The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) sorts diamond cuts into three basic categories that are based on the style and arrangement of a diamond's facets, those little flat "faces" on the side of a gemstone.
- brilliant cuts
- step cuts
- mixed cuts
We'll start with brilliant cut diamonds and move through the other cuts step-by-step.
Brilliant Cut DiamondsBrilliant cut diamonds have facets that are shaped like triangles and kites. The facets radiate outwards and are positioned so that the light coming through them interplays to enhance the diamond's brilliance, or sparkle.
Round is the most popular diamond shape, and the round brilliant cut is probably the most popular version of that cut. Today's round brilliant diamond has a total of fifty-eight facets, but you'll see varying facet numbers in vintage brilliant cut diamonds.
Another popular brilliant cut is the princess cut diamond, a square gemstone.