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Diamond Cuts

by on June 12, 2013

One of the most defining characteristics of a diamond is its cut. While high grades of color, clarity, and carat weight also contribute to a diamond’s appeal, it’s the cut that determines the symmetry of the stone’s facets, its overall proportions, and its ability to reflect light. An expertly cut diamond will achieve high levels of brilliance, sparkle, and durability. Even if a diamond is graded well in other areas, a poor cut can result in a dull, muted effect. Below are various cuts of diamonds and some information pertaining to each cut. 

American Round Brilliant Diamonds

This cut of diamond is the most popular, with more than 50% of all diamonds being sold today are round brilliant. The round brilliant has been renown as the American Ideal Cut, however, it was developed in Europe. This diamond has a total of 58 facets, or 57 if the culet is pointed. This cut of diamond yields the most fire and brilliance of any cut and flows naturally with the rough diamond crystal. This cut of diamond has been researched for over a century now, and scientific theories have been developed, coupled with precise mathematical calculations, to optimize its fire and brilliance. This cut of diamond is the most versatile of any cut, and gives you plenty of value for your money. If a bachelor is unable to decide which cut his lady would like, one can not go wrong going with a round brilliant. This cut is also known as the Tolkowsky ideal cut!

Round Brilliant Diamond

Bottom view of round diamond Top view of round diamond Side view of round diamond

History & Background

This cut has evidence existing since the middle of the 17th century, right around the time when diamond cutters started utilizing more complex ways of cutting diamonds. Round brilliants weren’t always known as round brilliants. Originally they were called Mazarins, after their creator Cardinal Mazarin, who made the first cross cut diamond in the 1650′s. Gradual developments were made to the Mazarins, and then that gave birth to the Portuguese Peruzzi, “old mine,” or “old European cut” (what we at Gesner specialize in) in the 1700′s. It wasn’t until 1919 when the first early round brilliants was created. It was named the Tolkowsky cut, which is named after it’s cutter, Marcel Tolkowsky. Subtle changes have been made since 1919 to yield what the buying public knows today as the “American round brilliant.”

Historical timeline of the Round-shaped diamond

 

Princess Cut Diamonds

The princess cut is basically a round brilliant, but in a square shape. It yields either 57 or 76 facets. It’s popular for both solitaire engagement rings and earrings because it creates more light dispersion than any other square shaped diamond. This is due to the pyramidal shape of the cut. It is a patented cut, so on a GIA certificate it may appear as a Square Modified Brilliant if the ratio is larger than 1.05. This cut hides inclusions very well because of the light dispersion from the extra facets it contains. This makes the most brilliant of all square stones. It’s also very popular for eternity bands because they stones cant sit side by side without any gaps in between the stones. It’s also ideal for women with very long fingers because of its sharply squared corners! The Princess cut is also referred as the square- or rectangular modified brilliant.

Princess Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of Princess Cut Diamond

History & Background

The name “Princess Cut” was originally used in connection with another diamond cut known as the “Profile” cut, which was created in 1961. In 1979 the cut of the diamond took the name as we know it today, the Princess Cut. Other predecessors of the Princess Cut were the Barion and Quadrillion.

Timeline of development of Princess Cut Diamond

 

Emerald Cut Diamonds

The Emerald Cut is one of the first cuts to be used in jewelry. It resembles stair steps when looking down from directly on top of the stone. This cut is referred as a step cut because it shape is comprised of “steps.” Emerald Cuts typically have 57 facets. It can vary depending on how many rows of facets that are on the crown or pavilion, which in turn would alter the amount of facets the stone possesses. While it typically has less fire and brilliance than brilliant cuts, the broad flat plane of this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond and its natural crystalline rectangular growth. Additionally, the flat planes of the edges allow for a variety of side gemstones such as the long thin rectangular diamonds that often flank this cut, known as baguettes. The vast majority of emerald cuts have length to width ratios between 1.30 and 1.50 with 1.40 considered as the “ideal” or most popular. Those who prefer a more squared shape will opt for lower ratios while those after a more rectangular cut will choose higher ratios. Emerald ratios outside this range are atypical and generally less desirable. Because of its large open facets, higher clarity grades (VS2 and above for GIA and VS1 and above for EGL, to ensure it is completely eye clean) are usually recommended for emerald cut diamonds. As with the Asscher and Cushion cuts, more rectangular shapes (larger ratios) help to elongate shorter fingers.

