Noted South African author and diamond cutter Basil Watermeyer invented the Barion cut in 1971. The name “Barion” combined his first name with his wife’s, Marion, as a tribute to her. Barion cut designs were first used for diamonds. However, gem cutters soon realized the advantages of these cuts for colored gemstones.
By Jeff R. Graham 2 minute read
faceted spodumene

Faceted spodumene, octagonal Barion-style cut, approximately 13 carats. Photo by ProteusX. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

Characteristics of Barion Cut Designs

half moon facetsBarion designs have moon-shaped facets at the girdle. The central part of the design is a brilliant, with all the mains meeting at the same point and the break facets meeting at a different point. A set of fan facets usually connects with the half-moon facets.

If you see a gem with moon-shaped facets around the girdle, you’re likely looking at a Barion design.

Barion Oval

The Advantages of Barion Cuts

Barion cuts allow designers to work with longer length to widths and/or deeper designs, while keeping brilliant designs. The moon facets act as buffers, absorbing the different facet sizes.

If designed correctly, Barion cuts are generally brighter than traditional designs as the L/W ratio increases.

Barions will usually have higher yields than traditional brilliant cuts. They may also require deeper custom settings.

What Types of Gems Look Best With Barion Cut Designs?

Barion cuts work best for lighter colored, larger sized gem rough. Due to their depth, Barions tend to darken the finished stone’s color. They also usually have more facets than a regular design of the same shape. Thus, Barions typically require more work to cut as well as larger rough.

All slide show photos © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.

Barion Cutting Advice for Novice Gem Cutters

When choosing a Barion cut, be wary of designs that require a very high angle for the moon facets. As a general rule, anything over 68° will make the finished stone very difficult to set.

Be sure and cut your stone to the proper L/W. (A pre-form is almost always a good idea).

A common problem when cutting Barions is that the moon facets don’t line up. They end up looking like the Rocky Mountains. Usually, the L/W being off one way or another causes this.

Suggestions for Barion Cut Designs

Rainbow cut - Malaya Garnet

Rainbow-cut rose Malaya garnet, 13.1 x 17.8 x 10.5 mm deep, approximately 18.53 carats, by Jeff Graham.