamonds use faceting to reflect light exceptionally well. With this shape, angles and proportions work together to reflect the maximum amount of light from the top of the diamond. The relationship between the crown and pavilion angles has the greatest effect on the look of the diamond. The GIA evaluates and grades round brilliant cut diamonds as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.
The Old European cut round diamond was popular in the 19th century and was created before modern diamond technology existed. These diamonds usually have deeper proportions compared to the modern brilliant cut. But unlike brilliant cuts, Old European diamonds were cut for color, not brilliance. This is a great cut for those who prefer a vintage look in a round stone.
The main difference between the brilliant cut and the Old European cut are the top-facing facets. The Old European cut has triangular facets while the brilliant cut has thinner, kite-shaped facets – both facet types reflect light differently.
Clarity: Diamond clarity refers to the appearance of the stone and the presence of any inclusions or imperfections. Many inclusions are only visible to a professional with specialized equipment or if viewed under 10x magnification. The GIA clarity scale uses 11 grades for all diamond shapes, and considers the size, nature, position, color, and quantity of characteristics visible under 10x magnification.
Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
Color: The industry standard for grading diamond color ranges from a D grade (colorless) and increases in color to a Z grade (light yellow). Diamonds are color graded by comparing each stone to one in a master set. To an untrained eye, small differences in color between diamonds can be imperceptible. Unless compared side by side to a diamond with color, it is very difficult to see a distinct difference. A diamond will always look different in a setting, so take care to choose a mounting in a color that will complement the stone, or vice versa.
Round diamonds have been the most popular shape for centuries, and the trend doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon! It is a classic style that exudes elegance and looks perfect on anyone. You’ll see this cut of stone in engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, and other fine jewelry for generations to come.