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Loose Diamond Cuts
Loose Diamond Cuts

Loose Diamond Cuts

Diamonds have been cut in a variety of different styles over time. While diamonds were hand cut in the past, they are primarily machine cut nowadays. The cut is directly related to the shape, and how a diamond will sparkle in its setting. Loose diamonds can be found in the types of common cutting styles shown below:

Cut Classifications

Round Brilliant Cut

Brilliant Cut

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Princess Modified Brilliant Cut

Modified Brilliant Cut

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Oval Modified Brilliant Cut

Modified Brilliant Cut

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Heart Modified Brilliant Cut

Modified Brilliant Cut

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Radiant Modified Brilliant Cut

Modified Brilliant Cut

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Pear Modified Brilliant Cut

Modified Brilliant Cut

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Marquise Modified Brilliant Cut

Modified Brilliant Cut

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Emerald Step Cut

Step Cut

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Asscher Step Cut

Step Cut

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Cushion Mixed Cut

Mixed Cut

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Round Princess Oval Heart Radiant Pear Marquise Emerald Asscher Cushion

Loose Diamond Cuts.

Brilliant Cuts

This is the most commonly found diamond cut on jewellery. In it, the diamond is cut to have more facets to allow for more reflection of light throughout the diamond. This enables any piece of jewellery to look dazzling from any angle. Brilliant cut diamonds are machine cut to ensure precision and symmetry among the many facets. The most common shape for the brilliant cut is the round diamond. In brilliant cut diamonds, more of the rough must be cut away to craft the diamond. Therefore, a brilliant cut diamond can be more expensive than those that are cut in other ways. The brilliant cut diamond, however has the most popular appeal and therefore the most resale value.

Modified Brilliant Cut

The modified brilliant cut is also known as a fancy cut diamond. This means that the cutting style is the same as in a round diamond, however the shape of the diamond can vary. Common modified brilliant shapes are princess, heart, oval, marquise, radiant and pear. With these types of shapes, not as much rough must be wasted as in the round brilliant, therefore they can be less expensive than brilliant rounds. However, it is important to consider diamonds with excellent or very good cut grades as the cutting style can determine the amount of sparkle in the diamond. Also consider that fancy shapes like princess and heart can be more delicate due to their pointed corners.

Other factors to take into account for modified brilliant cuts include bow tie effect and girdle thickness:

Bow tie effect - Some fancy shape diamonds have two black triangles across the middle of the diamond that look like a bow tie. Although bow ties are normal in some fancy shapes, a bow tie that is too big diminishes a diamond's beauty. Depending on the size, angle and placement of the diamond's facets, this bow tie can be barely visible ('minimal') or very pronounced. It occurs from the variations in the pavilion facet angles which are longer than they are wide which results in a small amount of light leaking through the diamond. Facets are suppose to alternate between light and dark as the diamond, viewer or light source are moved but with the bow tie effect, certain facets stay relatively dark regardless of the movement.

Girdle Thickness - Girdle width varies considerably more in fancy shapes than in the round brilliant. For example, the marquise, pear and heart cuts shapes tend to have thick girdles or are extremely thick at the tips, or in the cleft of the heart shape. The princess cut, on the other hand, which has square corners, may have an extremely thin girdle. It is generally recommended to avoid extremely thin or thick girdles to avoid chipping at one extreme and retaining excessive weight to the detriment of the size of the diamond.

Diamond bow ties

A diamond bow tie is an imperfection formed when a diamond is cut. Just as a diamond's sparkle is created by light reflecting and refracting from its facets, a diamond bow tie, which looks exactly like it sounds: a black shape that resembles a man's bow tie, can appear on the face of a diamond when the facets don't reflect light properly, no matter how the diamond is turned.

The cutting of diamond facets is a highly precise process, and the cutter has to take into account the numerous angles from which a diamond might be viewed. If some facets can't take light in, no light goes out. That can create the dark bow-tie effect.

Oval Cut - Bow Ties

Oval Cut - Bow Ties.

There are different grades of diamond bow ties, ranging from slight to severe. A bow tie can be barely perceptible in certain light, or it could be quite obvious from a number of angles.

Cuts affected by diamond bow ties

Not all diamond shapes are affected. Diamond bow ties are most common in fancy cut diamonds, including oval, marquise and pear shapes.

With Bow Ties - Bow Ties Affected Shapes

With Bow Ties - Bow Ties Affected Shapes.

How to shop for a diamond and avoid the bow tie

The presence of a bow tie isn't listed on a diamond's report. Decide how much of a bow tie effect you're willing to accept, then inspect the diamond yourself or ask to see videos of it.

It's important to know that a diamond bow tie isn't necessarily a flaw or an instant dealbreaker, many fancy cuts will display some evidence of a bow tie because of their complex faceting. The best thing to do is inspect the diamond yourself to ensure you're happy with it. It's all about your personal taste.

Step Cuts

Step cut diamonds are less popular but are unique in their look. They have facets that run parallel to each other and the edge of the stone. The facets are cleanly cut and precise, and the attention is drawn to the large facet at the top most point of the diamond. This elegant and unique type of cut has scintillation and shine. The most famous types of step cut is an emerald and asscher shaped diamond. Step cut diamonds maximize most of the original diamond weight and carat size. Therefore, it can be more cost-effective to purchase a step cut diamond. Most of us are familiar with the basic cut of a round or oval diamond, which results in gorgeous faceting that glimmers like fire. Step cut diamonds, which are striking, stylish and quite trendy at the moment. Here are the basics, so you can decide if a step cut is right for you.

