FANCY CUT DIAMONDS
ANY GEMSTONE SHAPE OTHER THAN ROUND
Any diamond cut beyond a Round Brilliant Cut is regarded as a Fancy Cut, also referred to as a Fancy Shaped Diamond. They are a category of shapes like Cushions, Ovals, and Pears. There is no Cut Grade issued for a Fancy Cut Diamond. Think of grading Fancy Cut Diamonds as greater than the sum of its parts. The overall look of a Fancy Shape is more important than the definitive details vital to a Round Brilliant Cut Diamond. Factors used to evaluate Round Brilliant Cuts are precise, down to the tenths place.
Parts of the Whole
When referring to Fancy Cut Diamonds, refer to its Parts. The Head is located at the top of an Oval and Pear Shape. The Shoulder comes off the Head and onto the Belly, which is located on the side where it curves out to the fullest. Wings can be found on Marquise, Heart, and Pear Shapes. They taper off the Belly and onto the Point, or Tip. The Cleft is the inset cut of a Fancy Shape Diamond.
The Three main diamond cutting styles are Brilliant Cuts, Step Cuts, and Mixed Cuts.
BRILLIANT CUT: A Cut comprised of pointed Triangular and Kite-Shaped (Bezel) Facets like that of a Round Brilliant Cut Diamond. These Cuts show the most Sparkle and Fire.
STEP CUT: Facets are long, narrow, four-sided Square and Rectangular Shape. These Facets run Parallel to the Girdle on both the Crown and Pavilion. Step Cut Diamonds gather and distribute light evenly because their facets are linear as opposed to pointed.
MIXED CUT: Mixing Brilliant Cut and Step Cut Facets provide a variety of Cuts in the market. Cutters can modify their Diamond Shape to accept more light. Manufacturers can create Patented Diamond Cuts to sell. Any of these cutting styles can be used with a variety of different Shapes.
The Bowtie Effect can be noticed when viewing the diamond face up. As seen in the diagram, light leakage can occur in the gray areas of these four Brilliant Cut Shapes. This is known as Extinction.
This extinction creates a black Bowtie appearance in a Brilliant Cut Diamond. This is especially common in shallow or very deep gemstones. The cutter can eliminate the Bowtie by creating a slightly deeper Pavilion. Faint, light gray Bowties are often seen. It is very hard to eliminate a Bowtie altogether.
AVOID BLACK BOWTIES
Dark Bowties affect the diamonds appearance. There is a fine line for the cutter. A Bowtie is examined face up, under normal lighting. They are generally located at the center of the stone between the Bellies. They range from a light gray to black in tone. A Black Bowtie symbolizes loss of light and a poor cut.
A SYMMETRY GRADE IS NOT A CUT GRADE
If you were to look at a Princess Cut Diamond (square) face up and imagine to fold it in half. How well would its opposing faces and corners match or align with each other? This is Symmetry. Symmetry has nothing to do with Crown Angles and Proportion Percentages of a gemstone's Cut. Only an experienced Gemologist can help you determine Brilliance by identifing Cut Angles and Percentages. Every Fancy Cut Diamond is different from one another. So different in fact, that each one has its own set of variables. Thus, Shape Appeal was born. Diamond Cutters were given cutting tolerances for each shape. These tolerances corresponded with Preferred Cut Ratios. Cut Ratio is the gemstone Length ÷ Width. This is the best way to find out what shape appeals to you most. Someone may prefer a Square Radiant Cut (7mm x 7mm; cut ratio 1:1), or they may prefer a Rectangular Radiant Cut (8mm x 6mm; 1.3:1). Preferred Cut Ratios can be seen above with each Shape.
Fancy Shaped Diamonds
COLOR & CLARITY
Color grading is no different for Fancy Shaped Diamonds than it is for Round Diamonds. They are both graded the same way; under the same circumstances and lighting. Except, Color will show a bit more in a Step Cut Diamond due to its faceting style. It is reccommended to go with a near colorless diamond or better.
Clarity grading is also the same for Fancy Cuts as it is for Round Brilliant Cuts. All diamonds are analyzed using the five GIA Clarity Grading Factors. However, there is an aspect that lies with the Step Cut Diamond you have to consider here as well. The Cut is so transparently full of light, that even the slightest inclusion will break apart the light. Because of the brilliance factor, it is much more noticeable than it would be in other cuts. Choosing a GIA Clarity Grade of VS2 or higher when selecting a Step Cut is best.
Examine Color & Clarity further.