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Diamond Glossary

Before you begin shopping for a diamond, it’s a good idea to know some basic terminology. Our diamond glossary will give you the ability to look up any unfamiliar terms. You can also learn more about DNA2Diamonds created diamonds by reading the articles in our  Diamond Guide, watching our  Diamond Videos and reading the latest  Diamond News.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A
Alloy
Alloy is a mixture of two or more metals.
Alluvial Stone
A stone that has been transported by water and deposited in seas, lakes or stream beds. Many gems, including diamonds, are found in alluvial deposits.
American Cut
Those proportions and facet angles calculated mathematically by Marcel Tolkowsky to produce maximum brilliancy consistent with a high degree of fire in a round diamond brilliant are considered by many diamond men to constitute the ideal cut. These figures, computed as a percentage of the girdle diameter, are as follows: total depth, 59.3% (without provision for girdle thickness); crown depth, 16.2%; pavilion depth, 43.1%. The bezel angle is 34° 30’ and the pavilion angle is 40° 45’. Girdle thickness as a percentage of the girdle’s diameter varies with size. The larger the stone, the smaller the percentage for a medium girdle. The variation is from about 1% to 3%.
Appraisal
A written estimate of the approximate retail replacement value of the item described. They can be used for insurance purposes and should be updated every few years.
Artisanal Mining Small-scale non-mechanized mining that is done by individuals or small groups of miners typically working with simple hand tools
Asscher Cut
Asscher Cut is the square shape step cut diamond with cut-corners also known as square emerald cut.
Baguette
A French word meaning “rod.” A style of “step cutting” for small, rectangular or trapeze-shaped gemstones, principally diamonds.
Bail
Bail is the attachment at the top of a pendant, enabling the pendant to hang from a chain.
Bar Setting
Similar to the channel setting, it is a circular band of diamonds that holds each stone in by a long thin bar, shared between two stones.
Barion Cut
This has a traditional step-cut crown and a modified brilliant-cut pavilion. A square barion cut diamond has 61 facets, excluding the culet.
Bearded Girdle
If a diamond is rounded up too quickly in the fashioning process, the surface of the girdle will lack the smoothness and waxy luster of a finely turned girdle. Consequently, numerous minute, hairline fractures extend a short distance into the stone. A girdle with this appearance is referred to as being “bearded” or “fuzzy.”
Bearding or girdle fringes
The outermost portion of the diamond, called the girdle, can develop small cracks that resemble whiskers during the polishing process. The bearding can sometimes be removed, if not too dramatic, with slight re-polishing, and if the weight allows.
Bezel
That proportion of a brilliant-cut gemstone above the girdle; same as crown. (b) More specifically, the sloping surface between the girdle and the table. (c) Still more specifically, only a small part of that sloping surface just above the girdle; the so-called “setting edge.”
Bezel Facets
The eight large, four-sided facets on the crown of a round, brilliant-cut gem, the upper points of which join the table and the lower points, the girdle. Some diamond cutters further distinguish four of these as “quoin” or “top-corner” facets.
Bezel setting
With a bezel setting, a rim holds the stone and completely surrounds the gem. Bezels can have straight edges, scalloped edges, or can be molded into any shape to accommodate the stone.
Black Diamond
When a diamond is dark gray, a very dark green or truly black, it is referred to in the trade as a “black diamond.” Such a stone may be opaque to nearly semitransparent.
Blemish
Any surface imperfection on a fashioned diamond; e.g., a nick, knot, scratch, abrasion, minor crack or cavity, or poor polish. Also, a natural or an extra facet, visible on or through the crown, usually is considered a blemish.
Blue Diamond
A diamond with a distinctly blue body color, even thought very light in tone, is a fancy diamond. Diamond that are blue in both daylight and incandescent light are rare, although fluorescence stones that show a blue color in daylight are comparatively common. A blue color may also be induced artificially.
Blue White
A term that has been used for many years to refer to a diamond without body color. However, it is applied frequently, but incorrectly, to stones that have a distinct yellow tint. Federal Trade Commission rulings state that is it an unfair trade practice to apply the term to any stone having a body color other than blue or bluish. An American Gem Society ruling prohibits the use of the term by its members. Flagrant misuse has made the term meaningless.
Blueground
A miner’s nickname for “kimberlite,” the rock that contains diamonds in the South African pipe mines.
Body Color The color of a diamond as observed when examined under a diffused light against a hueless background free from surrounding reflections. The diffused light eliminates glaring reflections and dispersion, which would otherwise confuse the color determination.
Bombarded Diamond
A diamond that has been subjected to bombardment by fast electrons, neutrons, deuterons, etc. The purpose of bombardment is to make the color of the stone more attractive and desirable.
Boule A synthetic single-crystal mass grown in a furnace.
Bow Tie Bow Tie is the dark shadow in poorly cut elongated diamonds that looks like a man’s bow tie when particularly noticeable.
Break Facets
The 32 triangular facets that adjoin the girdle of a round brilliant-cut stone, 16 above and 16 below. Also called upper- and lower-girdle facets, upper- and lower-break facets, top- and bottom-half facets, skew facets or cross facets. Facets are sometimes placed directly on the girdle, in which case the stone is usually said to have a “faceted girdle,” to have a polished girdle or to be “girdle faceted.”
Brilliance
The intensity of the internal and external reflections of white light to the eye from a diamond or other gem in the face-up position. It is not to be confused with scintillation or dispersion.
Brilliant Cut
The most common style of cutting for both diamonds and colored stones. The standard round brilliant consists of a total of 58 facets: 1 table, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets and 16 upper-girdle facets on the crown; and 8 pavilion facets, 16 lower-girdle facets, and usually a culet on the pavilion, or base. Although the brilliant style was devised to give maximum brilliancy and fire, many stones cut in this fashion do not have ideal proportions or angles for that purpose. Modifications of the round brilliant include such fancy shapes as the marquise, half moon, pear shape and many others.
Brillianteering
The placing and polishing of the 40 remaining facets on a brilliant-cut diamond after the main bezel and pavilion facets have been placed and polished.
Brown Diamond
Although not as frequently encountered as a yellow body color, brown tints in diamonds are next to yellow in occurrence.
