Jewelry Blog

The Complete Guide to the Diamond Table

Table of diamond from side angle of diamond

Diamonds have played an important role in our culture. The valuable gems are mentioned in books, songs, and literature, as objects of desire and status. Plus, they are a key component of most marriage proposals. But just what is it that makes these gemstones so alluring? Quite often, it’s the features of a diamond that catch the eye, including the table. In this guide to diamond tables, we’ll be discussing the key features, different cuts, and the important role of this vital component. 

What Is the Diamond Table? 

Almost every diamond you come across will have a flat, square-shaped facet on top. This is referred to as a diamond table. This is typically the focal point of any diamond once it’s positioned. As the central point of the stone, it is responsible for refraction and directing any light rays that fall upon it. Essentially, the diamond table determines the sparkle and overall quality of the stone, making it crucial in the creation of a dazzling diamond. 

Table of diamond from side angle of diamond

The diamond table also plays an important role in determining the cut. Contrary to popular belief, a diamond’s cut refers to the gem’s proportions, symmetry, and polish rather than its shape. The cut of a diamond has three key effects on the appearance: brilliance (the brightness of the light reflected and refracted), fire (the dispersal of light into color flashes), and scintillation (the sparkle that is seen when the diamond is moved). 

Ideal Measurements for the Diamond Table 

A diamond’s proportions are vital. If the numbers are ignored, you could end up with a diamond that has little to no sparkle. The ideal diamond table measurements all depend on the shape of the diamond. For instance, a heart cut diamond will have a different ideal table measurement to that of a princess cut or a round diamond. Let’s take a closer look at the recommended measurements for some of the most popular diamond shapes: 

Round Cut Diamonds 

Brilliant Cut Diamond on Grey Background

By far the most traditional and popular cut, the round diamond isn’t going out of style anytime soon. From rings to necklaces, this exceptional cut works perfectly with any type of jewelry. If you favor a more traditional look, then the round cut diamond is the perfect choice for you. When looking at round cut diamonds, the recommended table size tends to be on the higher side. Round cut diamonds also tend to be slightly more expensive than other cuts. This is mainly due to the fact that the cutting process creates the most amount of raw diamond waste. Typically, this should be between 68% to 74%. 

Princess Cut Diamonds 

Princess Cut Diamond

Invented in the 1980s, princess cut diamonds are characterized by their geometric, sharp features. Often used in contemporary jewelry designs, this cut is ideal for those seeking a modern look. An advantage of purchasing this cut is that any inclusions are less visible to the naked eye because of the cutting and polishing techniques used in making it. Princess cut diamonds also offer a similar level of brilliance to that of a round-shaped diamond. 

What’s more, princess cut diamonds tend to be less expensive than round cuts, so they are the perfect option for anyone looking for high quality on a budget. The ideal table size for princess cut diamonds is 67% to 72%. 

Pear Cut Diamonds 

Brilliant Pear Shape Cut Diamond

Pear cut diamonds – also known as the teardrop or pendeloque cut – are extremely unique. This stunning gem is a combination of a marquise and oval cut, with one end being rounded and the other pointed. Like princess cut diamonds, a pear cut is also impeccable at concealing any inclusions or blemishes that may be present. If you’re after something unique, the pear cut is the ideal choice. 

The silhouette of a pear cut diamond is instantly recognizable. Plus, this type of cut tends to physically appear around 15-25% larger than a round-brilliant cut. They also tend to be priced considerably lower than round brilliants. Because of this, buyers on a budget can benefit greatly. For pear cut diamonds, the ideal size is between 53% and 63%. 

Heart Cut Diamonds 

Brilliant Heart Cut Shaped Diamond on Grey Background

If rarity is what you’re after, then heart cut diamonds are the way to go. As the name suggests, these stones are cut in the shape of a Valentine’s heart, which can be a difficult process. As a result, heart cut diamonds tend to be more on the expensive side. By depicting the ultimate symbol of love and romance, it’s no wonder that the heart cut is a popular choice for those looking for engagement rings. When buying a heart diamond, the perfect table size is considered anything between 53% to 63%. 

Asscher Cut Diamonds 

Asscher Cut Diamond on Grey Background

The Asscher diamond is characterized by an octagonal gemstone that sits within a square shape with layered facets. The Asscher cut diamond was first invented in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, so the style has an antique quality to it. The cut also features a high crown and large step facets, helping it to achieve a brilliance that is difficult to replicate. Traditionally, this cut consists of 50 to 58 facets. 