Top, Side and Bottom view of Emerald Cut Diamond

History & Background

The exact origins of the first emerald cut remain somewhat ambiguous, although its stylistic specifications can be traced back to the single table cuts of some 500 years ago and the multifaceted table cuts of the Art Deco period in the early 20th century. The term “emerald cut” only began being used during the Art Deco period, despite the fact that diamond cutters were already cutting the same shape under different names. Initially, the cut itself was developed specifically for emerald gems in order to reduce the amount of pressure exerted during cutting and to protect the gemstone from chipping. However, diamond cutters soon realized the importance of this cut and applied it to diamonds as well.

Historical timeline of the Emerald cut diamond

Asscher Cut Diamonds

The Asscher cut is a unique shape with prismatic brilliance and a rectangular-faceted pavilion in the same style as the emerald cut. The standard number of main facets on an Asscher cut is usually 58 and the typical ratio for the more popular square-shaped Asscher cuts is 1.00 to 1.05. The width of the cut corners may vary. With its deep pavilion, faceted culet, high crown and small table, the Asscher cut allows for tremendous lustre and creates a fascinating optical illusion known as the “Hall of Mirrors” effect. The Asscher cut is referred to as a Square Emerald cut on a laboratory certificate, such as GIA or AGS. Although confusion reigns about what the differences are between an Asscher cut and a Square Emerald cut, they are in fact the same thing. However, there also exists a much rarer Royal Asscher cut, which is a patented version of the original Asscher cut with wide cut corners and 74 facets (instead of 58), and is classified as an octagonal step cut by the GIA. To fully appreciate the Asscher design, it is advisable to select a diamond of higher clarity (VS2 and above for GIA and VS1 and above for EGL, to ensure it is completely eye clean). A table and depth percentage between 60 – 73.5% and 51 – 77% respectively is also recommended. Also referred to as: Square Emerald Cut

Asscher Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of the Asscher Cut Diamond


History and Background

Named after its creator Joseph Asscher, owner of the Amsterdam-based diamond company of the same name, the Asscher cut was developed in the early 20th century at the birth of the stylish and popular Art Deco movement. Joseph Asscher rose to fame several years later when he was commissioned by King Edward VII to cut the famous 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond for the English crown jewels. In 1980 Her Majesty Queen Juliana of Holland granted the Asscher Diamond Company a royal title in recognition of the role the Asscher family and company had held in the diamond industry. This cut’s popularity peaked in the late 1920s but remained a somewhat rare commodity for the remainder of the century, available only in antique shops and specialized Art Deco jewelers. At the onset of the new millennium, following considerable research and development, the Asscher cut was redesigned with new specifications and additional facets for a more brilliant shine, and has since regained its popularity.

Historical timeline of the Asscher cut diamond

 

Pear Shape Diamonds

The pear shape is unique and hybrid diamond cut combining the brilliance and design style of both the Round Brilliant and the Marquise that results in a shape with a single point and rounded end. The typical ratio is between 1.50 and 1.70 and the stone is usually comprised of 58 facets, although the number of pavilion facets may range from 4 to 8. Additionally, pear shapes are sometimes cut with a “French tip,” which replaces the large bezel facet at the point with star and upper girdle facets. French tips are also used in the Heart and Marquise shapes. Pear-shaped diamonds may vary in appearance with some having what is referred to as “high shoulders”, making the stone appear more angular. The pear shape can suffer from a so-called “bow-tie effect” when light passing through the diamond casts a shadow across the central facets of the stone. This shadow can be reduced by altering the depth of the pavilion, and adjusting the angles of the table and facets to better diffuse light in the central area. This effect also occurs in the Heart, Marquise and Oval shapes. The optimal pear shape is one with a polished girdle and a rounded base, or “even shoulders”. However, much like the oval cut, a more attenuated pear shape may elongate the fingers, so it is important to reconcile these two qualities. Additionally, colour is often more visible towards the tip of the pear shape, so to ensure an even tone throughout the stone it is advisable to opt for colours H and above. Also referred to as: PENDELOQUE or TEARDROP CUT.

