What Is a Portrait Cut Diamond?

Many of us have heard of colorless diamonds, colored diamonds, and lab-created diamonds. And all the different shapes that diamonds are cut. A lesser-known variety is a portrait cut diamond. What is a portrait cut diamond?

Portrait cut diamonds are ancient Indian cuts of diamonds. They are cut in the form of a thin slab or sheet of numerous shapes like rectangles, squares, pears, and other shapes.

The upper and lower surface of the diamond is polished with simple and delicate facets covering the entire crown of the diamond. Consequently, it results in a shallow step-cut diamond. 

These diamonds were once used for covering miniature paintings. That is where the name “portrait cut” comes from. In this article, we will discuss more about portrait cut diamonds.

What Are the Characteristics of a Portrait Diamond?

Portrait diamonds were designed in such a way that they enhance the features of a mini portrait. The diamonds are cut as thin sheets with upper and lower surfaces fully polished.

Colorless white diamonds usually fit this purpose perfectly because they can transmit all the light entering them. Every diamond has inclusions or impurities during formation. Colorless diamonds with high clarity grade or fewer inclusions are selected to make portrait diamonds. 

For instance, a manufacturer may prefer to use a D color grade diamond with internally flawless clarity to make a portrait diamond.

These diamonds are also known as table-cut diamonds because diamond cutters in ancient India used simple tools and materials in making portrait diamonds. Below are a few famous examples of table-cut diamonds:

The original table cut is cuboidal in shape, has few facets but has no culet. Later, a culet was introduced at one side of the diamond. Table-cut portrait diamonds were quite famous in Russia at one time.

What Is a Russian Portrait Diamond?

The Russian portrait diamond is a flat, pear-shaped diamond measuring 40 × 29 mm. It weighs nearly 27 carats. This diamond is considered one of the biggest portrait diamonds in the world. It covers a mini portrait of Czar Alexander I of Russia.

The diamond was the centerpiece of a gold and enamel bracelet. The diamond became the property of the Russian diamond fund and has been kept in custody since the passing of Alexander I.

Celebrities Who Wore Portrait Cut Diamonds

Portrait cut diamonds are popular among celebrities because they look like flowing liquid or molten glass. Rooney Mara, a renowned American actress, wore a hexagonal portrait diamond ring for her engagement. 

Kendall Jenner wore a portrait ring at the American Foundation for AIDS research gala reception at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. She had also flaunted her eye-catching portrait ring on Instagram, and more than 1.2 million people liked the post.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the rarest cut of diamond?

The rarest diamond cut is the royal Asscher cut, which is an update of the Asscher diamond cut created by Joseph Asscher in 1902. Later in 1999, the great-grandson of Joseph wanted a modern update to the cut.

The original Asscher diamond cut usually has 58 facets. But in a royal Asscher cut, there are 16 more facets. These additional facets give a high crown and a smaller cross-section with perfect symmetry. 

This enables the diamond to shine brighter than a square-shaped diamond. The clarity of the royal Asscher cut is even higher than brilliant round diamonds.

These diamonds are rarely available in jewelry stores because Gemologists reckon less than 75 people on this planet can cut these diamonds perfectly.

2. What is the most beautiful diamond cut?

The round, brilliant-cut is one of the most beautiful diamond cuts. It has 58 facets which allow the light to enter and reflect from every facet, creating a sparkle higher than other diamond cuts.

Marcel Tolkowsky published a mathematical formula on how a diamond can achieve optical brilliance in his Ph.D. thesis. That formula resulted in the creation of a beautiful round, brilliant diamond.

Unfortunately, the round diamond cut is a bit more expensive than the other diamond cut. A large portion of the rough diamond is lost while cutting and polishing. A round diamond hardly uses 40 percent of the rough diamond, and the rest goes to waste.

3. What is an ideal cut diamond?

A diamond is recognized to have an ideal cut if it has perfect proportions or reflects all the light entering the table and crown of the diamond. The number of facets and their arrangement play a significant role in allowing light to enter and refract in a diamond.

An ideal cut diamond is a round, brilliant-cut. It has 58 facets, and all are distributed in the entire body of the diamond in a precise manner. 

There are thirty-three facets that are arranged above the girdle of the diamond. The remaining 25 facets are present on the conical base of the diamond, also known as the pavilion of the diamond.

4. Which diamond cut holds its value?

A round brilliant cut diamond holds its value the best among diamond cuts. Almost half of the diamonds sold today are round, brilliant diamond cuts. 

They are quite popular in the market for their outstanding fire and brilliance. But these diamonds are expensive as compared to other diamond cuts of the same carat weight, color, and clarity grade.

Final Thoughts On Portrait Cut Diamonds

One may mistake the cut and shape of a diamond to represent the same thing. However, these two descriptors are different. A diamond shape refers to the geometrical shape of the diamond, such as round, square, heart shape, or princess.

But the cut refers to the number of facets in the diamond and how it interacts with light. So, if the cut of the diamond is good, then the diamond will sparkle with brilliance and fire. Portrait diamonds are now growing in popularity because of their ability to sparkle in a more unique way than most other cuts.

Thank you for reading – we hope you enjoyed this information about portrait cut diamonds!

Related article:

What Is an Oval Diamond Bowtie?

Everything About Baguette Diamonds


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James Allen is our most recommended online jeweler that guarantees a wonderful online shopping experience. You will find the most beautiful and best quality diamonds available for very competitive prices.

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