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All About Diamond Cuts & Shapes

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Okay, 27 days to go. (Yes, I know I missed yesterday but my plans got siderailed by a little unscheduled trip to the ER…all good now, so onwards we go!)

Now, you may know that the heroine of my book is a professional jewel thief. Naturally, this means I did a whole lot of research on diamonds and jewels while I was writing (and while I’ve been working like mad on the sequel). I know–tough job, right?

So here are a few things you need to know about diamond shapes (and yes, my darlings, you do need to know this stuff).

Brilliant cut


This is the typical round cut we’re all familiar with. It’s popular for good reason–it’s the best way of showing off a diamond’s fire.

Princess cut


This square shape is the seecond most popular cut, and it also emphasizes the fire and sparkle of a diamond. It’s been gaining in popularity recently. And I must say, I think it’s my favorite. (That preference has nothing to do with the use of the term “princess”, I swear.)



Many famous diamonds are cut into a pear shape, like the Taylor-Burton diamond (yes, that’s Taylor as in Liz Taylor and Burton as in Richard Burton) and the Victoria-Transvaal Diamond, pictured above. The Victoria-Transvaal is a dazzling, 67.89 carat, champagne colored diamond, currently on display in the Smithsonian.



I have to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of the heart shape. Just seems a little…how do I say…cheesy, and overly sentimental. But that could just be me. Some famous diamonds have been cut into a heart shape, like Elizabeth Taylor’s 17th century heart shaped  Taj Mahal diamond ring given to her by Richard Burton for her 40th birthday. (Er, did those two do anything other than give diamonds to one another?) The 30.82 carat Blue Heart Diamond is another example–reportedly the inspiration for the fictional “Heart of the Ocean” diamond in the movie Titanic.



Briolette is an elongated pear shape. It was very popular during Victorian times, but less commonly used today. The diamond pictured above is the Briolette of India–a legendary diamond of 90.38 carats. Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first Queen of France and later England, brought the stone to England in the 12th century. It is said that her son, Richard the Lionhearted, took the diamond with him on the Third Crusade.



I love the cushion cut, for some reason. Above is The Tiffany Yellow, a spectacular 128.54 carat diamond on display at Tiffany & Co’s New York City store. Many famous and legendary diamonds are cut in a cushion, or modified cushion shape. The Regent diamond, on display in the Louvre, is another example: a 140.64 carat jewel that formerly belonged to Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Truth be told, there are many more shapes and cuts than I’ve listed here. And some of the largest, most famous diamonds don’t follow a strictly prescribed shape, anyway, as they were cut (and re-cut, through history) in a modified ways to preserve as much of the gem as possible.

So…what’s your favourite shape?

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Kim Foster writes YA and adult books about thieves, spies, and assassins. (Read More)

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