Gemstone Shapes and Faceted Cuts

Gemstone Shapes and Faceted Cuts

Sometimes the shape and the cut of the stone is just as important as the the type of gem itself.  

The gem stone cuts vary from brilliant cut, emerald cut, round cut, square cut, triangle cut, rose cut, baguette cut, trilliant or trillion cut, marquise or  cut, heart cut, gem stone cut cabochon, octagon cut, cushion cut, oval cut, princess cut, radiant cut and briolette cut.

 

Faceted Cuts

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Round or Brilliant Cut

This shape has set the standard for all other gem shapes, and accounts for more than 75% of gems sold today. Its 58-facet cut, divided among its crown (top), girdle (widest part) and pavilion (base), is calibrated through a precise formula to achieve the maximum in fire and brilliance.

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Oval Cut

This is an even, perfectly symmetrical design popular among women with small hands or short fingers. Its elongated shape gives a flattering illusion of length to the hand.  

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Marquise Cut

This is an elongated shape with pointed ends inspired by the fetching smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by the Sun King, France's Louis XIV, who wanted a gem to match it. It is gorgeous when used as a solitaire or when enhanced by smaller gems.

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 Pear Shaped or Tear Drop Cut

 A hybrid cut, combining the best of the oval and the marquise, it is shaped most like a sparkling teardrop. It also belongs to that category of gem whose design most complements a hand with small or average-length fingers. It is particularly beautiful for pendants or earrings.

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Heart Shaped Cut

This ultimate symbol of romance is essentially a pear-shaped gem with a cleft at the top. The skill of the cutter determines the beauty of the cut. Look for a stone with an even shape and a well-defined outline.

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Emerald Cut

This is a rectangular shape with cut corners. It is known as a step cut because its concentric broad, flat planes resemble stair steps. Since inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in this particular cut, take pains to select a stone of superior clarity and color.

This is a very striking cut for larger stones.  The Emerald Cut is very old and was used by royalty and the upper-class.

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Princess Cut

This is a square or rectangular cut with numerous sparkling facets. It is a relatively new cut and often finds its way into solitaire engagement rings. Flattering to a hand with long fingers, it is often embellished with triangular stones at its sides. Because of its design, this cut requires more weight to be directed toward the gem's depth in order to maximize brilliance. Depth percentages of 70% to 78% are not uncommon.

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Trillion or Trilliant Cut

This is a spectacular wedge of brittle fire. First developed in Amsterdam, the exact design can vary depending on a particular gem's natural characteristics and the cutter's personal preferences. It may be a traditional triangular shape with pointed corners or a more rounded triangular shape with 25 facets on the crown, 19 facets on the pavilion, and a polished girdle. It is definitely for the adventurous.

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Radiant Cut

This square or rectangular cut combines the elegance of the emerald shape gem with the brilliance of the round, and its 70 facets maximize the effect of its color refraction. Because of its design, this cut requires more weight to be directed toward the gem's depth in order to maximize brilliance. Depth percentages of 70% to 78% are not uncommon. 

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Cushion Cut
An antique style of cut that looks like a cross between an Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut
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Banquette Cut
This is a rectangular narrow gem cut. It has approximately 20 facets. A tapered baguette is a trapezoid shape one end is narrower.  The Banquette Cut is very attractive on someone with short fingers and a small hand.
This cut is very elegant but you need the right stone and setting to make the most of this particular cut.  
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Whirl Cut

This is a complex cut.  The curves of the whirl add a depth to the gem to allow it to catch more light and therefore refract more light.  Since inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in this particular cut, take pains to select a stone of superior clarity and color. The skill of the cutter determines the beauty of the cut.
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Triangle Cut

The triangle cut tends to be a stepped version of a more modern cut but is still based upon a brilliant style cut. The fire and beauty of these cuts is spectacular, they are wonderful cuts. Triangles are basically triangular in shape, usually with truncated corners, with a variety of facets and differ from Trillion cut by the simplicity of the facets.
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Shield Cut

This is a speciality cut and gets its name for obvious reasons. It has a shape similar to a medieval shield. It has a firey setting with a very large face in proportion to the size of the gem. This makes a very interesting cut for a pendant or for a ring in the right setting style.

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Tapered Banquette

A tapered baguette is a trapezoid shape one end is narrower.   It is very similar to the standard Banquette except for one end is narrower than the other. It can be worn with narrow end up or down depending on the piece.  The Tapered banquette Cut is very attractive on someone with short fingers and a small hand.

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Double Rose Cut

This cut orginated from the work of work of Louis de Berquen, of Bruges, Flanders, who is generally acknowledged as the Father of Modern Diamond Cutting. He is best known for his introduction, about 1476, of absolute symmetry, improvements in the polishing process. His cut used on the historically famous “Sancy Diamond” may have represented a true break away from everything that had gone on before as the cut is repeated on both sides. Over the years it developed into the Double Rose Cut (in other words a “rose cut” on both sides).

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Jubilee Cut 

This cut is a type of a brilliant diamond cut which resembles a cushion shape. The properties of a jubilee cut are actually quite similar to a to a brilliant cut round diamond shape and the two resemble in facet distribution.

In 1897 Queen Victoria made history when was the first monarch of England to ever reach her diamond jubilee (even till this date). Two years prior to that, a magnificent 650 carat diamond had been excavated from the Jagersfontein Mine and was sent to Amsterdam for polishing in 1896. Upon cutting, it became evident that this diamond was of exceptional purity and superb size and it was thus decided that this diamond was fit for a Queen. They presented the diamond as a gift for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebrations and thus it was named the Jubilee Diamond.

Cuts That Are 360 Degree Patterns

 

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     Briolette Cut     
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     Drop Cut       
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     Olive Cut      
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  Ball Cut    

These cuts are special in that they are identical on all sides and the pattern is repeated for the entire 360 degrees.  These are traditionally used as earrings or a centrepiece of a pendant.  They are rarely used in rings.

Matched Side Gemstone Shapes for Rings, Earrings & Pendants

The following gemstone shapes are used primarily as matched side gems for rings. They provide an economical way to add more gem surface area across the finger than putting the same dollars into the center stone. The colour of the side stones should be within one color grade of the center stone.

They also adapt beautifully to earrings or a centerpiece for a pendant with mirrored images. Their uniqueness really brings attention to the setting and to the person wearing them.

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 Step Cut Straight Baguettes 
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Tapered Baguettes       

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      Straight Baguettes       
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Step Cut Trapezoids
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Half Moons
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Step Cut Bullets
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Kite Shapes
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Tapered Bullets
Unfaceted Shapes or Cabochons
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Cabochon

This is a rounded or curved (convex) outline and a smooth, polished surface with a flat back. Usually for gemstones that are opaque, translucent, strongly colored or have a star or cat's eye. 

The traditional cabochon is an oval but can also be fashioned into other shapes including triangles, rectangles and round. The diagram to the left demonstrates the top and side views.

A cabochon (cabouchon) is a gemstone which has been rubbed and polished into a simple rounded shape, as opposed to a facetted cut. Up until the 1400's, gem cutters were constrained to cabochon style cuts and odd asymmetrically faceted cuts due to the limited technology at hand.

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The shapes above, exclusive of the free form shape, are the most common shapes of cabochon today.

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The above shapes are still common but not as commonly seen as the shapes in the first diagram.

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The above represent the side view of the cabochon shapes.

If you have any questions or would like to have me create a design using one of the cuts and shapes above, please do not hesitate to contact me by clicking here.