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We hope you’ve read our 4 C’s article, but if you haven’t, we highly suggest checking it out as a primer for this guide on Astor cut diamonds. Don’t worry; we’re not going to get too technical or scientific!
However, it’s essential to know that the cut is often the most important of all the characteristics of diamonds. There’s a misconception that the cut refers to the diamond shape, like those gorgeous oval engagement rings or Lady Gaga’s heart-shaped engagement ring.
But cut actually refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry, and polish. These qualities have a lot to do with the facets of the diamond.
A well-cut diamond looks noticeably different than one with a poor cut as the cut helps to maximize the gem’s use of light. A diamond with an excellent cut will have more fire, brilliance, and sparkle. But there is “well-cut,” and then this is Astor cut.
What Is an Astor Cut Diamond?
Astor is unique to Blue Nile. The company offers good, very good, ideal, and Astor cuts. Astor is a collection of diamonds that have a premium cut, “super-ideal,” if you will.
These breathtaking stones have optimal brilliance, fire, and scintillation (a fancy word for sparkle). Previously, this collection was called Blue Nile Signature Diamonds, but the Astor Cut has replaced that.
Blue Nile’s Astor Ideal diamonds are rare, with approximately one in every one-thousand meeting the strict criteria of this collection. By acknowledging these extremely high-quality diamonds with the Astor designation, Blue Nile makes it incredibly easy to find diamonds that will sweep you off your feet.
Take for example this Astor Ideal in a brilliant round cut, coming in at just over 2.5 carats. It’s an impressive stone not for its size but for it’s radiance and sparkle.
How Is the Astor Cut Diamond Different?
Obviously, the cut is what sets these diamonds apart. But what does that mean exactly? We’ve learned that it doesn’t mean these diamonds are all round-shaped or heart-shaped because cut refers to symmetry and proportion instead of the exterior shape. What the cut does for the stone makes Blue Nile Astor cut diamonds different.
- Proportions. Diamond proportion refers to the relationship between the angle, shape, and size of each facet of a diamond. A diamond’s shape must be assessed and the right combination determined in order for the stone to make the most of the light entering it. The proportion can change how much light reflects out of the crown to reach the eye of the viewer versus how much is lost out of the bottom. As you may have guessed, we want the light to be returned to us to create that lovely sparkle instead of being directed toward our finger. With an Astor diamond, you can be guaranteed it won’t be too shallow, deep, or narrow.
- Symmetry. The facets of a diamond look like a pattern or a puzzle. They all must line up and intersect perfectly for a diamond to have ideal symmetry. The diamond’s brilliance can be affected if there are extra facets, wavy girdles, mishappen facets, or misalignments. Astor diamond’s excellent symmetry ensures light isn’t misdirected off at odd angles but reflected perfectly for maximum shine!
- Brilliance. We’ve sort of been dancing around the topic, but all of the above characteristics give an Astor diamond unbelievable brilliance. The qualities work together to ensure that the diamond maximizes light for a substantial and very apparent level of brilliance.
- Certification. Undoubtedly Astor diamonds are certified, not just by one entity but two! The diamonds are certified by both GemEx Systems (GemEx) and the GIA. You may have heard of the GIA (the Gemological Institute of America), but GemEx is less well-known. GemEx prides itself on being the go-to source for determining a diamond’s brilliance, fire, and scintillation. They use specialized equipment to scientifically reveal how the light performs in a diamond. They produce a report with a graph, measurements, and an image so jewelers (and you) can see what makes an Astor stand out!
All diamonds like this Astor Ideal include a GIA report and GemEx report available right within the diamond details!
What Are the Proportions of the Astor Diamond?
Astor promises ideal proportions. This makes sense when considering that ideal proportions are necessary for unmatched brilliance.
As for the shape of the Astor Diamond, you can choose from round brilliant, cushion, radiant, oval, heart, or princess cut. However, it’s important to remember that round brilliant has the “ideal cut,” which means the best proportions possible.
As a result, it possesses the most brilliance out of all the shapes. A round brilliant has an impressive 58 facets, making excellent use of light entering the stone.
This round brilliant cut is a shining example of how the traditional round brilliant cut can be enhanced by excellent craftsmanship making it suitable of Blue Nile’s Astor Ideal.
