Gemstone Shapes and Cuts

Whether it's a diamond or a ruby, or an opal or an amethyst, a gemstone's natural beauty is revealed and enhanced by being cut into a shape that is not only pleasing to the eye, but flattering to the stone's features.

When creating vintage style engagement rings, we strive to maintain the historical beauty by emulating the cuts and shapes used so long ago.

What is the Difference Between Gemstone Shape and Cut?

You may think these two terms mean the same thing, but they're really quite different, and are not interchangeable at all. Because shapes are sometimes referred to as "cuts," as in, emerald-cut diamond, this can cause confusion between the two terms.

A gemstone's shape is often easily determined simply by looking at it. A gemstone may be round, pear-shaped, oval, or heart-shaped. Other terms are not as obviously correlated to shapes, such as marquise, cushion, radiant, or Asscher. In order to illustrate the difference between cut and shape, let's look at the round diamond.

A round diamond's shape is, well, round. It has been cut to be round. However, many differences in the way it's cut can still exist. One diamond may be cut to have numerous facets, which allow light to be better refracted within the stone, thereby making it more brilliant, and more attractive. On the other hand, a diamond may have been cut into a round shape, but with fewer facets, making it a duller stone that doesn't quite sparkle in the light the way a well-cut diamond will. For this reason, cutting gemstones is also called faceting.

Sometimes, this difference in cut has to do with the skill of the jeweler who cuts the stone. Other times, a diamond or other gemstone may be cut in a certain way in order to hide inclusions or other flaws from the naked eye.

This is also why cut is one of the 4Cs used to determine a stone's quality, grade, and cost.

Over the centuries, techniques and equipment for cutting gemstones have improved immensely. Because most gemstones are machine-cut nowadays, it's much easier to achieve high-quality results on a consistent basis. There was a time when gemstones had to be hand-cut, and required much more skill (and a very steady hand!) on the part of the jeweler. This is why antique diamond cuts are different from those seen today.

Shop our collection of vintage style engagement rings, and find the shape and cut that suits your taste.

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