This large number of facets, coupled with a high crown and depth, give this diamond a “hall of mirrors” effect, achieving outstanding brilliance. The ideal table cut for an Asscher cut diamond is 61% to 69%. 

Emerald Cut Diamonds 

Emerald Cut Diamond on Grey Background

Emerald cut diamonds are similar in appearance to Asscher cuts with the most obvious difference being that they are rectangular, as opposed to square shaped. The design has a rich history, dating back well over 300 years. Originally developed for cutting emeralds, it was quickly observed that this style worked better using diamonds and produced a more charismatic look. 

This elegant design typically features chiseled step cuts and linear facets. This design is aimed at anyone who enjoys standing out in a crowd and favors exuberant fashion. As a way of preventing fractures and promoting stability, the corners of an emerald cut are typically cropped. Emerald cut diamond tables are considered ideal if they fall between 61% to 69%. 

Marquise Cut Diamonds 

bowtie on marquise cut diamond

This jaw-dropping cut is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a unique elongated diamond shape. It first emerged in the 18th century when King Louis XV of France commissioned a jeweler to create a cut shape that reflected the lips of his mistress, Jean Antoinette Poisson. For this reason, the marquise cut diamond is often associated with royal symbolism and old-world aristocracy. The ideal table cut for marquise cut diamonds is from 53% to 63%. 

Radiant Cut Diamonds 

Radiant Cut Diamond on Grey Background

True to their namesake, this diamond cut radiates beauty and sophistication. Similar to emerald and Asscher cuts, this stone features an elongated silhouette. However, the facets of a radiant cut diamond are more similar to that of a round cut. Typically, it consists of 70 facets in its pavilion and crown, making it a great choice if you’re after a non-round diamond with a ton of sparkle. A measure of 61% to 69% is considered ideal for radiant cut diamonds. 

Cushion Cut Diamonds 

Brilliant Cushion Cut Diamond

Once referred to as an old mine cut, a cushion cut diamond is perfect for anyone looking for a regal-looking diamond. This classic cut has been around for over 200 years and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. The standards that are set for cushion cut diamonds may vary more than other shapes. Which type you decide to choose all depends on personal preference. 

In recent years, this cut has been made even more popular since celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Meghan Markle were seen wearing them. It combines a square cut with rounded corners, giving it a pillow-like effect (hence the name). This cut is both feminine and stylish. Ideally, a cushion cut diamond’s table size should fall anywhere from 61% to 67%. 

Oval Cut Diamonds 

Oval Cut Brilliant Diamond

The elongated shape of an oval cut diamond makes it often appear larger than it is. If it were to be compared to a round cut diamond of the same size, to the naked eye the oval diamond will tend to look to be the larger of the two. If a ring is what you’re after, the oval cut is perfect for anyone with longer fingers. 

Additionally, this style of diamond has been brought to people’s attention in recent years due to celebrities such as Hailey Bieber and Blake Lively having been seen wearing them. As one of the most popular cuts, an oval diamond’s ideal table percentage should be between 53% to 63%. 

With these measurements in mind, it’s worth mentioning that the ideal proportions are known to slightly stray from the above measurements now and then. Ultimately, what matters most is how the diamond looks. 

Relationship Between Table and Crown 

Side Angle Frosted Girdle of Diamond

A crown refers to the topmost part of a diamond. It’s located below the top table and worked by “crowning” the pavilion cone. It is the point at which outside light enters a gem, and the brilliance begins. The crown angle of a diamond is a reference to the degree of separation between any given diamond’s girdle and table. It often has a major effect on the overall appearance of a diamond. When the proportions of the table and crown are ideal, it maximizes the diamond’s brilliance, fire, and scintillation. 

Diamond Table and Depth 

Table vs Depth on Diamond Diagram

There’s no doubt that diamonds are exceptionally beautiful. But just how can you tell if the cut of a diamond is high in quality? Well, that all depends on the proportion of two features: a diamond’s table and depth. To put it simply, depth is a component of the physical properties of a diamond and refers to the gem’s height from the table to the cutlet. 

These two chief factors work together to contribute to the overall sparkle of these exquisite jewels. They also play a vital role in determining a diamond’s cut quality. 

Typically, a diamond’s cut is graded using the GIA grading system. There are five cut grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. A diamond with an Excellent cut grade is traditionally very bright and can be determined visually. When a stone achieves the correct balance of depth and table, it adds to the overall value. Even if you know little about diamonds, looking at the depth and table can help you when it comes to deciding whether to invest. 

