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Diamond Culet

The culet (pronounced cue-let) is the small area at the bottom of a diamond's pavilion. The culet of a diamond is the tiny facet or point at the base of the pavilion, where the facets of the pavilion meet.  The culet can be a point or a very small facet sitting parallel to the table.

Below are the standard ratings that may be applied as a description of a diamond's culet:

·         None (Pointed), Very Small, Small - Ideal; care should be taken when setting stone
·         Medium - Very Good; protected against chipping but not ideal visually
·         Slightly Large, Large - May affect appearance of diamond
·         Very Large - Will usually affect appearance of diamond
·         Extremely Large - Highly visible and will affect appearance of diamond

Diamond with culet of Medium or small size will be invisible to the naked eye and have no adverse impact on a diamond's appearance. However, if a culet is Slightly Large or larger, it may allow light entering from the crown to pass straight through the culet facet, reducing the diamond's fire and brilliance. This can also make the culet appear as an inclusion, or create a dead area on the diamond from where the light escapes through the bottom.

When the pavilion facets do not meet at a point, the culet is a rough or polished facet.

Rating Diamond Culet

The culet is rated from None to Extremely Large. When a loose diamond is sent for certification, the diamond is viewed face up to determine the culet's size, and from the side to determine the culet angle. A sharply angled culet is no longer assessed as a culet, but as an extra facet.

For diamonds with culets within the range of Small to Extremely Large, culet size can also be expressed as a percentage relative to the diameter of the diamond, measuring from about 1.5% to 15%.

The Culet Effect

Large culets are not desirable by modern cutting standards because they are visible through the table facet when the diamond is viewed from above.

A large, very large, or extremely large culet acts like a window parallel to the table of the diamond, allowing light to escape through the bottom and making the culet appear as a dark circle or dead area. Although the absence of a culet is most desirable, a diamond with a small or medium-sized culet will appear to have a point at the base of the pavilion, and will perfectly reflect the light that passes through the stone. However, a pointed culet has a very slight risk of chipping while setting and being worn, so it is crucial to secure the diamond in a protective setting to minimize contact with hard or abrasive surfaces. A high setting will also help to prevent contact with the metal or the finger. Some diamond cutters prefer to cut a small culet to minimize the risk of chipping.

Unless you're looking for an antique setting and prefer an older style diamond cut, choose a diamond with a small culet or none at all, as this will best display the diamond's fire and brilliance and will charm you the most.