Single V/s Full Cut
Perhaps you know that cut is one of the most important determinants of diamond prices. You may have also heard the terms “single cut” and “full cut,” and if you are wondering what they mean, read on. Let’s see how single-cut and full-cut diamonds compare, and how the differences between them affect their prices.
How Jewelers Decide on a Cut
How a diamond will be cut depends on a variety of factors. Generally, the choice hinges upon the size of the stone, its color, clarity and the need to utilize as much of the raw diamond as possible. Depending on the stone’s size and clarity, for example, the visual appeal of the resulting diamond can be greatly enhanced or diminished by the cut chosen. Often, diamond cutters will try to strike a balance among a number of quality considerations in order to come up with diamond cuts that have the highest potential to sell well.
What Is a Full Cut?
A full-cut diamond is a stone that is shaped into a round brilliant cut and has 57 or 58 facets. The round cut is considered a classic diamond shape, as opposed to the so-called “fancy cuts”, which can take many different forms and have a varying number of facets.
It should be noted that a diamond can be cut into a round brilliant shape and have fewer facets than the standard 57 or 58. In this case, the stone will not be considered a full-cut diamond.
Diamonds that are cut as round brilliants but have fewer than the standard 57 or 58 of facets are referred to as “single cut” (also called “melee” diamonds). As a rule, single-cut diamonds will have only 17 or 18 facets (many have 16).
Usually, round brilliants are shaped into single cuts first, and the additional facets are added afterwards, making the stone into a full-cut diamond. However, some diamonds will not be cut further and will remain single-cut stones. This is most often the case with smaller diamonds, for which having fewer facets doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to appearance.
How Cut Affects Diamond Prices
One of the factors determining diamond prices is the amount of labor it takes to create a saleable stone. Not surprisingly, since cutting fewer facets into a diamond takes less work, single-cut diamonds are cheaper than full-cut ones.
As already mentioned, diamonds that are small (e.g., with carat weight around 1/10 of a full carat) are usually single cut. It really doesn’t make sense for such diamonds to be full cut as the additional facets would not be visible anyway. Not to mention that cutting 58 small facets on a tiny diamond is much harder to do than on a large stone and would make the small diamond unreasonably expensive.
Single-cut diamonds are most often used as side stones (also called “accent stones”) on bracelets, rings, pendants, earrings, etc. You shouldn’t worry if you find out that the small diamonds on a certain piece of single cut diamond jewelry are single-cut stones – this is normal practice and will not detract from the appearance of the jewelry. In fact, when shopping, you should prefer those tiny stones to be single cut if you want to save money. Having full-cut diamonds as side stones will not make any visible difference but will cost you additional dollars.
Next time you buy jewelry with accent stones, take a look at these small diamonds and check whether their color and clarity look ok; also, use a loupe to check for small chips or cracks. If the stones have good sparkle and are not too dark or flawed, you should be fine.