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The Origin of Diamond Cuts- And How They Got Their Names

So by now, we all know the differences between LCD, diamonds, and moissanite. But what about the shapes and cuts? Let’s go back to the roots to discover the stories behind these cuts and how they got their names. The quick guide below gives the lowdown on the origin of diamond cuts. 



This fancy shape was only introduced a few decades ago, but has since become  one of the most popular shapes for engagement rings. When looking down on a princess-cut diamond, they can appear as a square, however, from the side, they resemble more of an inverted pyramid. 

How long has this gorgeous cut been around? Well, there’s some confusion there. Many believe the history of the princess cut dates back to the 1970’s. This was also when a new shape, “the Barion Cut”, was introduced by Basil Watermeyer. This particular cut was actually more of a combination between an emerald cut and marquise cut. Princess diamonds actually date back to 1961 when a London based diamond cutter, Arpad Nagy, created what was known then as the “profile cut”. That same cut is now known as the princess cut. After a few years, Betzalel Ambar, Ygal Perlman, and Israel Itzkowitz popularized the new name, which is why we all know them now as “princess cuts”.

This square stone features 58 facets, which allows it to really show off the diamond’s unique sparkle. It offers a similar shine to the round brilliant diamond due to their similar facet positions.

princess cut diamond




A marquise-cut diamond features 58 facets and an elliptical shape with pointed ends. And this exquisite shape has an interesting history. In the mid-18th century, King Louis XV of France commissioned his court jeweler to cut a diamond in the shape of the lips of his favorite mistress Jean Antoinette Poisson. She was known as the Marquise de Pompadour (or more commonly referred to as Madame de Pompadour). Marquise cuts are also known as “navette” cuts, which means “little ship” in French. Along with a football-shaped cut (hmmm… where’s the romance?); and the eye-shaped cut.  

marquise cut diamond




The pear shape, often referred to as the teardrop cut, was invented in 1458 by Flemish diamond polisher, Lodewyk van Bercken. He also invented the Scaife polishing wheel, which transformed the diamond trade. It enabled him to cut facets into diamonds with precision and opened the door to more complex diamond cuts.

This diamond combines the brilliance and design of the round and marquise cuts into one unique shape. Despite the positive response to the shape, when it first debuted many people were not happy with the amount of rough diamond lost during the cutting process. Over time, however, the pear shape grew in popularity. 

pear cut diamond





The cushion shape is almost like a rounded square. It gets its name for being shaped like a pillow. Its origins can be traced back to the 1800’s. At the time, the cut was referred to as the “mine cut,” named after the Brazilian diamond mines (called “old mine” once diamonds were found in South Africa as well). While similar in shape, today’s cushion cut has 64 facets while the “mine cut” had 58. The many facets that make up the cushion allow for more light to flow through the stone. Which makes it one of the most brilliant cuts compared to the rest. 


Emerald cut

Emerald cuts have been around for thousands of years. Initially, it was used on emerald stones. But, diamond cutters eventually began to incorporate the cut into diamonds as well. The name “emerald cut” was not used until the 1920’s. This is when it reached the peak of its popularity. The emerald cut’s clean lines and symmetry fit in perfectly with the art deco style of the decade. An emerald shaped diamond is created by using step cuts, which, as the name suggests, resemble steps on a staircase. 



The Asscher cut is one of the first patented diamond cuts in the world. It was invented by Dutch master diamond cutter, Joseph Asscher of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in 1902.  Like the emerald shape but in square format, Joseph was able to create a more brilliant cut by giving the diamond larger step facets, a higher crown, and a smaller table. The classic looking Asscher has 58 facets and cropped corners that give it the appearance of an octagon. 

diamond cuts names



After reviewing the origins of the infamous diamond cuts- Tell us which one’s your favorite? If you’re still not sure, you can visit our collection and browse for some inspiration.

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