Step Cut Diamonds Vs. Billiant Cut Diamonds

The most popular step cut diamond styles are emerald, asscher and baguette. All of them are cut with rectangular (or square) facets that graduate from the diamond's face like a set of steps. The emerald cut's long, rectangular facets create a flash known sometimes called a "hall of mirrors" effect. The asscher cut is a square-shaped style, with X-shaped facets running from its corners to its center culet that create mesmerizing sparkle. A baguette diamond is a rectangular step cut that may have straight or tapered edges.

Step Cut Diamonds

Step Cut Diamonds.

The different styles of step-cut diamonds

Emerald - Emerald diamonds are the most popular of the step-cut diamonds, thanks to their regal look loved by royals and other celebrities. An emerald cut diamond is a rectangle with eight sides (the corners of the stone are clipped, creating the tiny edges). The long, rectangular facets on the stones create a "hall of mirrors" effect, meaning it looks like they go on and on.

Asscher - Named for the Asscher Brothers, Asscher diamonds tend to look like princess cut diamonds from afar, thanks to their squarish shape, but up close they have distinct step-cuts running from the corners to the center culet that create the sparkle.

Baguette - While emerald and asscher diamonds have softer corners, a baguette diamond has sharper, more pronounced edges that create a distinct rectangle shape. The step cuts used to create a baguette don't allow for a lot of sparkle, but they do reflect light in a distinct, hologram-like way. You'll see these diamonds used as the side stones in three stone engagement rings a lot.

The difference between brilliant cut and step cut diamonds

The key difference between a step cut diamond and the brilliant cut is the amount of sparkle. Brilliant cuts, most commonly round cut diamonds or princess cut diamonds, have maximum sparkle. They possess more facets than step cuts, and the facets are triangular and kite-shaped, lending the diamond a fiery light performance. You can simply think of facets as faces that bounce light around your diamond.

Diamond Facets

Diamond Facets.

Step cuts also have sparkle or fire, but a bit less than brilliant cuts. They're considered very elegant, but because they have fewer facets, they don't reflect as much light as brilliant cuts.

Benefits of step cut diamonds

Step cut diamonds have a sleek look that appeals to fans of vintage jewellery or minimalist leaning fashion. Because step cuts preserve more of the rough diamond's carat weight, they cost less than brilliant cuts (in which more of the raw diamond is discarded) on average. And although step cuts may sparkle less, they provide a better showcase for a diamond's clarity. In thinking about the 4Cs of a diamond, if a step cut diamond appeals to you, you may need to prioritize clarity over other characteristics, because any natural inclusions won't be as hidden as they would by the faceting of other cuts.

How the cost compares

Experts agree that the round brilliant diamond is the most expensive diamond cut, because of the precision cutting required to create a greater number of facets and the amount of raw diamond that is lost in the process. Because of their lower facet count, emerald and asscher cuts are among the most affordable diamond cuts, with baguette styles in the middle of the mix.

But it's worth noting that baguettes stones aren't those you would seek out for the center of your engagement ring. Both cuts are traditionally used as side stones in rings featuring multiple diamonds, and remember, more facets don't make a more beautiful diamond, it's all about your personal style.

Mixed Cut

The cushion cut is the most common mixed cut, combining faceting elements from both the modified brilliant and step cuts allowing it to ensure weight preservation from the step cuts while at the same time enjoying the optical effects of brilliants. Typically the crown is fashioned like a brilliant cut and the pavilion more like a step cut. Although mixed cuts are all relatively new, dating back to the 1960s, the cushion shape is much older.

Old World Cuts

Old world cuts are those which were crafted by hand for older diamonds. These loose diamonds are also known as European cut, Rose cut, and the Old Miner cut. Before the round brilliant cutting method was perfected and machines came into the fore-front, this was the primary style of diamond cutting. Antique jewellery pieces, or those crafted before the 1900's were crafted with this cutting style. These diamonds have larger more open facets, and are not always optimized for symmetry. Because of their large facets, they do not sparkle as much as the brilliant cut diamonds. Some prefer the intense sparkle of the brilliant cut, while others prefer the softer sparkle of the old cut diamond.

Old Mine Cut - This is a square diamond cut with gently rounded corners and brilliant-style facets. The crown is typically high but table is small, and the culet is big enough to be visible through the top of the stone.

Old Mine Cut

Old Mine Cut.

Old European Cut - This is a square diamond cut with gently rounded corners and brilliant-style facets. The crown is typically high but table is small, and the culet is big enough to be visible through the top of the stone.

Old European Cut

Old European Cut.

Rose Cut - As the name suggests, this cut's brilliant-style facets are arranged in groups that make the diamond look like an opening rose bud. The rose cut is usually made up of 12 or 24 triangular facets reaching up to form a point, a crown that rises from its base and has no pavilion. Developed prior to the use of electric lighting, rose cuts lost their popularity in the early 20th century due to their lack of brilliance.

Rose Cut

Rose Cut.