Diamonds are expensive status symbols, and you would not think that your first thoughts should be towards minimizing the appearance of flaws in the stone! But diamonds are products of nature and as such often boast small flaws, cracks, and inclusions that help to prove their very naturalness.
What Are Inclusions?
Inclusions can be anything from signs of damage to contamination from other elements – such as internal fractures and cracks, slight warping caused during the growth phase, evidence of contaminants within the diamond’s fabric and more. This is the diamond’s clarity as rated by GIA – read more about Pricescope diamond clarity here.
How Does the Cut Help?
When a cutter examines a rough diamond, he or she notes the internal issues in the stone, as far as possible, and – rather like a pattern maker finding the best way to cut a piece of fabric to waste as little as possible while ending up with a garment that hangs nicely with the seams all aligned properly – looks to see the finished stone, as large and as pure as possible, while it is still in the rough form. Cutting can be tremendously wasteful, losing over half of the rough stone, sometimes, but cutters will always try to salvage the largest high-quality diamond that they can. With care, and by choosing the right shape for the diamond, the cut can introduce extra facets for plenty of sparkle, trim out inclusions that are close to the outer edges, and generally allow the rough diamond’s natural shape to inform its final cut. Having accepted that flaws are part and parcel of diamond ownership, your next steps should be towards minimizing and disguising those flaws. The best way to do that is by choosing a well cut diamond and the correct diamond shape.
Which are the Best Diamond Shapes for Included Diamonds?
- Brilliant Round – the ‘usual’ diamond shape, the round brilliant cut is in fact a fairly modern invention, calculated mathematically to enhance the light flow in and around the diamond for maximum sparkle – and this, often, is enough to disguise any small internal flaws.
- Brilliant Oval – oval cut diamonds are not fully asymmetrical and when an oval cut is given a brilliant finish (by the introduction of lots of tiny facets) the two factors together can result in a wonderfully kindly result for a slightly flawed stone, which will then appear perfectly eye clean to the discerning customer.
- Brilliant Princess Cut – a princess cut stone is in the shape of an inverted four-sided pyramid, but the simple external shape gives lie to the brilliant sparkle which consists of as many facets as can be found in the round brilliant cut. Princess cuts are conservative during the cutting process, so princess cut stones are often cheaper than their round and equally sparkly cousins!
- Marquise – shaped for the lips of Madame de Pompadour, the lover of Louis XV, who demanded the cut be invented in her honor, marquise cut stones are ovals with pointed ends. As they are a fairly asymmetrical stone, the sparkle is not fully uniform even in a perfect stone, meaning that an included stone can often get away with being shaped into this distinctive, narrow, but beautifully romantic cut. The tapered ends also allow the cutter to preserve more diamond, while removing inclusions that might intrude into rounder cuts.
- Pear – the pear cut is similar to both the oval cut stone and the marquise cut stone, being something of a hybrid of the two. With one rounded oval end, and one pointed marquise end, the shape is nicely calculated to allow for the removal of intrusive inclusions, while retaining a lovely look that makes fingers look longer and slimmer as a ring and enhances decolletage when worn as a necklace pendant.
- Cushion Cut – this lovely billowy cut throws light off readily, disguising flaws and making the stone seem bigger, generously proportioned and somehow richer than its more restrained cousins.
- Heart Cut – a relative newcomer to the diamond cutting market, a heart shape is necessarily slightly asymmetrical (although both halves must be very neatly measured to avoid distortion) and rounded with plenty of facets for flaws to hide themselves in. A symbol of love, a heart-cut diamond is growing in popularity as people become less inhibited about showing their love for one another.
In general, if you have chosen a lower clarity stone, you should avoid stones with spare plane-oriented cuts like the emerald or Asscher cut stones which have swapped multiple tiny facets for long sweeping lines which look elegant and sophisticated – but which show up every inclusion in a SI1 and SI2 stone!