Understanding Diamond Facets
April 22, 2023
When you view a diamond under good lighting, you’ll see light and color bouncing off what sometimes looks like endless angles. Light shifts and plays over the surface and within the stone, making the diamond seem lively. That’s no accident. Light is hugely influential on a diamond’s appearance. Where and how it enters is important. That starts at the surface. Diamonds are cut into all manner of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common - facets.
What is a Diamond Facet?
In the simplest terms, a diamond facet is a flat surface cut into a diamond or gemstone. Facets are arranged in geometrical patterns. Their numbers and arrangement vary depending on the type of cut and shape, but diamonds have multiple facets. Facets let in and reflect light, which affects aspects like fire, scintillation, and brilliance.
There are different types of facets on certain parts of the diamond. Depending on the area, facets serve different functions.
- Crown Facets - The crown is the top of the diamond and the portion of the stone most people often view. Facets cut into the crown let in light. Think of them as the window into the diamond. So much of a diamond’s appearance is wrapped up in the light. If too little light enters the stone, it appears dark and dull. If too much light gets in, it doesn’t disperse correctly and there isn’t as much room for light play and its effects. All of that starts with the crown and, consequently, with the crown’s facets. Crown facets have windows, which let in light, and frames. Frames separate individual facets and disperse light, aiding in things like diamond fire and scintillation.
- Pavilion Facets - The pavilion is the lower part of the diamond, situated beneath the girdle. Crown facets let in light, but facets cut into the pavilion aim to reflect it. Light gets to the pavilion facets and goes back up to the viewer. If pavilion facets are properly cut and do their job, the light gets refracted and shows brilliance, fire, and scintillation. On the other hand, if something is wrong with the cut of the pavilion, a diamond loses light from the bottom and appears dull.
These are not the only areas of a diamond or the only portions that have facets, but they are two of the main types. Diamond anatomy goes a long way in understanding how facets function.
What is the Purpose of Diamond Facets?
It’s all about light. Diamond facets ensure that a stone properly absorbs, reflects, and refracts light. Without light, there’s no sparkle and no life. The exact purpose of a facet depends on where it’s located, however, as they’re not all created for the same reason or job.
Along with the crown and pavilion facets listed above, there are other types of facets. Each has its own unique role in a diamond’s appearance.
- Break Facets - Break facets are on either side of the diamond, joining the girdle. They scatter light and reflect it back to the viewer.
- Star Facets - Star facets work in conjunction with the table facet to absorb light. They bend it, too. Star facets are on the diamond crown around the table.
- Table Facet - The table is at the very top of the crown. As explained above, crown facets (including the table and star facets) are responsible for absorbing and letting light into the stone. The table facet is the largest facet of a diamond and is very important in determining aspects of appearance like brilliance, fire, and sparkle.
As you can see, different facets have different duties, but they all work to absorb, reflect, or refract light.
Why Are Diamond Facets Important?
Diamonds are loved and treasured for their beauty. That’s the reason they’ve continued to capture the hearts and minds of people for decades. Much of that timeless, treasured beauty comes from the stone’s interaction with light. Facets are instrumental in letting in and directing that light, so their influence on a diamond’s appearance can’t be overstated.
Different cuts and shapes have certain numbers of facets, too, and wouldn’t be what they are without them. While there is no magic number for the “perfect” diamond, the standard for many cuts is 58 facets. Facets with the proper pattern and symmetry have the most alluring effects. Meanwhile, poor craftsmanship, uneven facets, and strange facet sizing can doom a diamond to darkness.
What is the Impact of the Number of Facets on Diamond Value?
A higher number of facets doesn’t automatically mean a diamond is worth more. Likewise, diamonds with a lower number of facets aren’t inherently worth less. For instance, princess-cut diamonds typically only have around 50 facets. That’s a handful less than the “standard” 58. Yet they can still be Excellent grade diamonds with high value. There’s more at play in diamond value than just the number of facets.
However, there is some correlation between more facets and higher value. Brilliant round diamonds tend to have more facets and higher levels of sparkle than other cuts, and they’re valued higher for them.
Just keep in mind that a poorly crafted diamond won’t hold much value regardless of the number of facets. Facets have to live up to their potential to drastically affect value. If they’re beautifully cut and create a high degree of fire and sparkle, the stone will hold more value.
Facets add so much to a diamond. They help create the shape, invite in a rainbow of fiery colors, and keep your stone brilliant, sparkling, and alive. You can’t have a beautiful diamond without well-crafted facets. It’s that simple. They’re one of the chief elements in a diamond’s appearance and can make or break its beauty.
There’s no perfect number of facets to aim for, though. They’re only as good as the person viewing them. At Yadav Diamonds and Jewelry, you’re certain to find the right diamond for you - whether it has 50 facets or 74!