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The Ultimate Guide to Diamond Facets

23rd February 2021

by Ganesh Nadar

loose diamond

To the observer, the beauty of a diamond comes from its ability to sparkle. Surprisingly, the way a diamond sparkles relies on the precision of its cut. The intricate cuts that form a diamond shape are called facets, and they refract light throughout the stone to create the beautiful sparkle that we know and love. In our ultimate guide to diamond facets, we reveal the parts of a diamond, and what it is that makes diamonds sparkle.

What is a diamond facet?

diamond facets diagram

A diamond facet is a flat surface on the shape of a diamond. Every diamond possesses multiple facets that enable it to absorb and reflect light. An ideal or excellent cut diamond is well-proportioned with optimal facet angles. Facets are angled and arranged in the best way possible to ensure that the right amount of light enters and then reflects from the diamond. As you can see from our diamond facet diagram, there are different facets on the crown and pavilion of a diamond, which we will explain in more detail. 

The crown

The crown of a diamond is the top and angled section visible within a piece of jewellery. The facets on the crown and the pavilion are very different and have different purposes. The purpose of the crown is to allow as much light into the diamond as possible. It could be described as the windows and frames of a diamond. 

The windows: The windows are the facets (flat surfaces) on the crown. They enable as much light to enter the open space as possible and transform it into coloured light.

The frames: The frames are the lines that separate individual facets. They do not absorb light but instead neutralise and disperse the light to create beautiful sparkle and scintillation.

The pavilion

The purpose of the facets on the pavilion of a diamond is to redirect light. After the light has entered, it is refracted back through the crown as flashes of light. 

How many facets does a diamond have?

diamond shapes

How many facets a diamond has depends on the shape of the diamond and the quality of the cut. The most popular diamond shape, particularly for engagement rings, is the round brilliant cut diamond and it is famed for its fire, brilliance and scintillation. Brilliant cut diamonds have 58 facets (including the culet), and this is the gold standard for diamonds such as the round brilliant, marquise, oval, cushion, heart, pear and emerald shaped diamonds. However, the faceting of some shapes is very different to brilliant cut diamond facets.

Princess cut diamonds

Some princess cut diamonds can have as little as 50 facets, although most have around the ‘gold standard’ of 58 facets. As a result, princes cut diamonds can appear a little less fiery than round brilliant diamonds. Princess cut diamonds hide inclusions very well, making them an ideal choice if you are searching for diamond rings on a budget. 

Asscher cut diamonds

Asscher cut diamonds usually have between 50-58 facets (Royal Asscher has 74). They are cut in the same way as the emerald cut diamond and have elegant step-cut faceting. The facets are bigger and wider-set than other diamonds, however.

Radiant cut diamonds

Radiant cut diamonds typically have 70 facets. The radiant cut has a comparable fire to that of the round brilliant. 

Does a diamond with more facets sparkle more?

A diamond with more facets is considered a good thing, but does a diamond with more facets sparkle more? In short, no. It is the skill and precision to which the diamond is cut that determines its sparkle. The combination of perfect symmetry and proportions of the stone and its facets creates the best fire, scintillation and brilliance. That is why choosing the best diamond cut for your budget is a good idea if you are looking for optimum sparkle. 

In summary, every diamond is unique and serves as a beautiful symbol of love. To learn more about diamonds, head to our diamond guide.

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