Bubble
Any transparent inclusion in a diamond; e.g., a tiny diamond crystal or a grain of a different mineral.
Canary Diamond
An intensely colored “yellow” diamond. The yellow may be very slightly greenish or slightly orangey, but it must be deep enough to be a distinct asset. Such a diamond is called a fancy.
Cape
A broad range of diamond color grades that show a distinct yellow tint face up (except for small stones in the top part of the range). The term originally referred to the Cape of Good Hope, the popular name for the area that later became the Union of South Africa. Since the average color produced by the South African mines was distinctly more yellow than the Brazilian average, the term “cape” became accepted for strongly yellow-tinted stones. The best grade in the group is variously called “top silver cape,” “top cape,” “light cape,” “fine cape” or silver cape,” depending on the system used by the grader. (b) Perhaps mostly commonly, “cape” is used as the color grade below “top cape” in the “river-to-light-yellow” system.
Carat
The standard unit of measurement of the weight of a diamond. One carat equals 1/5 of a gram or 1/142 of an ounce. 1 carat=100 points. A unit of weight for diamonds and other gems. The carat formerly varied somewhat in different countries, but the metric carat of .200 grams, or 200 milligrams, was adopted in the United States in 1913 and is now standardized in the principal countries of the world. There are 100 points in a carat. It is sometimes incorrectly spelled “karat,” but in the USA karat refers only to the fineness of pure gold and gold alloys.
Carbon
An inclusion in a diamond that appears black to the unaided eye.
Carbon Pinpoints
The same as carbon spots but extremely small and somewhat more likely to be opaque.
Carbon Spots
Any black-appearing inclusion or imperfection in a diamond. Actually, black inclusions are rare, although some may occasionally be graphite or small particles of another mineral. Although many diamond contain inclusions that “appear” black under ordinary lighting, dark-filled illumination, plus magnification, shows most to be caused by reflection from cleavages or included transparent diamond crystals or other transparent minerals.
Cavity
A type of inclusion consisting of a large or deep opening in the diamond. It may be cause by cleavage, by a blow, or may have been “pulled out” from the surface during the polishing operation.
Certification
Certification is a grading report that is given to a diamond (and sometimes a precious gemstone) by a reputable and recognized gemological laboratory that defines the physical characteristics and quality rating of a gem.
Certified Gemologist
A title awarded by the American Gem Society to qualified jeweler-members. To qualify, a person must study colored stones and their identification and diamond grading and appraising. Also, he/she must prove his/her proficiency with several written examinations, a diamond-grading examination, and pass a 20-stone gem-testing examination without error. This is the AGS’s most advanced title.
Champagne Diamond
A greenish-yellow to yellow-green diamond of a sufficiently pronounced hue to be an asset. Such a stone is called a fancy.
Channel Set
Channel Set is a style of setting used for diamond and gemstone jewelry, channel set gems rest in a metal channel, where each gem sits perfectly adjacent to the next in a line. Channel set gems are typically round, princess cut or baguette shaped.
Channel Setting
Used most frequently for wedding and anniversary rings, a channel setting will set the stones right next to each other with no metal separating them.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
A process to deposit a layer of a material from a gaseous phase onto a surface.
Chip
A curved break on a diamond that extends from a surface edge. (b) A small rose-cut diamond or single-cut melee. (c) A cleavage piece of diamond that weighs less than one carat. (d) A small, irregularly shaped diamond.
Clarity
A diamond often has natural imperfections, commonly referred to as “nature’s fingerprints.” These inclusions contribute to a diamond’s identifying characteristics. Inclusions are found within the diamond. Inclusions can be white, black, colorless, or even red or green. Most inclusions are undetectable by the human eye, and can only be seen with 10X magnification. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection called clarity. The grades of clarity vary from F (Flawless) and (Internally Flawless) through to I (Included). Clarity scale I can be seen by the human eye without magnification. The position of these birthmarks can affect the value of the diamond.
Clarity Enhancement
Clarity Enhancement is any process used to improve the apparent clarity of a diamond. This may include filling fractures and cavities with glass or resin.
Clarity Grade
The relative position of a diamond on a flawless-to-included scale.
Clean
A term used by some jewellers to mean absence of internal inclusions only, and by others to describe diamonds with slight inclusions. It is prohibited by the American Gem Society for use by its members. It is also prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission, unless the stone meets the Commission’s definition of the term perfect.
Cleavage
The tendency of a crystalline mineral to break in certain definite directions, leaving a more or less smooth surface. (b) The act or process of producing such a break. (c) One of the portions of such a mineral resulting from such a break. (d) A term sometimes used for a diamond crystal that requires cleavage before being fashioned. (e) A misshapen diamond crystal, particularly one that is flat and rather elongated. The term is used by diamond cutters to refer to such a crystal, whether or not its form results from cleaving. (f) A grading term used at the mines for broken diamond crystals above one carat, of reasonable thickness, and not twinned. (g) A break within a diamond.
Cleavage Crack
A break parallel to a cleavage plane. It is characterized by a two-dimensional nature; intersections with facets are usually straight lines. It is generally the most damaging kind of imperfection in a diamond, since it affects durability as well as beauty.
Closed Culet
A culet on a diamond that is too small to be resolved with the unaided eye and that can be seen only with difficulty under 10x. The term is rarely used to refer to a pavilion point or ridge with no “culet.”
Closed Table
A term used by some diamond men to designate a small table diameter. However, its interpretation and use varies. It may refer to a diameter less than the American cut 53% (of the girdle diameter) or, more frequently, to a table smaller than about 60%, because so many of the stones cut today have tables well over that figure.
Cloudy Texture or Cloud Texture
A group of tiny white inclusions, composed of minute hollow spaces, or very small patches of tiny crystals or other impurities that produce a cottony or clouded appearance in a n otherwise highly transparent diamond. A cloud may be so minute that it is difficult to see under 10X, or it may be large enough to deprive the entire stone of brilliancy.
Cluster Setting
This setting surrounds a larger center stone with several smaller stones. It is designed to create a beautiful larger ring from many smaller stones.
Coating
A coating is an external treatment to change the body color of the diamond. Coatings usually do not last very long as they ware off.
