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Gem Cuts

The fashioning of rough gems into polished stones is the most fundamental and ancient enhancement available. The purpose of this process is to show the beauty, color, brilliancy and the transparency of the gemstone.

The cutting is a difficult process resulting from centuries of experimentation. Cutters are highly skilled people able to transform a simple rough into a beauty. During the fashioning, gemstone rough material can lose over 50% of their weight. The process consists of several steps including one or more of the following: sawing, grinding, sanding, lapping, facetting, and/or polishing.

The top part of the gem can be cut in several ways, namely

  • With a 'table', the large flat top is facetted. This is usually used for transparent gemstones, and gives greatest brilliancy.
  • With many facets all approximately the same size. This is the 'antique' way to cut gemstones and we see a real craze for this type of cut lately with examples such as 'checker' cut.
  • No cut facets on the surface of the gemstone. The gem is polished in a round. Usually reserved for opaque material and material displaying phenomena. This type of cut is called a 'cabochon'.






Specific types of cuts include:





One of the most well-known cuts, started around circa 1900 and aims to unlock the maximum of brilliance. Typically used in colorless Diamonds. The modern round brilliant consists of 57 or 58 facets. Classical beauty.


Oval or square with rounded corners, It is the favorite cut of initial owners of gemstones as it is often the best way to save weight during the cutting. Hence the weight of the stone is maximized and so too is price.


This is the most used cut for colored gemstones. It is displaying color in a beautiful, classical manner.


This cut is a matter of taste, typically used to represent 'pear' or 'tear' shapes, quite prominent in earrings and pendants.


Compared to the pear shape, the marquise cut is a more original shape. A little trick you will love about this cut; its length makes your finger appear longer and slimmer!


Often used for side (accent) gems in jewelry. This cut is both a beautiful and modern cut. We love the geometric look.


Square cuts have a version that provides high brilliancy, called Princess. This cut maximizes the brilliancy of the stone. It's one of the most popular cuts at the moment.


Often used for gem materials like Beryl (eg Emerald and Aquamarine) or Tourmaline, because they occur in long natural crystals. It is an elegant cut, which as well as Marquise can makes your finger look longer.


As brilliant cut was developed for diamond this cut was developed to maximize the beauty of Emerald, often found as long natural crystals. It also helps maintain as much of the original gem material as possible as the cut is quite 'efficient'. One of the challenging properties of Emerald is its' brittleness, consequently 'Emerald' cuts help avoid chips to corners etc.


'Antique' classic styles of cut with either triangles or other angular shapes cut in equal size across the face of the gem. Quite fashionable at present. Common in larger rings, pendants and cuff links.


Another 'classic' style. Gem materials are usually opaque such as Jade, Tiger's Eye, and Malachite (to name a few). Common in cufflinks and pendants or in rings with gem materials that have special visual characteristics. Examples include specific types of Sapphire and Ruby which show a 'star' like reflection appearing on the stone face. Other examples are Moonstone, where a pale bluish luster or glow appears to originate from below the surface of the gem face. Often called a schiller or shiller effect, the technical term is known as 'adularescence'.


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