Types of Gemstone Cuts

Gemstone quality is greatly determined by its cut. But unlike diamonds, there are no standardized cutting rules for all gemstones. In order to pick the perfect piece, we’ve listed the various types of cuts that bring out the best of what each gemstone can offer.


Gemstones Cut

The gem cutting process is an art, and most jewelers will tell you that the different stone cuts significantly impact a gem’s beauty and value. To understand this better, all you need to do is compare pictures of a rough gemstone to after it has been cut by experienced gem cutters. This will help you see how high-quality cutting maximizes and highlights the natural beauty of a raw gem and minimizes the visibility of its flaws.

There are several things you should look out for when examining faceted gems (i.e., cut gems). First, a well-cut gemstone should have good symmetry and proportions. However, huge variations in colored gemstones mean that, unlike white diamonds, there are no set standards for cutting them.

Instead, gemstones with very saturated colors will generally be cut shallower than gemstones with less saturated colors. This is because deeper cuts can help intensify pale colors, while shallow cuts can make the color of dark stones appear more vibrant.


There are several types of gemstone cuts, and knowing which one will complement your style of jewelry will help you make an informed buyer’s decision. Whether it’s a modern round brilliant cut, an elegant emerald cut, or a romantic heart cut, understanding how the cut and shape of a stone can impact its appearance will ensure that you choose the right one for your purpose.

Here are some of the most popular gemstone cuts and more information about them:

gemstone cuts

Princess cut

The modern princess cut features distinctive pointed corners and is one of the most popular cuts for engagement rings. It can have up to 58 facets and is also known as a square-modified brilliant cut. The classic prong setting is the best for a princess cut since it uses less metal than other settings, allowing more light to pass through the stone. Overall, the princess cut is a perfect choice for engagement rings and minimalist jewelry, where the gem really is the star of the piece.

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Emerald cut

While other faceted gems are admired for their brilliance, the emerald cut is prized for its clean lines and rectangular facets. A large table and the step cuts on the pavilion give emerald-cut diamonds a unique look that accentuates their clarity. This type of cut looks beautiful when paired with elegant jewelry settings and looks stunning in rings and pendants.

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Asscher cut

The modern Asscher cut is sometimes described as a square emerald cut. Both are known as “step-cuts” due to the fact that they have a pavilion cut with multiple facets. Like the emerald cut, Asscher-cut gems also feature cropped corners, making the finished gem appear octagonal when viewed from above. An Asscher-cut diamond looks best with a simpler setting that allows the gem’s brilliance to truly take center stage.

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Cushion cut

A cushion cut (also known as a pillow cut) is a square or rectangular shape with gently rounded corners and sides. The cushion cut is a classic cut that looks beautiful in vintage-style jewelry and halo engagement rings.

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Radiant cut

A radiant-cut diamond features a chic square shape with trimmed corners and facets carved to resemble a round brilliant cut. Thus, a radiant cut combines the contours of an emerald cut with the sparkle of a brilliant round cut – characteristics that have contributed to the growing popularity of radiant cut diamonds for engagement rings in recent years.

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Marquise cut

With curved edges and pointed ends, the marquise cut is also known as a navette cut, from the French word meaning “little ship”. While it is not as common in engagement rings as some of the other faceted styles, it is one of the most unique. Marquise-cut diamonds also have the largest surface area than any other cut in terms of their crown, giving the illusion of a larger stone. Because of their elliptical shape, marquise-cut gemstones look best in slimmer settings.

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Round cut

A round cut is the shape most people associate with a diamond. It features 57 facets cut in a way to optimize the dispersion of light in the stone and offer maximum sparkle. Its versatile shape pairs well with all metals and all styles, which is one of the reasons why round brilliant stones continue to be the most popular choice among faceted gemstones for engagement rings.

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Barion cut

A barion is one of the deepest cuts there is, so it will give you maximum depth of color of the gems and stone. The deeper the cut, the stronger the color of the gems will be. This is a good cut to consider if you want to highlight the gem’s unique color.

Pear cut

A pear-cut diamond resembles a teardrop shape that can be worn with the tip pointing upwards or downwards. Pear-cut gems have a similar structure to round brilliant cuts and reflect light radiantly. Six-prong settings are a popular choice for securing pear-shaped gemstones as center stones or solo pendants, although there are many other innovative designs.