Color
Diamonds are graded on a color scale that ranges from D (colorless) to Z. Fancy colors refer to diamonds with hues like pink, blue, green, yellow and very rarely red. Fancy colors are not included in this color scale and are considered extremely rare.
Color Grading
Color Grading is a system of grading diamond colors based on their colorlessness (for white diamonds) or their spectral hue, depth of color and purity of color (for fancy color diamonds). For white diamonds, the standard grading system runs from D (totally colorless) to Z (light yellow).
Colored or “Fancy”
Colored or “Fancy” diamonds are those that are not white. Fancy diamonds can be found in a full spectrum of hues, which include: blue, brown, black, violet, pink, green, yellow and red.
Commercially Clean
The common meaning of this term is “reasonably free from inclusions.” IF a diamond were without flaws or blemishes, logically, it would be called flawless or perfect. Sometimes, highly flawed stones are represented as “commercially clean.” The obvious misleading nature of the term has led the American Gem Society to prohibit its use by Society members. It is also prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission, unless the stone meets the Commission’s definition of the term perfect.
Critical Angle
The largest angle measured from the normal at which light can escape from and optically dense substance, and the smallest angle to the normal at which light is totally reflected within the dense substance.
Crown
Crown is the upper part of the diamond above the girdle. It consists of the table and the crown facets below it.
Crown Angle
Crown Angle is the angle measured between the girdle plane and the bezel facets. Along with the table size, the crown angle helps determine the amount of dispersion displayed by the diamond.
Crown Height
Crown Height is the millimeter distance the table is above the girdle.
Crown Height Percentage
Crown Height Percentage is the crown height expressed as a percentage of the average girdle diameter.
Crucible
A vessel made of material that does not melt easily; used for high temperature applications.
Crystal
Crystal is a type of inclusion where a mineral deposit is trapped inside the diamond.
Cube
One of the seven basic forms in the highest symmetry (hexoctahedral) class of the cubic, or isometric, crystal system. It has six square faces that make 90° angles with one another, each of which intersects one crystallographic axis and is parallel to the other two. Gem-quality cube-shaped diamond crystals are so rare as to be regarded as collector’s items.
Cubic System
A crystallographic system, the crystals of which may be described by reference to their axes of equal length, each situated perpendicularly to the plane of the other two. Diamond belongs to this system.
Cubic Zirconia
Cubic Zirconia is a man made gem which mimics diamond, yet does not have the same intrinsic properties such as hardness. Through a process developed in 1977, “CZ’s” as they are often called, are mass produced and much less expensive than diamonds.
Culet
The smallest (58th) facet at the bottom of a full-cut diamond. Some diamonds do not have a culet (none or pointed is how the culet of that diamond will be described).
Cushion Cut The older form of the brilliant cut, having a girdle outline approaching a square with rounded corners. Essentially an old-mine cut.
Cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a polished diamond. Based on scientific formulas, a well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. This results in a display of brilliance and fire. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance and ultimately value.
Cutting style
Cutting styles are different than diamond shapes. The simplest and most common way to explain cutting style is to categorize it into the following three basic types: Step-cut, Brilliant-cut and Mixed-cut.
Deep cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. When a diamond is cut too deep, it will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value.
Depth
Depth is the height of a gemstone measured from the culet to the table.
Depth Percentage
The depth of a stone measured from the table to the culet, expressed as a percentage of the stone’s diameter at the girdle, is a relationship used in the analysis of the proportions of a fashioned diamond.
Diamantiferous
Diamond-bearing ground.
Diameter
The width of the diamond, measured around the girdle.
Diamond
A mineral composed essentially of carbon that crystallizes in the “cubic,” or “isometric,” crystal system and is therefore singly refractive. IT is by far the hardest of all known natural substances (10 on Mohs’ scale); only manmade Borazon and synthetic diamond are as hard. In its transparent form, it is the most cherished and among the most highly valued gemstones. It occurs in colors ranging from colorless to yellow, brown, orange, green, blue, and violet. Reddish stones are known, but those of an intense red color approaching that of ruby are excessively rare. Its hardness and high refractive index (2.417) permits it to be fashioned as the most brilliant of all gems, and its dispersion (.044) produces a high degree of fire. The specific gravity is 3.52. Sources include various sections of south, west, southwest and middle Africa; Russia; central, east and northeast South America; India; Borneo; and Australia. It is also found in the United State, but not in commercial quantity.
Diamond Certificate
A certificate awarded to those who complete successfully the “Diamond Course” of the Gemological Institute of America, which requires passing the diamond-grading and diamond-appraising instruction and practice.
Diamond Cut
A name sometimes used in the colored-stone trade for brilliant cut.
Diamond Cutter
Any workman engaged in the cutting and polishing of diamonds. (b) One who rounds up rough diamonds as a step in the fashioning of brilliants.
Diamond Cutting
Diamond Cutting is the method by which a rough diamond that has been mined from the earth is shaped into a finished, faceted stone.
Diamond Gauge
Diamond Gauge is an instrument that is used to measure a diamond’s length, width and depth in millimeters.
Diamond Grading Reports
There are many recognized gemological laboratories that can grade your diamond for a fee.
Diamond Saw
A saw used for dividing or separating diamonds. (b) A diamond-charged blade used as a cutting edge in fashioning colored stones or in various applications in industry.
Diamond Wafer
A flat piece of diamond upon which microprocessors can be carved.
Dispersion
The property of transparent gemstones to separate white light into the colors of the spectrum. The interval between such colors varies in different gemstones, but in practice it is measure by the difference between the refractive indices of the red and blue rays. Diamond has the highest dispersion (.044) of any natural, colorless gem.
Dodecahedron
One of the seven basic forms in the highest symmetry (“hexoctahedral”) class of the cubic, or isometric, crystal system. It has 12 rhomb-shaped faces, each of which intersects two of the crystallographic axes and is parallel to the third. This form is uncommon in gem diamonds.
Draw Color
When several diamonds are placed together in a diamond paper and light passes through one stone after another, each stone tends to intensify the slight color of the other. The group of stones is then said to draw color. The term is also used to describe an individual diamond with a visible body color.
Durability
The durability of a gem depends both on its hardness and “toughness.” It may be quite tough but easily scratched, or it may be exceedingly hard but lack toughness because of easy cleavage. Diamond is highest on the scale of hardness and, despite it rather easily developed octahedral cleavage, it is among the toughest of gemstones.
