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Diamond Cut Quality

When jewellers judge the quality of a diamond cut, or "make", they often rate "Cut" as the most important of the "4 Cs." The way a diamond is cut is primarily dependent upon the original shape of the rough stone, location of the inclusions and flaws to be eliminated, the preservation of the weight, and the popularity of certain shapes. Don't confuse a diamond's "cut" with its "shape". Shape refers only to the outward appearance of the diamond, and not how it is faceted.

The Importance of Cut Quality

When a diamond has a high quality cut (ideal cut), incident light will enter the stone through the table and crown, traveling toward the pavilion where it reflects from one side to the other before bouncing back out of the diamond's table toward the observer's eye (see img below). This phenomenon is referred to as "light return" which affects a diamond's brightness, brilliance, and dispersion. Any light-leakage caused by poor symmetry and/or cut proportions (off-make) will adversely affect the quality of light return.

zaff jewellery diamond cuts

Keep in mind that the variance in proportions between an "Ideal Cut" (ideal make) and a "Fair, Poor, Shallow or Deep Cut" may be difficult to discern to the novice observer, although there will be a lack of brilliance, scintillation, and fire. Cut quality is divided into several grades listed below.

Ideal Cut Premium Cut Very Good / Fine Cut Good Cut Fair Cut

The proportion and symmetry of the cuts as well as the quality of the polish are factors in determining the overall quality of the cut. A poorly cut diamond with facets cut just a few degrees from the optimal ratio will result in a stone that lacks gemmy quality because the "brilliance" and "fire" of a diamond largely depends on the angle of the facets in relation to each other. An Ideal Cut or Premium Cut "Round Brilliant" diamond has the following basic proportions according to the AGS:

Table Size: 53% to 60% of the diameterDepth: 58% to 63% of diameterCrown Angle: 34 to 35 degrees
Girdle Thickness: medium to slightly thickFacets: 58 (57 if the culet is excluded)

Polish & Symmetry: very good to excellent 

The girdle on a Modern Round Brilliant can have 32, 64, 80, or 96

facets which are not counted in the total number of facets (58).

The crown will have 33 facets, and the pavilion will have 25 facets.

Other variations of the "Modern Round Brilliant" include the "Ideal Brilliant" which was invented

by Johnson and Roesch in 1929, the "Parker Brilliant" invented in 1951, and the "Eulitz Brilliant" invented in 1972.

diamond and gemstone shapes

Popular fancy cuts include the "Baguette" (bread loaf), "Marquise" or "Navette" (little boat), "Princess" (square outline), "Heart," "Briolette" (a form of Rose cut), and the Pear. The "fancy cuts" are generally not held to the same strict standards as Round Brilliants.

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