Diamond cuts have come a long way since the introduction of the first round brilliant. Thanks to advances in cutting technologies and the unlimited imagination of cutters, diamonds can be cut in a variety of ways. Today, fancy cuts shapes like cushions, princess, ovals and marquise are more important than ever, maintaining their popularity against the still dominant rounds. They will always attract the diamond buyer who loves the unique qualities that make them shine in their own special way.
There are three major diamond cutting styles: brilliant, step and mixed. Most often, diamond manufacturers choose the brilliant cut, which features triangular and kite-shaped facets that radiate from a gem's center towards its girdle. A step cut has long, narrow, four-sided facets arranged in rows that are parallel to the girdle on both the crown and pavilion. Mixed cuts have both brilliant-cut and step-cut elements; sometimes the elements are separate on either the crown or pavilion and sometimes mixed on the crown and/or pavilion. Any of these cutting styles can be used with a variety of different shapes.
The Antique-Cut Revival
Although they have not taken the popular market by storm, the increasing presence of antique cuts in jewellery shows an appreciation for diamonds that can enhance, not eclipse, the beauty of an elegant setting. And their subdued grace revives the old-world charm of diamonds as objects of beauty.
Some of the antique diamond cuts revisited by designers are:
This is a rounded, completely faceted diamond, drilled lengthwise for stringing. A strand of diamond beads can be a glittering alternative to a pearl strand. Designers also incorporate diamond beads as spacers in pearl strands. (Most popular in 2 mm to 4 mm sizes)
This rounded teardrop shape has triangular facets and no girdle. It typically dangles from an earring or a necklace. (Most popular in 0.50 ct to 1 .00 ct sizes)
This cut features a flat base and triangular facets that come to a peak. It can have a round, triangular or pear-shaped face-up outline. The rose was the most common cutting style before the round brilliant replaced it. (Most popular in 3 mm to 6 mm sizes)
OLD MINE CUT:
Generally a cushion shape with the facet arrangement of the typical brilliant. The lower half facets are much shorter than modern cuts, and there is often a fairly large culet.
This diamond disk with faceted edges is often cut from extremely flat rough. Rondelles are typically used as ornamental spacers between coloured stones or other elements in necklaces. (Most popular in 2 mm to 6 mm sizes)
The round brilliant was considered far superior to any of its ancestors when it arrived on the scene in the late 19th-20th century. Cut to precise proportion standards, today's round brilliant offers very efficient light return. But many modern designers see cut diamonds as more than just mechanisms for returning light. They see them as sculptural works of art.
This concept of a diamond's aesthetic purpose made variations in proportion or facet alignment acceptable again after centuries of striving for uniformity. Designers say this appealing lack of precision makes each antique-cut diamond unique. In addition, an antique cut's toned-down brilliance can emphasis the pattern of the facet arrangement or draw attention to the shape of the diamond's face-up outline, which often hints at the contours of the original rough.
As demand for antique cuts increased among designers, diamond manufacturers began to produce calibrated versions of them. Today, many antique cuts are being reproduced to modern specifications. Some designers see calibrated antique cuts and their standardized proportions as a contradiction of the charming irregularities the cutting styles are known for, but in practical terms, calibrated antique cuts in smaller sizes fit well into mass-produced mountings. Most manufacturers of calibrated antique cuts are located in India.
Step cuts, which came along in the early 1400s, long before brilliant cuts, have long, sleek lines and a subtle gleam. The first diamond cut the table cut was a step cut.
Many consumers admire the traditional outlines and understated elegance of a step cut. Most have a large table facet, which calls for a high standard of clarity for rough, and can be a rewarding choice for a customer who appreciates a fine diamond's transparency. The flash from the facets of a brilliant cut can hide some imperfections.
The most popular step cut is the emerald cut. The emerald cut's four longer sides have beveled corners. There are two, three, or four concentric rows of facets, parallel to the girdle, on the crown and pavilion.
Emerald cuts are usually fashioned from longer pieces of rough. The resulting finished gems have an elegant appearance and the step-cut style emphasizes the diamond's clarity. A well-made emerald cut is like a reflecting pool, with a gleam that's distinctly different from brilliant-cut styles. Because the term emerald cut is traditionally associated with the rectangular shape, if an emerald cuts face up outline is square, the shape is called a square emerald cut.
The baguette is a small, four-sided, step-cut diamond. 'The sides of baguettes can be parallel or tapered towards each other to form a wedge shape.
Baguettes were used mainly as accent stones, such as side diamonds for a round brilliant, for decades. A popular style of the 1980s, the ballerina ring, featured baguettes radiating outwards from a center stone, creating the effect of a ballerina's tutu.