All About Gemstone Cuts

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scenic picture
Photo courtesy of Bluphire.

Gemstones are cut with facets, or are non-faceted. The cabochon cut is a facetless cut that produces smooth rounded surface. Usually a round dome shape, or sometimes a squarish dome shape.

Most gemstones are commonly cut into facets. The angle, number, and placement of facets are carefully planned to insure the largest of life is reflected within the stone body.

scenic picture
Photo courtesy of Bluphire.

The type of cut has the greatest impact on the stone’s beauty. The most popular types of cuts for coloured gemstone are generalized into four categories:

  • Brilliant-cuts
  • Step-Cuts
  • Mixed-Cuts
  • Cabochon


The brilliant cut is popular for many colored gemstones. It ensures that maximum light is reflected out through the front (table) giving brightness and fire.

The brilliant cut has many facet. Oval produces a larger appearance from a smaller carat weight

scenic picture
Photo courtesy of Bluphire.


Variations are square, octagon, some ovals, baguette, and other table cuts. This cut is often known as the "emerald cut" and is intended to intensify a stone's color.


Mixed-Cut stones are usually cut as brilliants, with the pavilions step-cut.

Sapphires and Rubies, and most transparent color gemstones are cut in this style. Variations are the cushion, pear or teardrop, plus some oval cuts.

scenic picture
Photo courtesy of Bluphire.


Dark-colored stones gemstones, including those that are translucent or opaque, such as opal and jade and are often polished rather than faceted. This cut is also used to produce such effects as cats-eye and star effect. In addition, stones that are heavily included may be cut in a cabochon cut as it is a better cut for hiding these unattractive inclusions.

Cabochons have a smooth, rounded surface with no facets. The bottom of the stone is flat or nearly flat.