Emerald Cut
A form of “step cutting.” It usually is rectangular but sometimes is square, in which case it is known as a square emerald cut. It has rows (steps) of elongated facets on the crown and pavilion, parallel to the girdle, with sets on each of four sides and at the corners. The number of rows, or steps, may vary, although the usual number is three on the crown and three on the pavilion. The emerald cut is seldom used for diamonds in the intermediate color grades, since it tends to emphasize color. It is excellent, however, for colorless stones and when it is desirable to emphasize the color of fancy colors.
Emerald Shape
A rectangular or square-shaped cut-cornered diamond.
European Cut
Obsolete. A diamond brilliant whose proportions were worked out mathematically for light falling perpendicularly on the crown. It was never adopted as a common form of cutting. The angle of the pavilion facets to the girdle is 38° 40’; of the bezel facets, 41° 6’. The table is 56% of the girdle diameter; crown depth, 19%; and pavilion depth, 40%. It is not to be confused with the old European cut.
Eye Clean
A term used to imply that no internal flaws are visible to the unaided eye of a qualified diamond-clarity grader. It is prohibited by the American Gem Society for use by its members. It is also prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission, unless the stone meets the Commission’s definition of the term perfect.
Face
A term used in brillianteering for the entire group of facets that can be placed won a diamond without reposition it in the dop; vis., two star facets and four upper-break facets or four lower-break facets. (b) In crystallography, a natural, plane surface on a crystal.
Facet
A plane, polished surface on a diamond or other gemstone.
Faceting
The operation of placing facets on a diamond or other gem.
Facets
These are tiny surfaces polished onto a rough diamond that give a finished diamond its shape. The way light interacts with these facets affects a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle.
Fancy Cut or Fancy Shape
Any style of diamond cutting other than the round brilliant or single cut. Fancy cuts include the marquise, emerald cut, heart shape, pear shape, keystone, half moon, kite, triangle, and many others. Also called the “fancy-shaped” diamond or “modern cut.”
Fancy Diamond
Any diamond with a natural body color strong enough to be attractive, rather than off color. Reddish (the pure red of ruby is extremely rare), blue and green are very rare; orange and violet, rare; strong yellow, yellowish-green brown and black stones are more common.
Fancy shapes
Any diamond shape other than round – e.g. princess cut, marquise, square, emerald, oval, heart and pear.
Feather
A feather is a type of inclusion or flaw within a diamond. It is often described as a small crack, fissure or gletz.
Filling
Filling is a technique used to fill surface reaching fractures in a diamond to mask the fracture. This process can also be used on laser drilled diamonds to mask the laser hole. A glass like material is used in the filling process.
Finish
The word finish is used to describe the exterior of the diamond. If a diamond is well polished, it has a very good finish.
Fire
Often a term used instead of “dispersion,” it is the variety and intensity of rainbow colors seen when light is reflected from a diamond.
Fisheye
A diamond whose pavilion is exceedingly shallow, producing a glassy appearance and a noticeable dearth of brilliancy.
Fissure
An elongated cavity in a diamond’s surface. It may or may not have occurred along the line where a cleavage reached the surface.
FL or Flawless
The recommended term for a diamond without external or internal flaws or blemishes of any description when viewed by a trained eye under efficient illumination and under a corrected magnifier of not less than ten power; binocular magnification under dark-field illumination is preferred. The American Gem Society advocates the use of the term “flawless” by its members, while at the same time denying them the use of the term perfect. The Federal Trade Commission permits the use of the term “flawless,” but only if a stone conforms to its definition of the word perfect, without reference to make or color.
Flat Stone
A diamond brilliant with a very thin crown and pavilion.
Flat-top setting
Like the Gypsy setting, this setting has a band that is one continuous piece getting thicker at the top. A flat-top setting grows broader at the top so that a faceted stone can be inserted into the ring at the broadest part. The stone is held in place by metal chips attached at the stone’s girdle.
Flaw
Any external or internal imperfection on a fashioned diamond; e.g., a feather, fissure, carbon spot, knot, etc. Some diamond men limit its use to internal faults only, using the term blemish for surface faults. The terms “flaw” and ”imperfection” are usually used interchangeably.
Flawless
The recommended term for a diamond without external or internal flaws or blemishes of any description when viewed by a trained eye under efficient illumination and under a corrected magnifier of not less than ten power; binocular magnification under dark-field illumination is preferred. The American Gem Society advocates the use of the term “flawless” by its members, while at the same time denying them the use of the term perfect. The Federal Trade Commission permits the use of the term “flawless,” but only if a stone conforms to its definition of the word perfect, without reference to make or color.
Fluorescence
When exposed to ultraviolet light, a diamond may exhibit a more whitish, yellowish or bluish tint, which may imply that the diamond has a property called fluorescence. The untrained eye can rarely see the effects of fluorescence. Diamond grading reports often state whether a diamond has fluorescent properties. Fluorescence is not considered a grading factor, only a characteristic of that particular diamond.
Four C’s
A phrase coined for advertising purposes that sums up the numerous factors affecting diamond value into four categories: color, clarity, cutting, and carat weight.
Fracture
The breaking or chipping of a stone along a direction other than a cleavage plane.
Fracture Filling
Fracture Filling is a diamond enhancement process whereby a cavity or fracture in a diamond is filled with an artificial substance.
Full-cut Brilliant
A brilliant-cut diamond or colored stone with the usual total of 58 facets, consisting of 32 facets and a table above the girdle and 24 facets and culet below.
Fuzzy Girdle or Bearded Girdle
If a diamond is rounded up too quickly in the fashioning process, the surface of the girdle will lack the smoothness and waxy luster of a finely turned girdle. Consequently, numerous minute, hairline fractures extend a short distance into the stone. A girdle with this appearance is referred to as being “bearded” or “fuzzy.”
Gemologist
One who has successfully completed recognized courses of study in gem identification, grading and pricing, as well as diamond grading and appraising
Girdle
The girdle is the outermost edge of the diamond between the crown and the pavilion.
