The Flanders

A name rich in diamond history, but does this diamond deserve it?
It wasn’t too long ago that I started receiving questions about the Flanders cut diamond. “What did I think? Was it the same thing as a box radiant? How did it handle light? Did I like it?” My first thought (before I had even seen it) was regarding its stately name. Flanders, a region in Belgium (one of the diamond capitals of the world) is a name rich in history and tradition. In the early 1900s quite a few Americans gave their lives on the Flanders countryside back in World War I in a fight for freedom. Any diamond with such a well thought out name deserved my attention. This last week the creators of the Flanders cut gladly loaned me a stone to review. These are my results.
Visual
Before I lay any diamond down on a sarin or megascope machine or under the microscope I like to get a first impression on how it interacts with me. All I knew of the candidate was it was loose and weighted .48 carats. Before I snuck a peek I let the rock slide out of the parcel paper into an awaiting gem diamond cloth. After I gave it a few good rubs I locked it into my tweezers to see if this little fella was going to dance or sit this one out. My first impression was positive. The diamond was lively and scintillated quite well. After I turned on the spot lights the intensity magnified. There was very little light leakage that I could perceive. I continued to adjust my light source from intense (direct sunlight) to faint (a darkened room with one candle being lit). It was important for me to know how it performed in different arenas. While the diamond more than easily held its own where there was sufficient lighting it underperformed where there was scarcity of light. This gave me my first clue that this diamond might be packing a little unneeded weight. What was confusing however was how small the diamond looked for being a half carat. When I turned the diamond to its side for a profile, I could see it had a towering crown height and an extra thick girdle. I knew at that moment why the diamond looked smaller. Another thing I noticed was it had some heavily cut corners. Not that it was shaped like a stop sign but it wasn’t too far off. Most of the box radiants I had seen in my life only had slightly cut corners. This seemed strange to me. Why would someone chop off perfectly good corners to that extent? All it did was make the stone look smaller! However, these extra large cut corners are part of the secret to this Belgium named diamond.
Testing
The cutter must have figured out that by bringing in the corner walls and increasing the crown angle to an unheard of 42.2° they would create an almost pinball effect with the light to increase dispersion (colored light). While the magic trick did work, since the pavilion angle was not manipulated, I believe it came at a high price (making the stone look so small). To further the effect in the Flanders the cutter kept an unimaginable 10.4% girdle thickness. This was required so light that enters through the table doesn’t prematurely exit out the pavilion. The end result again was sufficient light return when properly lit but it seemed negated by the shrunken look of the rock.
Smudge Test
While the diamond broke all the rules (65/65 rule) and still managed to look respectful even enchanting under most lighting it crashed and burned when it got dirty. During the smudge test, I roll the diamond between my fingers and perform all the same tests as I did with it clean. A great diamond needs to look good not only when it’s clean but hold its own as it gets dirty. The extra thick girdle and bowl-like effect on the crown promptly flattens and fogs the instant light is forced through unwanted soot. While it is true any diamond will eventually die when covered with enough dirt, this one failed at the first sign of a smudge.
Conclusion
While I have to hand it to the creators of this Octagon like shaped diamond on the inventiveness of their Cyclops crown it eventually fails because it cannot handle everyday grit and grime. If I was a collector of gems this would certainly make the final cut. It is beautiful when clean and well lit, and definitely shows there is more than one way to skin a cat.

by Fred Cuellar, author of the best-selling book “How to Buy a Diamond.” More questions? Ask the Diamond Guy®