July 27, 2017
– Posted in: Jewelry Blog
In the world of gemstones, every angle, facet, and detail contributes to the allure and beauty of the precious stones. The girdle, the edge encircling diamonds, is one of the captivating features and plays an important role in determining the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of the stones. There are several distinct techniques in girdle finishes, including the frosted and polished girdles. They are contrasting approaches used on diamonds with unique characteristics.
- What is a Girdle?
- What Is a Frosted Girdle?
- What Is a Polished Girdle?
- What Is a Bruted Girdle?
- Which Girdle Is the Best?
- Talk to a Jewelry Expert
What Is a Girdle?
Understanding diamond details and the intricacies that set them apart is essential before you buy one. The girdle is one such thing. A diamond’s girdle is the part that separates the top (crown) from the bottom (pavilion). Every diamond has a girdle that varies in style and size. This part is normally graded, and such information appears on the certification report.
The girdle is the widest part of a diamond and sometimes has a unique laser inscription if it is certified. This inscription aids in identifying and tying it to the grading report mentioned above. In most cases, the size is not uniform around the diamond. As such, it is normal to get two girdle grades in one report. Different factors set girdles apart including:
Normally, the width varies from thick to thin. Thick girdles add visual weight and may be a good choice in some designs and shapes. However, an extremely thick girdle can affect the cut grade of the stone and light performance.
In contrast, thin girdles result in smaller-looking stones. A girdle that is within the thin to slightly thick range is a good choice for light return and durability. A girdle shouldn’t be too thin though because it would be more likely to chip.
There are some cuts like a princess and round brilliant where additional facets may be present on the girdle. These are referred to as girdle breaks or girdle facets. The facets can enhance the light performance and brilliance of a diamond.
This type of girdle involves a sloping edge connecting the pavilion and crown. It can create elegance and a smooth transition to the diamond’s profile.
In most cases, girdles are transparent. However, there are opaque and semi-translucent options as well. The transparency of a girdle, or lack of it, creates some unique visual effects especially related to how light interacts with it. A choice can be made based on this individualistic and distinct appearance.
Alignment, combined with other diamond features contribute to the overall beauty and symmetry of a diamond. With proper alignment, the facets are proportioned and positioned correctly, which adds to harmony and aesthetic appeal.
This mainly affects the overall girdle aesthetics. The most common option here is a polished finish but bruted and frosted finishes are available as well. The option you choose depends on the appearance you want.
What Is a Frosted Girdle?
A frosted girdle refers to a matte or textured finish generally applied to the diamond girdle, resulting in a frosted appearance – hence the name. This finish may add a visual element to the stone. It can be picked to enhance the overall design.
With a frosted girdle, there is a subtle contrast against reflective surfaces in the other diamond facets. This makes it stand out in uniqueness and beauty.
It also makes some room for personalization, allowing individuals to enhance the character and design of the diamond.
Please note that if you are considering this option, it is not as common as other options. Therefore, it is wise to consult a diamond expert for assistance and guidance in finding a choice that meets your requirements.
- Unique aesthetic: This finish adds a distinct touch to the appearance making it a good choice for non-conformist enthusiasts.
- Vintage charm: It’s a desirable option for those desiring a classic jewelry look.
- Softened brilliance: The texture diffuses and scatters light differently, creating a softening effect on light reflections.
- Limited availability: This texture is not as common as its polished counterpart, which makes it harder to find.
- Permanent alterations: The original elements of the diamond are changed because frosting involves etching or treating the surface.
- Not versatile: It’s not a great choice for individuals who prefer a sleek look.
What Is a Polished Girdle?
A polished girdle means a diamond’s outer edge is refined into a clear, single facet. This finish allows you to see through the stone. The whole girdle area is clean and smooth all around, with no signs of roughness.
This is a standard finishing, especially in modern diamonds. Polishing the girdle serves various purposes, the most notable being enhancing aesthetics making the precious stone more appealing. The surface reflects light, further enhancing the diamond’s sparkle and brilliance.
Polished girdles have practical benefits because handling this type of diamond in the setting process is much easier. There are fewer chances of damage or snagging. It is quite unlikely that a polished diamond can chip on the edges, which gives it superior structural integrity.
- Enhanced brilliance: Since the option allows light through, sparkle and brilliance are maximized. The surface refracts and reflects light better enhancing its beauty.
- Versatility: The choice compliments different diamond designs and shapes integrating seamlessly with various settings.
- Symmetry and consistency: It’s easier to match with jewelry sets. The uniformity contributes to the visual appeal and harmony of the overall look.
- Added weight: Fully polished girdles can contribute to the diamond’s overall weight, which may increase the cost.
- Lacks uniqueness: Since it’s widely available and common, many will likely have the same girdle type.
What Is a Bruted Girdle?
A bruted girdle refers to a finish where the girdle is left in a natural state without additional faceting or polishing. This leaves it with a slightly irregular, unpolished, and rough texture, giving it a grainy look. Bruted girdles are also called natural or raw girdles.
The creation process involves rotating and grinding the diamonds against one another to create the desired proportions and shapes.
Usually, irregular striations or facets are present due to the bruting process.
Why Leave It Bruted?
A diamond may be bruted for several reasons, including:
- Cutter preference
- Desired aesthetic
- Preferred shape
- Preservation of carat
Although the bruted girdle is less refined than the polished option, its roughness contributes to its uniqueness and beauty. It is especially a good option for those who want a natural and organic aesthetic. The feature also gives the diamond more character.
