Step 1: Introduction to Gemology

Lesson 23

The Three Basic Gem Cutting Styles

Brilliant Cut

Brilliant cuts consist of triangular and kite-shaped facets that spread outward from the center of the gem. As befits its name, the brilliant cut gives off the most scintillation of any cut.

Step Cut

Step cuts consist of rectangular facets that ascend the crown and descend the pavilion in steps. Examples of step cuts include emerald and baguette cuts. These are popular because they show off the stone’s color and clarity and produce a subtle gleam.

Mixed Cuts

Mixed cuts combine step cut and brilliant cut styles. They have brilliant facets on the crown and step facets on the pavilion, or vice versa. Mixed cuts may even combine cabbing and faceting techniques.

Shape and Style Combinations

Faceters can combine the above cutting styles with almost any shape. For example, a square modified brilliant is a princess cut. A square step cut with beveled corners is an Asscher cut. A square mixed cut is a Barion cut.

Step and mixed cuts apply to fancy shapes only. No step-cut or mixed-cut rounds exist.

Of course, you can also find variations within…