Brilliant Cut

It goes without saying that when we think of gemstone cuts we immediately associate it with diamonds, but from the way the look, who can blame us? Gemstone cuts are something which allow a diamond to become an individual, a subtle and simple design which brings out its playful sparkle. But let’s turn our attention to probably the most well-known cut there is, the brilliant cut. The journey of the round brilliant cut has been a constant evolution which has blossomed to give us the phenomenal cut which we love today.

For this cut the first part of its creation was that of the old European cut that came to show around 1750. The characteristics of this early cut are:

  • A small table, 53% or less (the top face of a diamond)
  • A large culet (the bottom point of a diamond)
  • Short lower-half facets


When classifying cuts all have their own identifiers which indicates that they have been crafted at different stages in history and therefore are each categorised individually. After the old European cut there was a change in diamond and gem design to bring a completely new look to the scene. This change in cutting style came around the time of 1880 and was initially referred to as a transitional cut however is now better known as a circular brilliant cut.

The classification of the circular brilliant cut are as follows:

  • Large table size (up to 62%)
  • Large culet size
  • Short lower half facets (similar quality to that of the European cut)


And finally we can mention the most popular and well recognised cut around today, the modern round brilliant cut. This look has been crafted and perfected over time, taking brilliance for each cut before it and creating it to be the look which we all simply adore. The flawless features of today’s brilliant cut dates back to 1919 and was created by Marcel Tolkowsky which has unsurprisingly led to gem design being known as the ‘Tolkowsky cut’.

Tolkowsky’s thesis worked to produce the ‘ideal’ diamond, the specifications for this cut are:

  • 58 Facets
  • 53% Table size
  • 59.3% Facet depth
  • 34.5% Crown angle
  • Visible culet

So there it is, a step back in time to look at the history and creation of the world favourite diamond and gemstone cut.