- Distinctive appearance: The raw and unpolished texture gives the diamond a more natural and organic aesthetic.
- Vintage charm: Bruted girdles are reminiscent of older techniques, which gives them a vintage charm.
- Potential savings: They don’t have a high demand like the polished options making them a bit more affordable.
- Lower brilliance: Without polishing, light reflection is not as efficient. This reduces the sparkle and brilliance of the diamond.
- High chances of chipping: Rougher texture equals higher damage and chipping vulnerability because of the exposed edges.
- Limited availability: This option is less common making it hard to find specific quality grades, sizes, and shapes.
Which Girdle Is the Best?
Choosing a girdle is a matter of preference, which makes the best option quite subjective. Each girdle has specific characteristics, which should ease decision-making.
The bruted girdle should suffice for those who prefer a natural, organic, and distinctive appearance. This type of diamond is individualistic and has a raw look. It is also an ideal option for those who prefer the preservation of the carat weight. The polishing phase typically removes thin material layers, which influences the weight.
Those who prefer enhanced elegance and beauty should select the polished girdle. Polishing removes the irregularities and roughness for a smoother, resistant surface that is less likely to chip or damage. This makes the option a durable one. Its appearance is consistent, and the most preferred diamond in the market.
Anyone who loves an unchanged and genuine vintage can’t go wrong with a frosted girdle. It has understated and subtle beauty compared to the other options. The visual effect is unique since light is scattered and diffused differently than in other finishes. It offers a personal textured style that conceals minor imperfections on the diamond’s surface.
Understanding the Thickness Amounts of the Girdle
The girdle, just like any other diamond attribute, has a grading scale. This can be based on width, thickness, and overall appearance. Girdle thickness doesn’t have a standardized grading scale. However, there are descriptive terms in the industry used to communicate and assess the characteristics.
Girdle grading is used to identify the largest and smallest sizes using optical measuring devices meant for gemstones.
Measuring thickness involves:
- Preparation: Involves securing the diamond on a clamp or holder for stability and safety.
- Picking measuring points: Specific girdle points are picked based on the shape. Normally, these points are evenly distributed on the circumference.
- Measurement: The measuring tool’s (usually a micrometer) jaws are positioned on either side of the gem at the measurement points picked. The micrometer is then closed gently, coming into contact with the girdle. Measurements are read from the tool indicating thickness in fractions of a millimeter or millimeters. To guarantee accuracy, multiple measurements are taken to account for variations.
- Averaging measurements: Averaging helps determine overall thickness. It’s a representative value of the girdle’s average thickness.
Different thickness amounts affect a diamond’s durability and appearance. Thickness is not always uniform, even on a single gem, ranging from extremely thin to extremely thick. Let’s look at the girdle thickness amounts to understand them better.
In this case, the girdle is almost invisible because of the thin outline. In some cases, it’s prone to breaking or chipping. As such, it must be handled carefully when cutting and setting the stone. This thickness can significantly affect the diamond cut grade, with a diamond depth appearing relatively shallow.
A very thin girdle needs extra care when the diamond is set because of a chipping risk. The grade has small outlines, with risks of damage or chipping, though not as high as the extremely thin option. It is a good girdle size for diamond cuts but it’s not the best.
You can clearly see a perfect girdle with this thickness. The chipping and breaking risk is much lower, while the cut grade isn’t significantly affected. This is an ideal proportion for most diamonds and settings. The thickness is sufficient to handle pressure without being too thick to have an adverse effect on the depth of the diamond.
At times, you can get a thin-medium combination through some modifications.
This is an almost perfect grade with a higher-than-medium girdle thickness. The diamond depth isn’t affected. The girdle doesn’t make it too deep, either. The risks of chipping and breaking are pretty low with this thickness, making it a good option.
The girdle is quite thick, and the depth is slightly increased, affecting the diamond’s appearance. This girdle size often results in a Very Good cut grade. The thickness is higher than what is considered desirable for that ideal diamond cut.
The girdle is much thicker than previous options and often yields high depth. The cut grade is Very Good or Good. The girdle reflection may be seen in a diamond of this size.
Here, the girdle happens to be so much thicker than customarily recommended and is usually considered undesirable. The diamond’s symmetry is often affected, and the cut grade is reduced to Good or Fair. There are high chances of a fisheye effect where the girdle reflection is visible within the diamond. This affects the diamond’s sparkle.
Things to Note About Girdle Thickness
A diamond’s girdle thickness is important when buying diamond pieces. Before you make a buying decision, there are several things to keep in mind.
- Girdle consistency shouldn’t be too thick as it results in dead weight, which makes the diamond look smaller.
- Extreme girdle variations aren’t the best because they can result in symmetry issues or poor cuts. In most cases, the diamond’s optical performance is lowered. The extreme variations lead to problems during the stone setting process.
- Ratings are done relative to the stone size or the diameter. This means that a 0.31-millimeter thickness can result in a “Very Thick” rating for a half-carat diamond. However, the exact measurement in a 5-carat diamond may result in a “Thin-Medium” rating.
- Extremely thin girdles result in knife-like edges where the crown and pavilion meet. Mechanically, the diamond’s crystalline structure is weakest at such edges, making it susceptible to damage.
Talk to a Diamond Expert
When it comes to the choice between frosted and polished girdles, it’s a matter of personal preference. However, both options have benefits that should guide you through the selection process. Alternatively, you may pick a bruted girdle instead.
To help you decide, talk to our Estate Diamond Jewelry Experts. With years of experience, we can offer profound insights, ensuring you pick the perfect option.