What’s the Difference Between Full-Cut Diamonds and Single-Cut Diamonds?

When it comes to diamonds, we all want the very best. Whether they are being purchased for ourselves or our loved ones, it is important to understand there are different styles available. If you are unsure of which style is best, this article will help to guide you in the right direction.

There are two main styles of diamonds to choose from—full cut and single cut. Simply put, a full-cut diamond is a round diamond with 58 facets and a single cut diamond is a form of cutting the stone that includes only 18 facets.

There is a lot more to discover about diamonds and why these styles matter. Part of the decision stems from personal preference, while the other part depends on how long you would like your diamond to stay in brilliant condition. Here are the basics.

What Are Full Cut Diamonds?

Full cut diamonds are one of the most common styles that you can purchase. It is considered the “classic” shape. A diamond cutter will balance three factors while cutting the stone into this shape—size, color, and clarity.

When a rough diamond is shaped, it will typically be shaped into this full-cut style that includes the 58 facets because these have the highest potential to sell. Without all of these facets, a diamond is not actually considered a full cut.

When a diamond contains these many facets, it is going to reflect more light. This means that your ring, necklace, or earrings, will shine brilliantly under direct light. A lot of people tend to go for this style because of this reason alone.

What Are Single Cut Diamonds?

A single cut diamond is considered a simpler way to cut the stone because it is less work for the jeweler. There is less manual labor involved, and the jeweler usually can produce more pieces that are single cut faster as opposed to those that are full cut.

This is the beginning stage to cutting any diamond, regardless of if it is going to remain a single cut or go any further. When the jeweler stops at this cut, it is going to only have around 18 facets, possibly even 16 or 17.

Still, a single cut diamond is likely to be round and brilliant. Your loved one will not be disappointed when they look at the stone because the difference is pretty subtle. It might not have as much sheen under direct lighting, but it can still be a quality stone that is beautiful to look at.

Pros and Cons

Any decision comes with a list of pros and cons to consider. Below is a table to help you compare the two side-by-side:

Full Cut Single Cut
Has at least 58 facets Has 18 facets or fewer
More expensive because of labor Less expensive because of labor
Are usually larger stones Are usually smaller stones

Value vs. Price

We all have budgets to consider when purchasing a diamond of any kind. Some of us can afford to spend thousands of dollars, while others are looking for something in a lower price range—this is not a problem because of the variety of diamonds available.

If you are working with a small budget, opting for a single cut diamond is going to be the smartest choice. You will get a quality stone that still looks great, and because it takes the jeweler less work to craft, it won’t necessarily have to break the bank.

However, if you want to save up more money to purchase a full cut diamond, you can certainly splurge. If you want a stone that is very large and eye-catching, then you should expect to pay top dollar because this is going to take a jeweler a lot more work to craft.

The great part about making this decision is that you can always upgrade your diamonds in the future. If you start out with a piece that contains smaller, single cut stones, you can always purchase another piece with full cut stones when you are capable. Most people start out smaller and then work their way up.

The Wrap-Up

Now, you know the main differences between full cut and single cut diamonds—it all has to do with the facets. 58 facets mean that you have a full cut stone, and anything that is 18 facets or less means that you have a single cut stone. The more complex the cut, the more money you can expect to pay for your jewelry.

Before you make your final decision, consider taking these steps:

  • Set a budget
  • Find out if your loved one (or yourself) has a preference
  • Determine what kind of setting you would like your stone to sit inside of
  • Visit a few different jewelry stores so you can shop around
  • Remind yourself that you can always save up for something more expensive in the future

Diamonds are timeless, and it is understandable that you do not want to rush into making a big purchasing decision. See what you like, determine what you can afford, and you will end up with a wonderful piece that brings you or your loved one joy.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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