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The art of diamond cutting is truly fascinating, and today’s gem buyers, brides, and enthusiasts have a plethora of choices when it comes to gem cuts. For those new to the world of gem cutting, however, certain terms used to describe diamonds can be difficult to navigate. When it comes to a cut, one of the most important elements of a gem’s appearance relies on the arrangement of its facets.

The Definition Of A Facet

At its most basic description, a facet refers to the flat surfaces of a gemstone that are arranged in a geometrical pattern. When cut by an expert, a diamond’s facets cause beautiful optical effects on the gemstone’s surface, and additional sparkle as its facets interact with light and each other. Gem cutters can cut diamond edges by hand or machine, resulting in either flat or curved facets.

The Different Parts Of A Gem

When describing the surface of a faceted gemstone, there are three principal areas: Girdle, Grown, and Pavilion.

  • Girdle — This refers to the widest part of the gem, and when seen from the side is generally quite thin.
  • Crown — The top of the gem is called the crown, or sometimes known as “the face” of a gem.
  • Pavilion — The lower part of a faceted gem is below the girdle and often comes to a point. 

Types Of Facets

There are many specific names for facets that your jeweler may refer to, but you don’t have to feel intimidated by new terminology. It can be helpful to become familiar with these terms as you consider which facets interact within different styles and which facets are most to your preference. When diamond shopping, refer to this list of examples:

  • Mains — This term refers to the largest facet of a diamond. There are descriptions for both upper main facets (crown mains) and lower main facets (pavilion facets).
  • Table Facet — The table is specifically the horizontal facet on top of a gem that gives a clear view through to the inside of a diamond.
  • Break Facets — Known for scattering light, break facets are found adjoining the girdle on either side of a diamond.
  • Star Facets — These extra sparkly facets adjoin the diamond’s table facet along the edge of the crown.
  • Pavilion Facets — Located on the underside of a diamond, the facets of the pavilion are specially designed to reflect and disperse light from within.
  • Cutlet — The pointy bottom of a diamond is the cutlet. If the bottom of the pavilion is more flat, as in emerald cuts, it’s called a keel.

Understanding the anatomy of a diamond means becoming familiar with facets and their functions. The friendly experts at Southshore Diamond Exchange are more than happy to answer all your questions about facets, gem-cutting, and diamonds in general. Reach out to make an appointment with us today!