An Intro to Gemstone Cut
What is the Difference Between Cut and Shape?
Understanding Gemstone Cut
A well-cut gemstone is symmetrical, well-polished and reflects light evenly across the surface, and the polish is smooth, without any nicks or scratches. Poorly-cut gemstones may appear dull, and poor cuts decrease the overall value of the gemstone. Like diamonds, fine quality color gems usually have a table, crown, girdle, pavilion, and culet. Iridescent opals are one exception, and most often have a rounded cabochon cut.
A brilliant cut is ideal for the most sparkle and intense brilliance, although this cut tends to be more expensive than other cuts. The step cut is popular for gemstones because of its subtle sparkle, but step-cut gemstones tend to have a smaller face-up size. The coveted princess cut allows for a gem to appear larger, but you’ll have to be mindful of its sharp corners, which are prone to snagging.
What to Look for When Buying a Gemstone
SymmetryAn asymmetrically cut crown indicates a low-quality gemstone, since the light won’t reflect evenly across the surface.
Cut and ShapeIn a gemstone with more saturated color, the best cut may be more shallow than average, permitting more light to penetrate the gemstone, while in a less saturated gem, the color may benefit from a deeper cut.
Color ZoningAn uneven distribution of color is common in naturally occurring gemstones. An expert cutter will keep uneven color zones in mind and cut to evenly portion the color for a striking look.
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