Glossary of Common Diamond Terms
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Glossary of Common Terms

Glossary of Terms

Throughout the AGS Laboratories site, you might find unfamiliar terms. The information below provides a high-level overview of some of the common terms we use to describe how and what we evaluate and grade through AGS Laboratories.


Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET®

The ASET is a proprietary viewing device created by the American Gem Society. The ASET color-codes the angular ranges from which a diamond draws or gathers light.


Brightness is the amount of white light a diamond gives off.


Brilliance factors in both a diamond’s brightness and contrast. When a diamond gives off a large amount of light through the table, or the flat facet at the top of the diamond, it is considered brilliant. When some facets are darker than others in intense lighting (think sunlight), the diamond will appear brighter.


Contrast is the effect created by the light and dark patterns seen when observing a faceted diamond. Contrast can be positive or negative in its optical effect. Usually it is caused by, but not limited to, the observer's head.


The Crown is the uppermost part of a diamond.


The Culet is the point on the bottom of a diamond's pavilion. A diamond's Culet may be pointed, or it may be blunted with a small facet.


Dispersion is the separation of white light into colors by the refraction in a diamond.


Durability is a diamond’s resistance to chipping or breaking.


Fire is the amount of rainbow colors coming from a diamond.


The Girdle is the widest part (outer edge) of the diamond.


Leakage is defined as the areas in a diamond that do not return light.

Light Performance

Light Performance is an analysis of brightness, dispersion, leakage, and contrast in a diamond.


Luster is the quality and quantity of light reflected from a gem's surface.


The Pavilion is the lower part of the diamond. 


Polish is the quality of the diamond's surface and edges.


Proportions are the size and angular relationships among the main parts of the diamond. AGS Laboratories diamond graders consider the following factors when evaluating Proportions: Table Size, Crown Angle, Girdle Thickness, Pavilion Angle, and Culet Size.


Shape is the outline of the diamond, like marquise, pear, or oval. Don’t confuse it with Cut — many people do.


Symmetry is the exactness of the balance and evenness of the diamond's shape and face.


The Table is the flat facet in the top part of a diamond.


To understand Tilt, you need to know these three terms: Girdle, Table, Pavilion. With these terms in mind, Tilt is the point at which the girdle reflects in the table of a diamond. It is defined by the minimum Pavilion angle allowed for each table size. 

Weight Ratio

The Weight Ratio is the millimeter footprint of a diamond versus its weight.


Have questions or comments? Contact AGS Laboratories.


Mission Statement

The American Gem Society (AGS) is a nonprofit trade association of fine jewelry professionals dedicated to setting, maintaining and promoting the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior through education, accreditation, recertification of its membership, gemological standards, and gemological research.

The Society is committed to providing educational products to inform and protect the consumer and to contributing to the betterment of the trade by creating industry standards to protect the jewelry-buying public and the fine jewelry industry as a whole.

AGS Laboratories, founded to support the AGS mission, is a nonprofit diamond grading laboratory with a mission of consumer protection. Adhering to the AGS Diamond Grading Standards, AGS Laboratories is dedicated to offering diamond grading reports that provide consistency and accuracy based on science.

American Gem Society