iriemade Skip to Content

A Jewelry Buyer’s Guide to Different Cuts of Gemstone

One of the joys of choosing a gemstone is the many ways in which it can be cut. Gem cutters have been shaping gemstones for millennia, but modern technologies have allowed for a wide variety of cuts. These cuts bring out either the gemstone’s color, fire, radiance, or ideally all of these qualities at once.

Here are some of the more popular gemstone cuts used for wedding rings and other types of fine jewelry:

Brilliant Cut

The brilliant cut, made of 58 beautifully balanced facets, was perfected around World War One. A well-cut brilliant gemstone allows for a beautiful dispersion of light that produces much fire and, as the name says, brilliance. The round brilliant is the most popular type of brilliant, but brilliant cut gems can also be cushion, pear-shaped, oval, and marquise cut.

Princess Cut

The princess-cut is one of the newer cuts as it was developed only in the 1960s. Considered a “fancy” cut, the princess cut is essentially a brilliant square cut with corners that come to sharp points. The cut brings out the gemstone’s radiance, but the points require the gem to have a setting that protects them.

Oval Cut

An oval cut gemstone is a type of brilliant-cut stone, but it gives the impression that it is more significant. An oval ring cut is often chosen by a woman who feels her ring finger is a little too short. The gem’s shape gives the illusion that her finger is longer and thinner than it is. An ideal length to width ratio of an oval cut gem, especially a diamond, is 1.35 to 1.50.

Radiant Cut

The radiant cut is a type of brilliant cut except that the stone is square or rectangular. It’s especially popular for white diamonds because, like the traditional brilliant cut, it brings out the diamond’s fire. Most people who choose a radiant cut gem prefer it a bit more rectangular than square, for a square radiant cut stone is almost indistinguishable from a princess cut stone.

Briolette Cut

This type of cut is essentially a faceted rounded pear or teardrop shape. The cut was at the height of its popularity during the Victorian era and was often used as pendants for earrings or necklaces.

Asscher Cut

Created in 1902 by the Asscher brothers, this is a square step cut with attractively blunt corners. A step-cut gem has rectangular facets that are made in steps within the jewel. In the case of the Asscher cut, this allows much of the gem’s radiance to be seen. The crown, which is the surface just above the middle or girdle, is higher, and the table, the flat surface atop the stone is smaller. A well-made Asscher cut gem looks like concentric squares if looked straight down into it.

Marquise Cut

This cut, famously, is based on the shape of the lips of the mistress of a French King. Otherwise, it’s football-shaped and comes to points at each end. Because these gems are long and narrow, they look larger than they are. Like the oval cut, it makes a finger that’s a little too stubby look longer and more elegant. The cut is challenging to make because it needs to be perfectly symmetrical. For example, the points at each end must align.

Cushion Cut

The name of this cut tells its shape. Once called the old mine cut, it looks like a tiny cushion. This cut is also more modern than some others, having been created in the 1920s and modified here and there over the years. For example, the bottom or culet has been made smaller, the table has been enlarged, and the angles have been rearranged, the better to bring out the gem’s brilliance.

Rose Cut

Made up of triangular facets of around the same size, the rose cut goes back to the 1600s and was popular in the Victorian era until the advent of the brilliant cut. It can be oval, round, or pear-shaped but is valued because it has a flat back. This allows it to be easily set in a piece of jewelry.

Pin It on Pinterest