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Modified Brilliant Cut Diamonds: What You Should Know

inspecting a pear-shaped diamond

I’ve given you advice on how to choose the best step cutmixed cut, and brilliant cut diamonds, and now it’s time to take a closer look at modified brilliant cuts. Modified brilliant cut diamonds – in addition to being quite a mouthful – have always been a popular choice in the world of loose diamonds. This is due in part to how similar modified brilliants are to round brilliant cuts in terms of shape and sparkle.

loose pear shaped diamond

What is a modified brilliant diamond?

A modified brilliant cut is basically just what its name says – a brilliant cut diamond that has been altered from its traditional round shape. In terms of shape category, modified brilliants represent the highest number of fancy cut diamonds. This is because round cut diamonds can be reshaped in several different ways.

Which diamond cuts are classified as modified brilliants?

oval shaped diamond ring

Oval cut, marquise cut, and pear shaped diamonds are the most common modified brilliant cuts. Others include heart-shaped diamonds, trillion cuts, and half-moon diamonds.

What should you know about modified brilliant cut diamonds?

Vintage split shank pear diamond ring with halo

1. Modified brilliant cut diamonds can go by a few different names. A few of the most common modified brilliant shapes have more than one name. A marquise cut diamond is sometimes referred to as a navette, which is French for “tiny boat”. Also, pear shaped diamonds can be called “drop cuts”, for their teardrop shape. It is important to know that a single diamond cut can have multiple names. This way, you won’t be up-sold to a navette cut that is actually the exact same shape as the marquise you viewed earlier!

2. Modified brilliant cuts should have comparable sparkle to round cut diamonds. Round diamonds are by far the most popular of the diamond cuts, partly because their faceting pattern gives them a more sparkly effect. Modified brilliant cut diamonds should have the same number and pattern of facets that round brilliants have. This has made modified brilliant cuts a highly popular diamond choice, because they offer the superior sparkle of a round diamond with a more offbeat variety of shapes.

3. Modified brilliant shapes are always expanding. If you want a hand-cut modified brilliant diamond, you will probably be limited to the more common pear, marquise, and oval shapes. However, with the rise of laser diamond cutting technology, your options for modified-brilliant shapes are practically limitless. Butterflies, dolphins, stars, and even horses are just a few of the new and interesting shapes on the market today.

marquise diamond engagement ring

4. Be careful with these diamond cuts. This is especially true for the unconventional shapes I mentioned in the previous tip, marquise cuts, and pear shaped diamonds. Any modified brilliant loose diamond that has “sharp terminations” – for example, the points on either end of a marquise cut – is more susceptible to accidental breakage. So, you should definitely make sure that your diamond is insured if you purchase a modified brilliant cut.

5. Know what a “square modified brilliant” is. This is often a point of confusion for customers who are shopping for modified brilliant cut diamonds. Some diamond sellers make a point of classifying princess cut diamonds as “square modified brilliants”. This is partially true, in that princess cuts are a square shape and they have the multi-faceted sparkle of a brilliant cut, but princess cuts are technically a mixed cut shape. The category of “square modified brilliant” could apply to radiant cuts, some cushion cuts, and other diamond shapes as well.

In fact, diamond dealers today are moving away from calling the popular princess cut diamond a “princess”, and instead referring to it as simply a “square cut”. The sentiment is that the term “princess” is a bit antiquated, was primarily used as a marketing ploy, and it does not convey the actual shape of the diamond.

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