Does "brilliant" cut make a huge difference?

posted 4 years ago in Rings
Post # 3
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@Clairetoris:  I was taught that brillant cut is a fancy name for the modern round cut diamond.  That said, different diamond/jewelers cut differing facets into round cut rings (i.e Leo diamond, hearts and arrows, etc…).

Post # 4
6365 posts
Bee Keeper

“Brilliant” is not a cut quality grade, it just means the most common type of cut (shape): The modern round brilliant. People often refer to this cut as “round.”

It could be a modern round brilliant and AWFULLY done, or it could be an ideal example of the modern round brilliant cut. One of these will look like a chunk of road slush and the other could be one of the most gorgeous sights on the face of the earth. The modern round brilliant has the potential to bring out the very, very best in a diamond. It was designed mathematically for this purpose, but it can still be done poorly (and often is), which defeats the purpose.

Cut quality is graded roughly by good labs like GIA and AGS… start out with looking at GIA XXX and AGS 000 diamonds to start with… then plug into the HCA caculator (free online) to narrow it down (you want all subscores under 2, and reading “excellent”), and finally, check the diamond out in person. Rock it back and forth under normal, natural lighting conditions and make sure it’s full of life with no dead spots. Some people also like to use a tool called a firescope or idealscope for extra reassurance on the perfection of the cut.

Kerp in mind that clarity will also be a factor. If you’ve got this absolutely brilliantly cut diamond, full of clouds… guess what, it’s back to that “road slush” look. Inclusions undo the magic of what a perfect cut does.

Good luck finding your diamond!

Post # 5
2612 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

I also am under the impression that “brilliant” is a type of cut not a grade of cut. That round brilliant cut diamonds can still be graded as Excellent, very good…etc.

Many people here on the boards do say that round brilliants face up “larger” than other cuts and that cut is often the #1 – C because it can make the diamond look larger. I have a H&A round brilliant that is an excellent cut and a lot of people think it’s about 0.2 carats larger than it actually is..

Post # 7
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

To tell you the truth I’ve never heard of a “brilliant” cut diamond where “brilliant” meant it was of superb quality! There is round brilliant cut, where “brilliant” refers to the positioning of facets to distinguish it from Old European or Old Mine cut, which are also round but have chunkier facets. 

GIA grades cuts as excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. Other labs use other words to describe cut quality, such as “ideal”. I would go by whatever the lab report tells you. Remember the vendor is trying to sell you something! So of course they will come up with fancy sounding names but it’s up to you to determine whether there’s any substance behind fancy names. 

If you’re looking for “conventional” round diamond (no disrespect, they are just the most commom shape out there), look for round brilliant shape, excellent (or ideal) cut, look into hearts and arrows and make sure the vendors are not selling you a bunch of BS. Pricescope is sooooo helpful there! I suggest you browse those forums a little, they’re amazing.

To answer your question, yes, it is true that an excellent cut diamond will seem bigger than a poorly cut one because it will be more sparkly. It’s also true that round brillant cuts face up larger than, say, princess cut diamonds.

I hope that helps! 

Post # 8
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@joya_aspera:  Haha, you beat me to it by 4 minutes 🙂

Post # 11
3750 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’ve never seen “brilliant” as a descriptor term for how well a diamond is cut, only for the way (the shape and/or facet pattern) the diamond is cut. Usually you’ll see ideal/excellent/hearts and arrows, etc.

Better cut diamonds will look bigger, whiter, and more sparkly. Diamonds are measured by weight, so you can have a 1.5 carat diamond that is cut deeply where the diameter of the stone is smaller than an ideal cut 1.5 carat diamond would be. The two diamonds weigh the same, but one looks smaller. If it’s well cut, the diamond will reflect more light and look bigger.

Post # 12
1181 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2002

What others have said is true.  Brilliant is a type of cut, not a grade.  Most shapes are a type of brilliant cut, not just the round.  I have had a rectangular brilliant cut, and now an oval brilliant cut.  My rectangular princess brilliant was a very good cut,  my oval brilliant is an ideal cut, but honestly the princess sparkled really well too.  I don’t think a brilliant cut necessarily means they look bigger.  I think emeralds and aschers face up similarly for carat weight.  Best of luck, and have fun shopping! 🙂

Post # 13
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@Clairetoris:  I can’t get the report to open 🙁 

I think it would be really helpful if you showed the report to one of the guys on Pricescope. They are diamonds experts, they know their rocks!

I found this to be a very useful tool too, it helps you determine how your diamond will perform (= how much it will sparkle) :

Post # 15
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@Clairetoris:  Oh yes, it is! I think anything between 0 and 2 is great quality! 

Post # 16
11760 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Clairetoris:  Definitley make the trip to go look at them in person.  DIamonds of similar specs can look so much different in person.  You really should be choosing a stone based on its beauty to you, not its specs.  Good luck!

Leave a comment

Get our weekly roundup of the best of Weddingbee.
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

Find Amazing Vendors