Girdle Facets
The 32 triangular facets that adjoin the girdle of a round brilliant-cut stone, 16 above and 16 below. Also called upper- and lower-girdle facets, upper- and lower-break facets, top- and bottom-half facets, skew facets or cross facets. Facets are sometimes placed directly on the girdle, in which case the stone is usually said to have a “faceted girdle,” to have a polished girdle or to be “girdle faceted.”
Girdle Reflection
When a diamond has a pavilion that is too shallow or flat, the girdle is seen reflected in the table.
Girdle Thickness
The width of the outer edge, or periphery, of a fashioned diamond or other gemstone. In a rounded style of cutting, such as the round brilliant or pear shape, the girdle edges, when viewed parallel to the girdle plane, consist of undulating lines caused by the intersection of the flat facets with the curved girdle. In such stones, the girdle thickness is measured across the midpoints of opposing upper- and lower-girdle facets.
Girdling
The step in the fashioning process of a diamond in which the stone is given a circular shape. The stone is held in a lathe, or cutting machine, and another diamond, called a sharp, which is affixed to the end of a long dop that is supported by the hands and under an armpit, is brought to bear against the stone behind shaped. An older method consisted merely of rubbing two diamonds together until the desired shape was obtained.
Grading Report
Grading Report is sometimes called a “certification,” although laboratories do not “certify” diamonds. The grading report, issued by an independent laboratory, should accurately describe the proportions, weight, color, clarity, symmetry, polish and possible fluorescence seen in the diamond being evaluated.
Growth or Grain Lines
These can be considered internal flaws, and can often be seen only by rotating the diamond very slowly. They can appear and disappear almost instantaneously. They appear as small lines or planes within the diamond.
Gypsy Setting
The Gypsy setting is predominantly used for men’s jewelry. The band is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. The top is dome shaped and the stone is inserted in the middle.
Hardness
The resistance of a substance to being scratched. Diamond is 10 in Mohs’ scale of hardness. Tests prove that diamond is approximately five to 150 times as hard as corundum, the next hardest mineral. The variation stems not only from the differences obtained from different hardness-testing methods, but also from the fact that various directions on a given stone’s surface show a considerable variation in resistance to abrasion. The hardest direction in diamond is parallel to the faces of the octahedron.
Head
Head is the part of a ring that contains the prongs which hold a diamond in its setting.
Hearts & Arrows
Hearts & Arrows is a pattern that visible in round diamonds with exceptional symmetry when view through a hearts & arrows scope.
Heart-Shaped Brilliant
A heart-shaped variation of the brilliant cut that is related to the “pear shape.” The round end is flattened and indented and the girdle widened until the length is approximately equal to the width.
High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT Treatment)
A process to improve the body color of the diamond through high pressure and high temperature.
Hue
Hue is the term used for the actual color of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet). The more pure a gemstone’s hue, the more valuable it is. Because gemstones are comprised of many naturally occurring elements, they typically emit one primary color and one or more underlying colors.
Ideal Cut or American Cut
Those proportions and facet angles calculated mathematically by Marcel Tolkowsky to produce maximum brilliancy consistent with a high degree of fire in a round diamond brilliant are considered by many diamond men to constitute the ideal cut. These figures, computed as a percentage of the girdle diameter, are as follows: total depth, 59.3% (without provision for girdle thickness); crown depth, 16.2%; pavilion depth, 43.1%. The bezel angle is 34° 30’ and the pavilion angle is 40° 45’. Girdle thickness as a percentage of the girdle’s diameter varies with size. The larger the stone, the smaller the percentage for a medium girdle. The variation is from about 1% to 3%.
Illusion setting
This setting is more intricate than others in that it surrounds the stone to make it appear larger. The metal that surrounds the stone usually has an interesting design.
Imperfect or Included
The diamond clarity grade at the low end of the “flawless-to-included” (or “perfect-to-imperfect”) scale. An imperfect diamond contains inclusions that are visible face up to the unaided eye or that have a serious effect on the stone’s durability. The Gemological Institute of America recognizes two grades in the imperfect category.
Imperfection
A general term used to refer to any external blemish or internal inclusion or flaw on or in a fashioned diamond; e.g., a feather, carbon spot, knot, fissure, scratch, natural, etc. The term “flaw” and “imperfection” are usually used interchangeably.
Inclusion
A general term used to refer to any external blemish or internal inclusion or flaw on or in a fashioned diamond; e.g., a feather, carbon spot, knot, fissure, scratch, natural, etc. The term “flaw” and “imperfection” are usually used interchangeably.
Invisible Setting
Invisible Setting is a style in which rows of square princess cut diamonds or gemstones rest perfectly flush against one another within a metal border, with no metal separating them.
Irradiation
A process of using x-rays to change the body color to creates a “fancy color” diamond.
Karat
Karat is the measure of purity of gold; 24-karat being pure gold. Jewelry is usually made from 18K and 14K gold, which contain other metals for strength.
kilo pascal (kPa)
One thousand newtons per square meter.
Knife-Edge Girdle
A girdle of a diamond that is so thin that it can be likened to the edge of a sharp knife. Since such a girdle is easily chipped, an ideal girdle has an appreciable thickness.
Knot
An included diamond crystal that is encountered at the surface of a stone during the polishing operation, and that stands out as a small, raised surface on the finished stone. (b) An included diamond crystal that is encountered by the saw blade. Since the softest directions available for sawing and polishing are used by the cutter, and since included crystals have a different orientation from the surrounding mass, they almost always have a harder direction than that being exploited. (c) A small section of a twinned stone in which the grain differs from the main mass.
Laser Drill Hole
A tiny tube created in a diamond by laser drilling, which is often done to treat diamonds.
Laser Drilling
Laser drilling uses a laser to drill down to a dark inclusion in a diamond. The dark inclusion is then removed by the laser or through chemical bleaching. Lasering is also used to reach internal fractures so the fracture can be filled. This process improves the diamond’s clarity grade.
Laser-Drilled
Laser-Drilled is a diamond that has been treated with a laser to remove dark “carbon” spots.
Laser-Inscription
Laser-Inscription is the laser etched text put on diamond girdle for identification. Usually the text is the grading laboratory initials and the certification number.
