An experts guide to Gemstone Cuts and Shapes
Unsure which gemstone shape to choose? From round to emerald, discover the expert guide to gemstone cuts.
There are plenty of things to consider when buying a gemstone ring, not least the shape and cut of your gemstone! The options are abundant, and this can be one of the most fun parts of choosing your ring! So if you’re unsure which gemstone cut you should choose, read on to discover our expert guide.
The Difference between gemstone shape and gemstone cut
What many of us don’t realise is the shape and the cut of the gemstone are slightly different things. For example the shape could be round, and the cut is brilliant. Or, the shape could be octagon, and the cut is emerald.
The shape denotes the overall outline of the gemstone, and the cut refers to the faceting on the surface of the stone. However, these are used very interchangeably!
When cutting your gemstone the lapidary will consider three main aspects. Firstly, the crown. This is the top part of the gemstone. Then we have the pavilion which is the bottom of the gemstone, sometimes referred to as the ‘belly’. The outer perimeter around the middle is called the girdle, and this is what separates the crown from the pavilion.
The Fenton Gemstone Cuts
At Fenton, when customising your ring online, you can choose from four of the most popular shapes for your gemstone: round, oval, emerald and cushion.
Each of our ten ring designs can be customised with your choice of these, crafted from seven different gemstones. Discover more about each of these cuts below!
Round Cut Gemstones
So let’s start with rounds!
Round gemstones are well-known, as they are arguably the most popular choice for a diamond ring, particularly for solitaire styles. For a diamond, the round brilliant cut (shape + cut) has evolved over the years to become a perfect example of mathematical accuracy with specific angles and proportions. This maximises the light reflection of a diamond, aka how sparkly it is! And the majority of diamonds are now cut by laser machines, leaving little room for inaccuracy.
However, coloured gemstones are a different ball game. They are still cut and polished by hand, by a lapidary. It is both a science and an art, as the lapidary’s job is to identify from a rough crystal how to maximise yield (so the best cut and size form the rough crystal), colour and life.
The yield will come from the shape, and maximising colour and life will come from the cut. As gemstones vary so much more in colour than a white diamond, this process requires a little more attention. Once the lapidary has decided on these aspects, they will then cut, facet and polish the stone entirely by hand. This is why we don’t grade gemstone cuts in the same way as diamonds, as they will never be quite as precise, and that’s what makes them all that more special!
Whilst a diamond may be cut to be ‘round brilliant’, a coloured gemstone may be cut either in the same way, or more often to be ‘mixed cut’. This means the faceting patterns on the top of the stone may be different to the faceting pattern on the bottom of the stone. The ultimate goal of cutting a gemstone to a round cut will still be to maximise the sparkle, but there is a little more craft in balancing the colour and inclusions as well.
But if you’re looking for a sparkly coloured gemstone, then a round will never let you down!
Oval Cut Gemstones
Ovals are similar to rounds, but are a more popular choice for coloured gemstones. Ovals are also typically ‘mixed cut’, and are perfect for a sparkly gemstone that elongates the finger. Oval cuts will often come in calibrated sizes, meaning ‘8mm x 6mm’, or ‘9mm x 7mm’. This is because these proportions have been found to be most pleasing to the eye, and work well if a solitaire, or flanked or surrounded by diamonds!
Cushion Cut Gemstones
Cushion cuts are also in the realm of sparkly gemstones. They are somewhere in between a round and oval, and perfect for something a little different. The cushion in essence is a square with rounded edges, and much like the round and oval cuts, have plenty of facets on the crown and the pavilion, to ensure maximum life!
Emerald Cut Gemstones
The final cut of our standard collection is the emerald cut. The emerald cut was named due to its namesake the Emerald. It is essentially a rectangle with the corners cut off, making it an elongated octagon, designed to protect Emeralds from chipping and fractures. The emerald cut has far fewer facets than the previous cuts, and as such is a great option for subtlety and maximising the body of colour of your gemstone.
Other Gemstone Cuts & Shapes
And what about the other shapes? There are a few other gemstone shapes which are popular for rings, pendants and earrings. These include pears, marquises or baguette, to name a few.
Different cuts include the asscher cut (a specific type of faceting on an octagon-shape), or the radiant cut (interestingly, also most commonly with an octagon shape).