When it comes to gem and diamond quality, the cut is just one of the four Cs of gemstone grading. The cut determines the shape and the finished gem’s appearance. Standard shapes like rounds dominate the market, but there are many alternatives.
Some cuts refer to the face-up shape of the gem. Others describe the arrangement of the gem’s facets, which are patterns of geometric flat surfaces to help the stone shine. They come together to describe the cutting style. For example, princess diamonds have a square shape with a modified brilliant cutting style. Facets add to the styles and create many gem and diamond designs.
Because the cut variations are difficult for most non-professionals to follow, here is an in-depth breakdown of the most common diamond and gemstone shapes and cuts.
brilliant-cut are popular because they capture the stone’s sparkle. Developed exclusively for diamonds, the round brilliant cut of today includes gemstones, too. However, the round shape is more ideal for diamond jewelry under three carats.
The oval cut is an elegant shape for rings, as it makes your hand appear slimmer. Modern ovals use the brilliant-cut with 58 facets. The added sparkle helps hide inclusions in the stone better than some other cuts. The cut doesn’t feature any sharp corners either, creating a softer appearance.
The downside to oval cuts is called a bowtie. This type of extinction looks like a dark band across the mid-region of the stone. It’s caused by poor light and shadows. Although the flaw is less noticeable in well-cut ovals, it’s common in all oval stones.
While emerald cuts are named after the emerald gemstone, the cut is applied to many stone types. What makes emerald cuts popular is the ‘hall of mirrors’ effect it creates by alternating dark and light lines in a dramatic pattern. The cut doesn’t feature as much sparkle or fire as others, but it appears elegant and clean.
As the largest of the fancy gem cuts, emerald is the least forgiving with inclusions. Flaws are clearly visible. Even white diamonds will show color.
The Princess cut is like the round brilliant but square. It was invented in 1979 and popular for decades due to its modern appearance and sharp edges. Princess cuts feature varying numbers of chevron facets, which alter how the stone breaks up reflections.
The best part is that princess cuts are more affordable than the American Standard. But a huge drawback is the corners. Princess diamonds are prone to chipping, so the jewelry must include protection for longevity.
The cushion cut is also called the antique or pillow cut. It’s a square or sometimes rectangle shape with rounded corners and sides, similar to couch cushions. The large facets cause the brilliant-cut to return less light, providing a vintage ambiance with tons of fire.
But watch out for flaws. The cushion cut is highly unforgiving. Any inclusions will show right through the large facets like windows into a stone. White diamonds also show unwanted color with this cut.
Trilliant cuts are a triangular shape common for gemstones. It’s similar to a round brilliant. The edges are slightly rounded, and the step cuts are straight along the three sides. There are curved variations called Trillion, which are better for single stones.
These cuts are popular today because they make the stone appear larger, but they require more cleaning and a specialized setting to protect the corners. They’re an excellent value and unique shape.
There are many diamond and gemstone shapes to consider. Use the information above to examine and select your next diamond design. The right shape may depend on your jewelry and care concerns. The expert jewelers at Noe’s Jewelry can help you find the best diamond and gemstone shapes and cuts for your style.