Gemstone Shapes: A Comprehensive Guide

Gemstones come in many shapes. When found in nature, they are in a very rough condition. They are cut to conform to various shapes in order to show off the gem’s color, brilliance, and overall quality. The best cut hides imperfections and gives the customer the most value.


There are more than a dozen types of cuts, although some are more common than others. Some cuts work better for certain gemstones based on their color and other attributes.


As a jewelry maker, you’ll want to be knowledgeable about the various gemstone cuts so you can choose the right shape for your piece.


Round or Brilliant Cut: This is the most common type of cut, accounting for more than 75% of gems sold. This cut has set the standard in the jewelry industry. This cut requires a precise formula in order to create the highest level of brilliance possible.


Oval Cut: This cut is popular among women with short fingers since the oval shape gives the illusion of length.


Marquise Cut: This cut is similar to an oval, but it has pointed ends. It looks best when it’s by itself or surrounded by smaller gems.


Pear Cut: This cut is a cross between the oval cut and marquise cut. It resembles a teardrop and looks best when used in earrings or as a pendant. As a ring, it works best for those with small fingers, as it makes them look longer. It’s important to look for depth and quality of the facets – the flat faces of a gem – when choosing a pear cut gem. It should have 71 facets.


Heart Shaped Cut: A heart shaped cut is similar to a pear cut, except it has a cleft at the top. This romantic cut is best used on a stone with an even shape.


Princess Cut: This cut is shaped like a rectangle or square. It is typically used in engagement rings.


Baguette Cut: This rectangle-shaped cut has 20 facets.


Mirror Cut: This round cut refracts light.


Emerald Cut: This cut is similar to that of a baguette cut, except that the emerald-cut has cropped corners. As the name implies, this cut is typically used for emeralds; however, it works well for other gems as well. This cut shows off the gem’s color. The emerald cut has 50 facets.


Radiant Cut: This cut is similar in appearance to the emerald cut, but has the brilliance of a rounder cut gem.


Octagon Cut: As the name implies, this cut has eight sides, as well as 53 facets.


Square Cut: This cut has four equal sides and 57 facets.


Buff Top Cut: This cut resembles a diamond, but has a rounded top to create the illusion of depth. This makes the gem more brilliant.


Cushion Cut: This shape is used to bring out more luster in a gem. Its shape resembles that of a pillow. It is composed of 64 facets and is considered to have a romantic appearance.


Briolette Cut: This cut looks like a raindrop. It looks best when used as earrings and is most commonly used with colored gems. It typically has 84 facets, which makes it a brilliant gem. This cut is the most difficult one to create.


Concave Cut: This cut has a cone-like shape. The three dimensions give the gem more brilliance. This cut works best on lighter gems and should not be used on darker ones. The number of facets can vary.


Jubilee Cut: This cut looks like the shape of a brilliant-cut round diamond.


Trillion Cut: This cut is shaped like a triangle. Some cuts are rounder, while some tend to have sharper corners. It makes diamonds look more brilliant.


Fancy Cut: There is no specific design associated with this cut. A fancy cut can refer to any customized shape, such as flowers or stars.


Cabochon Cut: A cabochon is a shaped and polished gemstone, so it has no facets. It is dome-shaped at the top and rounded at the bottom.


Not all gems are cut equally. Some are more skillfully cut than others, so not only must you focus on the shape but the quality of the cut as well. If possible, examine gemstones in person before purchasing them to look for any variances. Well-cut gemstones can make your jewelry pieces stand out from the others.