Length-to-Width Ratio
A comparison of the length and width of the girdle outline on fancy-shaped diamonds. The ratio is found by dividing the length of the diamond by the width. The width is always stated as 1. Some L to W ratios are considered to be more appealing than others, but this is a matter of personal preference. Pear 1.50 – 1.75 : 1 Marquise 1.75 – 2.25 : 1 Heart 0.98 – 1.02 : 1 Oval 1.33 – 1.66 : 1 Emerald 1.50 – 1.75 : 1 Radiant/Princess 0.95 – 1.05 : 1
Light Yellow
A trade term used by some dealers to cover a wide range of colors in the low end of the diamond color-grading scale. Stones in the broad classification show a very obvious yellow tint to the unaided eye.
Lot
A group of rough diamonds offered for sale by the Diamond Trading Co. to firms invited to view its “sights.” A lot usually includes a wide variety of material. (b) Also applied by diamond merchants to their regroupings of these diamonds according to color, make, and comparative freedom from imperfections after fashioning.
Loupe
A small magnifying lens used to examine diamonds. 10x magnification is the standard.
Lower-Girdle Facet
Lower-Girdle Facet is the type of facet on the pavilion of a round brilliant just below the girdle.
Luster
Luster is the degree to which a diamond or gemstone reflects light.
Main Facets
The large crown and pavilion facets of a brilliant-cut diamond or other gemstone; on step-cut stones, the center row of facets on the pavilion.
Marquise Cut
Marquise Cut gemstone is brilliant cut, forming an elongated oval with pointed ends.
Marquise Shape
A boat-shaped diamond that is long and thin with gently curved sides that come to a point on either end. Marquise is part of the brilliant-cut family.
Melee
From the French, meaning confused mass. (a) In the trade, the term is used collectively to describe small (up to .20 or .25 carat) brilliant-cut diamonds, whether full cut or not. Usually, all small gemstones used to embellish mountings, setting or larger gems are called “melee.” (b) A grading term used at the mines for unbroken diamond crystals (round, octahedral or slightly distorted octahedral) of less than one carat that do not pass through a .070 sieve.
Micron
One millionth of a meter.
Mine Cut Diamond
Mine Cut Diamond is an early form of the brilliant diamond with a squarish-shaped girdle, high crown, small table, deep pavilion, and very large culet.
Mixed-Cut
This cut has both step-cut and brilliant-cut facets. Mixed cuts combine the beauty of the emerald cut with the sparkle of the brilliant cut.
Mohs Hardness Scale
A scale that ranges from 1-10 in measuring a gem’s hardness.
Moh’s scale
Moh’s scale was devised in 1812 by Austrian mineralogist, Friedrich Moh to measure a mineral’s hardness and it’s resistance to scratching. The scale goes from talc as number 1, being the softest, to diamonds as number 10, being the hardest substance known.
Moissanite
Moissanite is a trade name name given to silicon carbide (chemical formula SiC) for use in the gem business.(Wikipedia)
Mounting
Mounting refers to an item of jewelry in which one or more stones are set.
multi-crystalline
A mineral made up of more than one crystal. A diamond is a single crystal.
Natural
A trade term for a portion of the original surface of a rough diamond that is usually left by the cutter on a fashioned stone, usually on the girdle. The excuse for leaving naturals is to show that there was no unnecessary weight loss in the rounding-up and polishing operations. The American Gem Society considers that naturals that do not flatten the girdle outline nor extend beyond the width of a medium girdle should not be regarded as blemishes.
Newton
The unit of force giving a mass of one kilogram an acceleration of about one meter per second per second.
Nick
A minor chip out of the surface of a fashioned diamond, usually caused by a light blow. It is more likely to be found along the girdle than elsewhere, although it may also appear on a facet junction or on a facet.
Off-Center Culet
A culet that, due to differences in the angles of the opposite pavilion facets, is off center with respect to the girdle outline. It usually results from repairing or repolishing a portion of the pavilion or from attempting to retain maximum weight from a distorted piece of rough.
Off-Make
Off-Make is a poorly proportioned diamond.
Old-European Cut
A term applied to the earliest form of circular-girdled full brilliant. It is characterized by a very small table, a heavy crown, and usually great overall depth. Improperly referred to as an old-mine cut.
Old-Mine Cut
An early form of brilliant cut with a nearly square girdle outline. (b) Incorrectly applied to a somewhat more modern style of brilliant cut that also has a much higher crown and smaller table than the modern brilliant cut, but whose girdle outline is circular or approximately circular—a style of cutting that is more properly called a “lumpy stone” or and old-European cut.
Open Table
A term that is sometimes used to refer to the table on a spread, or swindled, diamond. To some, any table diameter of 60% or more of the girdle diameter is open; to others, open means 65% or more.
Optical Property
Optical property is a gem’s intrinsic ability to interact with light. Some optical properties are color, dispersion and fluorescence.
Oval Cut
A brilliant style of cutting in which the girdle outline is elliptical; i.e., a rounded oblong. Also called the “oval brilliant cut.”
Pavé
Pavé is a style of jewelry setting in which numerous small diamonds are mounted close together to create a glistening diamond crust that covers the whole piece of jewelry and obscures the metal under it.
Pavilion
Bottom portion of the stone, under the girdle, measuring to the culet.
Pavilion Angle
Pavilion Angle is the angle measured between the girdle and the pavilion main facets.
Pavilion Main Facet
The eight facets found on the pavilion of a round brilliant diamond. Their points touch the girdle.
Pear Shape Diamond
Pear Shape diamond or gemstone is shaped like a teardrop, rounded on one end and pointed on the other.
Perfect
The Federal Trade Commission considers it an unfair trade practice to use the word “perfect,” or any other word, expression or representation of similar import, as descriptive of any diamond that discloses flaws, cracks, carbon spots, clouds or other blemishes or imperfections of any kind, including inferior color and make, when examined by a trained eye under a corrected diamond eye loupe or other equal magnifier of not less than ten power. Because of flagrant misuse of this term in the sale of diamonds that do not fit this description, many jewelers avoid it use. The American Gem Society also prohibits its use by its members.
Pink Diamond
A term often used loosely in the trade to describe any diamond of pale reddish, purplish-red, purplish or violetish hue. Diamonds of colors other than pale reddish are sometimes described as rose pink, rose colored, peach blossom, heliotrope and similar terms. Such a diamond is called a “fancy.”
