The man has been searching for the perfect shape to accentuate all the natural diamond characteristics and perfectly expose the magic that is held within for centuries. A raw stone left in the hands of a cutter is merely a beginning of the journey at the end of which lies the work of art that will amaze generations to follow, no matter the passing fashions. The crown jewel of cutters’ craft is, of course, the brilliant cut – but beyond it lie other, often quite intriguing shapes. Let’s take a look at them.
A cutter chooses the most appropriate shape – one that will highlight a diamond’s brilliance and keep material losses to a minimum – on the basis of a stone’s initial form. Another factor bearing on the choice of the shape is the type of jewelry the diamond is going to adorn. A stone destined to be set in a ring may be shaped into a brilliant, but also a marquise or an oval; pear-shaped jewels are a better fit for pendants and necklaces and earrings are traditionally decorated with brilliant or princess cut diamonds.
Different shapes of diamond cuts include:
Brilliant – a modern version of the oval shape, developed in order to maximize the brilliance of a diamond. Brilliant is the most popular diamond cut, by many considered to be the masterpiece of cutters’ craft. Properly cut, it has a round form. It should have at least 32 facets and a main facet (a table) in its crown, and 24 facets at the base, not including the culet.
Tear or pear – very common and characteristic shape, used mostly for necklaces. Its popularity can be ascribed to relatively good initial proportions of the cut that deliver a quite decent refraction.
Princess – a step-mixed variation of a brilliant cut, well-known for its wonderful refraction. Princess is the most popular of square cuts. Its beauty, reflected in millions of glints sparkling in its facets, is unparalleled.
Radiant – an older brother of the princess cut, has more facets than its younger counterpart, but its shape is markedly elongated. It used to be extremely popular before the invention of the princess cut.
Emerald – a shape synonymous with refinement and traditional cutters’ craft. Not so popular anymore, but it still holds some elegance and magic of the olden times.
Marquise – another traditional shape that has found quite many admirers, not only among diamond collectors
Asscher – a type of step cut reminiscent of the emerald cut that recently surged in popularity and is now often chosen by collectors. Its trademark are characteristic “cuts” located in the corners.
Old European – a very popular cut before the invention of the brilliant. It has fewer facets and its finish is not as precise as in the modern brilliant. However, this less-than-perfect cut is appreciated by some collectors for the charm of glints of light appearing in it at random
Oval – a shape gradually losing its popularity in favor of the brilliant. Its form is being slowly forgotten – clients very rarely choose to set oval-shaped diamonds into any type of jewelry.
Heart – compared to other cuts, its value is mostly sentimental. Due to the low demand, it is quite hard to come by a heart-shaped diamond on the open market – some customers, however, prefer a heart cut to a modern brilliant because of its romantic meaning.
SENSE OR SENSIBILITY?
The choice of any particular cut is a matter of a diamond owner’s preferences. One can make a choice on the basis of economic considerations – brilliant-shaped stones often fetch better prices than stones of a different cut – or on the basis of feelings and passion that have nothing to do with cold financial calculations. As the old wisdom says: there are as many cuts as there are cutters. While for some a brilliant may be the pinnacle of cutters’ craft, for somebody else a diamond in a shape of a horse’s head could be a dream come true. From the investors’ point of view, it is the cut that makes a diamond – and from this perspective, a cutter’s sure hand and raw skill trump collectors’ imagination.