Faceting Diamonds and other Precious Gems

From Rough Stones to Dazzling Jewellery 

When we think of diamonds and other precious gem stones we tend to imagine them in their perfectly cut and sparkling state however all gems start of as 'rough'. Predominately found deep in the ground gem stones of all types begin their journey as rugged and indeed rough stones which are then transformed into sparkling gemstones and ornate pieces of jewellery through a meticulous mathematical process of cutting. 


Gemstones are cut and crafted in a variety of different fashions and shapes. Most commonly the surface of the gem is cut into numerous flat faces, which are known as facets. The number and shape of these facets gives the gem its style of cut.

The way in which a stone is cut will be done so with colour, clarity and weight in mind and this will differ for each gemstone.
The aim of every process of cutting a gem is to retain its weight and create the maximum level of brightness and sparkle. As each gemstone is a different natural shape with different levels of natural inclusions or imperfections the way in which it is cut to create maximum sparkle and brilliance will vary.
Whilst there are several different cuts used for different stones all of these are mathematically calculated to ensure that the maximum amount of light is reflected and refracted through the stone.

Different Types of Gemstone Cuts


Gemstone cut shapes


The Brilliant Cut

The most popular cut for diamonds and other gemstones is the brilliant cut. This particular cut creates the brightest sparkle as light is most effectively reflected through the face of the stone giving it fire and brilliance. Brilliant cuts are most commonly round but variations include oval, pear shape, marquise and boat shape.

Marcel Tolkowsky – inventor of the mathematical formula responsible for the round brilliant cut. The most popular cut for diamonds which gives the maximum level of light reflection and therefore the greatest radiance and brilliance from diamonds. 

Step Cuts

The step cut is most usually reserved for coloured stones. Step cuts are comprised of a square of table facet with parallel rectangular facets. Sometimes the corners of the stones are removed as in the case of emerald cuts. Step cuts include, but are not limited to emerald, square, octagonal and oval cuts.

Mixed Cuts

True to their name mixed cuts are generally a mixture of brilliant cuts and stepped cuts. The crowns of the stone are brilliant cut whilst the pavilions which are below the girdle are step cut. Sapphires and rubies are commonly crafted into mixed cuts. The cuts include traditional mixed cuts and cushion cuts.

Fancy Cuts

Fancy cuts come in an array of different shapes ranging from heart shaped to marquise, triangle, kite shaped and more. Fancy cuts are sometimes created to best enhance a flawed or irregularly shaped gem but they are also used for style reasons and often to highlight particularly rare gemstones.