Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth, formed when carbon is exposed to tremendous amounts of heat and pressure deep in the earth. The anatomy we are referring to here pertains specifically to a diamond that has been cut and faceted for the use in jewelry. Anatomy varies from shape to shape, but we’ll look at the standard round-brilliant cut here for a general understanding:


The table, which is the largest polished facet on all diamond shapes, is the flat surface at the top of the diamond. Light rays enter through the diamond’s table and refract downward. In a properly cut diamond, that light is then reflected back up from the pavilion and through the table to the viewer’s eye, creating much of it’s brilliance. The size of the table plays a significant role in the amount of light that enters and exits the diamond. Therefore it is an important factor when determining the cut grade.


The crown is the top part of a diamond extending from the table to the girdle. It is made up of a calculated series of facets - star facets, bezel facets and upper girdle facets. Similar to the diamond table, refracted light passes down through the crown, and is then reflected back up from the pavilion into the observer's eyes. The various facets disperse light in different directions, resulting in a colorful fire, known as a diamond’s scintillation.


The girdle is the rim or “belt” that makes up the outermost edge of a diamond and connects the crown to the pavilion. It plays a significant role in the Cut grading of a diamond and, although thin and thick girdles don’t always diminish the brilliance of a diamond, they will likely result in a lower Cut grade of Very Good or Good, making the diamond less desirable.


The pavilion is the underside of a diamond connecting the girdle to the culet at the bottom tip. Like the crown, the pavilion consists of multiple rows of facets - Lower Girdle Facets and Pavilion Main Facets. The majority of a diamond's weight is typically held in its pavilion. It is critical for a diamond's pavilion to be neither too deep nor too shallow. An overly deep pavilion will not reflect enough light back up to the observer's eye through the crown, and will make the diamond appear dull. A shallow pavilion creates a 'fish-eye' effect, caused by the girdle reflecting in the middle of the table, and will also appear dull and lack in scintillation.


The culet is either a perfect point or a small facet at the very bottom of the diamond. If a culet is larger than average, it may allow a greater amount of light to escape through the bottom of the stone and create a visible dark circle when viewing a diamond from the top through the table - an undesirable “spot” that can be mistaken for an inclusion. Therefore, diamonds with small culets are likely to exhibit the most brilliance.

Now that you are familiar with the physical structure of a diamond, let’s explore the famous 4 C’s