Topaz Shopping: 5 Factors to Consider

Since ages, topaz has been referred to as a mystic stone owing to its connection with witch craft, sorcery and medicine. In ancient times, it was believed that topaz could cure lunacy and intoxication. A protection stone of sorts, the value of topaz has dropped significantly in recent years due to large scale focus on colored transparent gemstones like sapphires, rubies and diamonds. However, topaz gemstones still hold a commanding position in the market. Here are 5 factors that buyers must consider before making a deal on topaz gemstones.

1.  The color:

Like diamond, pure diamond is a transparent gemstone with a slight blue or pink tinge. The tint appears due to presence of many impurities in the gemstone. A typical topaz exudes vibrant colors like tangerine, yellow, citrine and reddish-orange.

Some topaz gemstones are also available in dark brown, green, champagne and reddish blue shades. Lighter the color of the topaz, older the gemstone’s origin is. For instance, the oldest topaz gemstone is a pale green rock that is at least 200 million years old. Stones older than that age are hard to extract owing to drastic change in the earth’s crust that has occurred since that period.

2.  Artificial colors and irradiation:

Colored topaz gemstones are very hard to find. In order to meet the demand from the market, natural gemstones are exposed to various heat treatments and artificial color enhancement process. One of them is gemstone irradiation.

According to the latest reports, the topaz is the most commonly irradiated gemstone in the market. Close to 6000 kilograms of topaz gemstones are irradiated each year.

The irradiation process of topaz is done by bombarding the crystal structure of the gemstone by neutrons in a nuclear furnace, under controlled conditions. The process produces vibrant play of color, mostly close to the blue spectrum.

Topaz gemstones that are irradiated artificially are observed to have smooth color stability and uniform clarity.

3.  Pleochroism:

Topaz gemstones exhibit a very special optical phenomenon called pleochroism. The best way to identify a pure topaz is to look for this particular optical phenomenon under UV radiation.

When held against a constant source of light, the topaz gemstone tends to change its color when rotated along different planes, Blue topaz gemstone demonstrates the highest level of pleochroism, shifting its color between pale pink and light blue. At certain angles, the gemstone even tends to lose its color and appears as glass/silica structure.


4.  Best cuts:

Topaz gemstone ranks very high on the Mohs scale. It has a hardness factor of 8.0 which means that it can’t be easily scratched or cut. It is cut only by diamond cutters and abrasive pads. The most preferred topaz gemstone cuts that have maximum resale value are:

-  Ovals
-  Marquis
-  Pear
-  Heat briolette
-  Emerald Cuts
-  Step-cut/Faceted cube

For anniversary and engagement collections, the topaz gemstones with fancy cut are also very popular. The ideal size is usually 10x8 mm which is around 3 carats. Smaller gemstones are usually available in Brilliants and Princess Cut designs.


How to evaluate a Gemstone based on Carat Weight?

Every gemstone is sold on the basis of carat. The carat is a unit of weight like gram, kilogram, ton etc. However, due to the small size and different factors involved in the evaluation of the gemstones, they are sold on per-carat basis. It is wrongfully referred to as a unit of size. Two gemstones with same size can have different carat numbers, and vice versa. It should not be confused with the word Karat used to measure the fineness of gold.

Let us define how gemstones are measured and sold for their value on per-carat basis.

What is carat?

Carat (ct.) is derived from the Latin word carato or carob. Gemstones in ancient times were cut in a way that they resembled the seeds of carob. Even during the classical times, there was a clear distinction between the definition of carat and karat. Carat values were different for different countries as there was no international standard of measurements.

The first instance of using carat as a unit of measurement is recorded in 1570s. The diamonds, for obvious reason was the first gemstone to be calibrated on carat basis.

In 1880, the value of carat was approximately 3.17 grains. In European countries, two carat values were established to measure faceted hearts and faceted squares. They were:

-  Pound carat
-  Ounce carat

In UK, the popular carat value was called the Refiner’s carat. In terms of milligrams, the value of carat shuffled between 180 mg and 220 mg across the world.

Why was carat standardized?

There are two reasons that led to standardization of the carat value.

1.   The growth of commercial gemstone industry:

Gemstones till World War II were largely mined from the European colonies in India, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, China, Africa and South America. The traders had difficulty in buying different sized gemstones from traditional sellers. In order to establish uniformity of business, the carat value was officially standardized.

2.    Creating new cut and facets:

As the new cuts and fancy faceting techniques arrived in the industry, it became necessary to establish a standard value for carat. It ensured that the wastage of gemstone was minimized to a bare minimum. In case, the gem cutter erred in cutting the gemstone, he/she could be fined accordingly on per-carat wastage.

The carat standardization has reduced conflicts and confusions between traders of the gemstones across the world.
What are the different forms of jewelry that use carat as unit of measurement?

Gemstones are used in various jewelry items. The use of carat is common in trading of diamonds, emeralds, garnet, rubies, sapphires, topaz and other transparent gemstones. The various forms of jewelry are:

-  Anklets
-  Earrings
-  Bracelets
-  Belly chain
-  Navel ring
-  Brooch
-  Collar pink
-  Cufflinks
-  Lapel pin
-  Pendant
-  Tie clip
-  Toe ring
-  Watches
-  Belt buckle
-  Pens and glasses

No matter where the gemstone is used, the carat value will remain same.

