Understanding Diamond Crowns

April 20, 2023

Understanding Diamond Crowns

As you peruse diamonds for your perfect ring or piece of jewelry, you may not think of all the different components of diamond anatomy making up the beautiful stone you’ll purchase. You might know that you want a round-cut diamond or that you’ve always loved the look of a hidden halo engagement ring, but what goes into making diamonds look the way they do?

This article will explore one of the most important parts of diamond anatomy: the crown. Understanding diamond anatomy makes anyone a more informed consumer and helps grasp why diamonds look the way they do. Anatomy affects every other aspect of the diamond, including fire and brilliance, and the diamond crown plays a big role in that.

What Is a Diamond Crown?

To fully grasp what a diamond crown is, take a step back and look at the whole of a diamond’s anatomy. Knowing the different components simplifies seeing where the crown fits in.

diamond depth

Begin from the bottom and go up. The lowest point (quite literally, the point of the diamond) is called the culet. Above that, you have the pavilion. Much of the diamond’s surface area is the pavilion. If you look at it and see the ‘V’ shape that gives a diamond its most recognizable form, you’re looking at the pavilion.

The girdle sits just above the pavilion. It’s the widest part of the whole diamond. Usually, the diamond is set using the girdle. Once you pass the girdle, you’ve arrived at the crown. The girdle is the widest section, and the crown is directly above it.

It’s easiest to think of the diamond crown as the crown of the pavilion. It sits at top of the pavilion (and girdle) and angles in. The top, flat facet of the crown is referred to as the table. Table and depth play a major role in a diamond’s ability to reflect and refract light, meaning the diamond crown is important for that, too.

Are There Different Types of Diamond Crowns?

Now that you know where to locate the diamond crown, are they all the same? Does every diamond have the same crown style and measurements? Like practically everything with these gorgeous gemstones, the answer is no.

Ideal Angle: 32 to 36 - Angles create the crown. They’re measured in degrees, and of course, there’s variation. The “ideal” percentage range for a diamond crown is 32 to 36 degrees, so it’s a relatively small window.

Once you dip into numbers lower than 32, diamonds begin looking foggy. At that point, the table is too large compared to a thin girdle. Higher numbers and steeper crowns send light away, so you miss out on the gorgeous diamond fire the stone would hold with a smaller crown.

Regardless of whether your crown is too small or too large, you’ll end up getting a duller diamond. There is a range of excellent-quality diamonds, as you can see, but your stone is considerably affected by straying outside those numbers.

Why Is It Important?

Most people want their stone to have life - meaning fire, brilliance, andscintillation. The angle of the crown is one of the critical factors in producing all three.

Light must enter a diamond to produce any of the beloved effects people search for in a stone. A diamond’s crown is one of the biggest entryways. Light goes through the crown, is refracted, and travels down through the pavilion. That process produces diamond fire and brilliance - which means that both of those very important factors begin in the crown.

  • Diamond Fire - A diamond’s fire is, essentially, its color. It’s the rainbow effect created when light enters a diamond and gets split off into individual colors. Some cuts, like brilliant round cuts, have fantastically high levels of fire. That isn’t possible without a proper diamond crown angle. Diamond fire can’t exist without light, and light enters through the crown.
  • Brilliance - Similar to diamond fire, brilliance involves light traveling through the stone. Instead of splitting off into colors, though, brilliance is white light. Stones with high levels of brilliance are bright and filled with light. On the other hand, low brilliance leaves a stone dull and dark. A poor diamond crown angle will inevitably result in lower brilliance and a darker, less appealing stone.
  • Scintillation - Scintillation is the combined effect of diamond fire and brilliance. It is the sparkle of a diamond. It’s the eye-catching effect, the wow factor, and the special element that draws so many people to high-quality diamonds. Crown angles that fall on either side of the “ideal” numbers lack fire and brilliance. Of course, they’ll also lack the sparkle.

In short, the diamond crown’s role in the stone’s appearance can’t be overstated. It is the biggest entry point for light and, consequently, where the most alluring elements of a diamond’s “look” begin. It isn’t solely responsible for them, but it would be difficult to achieve high sparkle with a poorly constructed crown.

How Is the Angle Calculated?

If you’d like to measure the diamond crown angle yourself, use the following formula. If your answer falls within that 32 to 36-degree range, you’re one step closer to a high-caliber diamond.

  • Divide the table of the diamond by 100. The table is the flat facet at the top of the stone.
  • Subtract your answer from 1.
  • Multiply by 50.
  • Divide the crown depth by that answer.
  • Press the Tan – 1 button on your scientific calculator. The crown angle is expressed in degrees, as mentioned above. Now you’re all set!

Final Thoughts

A lot goes into diamond anatomy (and into understanding diamonds in general), but understanding the crown is one step closer to the whole picture. The diamond crown plays an important role in the way light moves and plays inside the stone, and its contribution can’t be overlooked. When you’re searching for your next diamond, ask about crown angles. It could save you from taking home a drab, disappointing stone when you hoped for something fiery and unforgettable.

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