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The Evolution of the Round Diamond

How the Cut on a Round Diamond Has Evolved Over Time

When it comes to diamonds, the round brilliant cut has been the most favored choice for buyers around the world. This glittering diamond represents the unparalleled skill and craftsmanship of generations of talented cutters spanning over six centuries.

Style of diamonds progressed through various stages as the cut on a round diamond evolved into modern concept of 57 or 58 faceted round brilliants. The brilliant diamond cut achieved its outline of circular face-up by 1750 and in the process, passed through an array of variation in proportion and facet size including crown height, table size, culet size, total depth, and length of lower half-facets to develop into this distinct style.

The Evolution of Round Diamonds

The evolution of the classic ‘round brilliant cut diamond’ as known today, started with ‘octahedron’ - the elemental form of rough diamond. It was not until 13th century that diamonds - the hardest material in world, were cut or cleaved to improve its optical effect. The first cut in the history of diamond cutting was known as the ‘point cut’. The round diamond went through different cut patterns including ‘table cut’, ‘old single cut’, ‘Mazarin cut’, ‘Peruzzi cut’, and ‘old European cut’ to arrive at the ‘brilliant’ cut.

This evolution consequentially resulted in unique and discrete appearances in diamonds belonging to different periods. Over the years, the cut was modified to feature larger table facets, smaller culets, longer star facets, and longer lower half facets. An old-style round diamond creates a distinctive face-up pattern when compared to a contemporary round brilliant cut.

However, several ancient attractive diamonds pose a unique question for diamond-grading laboratories as their sizes vary considerably from current resolutions, making it hard to evaluate these diamonds against contemporary aesthetics. Despite this fact, antique diamonds have a large market among connoisseurs for their exceptional interplay with darkness and light. A modern round brilliant cut displays tighter montage of light and shadow while the older diamonds create a ‘blocky’ or ‘checkerboard’ pattern with larger face-up impression of light.

The Modern Brilliant Cut

The contemporary brilliant cut in a round diamond was first created by Tolkowsky in the year 1919. This cut was devised with the use of mathematics by working out exact optimum angles for refraction of light. The ‘brilliant’ cut got its name from the extraordinary brilliance and scintillation these modern diamond cut displayed. The modern day round brilliant cut flaunts a staggering 58 facets to create the finest and most remarkable fire.

When it comes to grading round diamonds with brilliant cut, GIA is considered the best benchmark. Apart from the 4Cs, GIA follows critical and globally accepted symmetry parameters that have been used to constrain and support visual grading of a diamond’s symmetry in GIA diamond report. The symmetry grade in a round diamond refers to the alignment of all facets. On the other hand, the polish grade of the diamond describes the smoothness of all its facets. Misplacement of polish or symmetry may end up creating a diamond that fails to live up to its expected scintillation and brilliance.

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