If you’ve ever been sitting in a restaurant or maybe at an outdoor cafe and had a diamond catch your eye, sparkling in the sun, it was likely a round brilliant.
Fine-quality round brilliant stones are sparkly to the max. It’s not hard to see why the round brilliant cut is today’s most popular pick!
Does the Astor Diamond Have a Different Facet Structure?
As mentioned, the Astor diamond has different shapes, which can give them slightly different facet structures. The number of facets can vary as well.
It isn’t really about the facet structure as much as it is about the perfect symmetry of the facets. If you have ever been to a fair or circus, you’ve likely seen a room full of mirrors in a fun house. When you enter, you bounce from mirror to mirror, trying to make your way through the maze.
A similar thing happens to light when it enters a diamond. The facets act like mirrors, directing the light. The facets need to align and intersect just so in order to bounce light in the correct direction, which is back up towards your eyes. When light is reflected back toward you from your diamond, it looks sparkly and brilliant.
The gem can look dull if the light is lost through the bottom of the stone. Additionally, light that is misdirected won’t return to the viewer either, decreasing the diamond’s shine. The diamond must have perfect symmetry between its top and bottom too.
The top of the diamond is called the crown (fancy, I know), and the bottom is called the pavilion. Where the two meet is referred to as the girdle. It’s a diamond cutter’s job to ensure the pavilion and crown are aligned.
Furthermore, the girdle shouldn’t be wavy or thick. The diamond’s brilliance can be hindered if the angles are misaligned, not parallel, or varying in size.
You may not notice poor symmetry just by looking at the stone. Still, the diamond will appear less sparkly compared to an Astor diamond with perfect symmetry.
Take a look at this radiant cut Astor Ideal, it’s perfect symmetry is obvious, from the crown to the pavilion.
What Scientific Standards Is Blue Nile Using to Measure Sparkle?
Blue Nile makes some big promises, like their diamonds “reflect the most light possible,” but how do you know that to be true?
Well, we have to return back to their certifications. GemEx certifications and reports are slightly different from other grading entities and scores.
GemEx isn’t that old, founded in 1998, and claims that they pioneered scientifically assessing how well diamonds use light. They’re not messing around, either. They use a device developed by engineers called a spectrophotometer.
The spectrophotometer measures how well a diamond “plays” with light. The more facets (at least if they’re symmetrical and proportional) a diamond has, the more light it can reflect. Equalling a brighter, shinier, sparklier diamond.
GemEx named their spectrophotometer the BrillianceScope. With it, they measure five aspects of the diamond’s use of light to accurately assess.
- Brilliance. How much white light is returned to the person looking at the diamond.
- Fire. How much bright, colored light is returned to the observer.
- Scintillation (sparkle). The number of light points returned to the person looking at the diamond and how they change when the light moves.
A diamond must rate very high on the BrillianceScope scale to be allowed into the prestigious Astor category. GemEx offers a full report with a breakdown of their certification for every one of Blue Nile’s Astor diamonds.
We love that it also includes charts and images in addition to raw data because sometimes we’re visual learners when it comes to diamonds.
In truth, looking at a Blue Nile Astor diamond, you can see the difference. They’re positively radiant!
How Much Does an Astor Ideal Cost?
As with most things in life, if you want a premium product you are going to have to pay a little bit more for its high quality. Thankfully, true to Blue Nile, Astor Ideal diamonds still have relatively competitive pricing.
The Astor collection does come in at a slightly higher price point than standard ideal cut diamonds, often around to 25 to 30 percent more. For example, this 3/4 Carat Astor Cushion-Cut Petite Solitaire comes in at $4140, while the same ring without the level below Astor Ideal comes is priced at $3621.
However, these diamonds are much more brilliant than their competitors. If you want a super-ideal diamond that will sparkle in even the dimmest of light settings, then the Astor by Blue Nile is worth it!
Diamond cut can be a confusing subject, to begin with, especially when you get into the nitty-gritty of proportions and symmetry. But the difference is evident when you view an Astor diamond versus one with a less ideal cut.
Blue Nile’s Astor diamonds are an exclusive collection; not every diamond makes the cut (pun intended). Those that do are radiant and eye-catching, perfect for any piece of jewelry you want to be a cut above the rest.