Buying a NON-Traditional Diamond: Knowing the Cut
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how we recommend approaching finding the perfect Diamond, and before we can get into specific categories that non-traditional diamonds fall into, It’s important to first break down one important factor you’ll encounter repeatedly on your non-traditional Diamond adventure: Cut.
Cut – traditionally, this refers to how well-proportioned and symmetrical a stone is physically as well as how well polished it is. For purposes of non-traditional stones, cut options can be categorized into two different major categories: Rose Cuts or Brilliant Cuts.
A Brilliant Cut is a traditional Diamond term. This could be round, Oval, etc. This style of cut features a flat Table, surrounded by a calculated halo of facets, and features a Pavilion, or conical body with a point on the lower half of the stone. A stone with this traditional shape must be set in a way that is raised off from the finger to accommodate the height of the stone itself, keeping the Culet (point) from touching the finger. Brilliant Cuts are designed specifically to refract light and provide maximum sparkle. If you’re all about that sparkle, we’d stick with this cut.
A Rose Cut is a vintage style (over 500 years old) that has made a strong comeback, for good reason. Before faceting was as precise as it was today, early stones cut by hand often had a Rose Cut appearance. The main feature of a Rose Cut is a flat back and faceted top. Today’s rose cuts differentiate themselves from traditional Brilliant cuts by offering a beautiful luster as opposed to a sparkle when hit by light, whether it’s a clear stone or an opaque (as both are available). A softer sparkle and shine occurs as a result of the faceting of the stone, but it is very different than the ‘brilliance from within’ that is the standard feature of a traditional Brilliant cut. Rose Cuts have less facets overall, and are valued for their subtlety, uniqueness, and shape over sparkle.
A Double Cut (also known as a Dutch Rose Cut) is a variety of Rose Cut that is typically taller and features more facets, resembling a geometric dome or briolette. Other Rose Cuts may have a table and longer facets that accentuate the outside shape of the Diamond. Because of this unique cut and flat back, lots of non-traditional shapes are possible as Rose Cuts. Some popular shapes that are found less often in traditional Brilliants include the Kite shape, Hexagon, Half Moon, and other Geometric variations. Facets may be symmetrical or asymmetrical.
One of the most appealing characteristic of a Rose Cut Diamond is that its flat back allows for a lower setting stone – think the exact opposite of that super tall 1980’s Tiffany setting you’re probably familiar with. Rose Cuts can be more intimate, nestled closer to the finger, and as a result, less grabby in your day to day life. Certain metalworking tips can also help with this – but that’s a topic for another day. The main thing to note is that a brilliant will never be able to be set so low as a Rose Cut. If she (or you) like to be extra active or rough in your day to day life, this might be a selling feature.
Another popular feature of the Rose Cut is that they have a greater ‘spread’ – which in jeweler speak just means you can actually see more of the carat weight. Where a brilliant cut must carry (aka hide) a significant portion of it’s weight in it’s Pavilion (part of what makes that sparkle), a well cut Rose Cut shows it all up front. This carat weight facing up makes a Diamond appear bigger, per carat weight. For example – a one carat Rose Cut would likely appear and measure much larger in height and width than a one carat Brilliant Cut. What this means for you: A Rose Cut is a great option if you want a lot of diamond look for your hard earned money. There is a wide price point for these cuts, depending on the grade and clarity of Rose Cut you’re interested in. Most commonly – the clearer the stone the more pricey it will be.
*Note: Actual Antique cuts are going to run you much more than a contemporary Rose Cut, because of their history and ‘antique’ status.
In good company: Justin Theroux and Matthew McConaughey both recently picked a Rose Cut for their brides.
Now, let's move on to some specific types of Brilliant and Rose Cut non-traditional options...