Pinpoint
A pinpoint is a small dot, which is an inclusion within a diamond. A gathering of pinpoints is called a “cluster” or “cloud.” A cloud or cluster can appear as a hazy area in the diamond.
Pinpoints
Pinpoints are very small inclusions, difficult to see at 10x magnification
Pipe
The common name for a vertical, columnar mass of rock that cooled and solidified in the neck of a volcano. When these rock masses consist of kimberlite, they often contain diamonds. They occur in Africa, India, Russia, Arkansas and elsewhere.
Platinum
Platinum is one of the most rare and pure precious metals. Used for jewelry, platinum is usually 90-95% pure. It rarely causes allergic reactions and resists tarnishing. Platinum is considerably denser than gold or silver and is extremely strong and durable.
Point
In weighing diamonds, one-hundredth part of a carat, each hundredth being called a point; e.g., 32 hundredths (.32) of a carat is said to be a 32-point diamond, or a thirty-two pointer. 100 points = 1 carat, 141+ carats = 1 ounce, and about 2268 carats = 1 pound.
Points
1/100th of a carat. For example, a 1/4 carat diamond weighs 25 points.
Polish
The relative smoothness of a surface, or the degree to which the finish of the surface approaches optical perfection. A well-polished diamond shows no wheel marks or burn marks under 10X.
Polished Girdle
A girdle that has been lapped to yield either a lustrous, curved surface or a series of flat, polished surfaces (facets).
Polishing
The reduction of a rough or irregular surface to a smooth flatness or curvature. In diamond fashioning, it is used to include both lapping, or blocking, and brillianteering, as well as the production of any facet; the final operation in fashioning a diamond, usually done with diamond powder on a horizontal disc, or lap, against which the diamond is held in a dop.
Polishing Mark
A groove or a scratch left by the lap on a facet of a diamond or other gemstone. Parallel grooves left on a diamond’s facet during its initial placement should be removed during the final polishing, so that they are not visible under 10X; otherwise, they are considered defect of finish.
Poor Cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. A poorly cut diamond can be cut too deep or too shallow. A deep or shallow cut diamond will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value.
Princess Cut
Princess cut is a square cut, faceted diamond or gemstone. It is a relatively new fancy cut.
Prong or Claw Setting
It consists of four or six claws that cradle the diamond. Because this setting allows the maximum amount of light to enter a stone from all angles, it sometimes can make a diamond appear larger and more brilliant than its actual weight. This setting can also hold larger diamonds more securely.
Prong Set
Prong Set is setting used for diamonds and gemstones whereby a group of claws or prongs hold a gemstone in its mounting.
Proportions
A term that meant originally the distribution of the mass of a fashioned diamond above and below the girdle. Use by diamond men has broadened its meaning to include the major factors that determine cutting quality; i.e., total depth as a percentage of the girdle diameter, table diameter, girdle thickness, facet angles, symmetry, and even details of finish.
Proportionscope
The Proportion Scope combines lenses and movable mirrors to project the silhouette of a diamond on a screen. Diagrams and scales on the screen, as well as a “zoom” range, enable the instrument to analyze the proportions of round brilliant-cut diamonds, as well as fancy-cut diamonds.
Quadrillion
Quadrillion is a square diamond with 49 brilliant-style facets-21 crown facets, 24 pavilion facets and four girdle facets. It was patented by Ambar Diamonds in 1981.
Radiant
Radiant is a brilliant-cut square or rectangle with clipped-off corners like the emerald cut. It has 70 facets. The Radiant was first introduced in 1976.
Ratio
Ratio is a comparison of how much longer a diamond is than it is wide. It is used to analyze the outline of fancy shapes only; it is never applied to round diamonds. There’s really no such thing as an ‘ideal’ ratio; it’s simply a matter of personal aesthetic preferences.
Red Diamond
The rarest of all fancy-colored diamonds. However, the term is often used to mean red-brown or rose-colored stones. Diamonds of an intense red color approaching that of ruby are excessively rare.
Refraction
The bending of light rays. The deflection from a straight path suffered by a ray of light as it passes obliquely from a medium of one optical density to a medium of a different optical density, as from air into water or from air into a gemstone. The degree of bending is related to the change in velocity of light and the angel at which the light impinges.
Refractive Index (RI)
The speed of light in a vacuum as opposed to its speed in a medium.
Rose Cut
An early style of cutting that is thought to have originated in India and to have been brought to Europe by the Venetians. In its most usual form, it has a flat, unfaceted base and a somewhat dome-shaped top that is covered with a varied number of triangular facets and terminates in a point. The rose cut is now used primarily on small diamonds.
Rough Girdle
If a diamond is rounded up too quickly in the fashioning process, the surface of the girdle, instead of having the smoothness and waxy luster of a finely turned girdle, will be rough or granular. This condition may also be accompanied by numerous hair like fractures extending into the stone, in which case the term bearded (or fuzzy) girdle is applied.
Round Cut or Brilliant Cut
The most common style of cutting for both diamonds and colored stones. The standard round brilliant consists of a total of 58 facets: 1 table, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets and 16 upper-girdle facets on the crown; and 8 pavilion facets, 16 lower-girdle facets, and usually a culet on the pavilion, or base. Although the brilliant style was devised to give maximum brilliancy and fire, many stones cut in this fashion do not have ideal proportions or angles for that purpose. Modifications of the round brilliant include such fancy shapes as the marquise, half moon, pear shape and many others.
Rounding Up or Girdling
The step in the fashioning process of a diamond in which the stone is given a circular shape. The stone is held in a lathe, or cutting machine, and another diamond, called a sharp, which is affixed to the end of a long dop that is supported by the hands and under an armpit, is brought to bear against the stone behind shaped. An older method consisted merely of rubbing two diamonds together until the desired shape was obtained.
Saturation
Saturation is the intensity of brightness or dullness of the color. The more color saturated a gemstone is, the more valuable it becomes.
Scintillation
The display of reflections from the polished facets of a gemstone seen by the observer when either the illuminant, the gemstone or the observer is in motion—a flashing or twinkling of light from the facets.
Scratches
Narrow, shallow, elongated, rough-edged depressions on the surface of a fashioned diamond, usually appearing as faint white lines under magnification.
