February 7

What is a Diamond Girdle? | How Does It Create the Jewel’s Outline?


Author: Alene Geed

Key Takeaways

  • An extremely thick girdle may hide the diamond's weight as depth. 
  • An extremely thin diamond girdle may chip.
  • There are different diamond girdle thickness grades.
  • An extremely thick girdle may cause a poor light return.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about the diamond girdle, from what it is to why it matters when purchasing a diamond, so read on!

What Is a Diamond Girdle?

Diamonds are famous in the fashion world, and men and women love to wear them to complement their looks. Thus, it’s essential to understand their various factors and characteristics and how they affect the diamond quality. 

When viewing a diamond from the top, a girdle is a part that creates the diamond outline. If you check from the side, the girdle separates the bottom or pavilion from the set of facets at the top, known as the crown. 

A diamond’s shape depends on its girdle, and the girdles vary in size, from extremely thin girdle to extremely thick. Also, it’s necessary to note that the thinner the girdle, the higher the chipping risk. 

drawing of diamond girdle varying grades

The grades vary as follows:

  • Extremely Thick Girdle

  • Very Thick Girdle

  • Thick Girdle

  • Slightly Thick Girdle

  • Medium Girdle

  • Slightly Thin Girdle

  • Thin Girdle

  • Very Thin Girdle

  • Extremely Thin Girdle

Since the girdles are in different sizes throughout the diamond, you can also check out the two varying girdle grades in this diamond grading report

4 black and white photos of diamonds in various positions

Is the Girdle of a Diamond Important?

Yes, the girdle is a significant part of the diamond because it makes or breaks its appearance. It affects the diamond’s overall appearance, including the depth of the pavilion facets, diamond culet size, crown angle height, and total depth. 

A stone cutter can have the girdle as cut diamond or faceted, depending on whether they desire it to be more or less appealing. The most critical aspect is the diamond’s general depth which the stone cutter determines according to its girdle.  

Different Types of Diamond Girdles

There are three girdle types:

  • Bruted Girdles: An unpolished, rough girdle with a frosted appearance. You’ll find it in antique diamonds. Also, this girdle type dampens the light performance of the diamond. 

  • Polished Girdles: In this case, the stone cutter polishes the girdle, creating a large, transparent facet. Some modern options have a polished diamond girdle, which offers a good light performance.

  • Faceted Girdles: Faceted diamonds have a cut and polished girdle. A faceted girdle offers the best light performance.

diamonds and their reflections on the white background

What Does Girdle Thickness Mean in Diamonds?

According to the GIA Laboratory, girdle thickness is the thickest and thinnest “valley” position on the diamond girdle. These areas connect the upper and lower half facets relative to the average diamond diameter.

The girdle impacts a diamond in three significant ways:

  • A diamond's thickness affects the positions of the surrounding facets, which may impact the cut. 

  • A girdle's thickness adds weight to the diamond, which increases its price. Its effect on carat weight and cost may appear minimal but real. 

  • If the girdle is too thin, it becomes more susceptible to chipping off, which you should avoid in diamond-containing rings. 

Do Fake Diamonds Have a Girdle?

Yes, fake diamonds also have a girdle. Still, do you see a giant diamond on someone’s hand and wonder whether it’s real? Well, here’s how not to get fooled again. One of the easiest ways an expert uses to know a simulant diamond is through its polished and smooth girdle. 

Besides other visible additions, this is the most telling factor. A Moissanite stone or Cubic Zirconia has a polished and smooth girdle. But you can’t find a polished and smooth girdle on a real diamond. 

What is the Ideal Cut for a Princess Cut Diamond?

The ideal cut is the four-prong and channel diamond settings. Sometimes the corners on the princess cut diamond may disadvantage the shape. Designers overcome the challenge by setting the diamond into a fitting ring.

a diamond closeup

A four-prong or channel setting offers safety to the diamond without minimizing its visual appeal. 

Settings to consider for the princess cut diamonds include:

  • Vintage

  • Halo

  • Channel

  • Solitaire

The key features of princess cut diamonds include:

  • It’s a square-shaped diamond with the most brilliance

  • It has 2-4 chevron patterns

  • The diamond costs less per carat than round cuts because the stone cutter maintains more rough stone during the cutting process.

Princess-cut diamonds are a popular choice for diamond earrings and engagement rings.

a beautiful woman with diamond jewelry

A Buyers’ Guide to Diamond Girdles

If you’re purchasing or selling a loose diamond, a girdle may not be significant because a thicker or thinner girdle may not necessarily affect the diamond’s appearance. However, how extremely thin or extremely thick a diamond becomes crucial during the diamond’s symmetry assessment. Any variation makes the diamond appear disproportionate.

If you’re looking for the ideal-cut diamond options, look for those with a girdle rating between thin and thick. Note that a perfectly-proportioned diamond has a medium, slightly thick girdle rating.

Also, keep in mind that fancy-colored diamonds have a thicker girdle. Yellow diamonds, in particular, have extremely thick girdles.


How the Diamond Girdle Increases Its Value?

The diamond girdle affects its value in different dimensions. First, it affects the diamond’s general appearance by adjusting its pavilion depth and crown height. In addition, the girdle determines its shape, influencing its brilliance, fire, durability, carat weight, and price. 

Fire and Brightness

A diamond’s girdle affects its brightness and fire. It dazzles less if it has a girdle that’s too thick, leading to a poor light return. Furthermore, its fire and brilliance may depend on the diamond’s cut quality.


A diamond’s girdle thickness impacts its durability. The thicker the girdle, the more durable the diamond. Conversely, the thinner the girdle, the more likely the diamond is to break or chip.

Carat Weight

How thick the diamond girdle is, determines its carat weight. Generally, the lighter the girdle, the lighter the diamond will be. A slightly thick to extremely thick girdle makes the diamond hefty. 

What is a Diamond Girdle Reflection? 

You'll notice the girdle reflection when viewing a diamond from its side, and you shouldn’t mistake it for inclusion. A girdle reflection appears because light moves through the diamond and exits through the diamond pavilion. 

Some people believe that it’s a crack in the diamond, but to be sure, you should take it to a jeweler to establish whether it's a crack or a girdle reflection.

What is the Spiritual Meaning of a Girdle?

In literature, girdles portray magic, which gives strength and power when worn by men, and protection when worn by women. In the bible, girdles are a symbol of preparation and readiness. 

What Kind of Girdle is the Best for Diamond?

Jewelry experts confirm that a medium, slightly thick girdle is the best because it’s unlikely to chip and reflects light well. Still, slightly thin and thicker girdles also work well with round-cut diamonds. Use girdles ranging from thin to thick for fancy cuts like heart-shaped diamonds or marquise. 

About the Author:

Alene Geed

I am a published writer and an experienced jewelry designer. In my designs, I use gold, steel and silver, and adds gemstones to enhance the beauty of my unique, sparkling pieces of jewelry.

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