Pear Shaped Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of Pear Shaped Diamond

History & Background

The first pear-shaped diamond was created in the 1400s by Flemish cutter Lodewyk van Berquem of Bruges, inventor of the diamond-polishing wheel, or scaif. This invention enabled him to polish all the facets of the diamond to optimize light reflection within it. It was from this watershed moment onwards that diamonds began to be used in jewelry. Van Berquem also pioneered the now commonplace symmetrical arrangement of facets on a stone, this in turn led him to fashion the pear-shaped “Pendeloque” or “Briolette” cut.

Historical timeline of the Pear-shaped diamond

 

Radiant Cut Diamonds

The Radiant is a unique and hybrid cut comprised of 70 facets and distinctive trimmed edges. Square-shaped Radiant cuts typically have ratios between 1.00 and 1.05 while rectangular Radiant cuts can have ratios from over 1.05 anywhere up to 1.50. Its versatile design combines the brilliance and depth of the round, Emerald and Princess cuts making it a popular choice for all types of jewellery. As it is a patented cut, it may be referred to as a Cut-Cornered Square on a laboratory certificate (eg. GIA or AGL), or a Rectangular Brilliant if it has a ratio greater than 1.05. Because of its extra facets, the Radiant cut can disperse more light through the stone making it one of the most brilliant of all square- and rectangular-shaped stones. It also hides inclusions more efficiently than other shapes. As it is a hybrid cut combining the features of both brilliant and step-cuts, the Radiant is the ideal compromise and the perfect solution for someone who wants to “have it all.” Also referred to as: SQUARE or RECTANGULAR MODIFIED BRILLIANT

Radiant Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of the Radiant Cut Diamond

History & Background

The first Radiant cut was designed by Henry Grossbard of the Radiant Cut Diamond Company (RCDC) in 1977. Prior to this invention, all diamonds with square or step-cut edges appeared less brilliant. Grossbard invented a hybrid cutting style that revolutionised the industry’s perceptions towards square or rectangular stones as he managed to create a step-cut diamond that possessed equal brilliance to triangular-faceted diamonds such as the oval and pear. The Radiant is also the first cut to have a brilliant-facet pattern applied to both the crown & pavilion. RCDC launched the Original Radiant Cut diamond brand in 2002.

Historical timeline of the Radiant cut diamond

 

Oval Cut Diamonds

The oval cut is a rounded shape typically comprised of 58 facets with a typical ratio between 1.33 and 1.66. This shape optimizes carat weight, meaning that the drawn out and symmetrical shape can make it appear larger than round stones of a similar weight. The oval cut is also an ideal way to elongate shorter fingers and it has recently become fashionable to use as the centre stone for engagement rings. A “bow-tie effect” occurs when light passing through the diamond casts a shadow across the central facets of the stone. This shadow can be reduced by altering the depth of the pavilion, and adjusting the angles of the table and facets to better diffuse light in the central area. This effect also occurs in the Pear, Marquise and Heart shapes. Ratio is an important aspect to consider with the oval shape as it can have a significant impact on both the light dispersion within the stone and the appearance of the finger. When selecting an oval shape it is important to reconcile the relative benefits of the longer shape (larger ratio) and the more rounded shape (smaller ratio). The former will better elongate the finger, while a more rounded shape will better prevent the bow-tie effect. Somewhere in between the round brilliant and the pear shape…

Oval Shaped Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of Oval Shaped Diamond

History & Background

Although oval shaped diamonds were first introduced over 200 years ago, the modern oval cut was invented in the early 1960s by leading Russian cutter Lazare Kaplan. The cut eventually earned him a place in the Jewelers International Hall of Fame, however, Kaplan also left his mark on the diamond industry with his unique ability to split a rough diamond into smaller stones with a single blow. This process is known as cleaving. When a rough material is poorly shaped or contains defective flaws that prevent it from being turned into a single stone, it must be split along the grain. Kaplan became famous for his expertise in taking stones that were otherwise deemed unworthy and transforming them into beautifully cut diamonds.

