Part 1: Diamond in the Rough


To understand the AGS Performance Cut Grading system, we must begin by considering why diamonds are cut at all. In their natural rough form, diamonds aren’t much to look at and are, therefore, rarely used in art and jewelry. Compared to a finely cut diamond, the rough crystal is dull and lifeless. Until the diamond is cut, all of its inherent beauty exists only as potential.

It takes the skill and expertise of a master diamond cutter to unlock the natural beauty of the diamond. This is why the cut of the diamond is so significant and is considered the most important of the four Cs. It is the cutter who breathes life into the diamond and transforms it from a dull, lifeless rock into a work of art. It is the cutter who shows us the “diamond in the rough."

An expertly cut diamond is much more than the marriage of art and nature; it is the culmination of centuries of human experimentation, imagination, and innovation. Nothing is easy with diamonds, and cutters always have faced many challenges. While most people are aware of the extreme hardness and rarity of diamonds, what is less known are the extreme design challenges with which cutters must deal. Diamonds are cut according to a design, and master diamond cutting is all about executing the design as precisely as possible.

Diamonds are finicky, and the penalties for mistakes can be severe. Even slight errors can mean the difference between a bright, lively diamond and a dull, mediocre commercial grade stone. Unfortunately, this presents a problem to the uninformed and inexperienced consumer who may not be able to tell the difference. The AGS Performance Cut Grade system was developed to solve this problem and, thereby, protect the consumer.