We all love our gems and we love it when they sparkle, but how they achieve their sparkliness (yes, we’re using that as a word now) we often do not know. Gemstones come in different shapes and sizes, and more often than not, different cuts. Cutting gemstones is a process of turning rough, unpolished stones into, well, gemstones. The ability to cut gemstones with skill takes years of experience, as there are many considerations to be made when deciding which cut would work best for a certain rough stone in order to bring out its best qualities and hide its imperfections. Experienced gem cutters are often able to bring out the true colour and brilliance of each gem. Below, Hiasan provides a quick guide to some common cuts of gemstones that you as a customer commonly encounter, and perhaps like to know more about!
Let’s get started!
The Marquise cut is often referred to as a Navette Cut and is crafted with 57 facets. The cut is one that strives for perfect symmetry by ensuring that the two halves of the stone are perfect copies of one another. Also, it is a cut that strives to attain maximum sparkle and colour by reflecting the most light. Its elongated shape is said to flatter the finger, making it appear longer and slimmer. Due to its substantial surface area, this cut offers more weight per carat than any other cut and therefore creates the illusion of a larger gemstone.
The Asscher cut, most popularly known by reference from the Sex and the City series, is a hybrid of a Princess and an Emerald cut. The cut is also called a Square Emerald cut in some instances, and its “step-cutting” maximises the gem’s clarity. The cut was developed by the Asscher brothers in 1902, but has since underwent some modifications in 2001 by increasing the number of facets from 58 to 74 and introducing wider corners. Many celebrities wear Asscher cut engagement rings since its commercial popularity: Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Ashlee Simpson, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
This cut offers approximately 64 facets and is shaped like a basic square with gently rounded corners. Just like a Princess cut, the Cushion cut strives to utilise the raw gem in the best way possible, in order to both avoid waste and bring out its brilliance. This traditional cut has been around for 200 years.
The Heart-Shaped cut has 59 facets that often offers superb sparkle and fiery colours. Symmetry is also extremely important in this cut, as the two halves must be identical and the cleft should be sharp and distinct. This cut is rarely used as engagement rings, but more for other jewellery types such as earrings and pendants.
The Briolette cut is a popular cut here on Hiasan, as seen in our The First Dip earrings, Candy Floss earrings and necklace, as well as our Blue Drops earrings. It is a pear or drop-shaped stone with 84 triangular shaped facets covering its entire surface. It is the most difficult shape to cut because it does not have a table or a base - basically no anchoring aspect of its design. In fact, a cutter can only cut about 5 to 10 Briolettes per day!
This cut is not known for its fire and brilliance, but it does reflect light from all its triangular facets. This is why the Briolette cut is a popular choice for dangling earrings because like tiny chandeliers, the cut reflects light at many angles, contributing to a beautiful display of colour and radiance.
The Princess cut is square in shape and has 58 to 76 facets, which makes it offer the most sparkle of all cuts. The cut fits light, transparent gemstones the best. This square cut retains 80% of the rough gemstone, while round cuts retain often only retains 50% of the rough gem (due to the need to cut off and round corners), which gives the Princess cut an excellent value for both customers and gem cutters.
A cabochon, essentially, is a polished gemstone without any facets, rather than a cut in itself. It is often just known as a “cab” and has a flat bottom and a slightly rounded top. The traditional Cabochon cut is oval in shape, but any shape can be cut Cabochon style.
Even though most jewellers today prefer faceted styles, certain gemstones are still cut "en cabochon" because of the way the gems’ special characteristics only present themselves when in cabochon form. For example, the cat’s eye effect in Tiger Eye (see our Tiger Eye bracelet), or the changing of colour in the gem in different lights, such as in opal (see our Boulder Opal necklace). Moreover, the cab cut is also used for gems that possess great colour but have some inclusions on their surface, and also for those that are not very durable. Since a Cabochon cut naturally minimises the appearance of scratches on the gem’s surface, many jewellers prefer to cut softer gemstones in a Cabochon manner.
And voilà, there you go, a quick guide to some common cuts of gems in the market. We couldn’t have formed this post without the help of Jewels For Me, whose articles have provided us with valuable information. We hope you shoppers out there find this article useful and remember ladies – it’s always good to learn about your gems!
Have a happy weekend!