The terms single cut and full cut are relatively unknown among the buyers, so deciding between them is not usually a major decision. However, knowing the difference gives you a greater appreciation of the round cut diamond and allows saving some money. Let’s see how single cut diamonds vs full cut diamonds compare.
What Are Single Cut Diamonds?
Single cut, also known as single cut melee, refers to the type of faceting of round diamonds typically used in pavé jewellery. Such diamonds usually weigh less than 0.10 carats or 10 pointers and have 17 facets in total. Classic single cut diamonds feature an 8/8 facet arrangement, 8 facets on the crown (top) and 8 facets on the pavilion (bottom), plus a larger table facet for a total of 17 facets. That is the reason they are also referred to as eight-cut diamonds, and huit huit cut diamonds from the French “huit”, meaning eight.
Historically, single cut diamonds were used in jewellery from the 19th up to the first half of the 20th century, when it became possible to cut smaller diamonds with a larger number of facets due to newer cutting tools and technological advancements.
In the 1970s, a new transitional cut of the diamond melee was created in Antwerp, Belgium. This cut doubled the number of facets of the classic single cut and featured a 16/16 facet arrangement. However, 16/16 melee had a much shorter period of popularity, and by the mid, to the late 1980s, almost all melee production moved to a new standard, full-cut diamonds.
What Are Full Cut Diamonds?
Full cut diamonds, also known as round brilliant cut melee, are round stones having 57 or 58 facets. They are a replica of larger round brilliant cut diamonds. The fact is, round brilliant cut diamonds are shaped into single cuts first, and then additional facets are introduced, making the stone into a full cut diamond.
It is worth mentioning that diamond melee can be cut into a round shape and have fewer facets than standard 57 or 58. However, in such a case, the stone will not be considered a true full cut diamond.
Single Cut Diamonds vs Full Cut Diamonds
In the diamond melee, the visual difference between single cut and full cut is subtle. However, the light refraction in full cut diamonds is much greater due to the larger number of facets, 57 or 58, compared to 17. This means single cut diamonds are less brilliant and fiery.
As for the prices, lower quality single cut diamond melee is more affordable than full cut stones because fewer facets take less manufacturing time, labour and resources to produce. This type of melee is usually sourced from recycled vintage jewellery and inexpensive single cut stone manufacturers.
The picture changes when it comes to high-quality D-E-F colour and IF-VVS clarity single cut diamonds as precision cut single cut stones are a rarity in the modern-day, and they are highly prized in the high-end watchmaking industry. The scarcity of these stones combined with the strong demand makes high-quality single cut diamonds more valuable compared to the full cut variety.