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August 2, 2022

What Is a Brilliant Cut Diamond?

round cut diamond engagement ring

Brilliant-cut diamonds are diamonds that are cut and polished with many angular facets to produce lots of sparkle. Facets are the flat surfaces on a diamond. But it’s not just the number of facets that makes them so sparkly.  

Let’s take a look at the round brilliant cut vs the emerald cut, which is a step-cut diamond.

round-cut diamond
emerald cut diamond

Round-cut diamonds and emerald-cut diamonds both have 57-58 facets depending on whether or not there is a culet. However, emerald-cut diamonds aren’t very sparkly; they are cut to emphasize the stone’s clarity. Round-cut diamonds, on the other hand, are extremely sparkly.  

So why are brilliant-cut stones more sparkly? 

The size and arrangement of the facets in brilliant-cut diamonds are what make them so sparkly. They allow light to perfectly enter and exit them for maximum scintillation. Brilliant-cut stones typically have 33 facets on the crown and 25 on the pavilion.  

brilliant cut facet pattern

Image source 

Step-cut diamonds have very long, open facets that are arranged parallel to each other, so they don’t create much sparkle. They also don’t hide inclusions very well. A benefit of brilliant-cut diamonds is that they are great at masking inclusions. 

How Do You Know If a Diamond Is a Brilliant Cut Diamond? 

You can check your diamond’s grading certificate, which will specify its cutting style.  

GIA report

The Most Popular Brilliant Cut Diamonds 

Round-cut Diamonds  

round cut diamonds

Round-cut diamonds are the most sparkly diamond shape due to their cone-like shape. They’re also the most sought-after. The round-cut comes with a heftier price tag because of this, and because they produce the most rough diamond waste. Round-cut diamonds will flatter any finger when placed in a ring and are perfect for earrings, pendants, and more for their versatile and timeless shape.  


Oval-cut Diamonds 

oval cut diamond

Oval-cut diamonds are one of the most popular choices for engagement rings these days. This shape creates the appearance of a longer, more slender finger. Oval-cut diamonds also appear larger than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight. They have the same facet style as the round brilliant but are cut into an oval shape. 

round brilliant vs oval brilliant

Related: How to Buy an Oval-Cut Engagement Ring  


Cushion-cut Diamonds  

Cushion-cut Diamond

Cushion-cut diamonds are one of the most popular diamond shapes. They are often cut with a modified brilliant faceting style but can also be found with a brilliant faceting style. The cushion brilliant has the same faceting style as the round brilliant, but the rough diamond is fashioned into a cushion-like shape.

cushion brilliant vs round brilliant

Related: Cushion Brilliant vs Cushion Modified Brilliant: What’s the Difference? 


Pear-cut Diamonds

pear-cut diamond

The pear-cut diamond is known for its teardrop-like shape. Like the oval-cut, it appears larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight and produces a flattering effect on the finger. As you may have already guessed, the pear brilliant features the same facet pattern as the round brilliant.

pear brilliant

Related: How to Buy a Pear-Shaped Engagement Ring 


Heart-cut Diamonds

heart-cut diamond

Heart-cut diamonds, which have the same facet pattern as the round brilliant, are a unique and romantic choice. Set a heart-cut diamond in a pendant for an especially sentimental gift.  

round vs heart


Marquise-cut Diamonds

marquise cut

The marquise brilliant has the same facet pattern as the round brilliant but with a football-like shape. This shape has the largest surface area, so it appears larger than any other diamond shape, including the pear-cut and oval-cut. The marquise-cut also has a flattering effect on the finger.  

round vs marquise


How to Get the Most Sparkly Diamond 

Don’t rely on a stone’s overall cutting style or shape for a sparkly diamond. It’s possible for any diamond shape, even a round-cut diamond, to have poor light return and subpar sparkle. To ensure maximum brilliance, fire, and scintillation, choose a diamond with an excellent cut, excellent polish, and excellent symmetry. 

Up Next: Intro to the 4 Cs  

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