Gems come in all shapes and sizes. These numerous variations are what sets them apart as some gems have striking cuts that are pretty common, like the emerald, while other gemstones like rubies have multiple variations. Regardless of the gem type, there are many different cuts available out there. The questions then come up are what those cuts are, whether multiple gem cuts can be used on a gem and how exactly the cut affects a gem. You can finally have the answer to this and many other questions about gem cuts with this guide. Here is everything you need to know about gem cuts.
What are gem cuts?
When a gem is first extracted, it has to go through a series of steps to obtain the beautiful state you see embedded in your jewelry. There is cleaning, polishing, and of course, cutting and shaping to get to this stage. The way you cut a gem to give it some sort of shape determines the gem cut. There are numerous forms of gem cuts that we’ll elaborate on later on, but a few examples include round, oval, and square, amongst many more.
Initially, these gem cuts may seem basic. However, each cut has intricate details that are difficult to accomplish without the proper training and experience. You need to learn how to use particular tools as only they can get the job done. Along with this, intricate patterns must be cut to perfection to obtain the desired gem cut. For example, a square gem cut isn’t simply carving out four straight lines. It needs to be leveled and cut in other places to obtain the right results.
Why is it important to pick the right gem cut?
To understand why the proper gem cut needs to be picked, we must first understand what the gem cut does. First, standard gem cuts make jewelry production easier. If they are cut perfectly, they can easily be placed into your desired piece of jewelry without the need for any alterations to the metal. Alterations often result in loss of metal and added time which could also mean more expensive jewelry.
The other essential factor that is highly dependent on the cut is bringing out the color, reflection, and true brilliance of a gem. You may have noticed how gems are often angled and have multiple slanting cuts. They are never even. It is purposely shaped this way to reflect light even more beautifully and sparkles the way you want it. Remember that even one wrong cut or a simple one could ruin a gem’s sparkle or clarity.
Although the type of cut depends on personal preference and type of jewelry, it is best to stick to your jeweler’s recommendations and not delve into a custom cut that’s very out of the ordinary. This could take away the true beauty of a gem and leave you with something that you wouldn’t love to wear.
What types of gem cuts are out there?
Shapes and sizes are abundant when it comes to gem cuts. However, there are a few staples that will never go out of style. Here are some of the most popular gem cuts out there:
The hexagon gem cut is a more modern geometric cut. It is pretty self-explanatory as the gem is shaped into a regular hexagon, a five-sided shape with pointed corners. It is mostly used for moss agate engagement rings, but can be found on other jewelry as well!
Kite gem cuts are like the generic diamond geometric shape. It is like a classic kite where two dissimilar triangles are placed together. It is a modern and elegant take on gem cuts – a great example are the salt and pepper diamond rings.
The round cut is typical and is often used in jewelry. It is the kind of shape that flatters almost all types of necklaces, earrings, and rings and provides elegance. The size mostly depends on personal preference and the style of jewelry.
The oval gem cut is quite similar to the round, but it is used relatively less. As the name suggests, it is an oval shape and looks great with most gems out there. You will frequently find this shape on rings.
A pear gem cut is sometimes referred to as a teardrop. This is because it is similar to a bit of drop of water. It is like an oval shape, but one side is pointed like a teardrop instead of two smooth curves. You will find this shape on many earrings and necklaces. It is pretty popular to display an elegant yet modern look.
The marquise is quite an excellent shape. It is somewhat like the pear gem cut, except it has a point on both ends instead of just one. It is frequently chosen by people who want to step out of the elegant and classy side and delve into a more modern and chic look.
The baguette is quite similar to the princess cut. However, this is a rectangle. It is mainly depicted as a flat rectangle with pointed edges. You don’t often find this as the emerald or Asscher gem cut is relatively more popular. If you’d like something more unique, try the tapered baguette. This is a slanting rectangle, so it forms a bit v but with all flat sides. This is sometimes found on earrings and helps you stand out from the crowd.
The emerald gem cut developed its name because emeralds were almost always cut into this pattern. It is the most flattering cut for an emerald as it displays those green hues in all its glory. However, it may be adapted onto other gems as well. It is a rectangular shape with rounded edges. This cut never fails to steal the show.
Princess gem cuts are uncommon today, but some people still love the classic style. It is a square shape with pointed edges. It is mainly placed in jewelry that can be covered from all sides, such as a necklace or a brooch. However, princess cuts in smaller sizes and more significant numbers are pretty standard.
