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YOU MIGHT be alarmed to know that at least half a rough stone disappears during the cutting! This sacrifice, however, is essential: the skilled cutter creates just the right facets and angles to make the light pass through and reflect back in the most brilliant, glittering manner. The modern standard, the Brilliant Cut, came in nearly a hundred years ago, and is here to stay. In fact, antique diamonds are often re-cut to give them a Brilliant Cut dazzle.

Brilliant cut. The cut that achieves this glittering appearance to best effect is known, appropriately, as the Brilliant Cut. Brilliant cutting was invented relatively recently, around 1900, and by the 1920s it was becoming the standard. This cut combines science with art, creating a pleasing shape and also angling the lower cuts of the stone in just the right way to throw the most possible light through the top or “table” of the diamond.

Older cuts. Traditionalists, however, sometimes hanker after the more retrained effects of the older cuts. If you own an older diamond ring (especially pre-1930), it is likely to be cut in a more traditional, less dazzling way . While these older cuts sparkle a little less, they have a great elegance to them.