Screw Back
Screw Back is an ear nut that screws onto a threaded earring post; usually used with diamond stud earrings.
Seed Crystal
A small piece of single crystal mineral from which a large crystal is to be grown.
Semi-Mount
Semi-mount is a setting which is complete except for the main stone, which will be selected separately.
Setting
Setting refers to the style in which a gemstone is held by precious metal into a mounting. Common settings include bezel, pave’, channel or prong. Setting also refers to the part of jewelry in which one or more stones are set.
Shallow Cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. When a diamond is cut too shallow, it will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value.
Shank
Shank is the round body of the ring that encircles the finger, not including the setting.
Shape
There are eight common diamond shapes. They are round, marquise, pear, oval, heart, princess/radiant, emerald, and trillion. The round is the most popular (the rest are called ‘fancy-shaped’). There are also other shapes created and sold by manufacturers.
SI or Slightly Included
A grade of clarity for a diamond. It signifies a more flawed condition than very slightly included but less than included. In general, stones are called “slightly included” only if the flaws they contain are not visible face up to the unaided eye of a trained observer.
Single Cut
A simple form of cutting that has a circular girdle, a table, eight bezel facets, eight pavilion facets and sometimes a culet. It is used mostly for small diamond melee.
Slightly Yellow
A diamond color grade that is used by some dealers for a stone showing an obvious yellow tint to the unaided eye.
Solitaire
A term used to refer to a ring containing a single diamond or other gem.
Sparkle
Sparkle is the liveliness of the light reflecting from a diamond; the sum of the brilliance and the fire (dispersion).
Spread Stone
A term that is used frequently in the diamond trade to refer to a stone that has been cut with a large table and a thin crown, to retain greater weight from the two sawn pieces of an octahedron than is possible by using ideal proportions. In a strict sense, any increase in table diameter over the ideal 53% constitutes spreading; however, it is a general trade practice to apply the term only to those stones with tables that measure in excess of about 60%.
Square Emerald Cut
A form of step cutting with a square girdle outline but modified by corner facets.
Star Facet
Star Facet is one of the eight triangular facets found on the upper crown (near the table) of a brilliant-cut diamond.
Step-Cut
The step cut has rows of facets that resemble the steps of a staircase. The emerald cut and the baguette are examples of the step cut.
Substrate
The surface or medium that serves as a base for something.
Symmetry
A diamond’s symmetry is the arrangement of the facets and finished angles, created by the diamond cutter. Excellent symmetry of a well-cut and well-proportioned diamond can have a great effect on the diamond’s brilliance and fire. Grading reports will often state the diamond’s symmetry in terms Excellent, Very good, Good, Fair, or Poor.
Synthetic Diamond
A synthetic diamond is a diamond grown in a laboratory that is partially or wholly crystallized by artificial or human intervention. Also called ‘synthetic‘, ‘man-made’, ‘artificial’, ‘lab grown’, and or ’lab created’.
Table
The large facet that caps the crown of a faceted gemstone. In the standard round brilliant, it is octagonal in shape and is bounded by eight star facets.
Table Facet
This is the largest facet of a diamond. It is located on the top of the diamond. The table facet is sometimes referred to as the “face.”
Table Percentage
Table Percentage is the value which represents how the diameter of the table facet compares to the diameter of the entire diamond.
Table Size
The size of the table of a fashioned diamond, expressed as a percentage of the stone’s narrow-girdle diameter, is a dimension used in proportion analysis. On a round brilliant, it is measured from corner to opposite corner, rather than from flat side to flat side.
Table Spread
Term used to describe the width of the table facet, often expressed as a percentage of the total width of the stone.
Tension Setting
A tension-set diamond is held in place by the pressure of the band’s metal, which is designed to “squeeze” the stone.
Tiffany
Tiffany is a simple, elegant 6 claw ring setting with a head that holds a single diamond. The prongs on the head come from the same point on the shank.
Tone
Tone represents how light or dark a stone appears by how much brown, black, gray or white is present.
Top Cape
An early trade term still used by some dealers to designate the diamond color grade between crystal and cape in the river-to-light-yellow system. Small stones in this range will face up colorless when mounted, but larger stones will have a yellow tint.
Total Depth Percentage
Total Depth Percentage is the depth of a diamond, from the table to the culet, divided by the average diameter or width of the girdle. The depth of most diamonds is between 53 and 63 percent.
Treated Diamond
A treated diamond is a diamond that has been altered by man to improve the stone other than cutting, polishing and cleaning. These treatments include irradiation, coating, laser drilling, filling, and chemical treatment.
Trigon
A triangular indentation occurring as a growth mark on diamond octahedron faces. The sides of the trigon are reversed with respect to the face on which it occurs.
Trillion or Trilliant
Trillion / trilliant is the name used as a general term for any brilliant-cut triangle.
Trillion Shape
Is a triangular-shaped diamond with 50 facets. Trillions are commonly used as side stones.
Twinning Lines
Visible line on or with in a fashioned diamond, caused by twinning in the crystal. Since the orientation on one side of a twin plane differs from that on the other, the best polishing direction for one is a poorer one for the other; as a result, a line remains at the surface. Also called knot lines.
Upper-Girdle Facet
Upper-Girdle Facet is one of the 15 facets found on the lower crown portion of the diamond (just above the gidle).
Very Slightly Included
A diamond clarity grade between very, very slightly included perfect and slightly included perfect. As used ethically, this grade includes stones that are lightly flawed, with flaws easily located but not obvious under 10X.
VS or Very Slightly Included
A diamond clarity grade between very, very slightly included and slightly included perfect. As used ethically, this grade includes stones that are lightly flawed, with flaws easily located but not obvious under 10X.
VVS or Very, Very Slightly Included
The clarity grade that is immediately below flawless, or perfect. Ethically employed, this term is applied to stones with minute surface or internal blemishes that are difficult to locate under 10X by a trained eye.
Well cut
Well cut proportions ensure the maximum compromise between fire and brilliance. When light enters a properly cut diamond, it is reflected from facet to facet, and then back up through the top, exhibiting maximum brilliance, fire and sparkle.
White Gold
White gold is alloyed with Nickel or Palladium, Copper, and Zinc. It is not white in its natural state, and it is typically Rhodium plated.