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Oval Cut

An oval-cut diamond combines the brilliance of round stones with an elegant elongated shape. It is, therefore, a good choice if you want the beautiful facet arrangements of a round brilliant cut within a unique shape. Like the marquise cut, oval cut stones have a large surface area, making them appear larger than they really are.

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Baguette cut

Baguette-cut diamonds are a popular choice for accent stones and are commonly seen in jewelry settings with multiple gems. This rectangular cut features long step cuts, maximizing the gem’s clarity and creating a modern, geometric aesthetic that is sometimes confused with an emerald cut.

Heart – shaped cut

A heart-shaped cut is another modified round brilliant cut made up of between 56 and 58 facets, resulting in a stone with high brilliance. They remain one of the most popular fancy cut gemstones for their romantic shape.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell the cut of a gem?

In the section above, we mentioned the different gem cuts. These influence the shape of the gem after the cutting process. These shapes are achieved by cutting facets onto the gem’s surface. A rough stone does not possess these facets and will not display the same brilliance as cut gems as a result.

What are the different gemstone cuts?

em cutting styles refer to the shape and arrangement of a gem’s facets rather than the shape of the gem as seen from above. The three most basic gem cutting styles are:
Brilliant cuts: examples are the princess cut, round cut, and briolette cut
Step cuts: examples are the emerald cut, Asscher cut, and baguette cut
Mixed cuts (that feature a combination of brilliant and step-cut facets): examples are the radiant cut, cushion cut, and barion cut
Less common gem cuts include the cabochon cut and rose cut.

What is the side of a cut gem called?

Facet is the flat, polished surface of a cut gemstone, with three or four sides.

Which stones have the most sparkle?

A round brilliant cut diamond is arguably the most dazzling of all cut gems. However, moissanite possesses a higher refractive index, resulting in higher brilliance. It also has more fire (or dispersion) than a diamond and emits more light flashes, which translates to more sparkle.

How much does it cost to have stones cut?

Strictly speaking, bigger gemstones take longer to cut and, therefore, cost more. At the same time, precise cutting also adds to the cost. However, certain gemstones are less expensive to cut than others, with some cut stones even turning out cheaper than their rough forms.

What is the most expensive gemstone cut?

The most expensive gemstone cut is the round brilliant, especially for diamonds. It requires a high level of concentration and expertise from the gem cutter and takes more time to accomplish.

What do gemstone cuts mean?

Gemstone cuts refer to the shape and facet arrangements of rough unpolished stones after they have been cut. Gemstone cuts differ depending on the number and shape of the facets they possess.

How long does it take to facet a gemstone?

It can take around four or five hours to facet a small stone. Medium-sized stones can take between five and eight hours, while large stones can take two or more days. Harder stones like rubies and sapphires also take longer, as do stones with a high number of facets.

Other than diamond, which stone is hard to cut?

Rubies and sapphires are ranked second and third on the Mohs Scale for hardness, making them the hardest gemstones to cut after a diamond.

What is a cut gemstone called?

A cut gemstone is called a faceted gem.

What are three common gemstone cuts?

The three basic gemstone cuts are namely brilliant, step, and mixed.

Which gemstone cut sparkles the most?

The round-cut diamond is the gemstone that out-sparkles all other gems.

What is the best gem cut?

Deciding which gem cut is “best” is really determined by the wearer’s personal preference. Thus, there is no right or wrong choice. To be sure, they all have their strong points and weak points, but one is not cut above the rest (pun intended).

Which diamond cut looks biggest?

Diamond cuts that give the illusion of a larger stone (in order from largest to smallest) are marquise, pear, oval, and emerald. A similar effect can be achieved with round-cut diamonds when they are paired with the right setting. Thus, the carat weight of a diamond is often not reflected in its size. This means you can get away with buying a lighter stone for a lower price and still get the appearance of a large gem.

What is the rarest gem?

Painite is the rarest gemstone on earth. It is also the rarest mineral ever to be uncovered. At the time of its discovery in 1951, there existed only two specimens in the entire world.