A brilliant cut is a type of diamond cut characterized by its multiple facets, which are designed to maximize the stone’s sparkle, fire, and scintillation. The modern brilliant cut has been hundreds of years in the making, and is one of the most popular and widely used diamond cuts which can be used for stones of different shapes, including round, princess, pear and oval cuts.
What is a Brilliant Cut Diamond?
A brilliant cut diamond has a specific arrangement of facets that allows light to enter the stone and be reflected back out in a way that creates maximum brilliance and fire. The exact number and arrangement of facets varies depending on the specific type of brilliant cut, but in general, this cut has a large table facet (the flat top facet), a pointed culet (the small facet at the bottom of the diamond), and a pavilion that is cut with a series of triangular facets that converge at the culet.
After the 15th century when craftsmen figured out diamonds could be used to cut other diamonds, began a quest to unleash the ultimate inner beauty of the stone. The first brilliant-esque cut was created in the 17th century, and then the old European cut, considered the predecessor to the modern brilliant, was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. These old cuts were fashioned by hand and designed to sparkle in candle light. Regardless of the era and type of lighting available, brilliants were designed to maximize a diamond’s natural sparkle and fire.
A brilliant cut is any diamond or gemstone that’s been cut with numerous facets in order to exhibit brilliance, commonly known as sparkle. This brilliance is the result of light pouring in and bouncing off the facets of the conical shape of the stone resulting in the iconic sparkly appearance. The cut of a diamond determines its light performance and doesn’t affect its shape; the most common type of brilliant is the round brilliant, but many other shapes including a pear or oval can be cut in this style.
What is a Modern Brilliant Cut Diamond?
In 1919 Belgian gemologist and mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky published “Diamond Design: A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in Diamond” where he discussed how to cut a diamond using specific angles and proportions to maximize its brilliance. When a diamond is cut and polished according to Marcel’s scientific calculations, light enters the stone through the top, bounces around the facets, and exits back through the top creating maximum fire, brilliance and scintillation. His mathematical formula is still used, with adjustments to account for new technology.
The brilliant cut is designed using precise mathematical formulas to achieve maximum light performance. In order for a stone to be deemed a brilliant cut, it has to have 58 facets (if polished with a culet): 33 on the crown (the upper part of the diamond) including 1 table facet, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets and 16 upper girdle facets, and 25 on the pavilion (the lower part of the diamond) including 8 main pavilion facets, 16 lower girdle facets and a culet. The pavilion, crown and table also have to be in specific proportion to one other. The most common type of brilliant cut diamond today is the round brilliant.
Cut is one of the most crucial elements to consider when selecting a stone, because it’s what determines the sparkle, and thus beauty of a diamond. The better a diamond has been cut, the greater its ability to reflect and refract light. A well-cut diamond is proportioned so most of the light entering the gem exits back through the top, perfectly balancing the white light (brilliance) with intense flashes of colorful fire (dispersion). Today, facets are machine cut to perfection with lasers, exhibit exceptional symmetry, and are finished with the highest polish.
When it comes to sparkle, you won’t achieve a more lively appearance than a brilliant cut diamond. Be it round, oval, cushion, princess or pear, brilliant cuts exude an unrivaled fire and make a perfect choice for those who love sparkles. If you’re looking to design a custom ring with extra sparkle, give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment.