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Making the Grade

Most people call a diamond's shape "cut." Since January 2006, however, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) started using the term to refer to the quality of a round polished diamond's workmanship, known as Cut Grade.  Cut Grade considers the workmanship in transforming a diamond from rough to polished. It is the only characteristic of a diamond determined by human action.

The cut grade deconstructs a round diamond's beauty into many specific and precise components, mainly taking into consideration the proportions of a diamond. It is the symmetry and polish of a diamond, however, and the combination of the quality of the three determines a diamond's Cut Grade. Simply put, the better the diamond's proportions, the more light reflects out of it. In this regard, light is measured by three attributes:

  • Brilliance – the total light reflected from a diamond.

  • Fire – the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum.

  • Scintillation – the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved.

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