Cushion / Radiant
A cushion gem cut is much like a princess cut, except the edges are rounded. It is mostly flat, so it is preferred on rings where high-raised gems are not liked much. It is more common than a princess cut as people prefer rounded edges rather than pointed ones. It is quite similar to the antique cushion gem cut.
The Asscher is a unique cut. It blends the radiant cut and the emerald cut to produce a raised square shape with rounded edges. You can also think of it as an emerald gem cut but with sides of equal lengths. People often prefer a radiant gem cut since its flatters all face shapes when it comes to gems other than emeralds.
The heart gem cut is a classic. It is no different from the name. This classic gem cut is used in rings, earrings, necklaces, brooches, and almost everywhere. It is a popular choice amongst couples, and there is no sweeter way of displaying affection than with a heart gem cut.
Some popular gems cuts for well-known gemstones
If you seem to have aged but you’re not sure which gem cut to pick, we can help. There are some popular options of gem cuts for certain gems that you can consider. Remember that the choice must also depend on the jewelry, but we’ll discuss that later. For now, here are some popular gem cuts for a few gems.
Diamond gem cut
For a diamond, there’s nothing better than a round gem cut. There’s something about a round diamond that is so flattering that it can bring a smile to anyone’s face. It allows the gem to become even more mesmerizing than usual. The shape has 58 facets which means it reflects light from multiple directions. It’s no wonder that it’s the most expensive gem cut. The oval gem cut is close, while rounded edges are uncommon but liked by a few.
The most popular cut for emeralds lies in its name. The emerald cut is perfect for this gem as it produces the best reflection. This cut has multiple incisions so that it could result in a soft and brittle stone. This is why emeralds are mostly used for this shape since their chemical makeup is strong enough to hold it without producing any chips. However, some people prefer the Asscher gem cut as well.
For rubies, oval cuts are the most popular. This is because it produces minimal waste and allows the beautiful deep red to shine through. Next in line in terms of popularity are the emerald cut and the heart cut. The emerald cut also flatters the ruby shape but produces relatively more waste. As for the heart gem cut, everyone knows that a red heart is the best way to display affection! If the ruby is pretty large, a cushion shape is usually recommended since it flatters the gem as a centerpiece.
Popular sapphire cuts are similar to diamonds. The top three contenders are round, oval, and cushion gem cuts. Each of these proves to produce the most reflectiveness on the gem, which intensifies the mesmerizing blue hues. What separates this from a diamond is that it is also popular in an emerald gem cut while the diamond is not. The color allows more variation, so people also find the beautiful blue gem sapphire quite flattering in that gem cut.
How to pick the best gem cut?
Now that you understand the different gem cuts and what ones look good on which gems, you need to analyze the type of jewelry you’re buying to identify the right gem cut for you.
Big or small gem?
The first thing to ask yourself is whether you’re looking for one big statement piece or something dainty. If it’s the former, try something big like the emerald cut but if you like smaller pieces, try brilliant round or a cushion gem cut.
One or many gems?
Next is the number of gems. Would you like a cluster of gems in your jewelry or just one? Clusters look better with small, simple gems. Steer clear from modern geometric shapes unless you’re thinking of one to three gems.
Modern or classy?
New gem cuts keep coming out while some remain a classy staple. Do you think you’d like jewelry with a modern touch, or are you just looking for something classy that goes with everything? Modern gem cuts include the kite, hexagon, or tapered baguette. Classy ones include round, emerald, cushion, and so on.
What’s the occasion?
The occasion is of immense importance as it determines the selection of the factors mentioned above. If you’re a wedding guest or at a formal reception, multiple dainty pieces are referable. If you plan on going to a party or fashion event, large pieces that make a statement are the way to go. Remember first to consider where you plan to go before picking the jewelry and gem cuts.
The jewelry itself
Remember to consider the jewelry itself as well. For example, a ring with a tapered baguette seems impractical, which is why it’s rare. Princess cut earrings are not widespread since they may be hard to maintain due to the edges. Keep in mind that even if a gem cut looks beautiful on its own, it may not look good on the wrong kind of jewelry.
Ever since people started adorning gems, they began cutting and shaping gemstones to increase their beauty further. This is how multiple gem cuts arose and allowed jewelry to become even more unique and beautiful. There are different gem cuts out there that you can pick based on the gem itself, the stone’s color, the type of jewelry, and the overall look that you want to achieve. Along with this, keep your preferences in mind. Jewelry is an investment, and you will only look your best if you feel your best too!