Since the Renaissance, emeralds have been a dazzling gem of notoriety – with its deep enchanting colour and symbol of class and grace, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most sought-after gemstone by the everyday person. With its colour agent composed of Chromium and sometimes Vanadium, emeralds occur in a range of captivating greens and are clouded by its many inclusions which are considered a characteristic of its authenticity when compared to their artificially made counterparts. The stone’s distinctive colour is unaltered by heat or light, meaning a stone that will last a lifetime as beautiful as when it was first bought. However, over the years, the cut design of emeralds have evolved to produce stones of varying intensity, light reflection and style. As you read further, I will be comparing the variety of cuts of emeralds and how they affect the gemstones characteristics, as well as its carat content, price, and how desirable it is.
Step Cut (Emerald Cut)
Due to the emeralds sensitivity to being knocked, the traditional cutting of the stone was with a step cut, where the four corners were truncated by facets. With this style of cutting, any number of steps could be added to the pavilion of the stone, allowing a closer cut to the original shape of the rough stone, and ensuring a longer light path meaning a deeper shade of green to the finished gem. With the most desirable colour of an emerald being that with a deep blueish hue to its overall appearance, the step cut provides this with its colour intensity.
The emerald cut provides a stone with a higher yield from the original rough stone, meaning a larger carat, and therefore is more valuable to the jeweller and the consumer. This style is highly desirable due to its versatility and intense colour character, which works perfectly within a breath-taking engagement ring, or in a show stopping necklace which complements all skin tones.
For those emerald’s which have a more transparent and clearer interior, which is a rarity amongst authentic emeralds and more common in those of synthetic origin, the brilliant cut is sometimes chosen to style this stone. Like its name, the brilliant cut has a dazzling light reflection which gives its characteristic sparkle. Its cut surfaces give a spherical face and rhomboid facets, meaning the stone has a shorter light path which creates a softer green colour and reflects more white light which is seen as the twinkle effect.
As gorgeous as this style is with the hypnotising green of the stone, its cut is less suitable due to how easily it gets chipped and damaged from wear and tear. Due to this, this style of cutting with emeralds is a rare occurrence and is more expensive than the emerald cut, even though it gives a lower yield and carat, as well as a softer colour which can be undesirable to some. However with this being said, the brilliant cut is still as gorgeous as any, and makes the perfect ring accompaniment if something with a little more sparkle is what you yearn for.
With those emeralds which contain many inclusions, holding a cloudier appearance to other gemstones, we turn to the cabochon cut which is a rounded style with no facets to its body. This style is traditionally used with opaque stones to reveal their true colour and unique attributes to their interior, making them appear fuller and denser to those with a brilliant or step cut. Moreover, this style of cut (when spherical) can reveal characteristics of the stone which others can’t, such as the emerald’s asterism, producing a pointed star reflection when exposed to light.
With its rounded shape, this style of emerald is desirable for many occasions due to its strong colour and smooth exterior. This gem works well within rings and earrings as a staple item, or as beaded pieces within necklaces for everyday glamour. Although this style provides a lesser carat than the others, it still has that unique intensity and provides a more affordable option to those which have faceted faces.