How to Measure the Table of a Diamond 

Customer with Yellow Diamond and Loupe

The measure of the table of a diamond helps to determine the overall quality and value of any diamond. Diamond tables are measured in percentages and are calculated by dividing the table’s size with the stone’s width. For instance, if a diamond has a table size of 3 millimeters and a width of 5 millimeters, then the diamond’s table is recorded as 60%. Depending on the cut of the diamond, this can be seen as a good or bad thing. However, generally, the best-looking diamonds have an ideal table size range of 55% to 65%. With larger diamonds, the table size is more important 

How Does the Diamond Table Percentage Work? 

The percentage of the diamond table is crucial in determining its overall quality. The ideal table percentage depends on the shape of your chosen diamond. What might be considered a good percentage for one gem may not coincide with the shape of another. 

People tend to think that a larger percentage corresponds to a higher quality diamond. However, this is not the case. Take a princess diamond for example. Say one is measured at 67% while another is 83%. The diamond with the higher percentage showcases a larger table, which directly affects the dispersion of light and sparkle of the stone. A princess cut with a percentage this large showcases less movement. On the other hand, the diamond measured at 67% coincides with the ideal table proportions for this cut. 

Since the diamond table governs the amount of light refracted and reflected, the percentage has a direct effect on the way that a diamond shimmers. 

How the Table on a Rose Cut Works 

Antique Rose Cut Diamond

These days, antique cut diamonds are rising in popularity. Made popular in the Georgian era (the 1700s), rose cut diamonds offer a distinctive visual experience that would complement any piece of jewelry. Plus, this cut is guaranteed to make anyone wearing it feel regal. 

Rose cut diamonds are distinguishable by their domed top and flat base. In accordance with its namesake, the peaked top of a rose cut diamond looks like the sprawling petals of a fully bloomed rose with triangular facets. The number of facets can vary anywhere from as low as three to as high as 24. Since rose cut diamonds lack the pointed bottom section, the carat weight is reflected entirely on the top face. This effect makes the diamond itself appear larger, which is an attractive quality for many pieces of jewelry be they earrings or a ring. 

Diamonds Are Forever 

Tray of Diamond Engagement Rings in Showroom

Diamonds aren’t going out of style anytime soon. Whether you’re after an engagement ring or just a treat for yourself or a loved one, knowing how a diamond’s table impacts its value can make all the difference. By arming yourself with the knowledge of what to look for in terms of the dimensions of a diamond, you’re more likely to be satisfied with your purchase. 

As you can see, there is much more to a diamond than just its appearance (although this is a vital component). Comparing diamonds based on their table and depth measurements is a sure-fire way of determining the valuable options from the less desirable ones. For even more precise results, speaking to an expert like Estate Diamond Jewelry can help you determine which diamond is best suited to your needs while still consisting of high value. 

Talk to a Diamond Expert 

Shopping for a diamond engagement ring from Estate Diamond Jewelry

Investing in a diamond of any type should be a meaningful experience. However, choosing the highest-quality diamond can be tricky – especially to the amateur eye. While most people can judge a diamond based on its visual aesthetic and amount of sparkle, they may not be able to determine some other qualities that add to its value. Some diamond dealers out there may take advantage of a customer’s lack of knowledge and sell them the most expensive diamond as a way of earning extra profit. For this reason and more, it’s worth consulting a diamond expert before making any final decision. 

Aside from the cut, there are a few other factors to look out for when comparing diamonds. Which is where a diamond expert comes in. Diamond professionals are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to ensure that the diamond you choose is of the best quality and is suited to your individual needs. 

For instance, if you are looking for an oval cut engagement ring on a budget, an expert jeweler will be able to show you various options that correspond with your demands. This ensures that you will be equipped with the right information before you make the final decision. That way, when you do pick a diamond, you can rest assured that it is the best option for you. 


About Afshin Shaddaie

Afshin moved to New York City in the 1980s, and a few years later, he began his career in the fine and rare jewelry scene. He teamed up with Michael Khordipour, and they've been curating vintage jewelry ever since. He also regularly contributes to Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, The Knot, and Insider. Afshin constantly travels to international shows and private viewing events in the hope of finding rare vintage rings that will be important enough to make an impression. He is available for appointments at our New York showroom when he's not traveling. In 2019, Afshin authored his book called The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on vintage jewelry and antique diamonds. His favorite jewelry era is Art Nouveau, and he loves rare Italian jewelry from the 1950s - 1970s. The Natural Saltwater Pearl is his favorite precious jewel.