The Anatomy of a Diamond

The Anatomy of a Diamond 


Whether it’s a Round Brilliant, Cushion, Marquise, Radiant, Princess, Oval, etc. all diamonds have a basic anatomy.   Over hundreds of years diamond cuts have evolved from simple geometries with just a few facets, to complex prisms with 50 to over 100 facets.    The goal of a diamond is to capture and reflect the maximum amount of light to the viewers eye.    This fire or sparkle is what gives the diamond its brilliance and beauty.    While we can change the carat, color and clarity to suit the budget, most gemologist agree that cut is the primary feature of a diamond that should not be compromised.    Below is a table and description of the basic diamond nomenclature. 


Table:    The facet that is located on the top of the diamond.    This is the largest diamond facet and provides a window into the diamond crystal. 


Crown:    The top portion of the diamond that extends from the table to the girdle.    The crown is comprised of the Upper Main Facet, Upper Girdle Facet and Star Facet.     


Girdle: The outer edge of the stone that spans the circumference.    The girdle can be faceted, polished or rough.    Girdles can have small cavities that appear as chips, but are known as indented naturals.    These cavities were left behind by the cutter in an effort to maximize the carat and cutting quality of the diamond. 


Pavilion:  The bottom portion of the diamond that spans from the Girdle to the culet.    The Pavillion is comprised of the Lower Girdle Facet and Lower Main Facet. 


Culet: The bottom most portion of the diamond.     The culet can vary in size, but is generally small on modern round brilliant cuts.    Older cut diamonds such as European or Mine Cuts sometimes have very large culets.    


Verena Pagel-Theisen, Diamond Grading ABC: Handbook for Diamond Grading, 1980, p.154