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The Anatomy of the Diamond
Understanding a diamond’s anatomy can be very useful. Each part of the diamond has its own specific name, just like a human body. By knowing these and understanding what each part contributes to the diamond as a whole, it will assist you in choosing the perfect diamond.
There are eight basic parts in the diamond anatomy. These are: Table, Crown, Facets, Girdle, Diameter, Pavilion, Depth and Culet.
Facets can be described as being the flat planes that form the outer surface of the diamond. By angling, shaping, and cutting the facets a certain way, the cutter can control the diamond’s light effect. The goal will be to effectively reflect the inner crystalline structure of the diamond. This design of facets is constructed to allow light to enter (normally through the table), refract within the diamond itself (producing its "fire"), and to exit the diamond (again, through its table) as well as reflecting light directly off of the diamond's surface.
The diameter is the measurement of the width of the diamond at its widest part (girdle).
When you measure the Diamond’s total measurement (from the Table to the Culet), this is called the Depth. Ratios for the rest of the diamond's cut can be determined by this measurement.
The diamond's smallest facet is located at the bottom of the diamond and is called the Culet. The Culet can play a huge role in how it affects the rest of the diamond because a properly formed culet will allow the light that has entered the diamond to effectively exit through the diamond's table and re-enter the eye. If a culet is cut too large, this can cause a detrimental effect in the diamond's light display. The overly large culet can cause the diamond to appear to have a hole within it because it allows the light to leak out.
The culet needs to be small enough, and within the correct ratio to the rest of the diamond's anatomy to allow the light to reach it and be refracted back within the diamond and reflected back out of it. It is not uncommon for a diamond to have no culet, and instead have the pavilion come to a point. There is no right or wrong to having or not having a culet.
Light Leakage is the loss of light within the diamond. When properly cut, a diamond will exhibit fire (resulting from the proper cut of the crown); brilliance (resulting from the proper cut of the pavilion); and scintillation (resulting from the proper placement, or symmetry and alignment of a diamond's facets). Scintillation is defined as the way light plays within the diamond itself. Should any of the elements involved be cut incorrectly, resulting in poor symmetry, poor brilliance, poor fire or a combination of the three, light will exit the stone at one of the sides, rather than reflect and refract within the stone and exiting through the table.