Historical timeline of the Oval-shaped diamond

 

Cushion Cut Diamonds

As its name suggests, a cushion cut is a square or rectangular shape with rounded corners that resemble a pillow. The cushion cut is usually comprised of 58 facets with a typical ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 for square shapes and 1.10 or greater for more rectangular ones. Although not as brilliant as round brilliants, cushion cuts have large facets allowing for a greater separation of white light into spectral colors. The cushion cut may be described as a cross between the old mine cut and modern oval shape. As techniques and cutting styles have evolved over the years, several variations of the cushion cut have been developed, such as the Cushion Modified Brilliant* which may have an extra row of facets on the pavilion that alter the look of the diamond. These modified brilliants often have what is called the “sparkling water” or “crushed ice” effect, giving them greater scintillation. Other subtle alterations have also been introduced, such as adding symmetrical kite- or half-moon-shaped facets to the pavilion and below the girdle. Because of its extra facets, the Cushion cut can disperse more light through the stone which serves to hide inclusions more efficiently, making it one of the most brilliant of all square- and rectangular-shaped stones. The Cushion cut diamond is also renowned for hiding inclusions well.Also referred to as: PILLOW or CANDLELIGHT CUT

Cushion Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of the Cushion Cut Diamond

History & Background

The cushion, pillow or candlelight cut was developed in the 19th century and has undergone several transformations and developments since. The cushion cut has especially benefited from the invention of cleaving as this process has helped to maximize the shape’s light dispersion making it more dynamic and brilliant.

Historical timeline of the Cushion cut diamond

 

Heart Cut Diamonds

The heart shape is usually comprised of between 56 and 58 facets, although the number of main pavilion facets may vary between 6, 7, and 8. Additionally, heart shapes are sometimes cut with “French tips,” which replace the large bezel facet at the point with star and upper girdle facets. French tips are also used in Marquise and Pear shapes. Heart shapes may differ slightly in appearance depending on their make or structure. The traditional heart shape should have a ratio between 0.90 and 1.10 and be absolutely symmetrical with the lobes (top arches) of even height and breadth, although these specifications may be altered according to personal preferences. In determining the length to width ratio for heart shapes, the width is measured at the widest point of the shape from the edge of one lobe to the other. In addition, the heart shape can suffer from a so-called “bow-tie effect” when light passing through the diamond casts a shadow across the central facets of the stone. The most important elements to consider with the heart shape are the quality of the curved cut and finish as these determine the sparkle of the gem. The shadow caused by the bow-tie effect can be reduced by altering the depth of the pavilion, and adjusting the angles of the table and facets to better diffuse light in the central area. This effect also occurs in the Pear, Marquise and Oval shapes. Ever the romantic choice… This is a rare and symbolic cut.

Heart Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of Heart Shaped Diamond

History & Background

The exact origins of the heart brilliant are unknown although being a modified brilliant cut it may have appeared as early as the 16th century. However, gems which would today be classified as ‘triangular with rounded corners’ or ‘drops’ were at one time described as being heart-shaped. Indeed, this is evident from the many descriptions in French inventories dating from the middle of the seventeenth century. The first recorded heart shape diamond appears in a portrait entitled “The Gonzaga Princess,” painted circa 1605 by Frans Pourbus the younger. The large piece of jewellery on the princess’s left sleeve contains a variety of different cuts, some of which are thought to be versions of the heart-like ‘drops’ popular in France at the time. The heart shape is also mentioned in a book written in 1655 by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the French merchant-traveller who found his fortune in the precious stone trade and famously brought the Hope Diamond to France. In the text, he recalls seeing the “Heart Diamond,” a 36-carat heart-shaped brilliant in an ornament in the treasure of Aurangzeb, in India.

