Last updated on August 26, 2021
Every diamond is unique. However, all diamonds share certain structural features. Diamond anatomy determines its proportions, brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. Having a basic understanding of how each part contributes to the diamond will help you find your perfect stone.
Diamond Table Size
The table is the top horizontal facet of the diamond, which is also the largest facet, regardless of the diamond’s shape. The average table size is expressed as a percentage of the diamond’s average girdle diameter.
Table Size % = Table Average Diameter / Girdle Average Diameter x 100
If the width of the table is too large or too small compared to the diamond’s average girdle diameter, the top of the diamond will appear too flat or rounded, respectively. Either way, any disproportion affects a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle, diminishing the stone’s beauty.
Here is the list of the ideal table percentage ranges for the most popular diamond shapes: round – 53 – 58%, oval – 53 – 63%, pear – 53 – 63%, marquise – 53 – 63%, princess – 67 – 72%, cushion – 61 – 67%, emerald – 61 – 69%, Asscher – 61 – 69%, radiant – 61 – 69%, heart – 53 – 63%, trillion – 50 – 70%.
Diamond Total Depth
The diamond’s total depth or height is measured from the surface of the table to the culet, in other words, from top to bottom. This measurement is expressed as a percentage of the average girdle diameter.
Total Depth % = Total Depth (mm) / Average Girdle Diameter x 100
Total depth percentage is one of the main factors when determining a diamond’s cut grade. When a diamond has the right combination of total depth and girdle diameter, it is more capable of reflecting light, which results in a stronger and more beautiful sparkle.
Here is the list of the ideal total depth percentage ranges for the most popular diamond shapes: round – 59 – 62.3%, oval – 58 – 62%, pear – 58 – 62%, marquise – 58 – 62%, princess – 64 – 75%, cushion – 61 – 67%, emerald – 61 – 67%, Asscher – 61 – 67%, radiant – 61 – 67%, heart – 58 – 62%, trillion – 32 – 48%.
Diamond Pavilion Depth
The pavilion is the lower portion of a diamond from the bottom edge of the girdle to the culet. It is expressed as a percentage of the average girdle diameter.
Pavilion Depth % = Pavilion Depth (mm) / Average Girdle Diameter x 100
A diamond with a too deep pavilion does not reflect the entering light properly as the light leaks away from the first pavilion facet. On the contrary, the light entering a diamond with a too shallow pavilion reflects off of the opposite crown facet instead of bouncing across a second pavilion facet.
An ideal diamond should have a pavilion depth percentage when the entering light does not leak away from the opposite pavilion facet but returns to the observer through the table.
Diamond Pavilion Angle
Diamond pavilion angle is the dimension that highly affects a stone’s brilliance. It is the average of the angles formed by the diamond’s pavilion main facets and its girdle plain. If the pavilion angle is too large, the diamond will not emit remarkable sparkle, while if it is too shallow, the gem will appear glassy.
According to Marcel Tolkowsky, the optimal pavilion angle degree is 40.75. However, unless you are looking for a super-ideal diamond cut with a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees, opting for stone within a range of 40.6 – 41 degrees is safe, providing other parameters meet their recommended ranges.
Diamond Crown Height
The crown is the upper portion of a diamond, from the table to the top edge of the girdle. Crown height is expressed as a percentage of the average girdle diameter.
Crown Height % = Crown Height (mm) / Average Girdle Diameter x 100
This dimension affects both dispersion (fire) and brightness of a diamond as crown and table facets act as windows driving light return.
Diamond Crown Angle
The diamond crown angle is the angle formed where the bezel facets meet the girdle plane. This parameter has a significant effect on the face-up appearance of a round brilliant cut diamond. Surprisingly the crown angle can compensate for the leaking light by the first pavilion facet. If the pavilion angle is steep, the crown angle has to be shallow to maximise the light return and vice versa.
According to Marcel Tolkowsky, a 40.75-degree pavilion angle gets perfectly paired with a 34.5-degree crown angle. The recommended crown angle ranges from 34 to 35 degrees.
Diamond Girdle Thickness
The girdle is the diamond’s middle portion, a narrow section separating the crown from the pavilion. It functions as a diamond’s setting edge. Girdle thickness is described as a range from its thinnest to the thickest parts.
Girdle Thickness % = Girdle Thickness (mm) / Girdle Average Diameter x 100
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades the girdle using an eight-grade scale: Extremely Thin, Very Thin, Thin, Medium, Slightly Thick, Thick, Very Thick and Extremely Thick.
A thick girdle is not desirable as it unnecessarily adds weight to the stone where it matters the least. For example, a diamond of 2 carats with a thick girdle will appear smaller than a diamond of the same weight featuring a thin girdle. From the other side, an extremely thin girdle is more fragile and exposed to chipping. Therefore, a girdle in the range of Thin to Slightly Thick is preferable.
Diamond Culet Size
The culet is a tiny facet at the bottom of a diamond placed parallel to the table. It prevents chipping and abrasion to the point and plays a significant role in a diamond’s light performance and appearance. Culet size is expressed as the average width of the facet.
Culet Size % = Culet Size (mm) / Average Girdle Diameter x 100
The Gemological Institute of America describes the culet according to its size using the following grades: None, Very Small, Small, Medium, Slightly Large, Large, Very Large and Extremely Large. When there is no culet, it may be indicated as a pointed culet.
Large culets are visible through the table as dark circles and allow light to escape through the bottom of a diamond. This negatively affects a stone’s sparkle and brilliance. That is why the culet should not be visible to the naked eye. None, Very Small or Small culets fall in the excellent range.