Diamonds Glossary

Baguette shape

A rectangular-shaped diamond with rows of step-like facets. If the baguette’s two long sides taper inward, it is called a Tapered baguette.

Bar setting

Similar to the channel setting, it is a circular band of diamonds that holds each stone in by a long thin bar, shared between two stones.

Barion cut

This has a traditional step-cut crown and a modified brilliant-cut pavilion. A square barion cut diamond has 61 facets, excluding the culet.

Bearding or girdle fringes

The outermost portion of the diamond, called the girdle, can develop small cracks that resemble whiskers during the polishing process. The bearding can sometimes be removed, if not too dramatic, with slight re-polishing, and if the weight allows.

Bezel setting

With a bezel setting, a rim holds the stone and completely surrounds the gem. Bezels can have straight edges, scalloped edges, or can be molded into any shape to accommodate the stone. Click here to learn about jewelry settings.

Blemishes

The term blemish is used when the diamond has scratches or marks on the external area of the stone.

Brilliance

Liveliness, or sparkle in a stone when light is reflected from the surface and from the total internal reflection of light.

Brilliant-cut

Brilliant cuts are scientifically found to reflect the most light from within the stone, and often are considered to have the most brilliance of all cuts. A round brilliant-cut diamond has 58 facets. Other brilliant cuts include the heart, oval, marquise and pear shaped.

Certification (or Diamond Grading Reports)

There are many recognized gemological laboratories that can grade your diamond for a fee.

Channel setting

A channel setting is where the stones are set right next to each other with no metal separating them. This setting is used most frequently for wedding and anniversary bands.

Cluster setting

This setting surrounds a larger center stone with several smaller stones. It is designed to create a beautiful larger ring from many smaller stones.

Crown

This is the upper portion or the top of a diamond.

Culet

The bottom point of the diamond. It may be polished in some stones. Please note that sometimes the cutter may choose to make the culet a surface instead of a point.

Cushion cut

A mixed-cut diamond shaped like a square pillow.

Cutting style

Cutting styles are different than diamond shapes. The simplest and most common way to explain cutting style is to categorize it into the following three basic types: Step-cut, Brilliant-cut and Mixed-cut.

Deep cut

Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. When a diamond is cut too deep, it will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value. Click here to learn more about diamond cuts.

Diamond

A diamond is the hardest known natural substance. It is crystallized carbon. Diamonds are mined in their rough form and then cut and polished to reveal their brilliance.

Diamond Grading Reports

There are many recognized gemological laboratories that can grade your diamond for a fee.

Dispersion

When light enters a diamond it reflects off the facets and the angles cut into the stone. This distribution of light is known as dispersion, or the display of the spectral colors.

Emerald shape

A rectangular or square-shaped cut-cornered diamond.

Facets

These are tiny surfaces polished onto a rough diamond that give a finished diamond its shape. The way light interacts with these facets affects a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle.

Fancy shapes

Any diamond shape other than round – e.g. marquise, square, emerald, oval, heart and pear.

Feather

A feather is a type of inclusion or flaw within a diamond. It is described often as a small crack, fissure or gletz.

Finish

The word finish is used to describe the exterior of the diamond. If a diamond is well polished, it has a very good finish.

Fire

Often a term used instead of “dispersion,” it is the variety and intensity of rainbow colors seen when light is reflected from a diamond.

Flat-top setting

Like the Gypsy setting, this setting has a band that is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. A flat-top setting grows broader at the top so that a faceted stone can be inserted into the ring at the broadest part. The stone is held in place by metal chips attached at the stone’s girdle.

Fluorescence

When exposed to ultraviolet light, a diamond may exhibit a more whitish, yellowish or bluish tint, which may imply that the diamond has a property called fluorescence. The untrained eye can rarely see the effects of fluorescence. Diamond grading reports often state whether a diamond has fluorescent properties. Fluorescence is not considered a grading factor, only a characteristic of that particular diamond.

Girdle

The girdle is the outermost edge of the diamond between the crown and the pavilion.

Growth or grain lines

These can be considered internal flaws, and can often be seen only by rotating the diamond very slowly. They can appear and disappear almost instantaneously. They appear as small lines or planes within the diamond.

Gypsy setting

The Gypsy setting is predominantly used for men’s jewelry. The band is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. The top is dome shaped and the stone is inserted in the middle.

Illusion setting

This setting is more intricate than others in that it surrounds the stone to make it appear larger. The metal that surrounds the stone usually has an interesting design.

Inclusions

Often referred to as “nature’s fingerprints,” these are internal imperfections within most diamonds. They are what makes a diamond so unique, as a fingerprint does for a person. These birthmarks are measured on a scale of perfection known as clarity. Some common names of inclusions include cloud, crystal, pinpoint, and feather. The position of inclusions can affect the clarity of a diamond and therefore the value.

Marquise shape

A boat-shaped diamond that is long and thin with gently curved sides that come to a point on either end. Marquise is part of the brilliant-cut family.

Mixed-cut

This cut has both step-cut and brilliant-cut facets. Mixed cuts combine the beauty of the emerald cut with the sparkle of the brilliant cut.

Pavilion

Bottom portion of the stone, under the girdle, measuring to the culet.

Pinpoint

A pinpoint is a small dot, which is an inclusion within a diamond. A gathering of pinpoints is called a “cluster” or “cloud.” A cloud or cluster can appear as a hazy area in the diamond.

Polish

Indicates the care taken by the cutter in shaping and facetting the rough stone into a finished and polished diamond.

Poor cut

Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. A poorly cut diamond can be either cut too deep or too shallow. A deep or shallow cut diamond will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value.

Princess cut

A square or sometimes rectangular-shaped modified brilliant-cut diamond.

Prong or claw setting

It consists of four or six claws that cradle the diamond. Because this setting allows the maximum amount of light to enter a stone from all angles, it sometimes can make a diamond appear larger and more brilliant than its actual weight. This setting can also hold larger diamonds more securely.

Proportion

The proportions of a diamond are very important, so that the maximum amount of light be reflected off and out of a stone. Proportion is the relationship between the angles of the facets of the crown and pavillion.

Radiant cut

A rectangular or square shaped diamond with step-cut and scissor-cut on the crown and a brilliant-cut on the pavilion.

Scintillation

When light reflects from a diamond, the sparkling flashes that come from the facets of the gem are known as scintillation.

Shallow cut

Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. When a diamond is cut too shallow, it will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value. Click here to learn more about diamond cuts.

Shape

Shape refers to form or appearance of a diamond – i.e. whether the diamond is round, triangular, square, marquise, pear, oval or heart-shaped.

Step-cut

The step cut has rows of facets that resemble the steps of a staircase. The emerald cut and the baguette are examples of the step cut.

Symmetry

A diamond’s symmetry is the arrangement of the facets and finished angles, created by the diamond cutter. Excellent symmetry of a well-cut and well-proportioned diamond can have a great effect on the diamond’s brilliance and fire. Grading reports will often state the diamond’s symmetry in terms Excellent, Very good, Good, Fair, or Poor.

Table facet

This is the largest facet of a diamond. It is located on the top of the diamond. The table facet is sometimes referred to as the “face.”

Table spread

Term used to describe the width of the table facet, often expressed as a percentage of the total width of the stone.

Tension setting

A tension-set diamond is held in place by the pressure of the band’s metal, which is designed to “squeeze” the stone.

Well cut

Well cut proportions ensure the maximum compromise between fire and brilliance. When light enters a properly cut diamond, it is reflected from facet to facet, and then back up through the top, exhibiting maximum brilliance, fire and sparkle.

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