There are basically 3 types of girdle finishing diamonds can come in: faceted, polished and bruted. Interestingly, the type of girdle finishing theoretically has no effect on the brilliance of a stone. If you had read up our entire section on cut, you would know that brilliance is largely determined by the proportions of the stone (e.g. pavilion angles, crown angles…). 

Types of Finishing Performed on the Girdle

Just a few decades ago, almost all round brilliant cuts have a bruted girdle because of the way diamonds were cut. This frosty appearance is created when a rough stone is rounded against another rough stone in a process called bruting.

bruted girdle finishing

A bruted girdle is also known as a “bearded girdle” because the girdle’s surface resembles a man’s beard. On a micro-scale level, the bruted girdle has many tiny feathers which gives the diamond an opaque and frosty appearance. In badly worked diamonds, the feathers can extend into the diamond’s body and become marked as inclusions.

I would go on the record to say this: having a bruted girdle is no reason for joy. I don’t like the idea of having numerous “miniature cracks” around the diamond which have the likelihood of growing into larger ones should there be accidental impacts.

I Recommend Polished or Faceted Girdles Instead

For polished girdles, it means the entire girdle is polished into a single large and clear facet which enables you to see through into the diamond’s body.

polished diamond girdle

The most common type of finishing found in modern day diamonds is the faceted girdle. Basically, a series of very small facets are made around the entire circumference and this faceting process removes tiny feathers caused during the bruting process.

faceted diamond girdle

Did you know that GIA only evaluates the thickness of the girdle and not the appearance of it? The reason why diamond cutters put in additional time and effort for girdle finishing is purely based on the notion that more consumers prefer it.

What’s My Personal Preference for a Girdle’s Finish?

Personally, I prefer a faceted girdle as it gives me a cleaner and more complete look to the diamond. My wife wears a heart shaped diamond with a slightly thick – thick faceted girdle. Mounted in a prong basket setting, the diamond is set pretty high and exposes more areas of the stone to light. With casual observation from the side of the ring, you can sometimes see light returning off the girdle due to the presence of the tiny facets. To me, that is an added benefit of having faceted girdles.

If a diamond you like happens to have a bruted girdle, I personally feel that it would be a deal breaker. Come’on, it’s currently the 21st century and modern machining equipment is easily available anywhere in the world. There is no excuse for a cutter not to touch up the girdle for a more presentable look. Having either a polished or a faceted girdle would be OK but leaving a bruted girdle on a finished product is a sign of sloppiness I don’t cordon.

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4 Comments

  1. Amanda-
    August 30, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    If my cutter polished or faceted the girdles of my old cut diamonds – our specialty – I’d be pretty pissed. It’s definitely not sloppy, its keeping antiques in their purest form. A perfect (and possibly the only) reason to keep a bruted girdle!

  2. Paul Gian-
    August 31, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Agreed. If you are talking about old antique diamonds from the last century, it would make sense. In modern day manufacturing, keeping girdles in bruted states is just downright sloppy.

  3. Bob-
    December 6, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Your comments sound like those of a mind held captive to marketing messages. Very typical of your region and culture. Everything shiny and bling isn’t necessarily better. Your OPINION is subjective, and common.

    As everything manufactured becomes computer CNC perfect, these products lose value (become common, predictable, mass produced). The matte girdle is about classic (unique) style. It adds a certain charm in a marketplace of same, same, homogeneity.

    Diamonds, gemstones, jewelry, art, fashion are a personal SUBJECTIVE statement.

    Your idea of taste (“sloppy”) may be similar to the way Van Gogh was first perceived in art salons (outcast, shunned). As well as so many examples of modern art in their day.

    The “perfect” symmetrical cut of the RB today is about as exciting as a mass produced ball bearing. The H&A stars are the classic branding logo indicating you’ve been sucked in by a marketing campaign.

    No wonder classic diamonds, cuts, and styles are so popular today. They feel unique, and authentic – not another mass produced product.

  4. Paul Gian-
    December 7, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Well, it depends on what kind of goods you are looking for. If you are looking for a old style and odd shape diamond, a bruted girdle or unfinished diamond could be your thing. If polishing or cut quality didn’t matter, why bother to buy a diamond in the first place? You could easily pick out a rock on the ground and use it.

    And just to be clear on one thing (clearly, you have absolutely no idea how things work in the polishing industry). If diamonds were so easily cut “perfectly symmetrical” and the finished product exactly the same as the other, every one would have been doing it.

    Reality is far from that.

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