Everything You Need to Know About Gemstone Cuts

Want to know why one diamond sparkles more than another? Wondering how the patterns in your gemstone are created? This is the place to be! 

The Difference Between Gemstone Shapes and Gemstone Cuts

The cut of a gemstone is decided by the shape and placement of facets which are cut into the stone to reflect light! The shape of a gemstone is the outer silhouette, which can then be cut in various patterns. 

These terms are used interchangeably, but the best way to think of it is: the outer shape of the stone is its shape, and the pattern and number of facets is its cut.

Types of Gemstone Cuts

There are a potentially infinite amount of gem shapes and cuts! With at least 20 standardised cuts for gemstones, you could create an infinite amount of gem shapes just by changing the pattern of facets!

The cut of a gemstone can make or break your design. So we have sorted the most common gem cuts into three sections below to make the gem of your dreams easier to find!

Antique Gemstone Cuts

We have been cutting gemstones to make the most of their sparkle for hundreds of years! If you’re looking for a ring that’s steeped in history and meaning, look no further than antique gemstone cuts. There's no shortage of vintage vibes here.

Old Cut

Old cut (or old european cut) diamonds are the gentler parent of the round brilliant cut. These OG diamonds have a softer, warmer lustre than the brilliant shine of a modern diamond.

Old Cut diamonds always have a small recognisable facet at the very centre of the stone. When you look at it from above, it looks like there is a hole in the middle! Because these diamonds were hand-cut, they’re never going to be symmetrical. But this gives them a unique character you just can’t replace!

Cushion Cut

Like its name suggests, this gem cut is cushion shaped! With a square outer shape, and a rounded profile and corners, this gemstone cut is a winner with lovers of classic and modern engagement rings alike! 

Cushion cuts have 58 facets, but the guidelines on this cut are very loose! This gives them an edge if you're looking for something unique, as no two will ever be the same!

Oval Cut

Synonymous with elegance and vintage rings, the oval cut has a history to match. This gemstone shape has been around since the 1300’s! They are ideal for coloured gemstones like sapphires, as they intensify any colour in the stone. 

But if you're going for a diamond, you’ll want a high colour grade! A common issue with oval gemstones is the bowtie effect. This is when the reflections inside the gemstone create a dark band across the centre, which some people love!

Oval Cut Engagement Rings

Oval Cut Engagement Rings

Oval Engagement Rings

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Emerald Cut

Emerald cuts are well known for their exceptional lustre, and are great for both vintage and modern rings. Because of its open, regular structure, the emerald cut will not sparkle, give off flashes of spectacular light!

As emeralds are prone to surface reaching inclusions and are commonly brittle, a strong regular shape was needed to show it in all of its green glory. The emerald cut was developed specifically for this stone! 

Shop emerald cut engagement rings.

Pear Cut

Originating from Belgium, the pear cut has been dazzling us with its beauty for over 600 years!

Sometimes called a teardrop cut, the pear cut we know today is a combination of oval and marquise cuts! It’s classed as a modified brilliant cut, and has a similar level of brilliance as the round brilliant due to its 58 facets. 

Like ovals, pear cuts can suffer from the bowtie effect. Despite this, it remains a popular choice! Like oval and marquise cuts, pear cuts are great for elongating the hand.

Shop pear cut engagement rings

Baguette Cut

The baguette cut, unlike the other cuts we have seen so far, is rarely used as a centre stone. Baguette cut stones tend to be small, and are usually used as accent stones or set in eternity rings and diamond set wedding bands. 

Other than its pointed corners, the baguette cut is identical to the emerald cut! As another of the stepped cuts, and have all the benefits and issues that come with this kind of open gemstone cut.

Rose Cut

Rose cut gemstones have a maximum of 24 facets, all on the top of the stone. This cut was designed to work best with candlelight, and comes with an inner lustre that makes these gemstones glow. 

With the growing demand for alternative jewellery, rose cuts have been making a comeback. They’re especially popular cuts for salt and pepper diamonds, as they can follow the natural gem shapes to really make the most of that shine!

Find your own rose cut stone here. Shop loose gemstones.

Find Your Perfect Gemstone Cut

Find Your Perfect 

Stone Cut

Marquise Cut

The Marquise or ‘Navette’ gemstone cuts are one of the few stones where you cannot have the cut without the gem shape, and with 58 facets it’s one of the gem cuts with the most sparkle!

Supposedly this unusual gemstone cut was created to mirror the lips of Louis XV’s mistress, and its popularity has continued! With an elliptical shape (think rugby ball), symmetry is crucial. If the points of the marquise aren't in line, the stone will look wonky, no matter how well it’s set!

Shop our selection of marquise engagement rings.

Asscher Cut

The asscher cut is a vintage gemstone cut pretending to be modern! Originally developed in the early 1900s it features either 58 (for the OG cut) or 74 step-cut facets (for the modern, royal asscher cut). 

This gem cut is just as glamorous in vintage or modern engagement rings, but is especially effective in art deco designs. Gemstones in this cut will need to be eye clean, however, as the open structure of an asscher cut will show any imperfections clearly. 

Modern Gemstone Cuts

If you're looking for something that’s one of a kind, a modern gemstone cut could be the choice for you. Featuring the angular and geometric beauty of the latest trends, these shapes show you everything modern gem cutting can achieve!

Round Brilliant Cut

One of the most popular gemstone cuts, the round brilliant cut is the true queen of diamonds. Since 1919, when the first round brilliant cut (RBC) was developed in London, centre stones and side stones alike have been converted to RBC’s as standard.

With 57 facets, the RBC diamond is the optimal cut for brilliance and sparkle, but it does come at a cost! All round gemstone cuts waste more of the rough, so they will cost more per carat than more economical gem shapes.

Princess Cut

An ever popular choice, princess cuts are a staple in many traditional jewellers, and are commonly found in solitaire settings. With 57 facets, they have a similar brilliance and fire to a round brilliant cut gemstone, and so are one of the more sparkly options! 

While they are fantastic value for money (the same amount of rough diamond could be cut into two princess cuts or one round cut stone) the extended points at each corner can mean that a princess cut gemstone is prone to breaking. 

Radiant Cut

Invented in the late seventies, the radiant cut is one of the most popular gemstone cuts today. Like the emerald cut, it usually has a rectangular shape, and with 70 facets it is an incredibly beautiful cut for diamonds and coloured gemstones alike. 

This cut is a great choice if you are on a budget, but still want a stone with impact. Radiant cuts will appear larger on the hand than a round cut of the same carat, due to its shape! 

Radiant Cut Engagement Rings