Historical timeline of the Heart-shaped diamond

 

Marquise Cut Diamonds

The Marquise Brilliant cut may also be referred to as the “Navette” shape, meaning “little boat,” as the shape of the diamond is said to mirror the hull of a small boat. It is generally comprised of 58 facets, with 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion, although the number of pavilion facets may range between 4 and 8. Additionally, Marquise shapes are sometimes cut with a “French tip,” which replaces the large bezel facet at the point with star and upper girdle facets. French tips are also used in the Heart and Pear shapes. Even though the optimal ratio of the Marquise is 2:1, the shape is more traditionally cut to ratios ranging between 1.85 and 2.10 according to personal preference. The Marquise can suffer from a so-called “bow-tie effect” when light passing through the diamond casts a shadow across the central facets of the stone. This shadow can be reduced by altering the depth of the pavilion, and adjusting the angles of the table and facets to better diffuse light in the central area. This effect also occurs in the Pear, Oval and Heart shapes. The Marquise cut can maximize carat weight, making it appear larger than other stones of the same size and is often set with round or pear-shaped side-stones. As with other elongated shapes, the Marquise can make fingers appear longer and more slender. It is important that the Marquise is not too shallow so as to avoid light passing through the back of the diamond and diminishing its brilliance and fire. Also referred to as: NAVETTE SHAPE.

Marquise Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of Marquise Cut Diamond

 

History & Background

The Marquise cut first appeared in Paris circa 1745 and its fascinating history can be traced back to the height of the French monarchy. King Louis XV commissioned his court jeweller to create a diamond that resembled the smile of his beautiful mistress, the Marchioness Madame de Pompadour. A well-educated and intellectual woman who exerted strong political opinions on the French court, Madame de Pompadour was the official maitresse en titre of King Louis XV between 1745 and 1750. The shape was then developed and modified throughout the 20th century, evolving into the Marquise Brilliant cut as it is known today, seeing an especial rise in popularity between the 1960s and 1980s. The Marquise cut first appeared in Paris in approximately 1745. The fascinating history of the Marquise cut can be traced back to the height of the French monarchy reign.

Historical timeline of the Marquise cut diamond

 

Trillion Cut Diamonds

The Trillion cut is a triangular shape comprised of three equal sides and 31 or 50 facets depending on whether the diamonds are used as solitaires or accent stones. For solitaires, a curved or convex cut is employed, whereas accent stones are cut uncurved or concave. Additional variations include round-cornered triangular, modified shield cuts and triangular step cuts. The trillion’s unique style has great fire and displays sharp brilliance if the stone is cut to the correct depth. Trillion cut diamonds are most often used as side stones to compliment larger solitaire stones in engagement rings, although they also make for a perfect solitaire stone themselves considering their unparalleled brilliance and fire. Trillion cut diamonds make for striking accent or side stones, or offer a striking option for someone after a brilliant and unique solitaire.
Depth is an important factor to consider in Trillion cuts (especially where solitaires are concerned), as this can greatly affect the fire and brilliance of the stone. A well cut Trillion with great fire and brilliance can also hide inclusions fairly well. Also referred to as: TRILLIANT, TRILLIAN or TRIELLE.

Trillion Cut Diamond

Top, Side and Bottom view of the Trillion Cut Diamond

History & Background

The trillion cut was first developed in Amsterdam, although the design varied dramatically depending on the rough form of the stone. In 1962, the Henry Meyer Diamond Company of New York designed and trademarked the modern Trillion cut and over time the trillion became the generic name for all triangular brilliant cut diamonds.

Historical timeline of the Trillion cut diamond

**This information was taken from www.77diamonds.com**

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