All gemstones have the same basic structure- a girdle, crown, pavilion, table and culet. See Cutting Style & Stone Shape for more information on these gemstone parts. When discussing the shape of a gemstone it's basically the outline of a stone. The cut of a gemstone refers to the proportion, symmetry, polish and finish of the stone. Faceting refers to the method used to cut the surface of the stone into small facets of varying angles which is a method that helps to maximize the way light travels into the stone.
A brilliant cut helps to maximize the light dispersion in the stone by causing the light to bend towards the center of the stone and then reflecting it outwards to produce fire and brilliance. This cut is adapted for various different stone shapes. The brilliant cut's angles and proportions are carefully calculated to produce the ideal cut that will enhance the brilliance of any stone.
A briolette cut is a double rose cut with an elongated cone-shaped upper crown and a rounded pavilion that is covered in triangular or rectangular facets.
A mixed cut is a combination of a step cut and a brilliant cut. For this, the step cut is used for the pavilion and the brilliant cut is used for the crown.
Faceted square cuts help to create straight-sided girdle shapes. Examples of square cuts include step cuts, cross cuts, French cut, and fancy cuts.
Step cuts were originally used for diamonds but it doesn't produce the same brilliance as the brilliant cut. This cut is more suitable for colored stones because it shows off color more effectively.
Cross cuts (also known as scissor cuts) is similar to the step cut. The steps are divided into triangular facets, which can help to introduce more light into the gemstone. This cut helps to improve weak or dark stones and conceal flaws in the outer areas of the stone.
French cuts are a modification of step cuts. This cut is typically used on small stones with triangular, rectangular and square shapes. Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds usually have this cut.
Fancy cuts are more design-driven. These types of cuts are very unique and can create different optical effects. Sometimes fancy cuts are variations of standard cuts. Fancy cuts were originally created to retain the maximum weight in irregularly shaped crystals.
Cabochon cuts can vary depending on the girdle shape and the convex curve of the surface. The surface can range from a flat cut slab to a high-domed bullet. The base of the stone can also be flat or rounded as a double cabochon to help increase the color density in lightly colored transparent stones. Cabochons can have the following shapes: round, square, octagon, oval, rectangle, pear, oblong, and cushion antique.
Beaded jewelry is usually made of soft gemstone material that can easily be carved. There are several bead cuts: ovals, rondelles, tubby briolettes, faceted buttons, faceted nuggets, and faceted drops.
Oval beads are flat oval shaped stones. Turquoise stones are usually cut this way because it allows the stones to lie flat when worn.
Rondelle beads are round, evenly shaped, well drilled and polished. Emeralds are a good material for this particular bead cut.
Tubby briolettes are often called tubbies due to their shape and resemble miniature tear drops that are somewhat flattened.
Faceted buttons are cheaper diamond beads.
Faceted nuggets are large, heavy irregular shaped beads.
Faceted drops are drop cut beads that are faceted.