5 Engagement Ring Cuts for Every Season

Finding the perfect engagement ring is an arduous task. There are more than 50 different types of gemstone cuts and facet designs that can be picked during the engagement ring shopping. Top faceting like Briolette, faceted heart, faceted cube, step-cut, rose cut and Asscher cut are some of the best aspects that can be explored.

Here are 5 engagement ring cuts that will never go out of any season.

1.  Single Cut:

Often regarded as the oldest gemstone cutting idea, Single Cut is made of diamonds, topaz, aquamarine, emeralds, rubies and garnet that are set on gold and platinum engagement ring bands. The Single Cut is characterized by a rather large table and a flat or pointed cutlet, with a total of 18 facets.

Single Cut is chosen for medium-sized gemstones that weigh less than 3 carat.

2.  Modern Round Brilliants:

Modern Round Brilliants have been the favorite Engagement ring designs for over a century now. Done to exaggerate the color shade and brilliance of the gemstone, Modern Round Brilliants are now considered as the standard cuts all over the world.

The Modern Brilliants have an alluring round bottom with a total of 58 facets on the stone. Some diamonds and emerald gemstones also have oval cuts.

3.  Rose cut:

The first Rose Cut Engagement ring appeared in the 1500s, and since then it has remained a steady choice for the royals and aristocrats. A rose cut engagement ring gemstone resembles the floret pattern of the rose flower with narrow spirals growing upwards from a rather flat bottom.


Rose cut settings are mounted on open solitaire way with large surface area. Due to its larger surface area, the brilliance is rather subdued. Round brilliants gemstone are derived from the rose cut settings, ensuring brighter and more brilliant appeal.

4.  Asscher Cut:

The biggest gift of the 20th century to the gemstone cutting industry is the Asscher Cut. Produced by Asscher Brothers of the Netherlands, the cut is the symbolic representation of the rise of European gemstone cutting industry in the 1900s. Asscher Cut gained prominence in diamond cutting industry after The Cullinan was cut. Between 1996 and 2012, Asscher Cuts have been embraced with greater respect owing to changes in the designs.

The modern Asscher cuts are made on smaller gemstones with square Faceted cubes and emerald-cut designs. The larger step-cuts are often accompanied by a rather larger crown and narrow table.


Loved for its perfect symmetry, the Asscher cut gemstones have a Length to Width (L/W ratio of 1:1. Modern Asscher Cut engagement rings also feature a skewed L/W ration of 1.05 and 1.1 too. Owing to the larger, open-ended facets, the Asscher cut gemstone exude a clear and more dazzling brilliance.

5.  Heart:

A diversification of the Brilliants, Heart cut is a lovable addition to the collection of Engagement rings gemstones. In these gemstones, the symmetry is the most important aspect as the two lobes have to look identical. It is usually favored if the weight of the gemstone is less than 1 carat.



5 Gemstones That “Cool Down” Senses

Since centuries, some gemstones have always been categorized as hot and cold? Are they really that vibrant that wearer can actually experience rise and drop in the temperature of their body? Scientifically, it is proven that some gemstones are indeed special when it comes to exhibiting properties like Piezoelectric Effect, Fluorescence, and Iridescence (also known as gonio-chromism).

While the gemstones are revered for their sparkling beauty and flawless sparkle, here are 5 delectable stones that are actually embraced for their “cooling effect”.

1.  Diamond:

One of the costliest rocks on the planet, the diamond was brought into the picture by the ancient Indian gem designers for their cooling effect. The now coolest stone is a fashion winner, and no jewelry collection is complete without these stones. Available in briolette, cushion cut hearts and step-cut designs the diamond is the conventional Birth Stone for the month of April.

In Greek, diamonds are referred to as “invincible”, and the cooling effect only makes it a lucky charm for every individual—housewife, businessmen,  traders, sailors, doctors and religious leaders.

2.  Ruby:

Numerous studies are underway when it comes to establishing the connection between wearing the faceted cube rubies bracelet and soothing down the nerves. The fiery red color could confuse any person who is not aware of the healing properties of the rubies. As per research, the Chromium ion (Cr3+) exudes an optically-powered cooling effect which could easily lower the temperature by several degrees if purity and aesthetic values are maintained.

3.  Sapphire:

Obviously, much like its red counterpart, the rubies; sapphires too have the special cooling effect. The Birthstone for the month of September, Sapphire has always been associated with the moon for its coolness and tranquility. However, the underlying scientific reason for its dermal cooling phenomenon is yet to be established and confirmed clinically.
The effect is likely to be attributed to the presence of iron, chromium, magnesium and copper. Blue sapphires have the higher cooling effect than the pink and yellow shades.


The cooling effect is one of the healing properties of the sapphire that makes it effective in the treatment of ear pain, back pain, lumbago, Parkinson’s disease and depression.

4.  Topaz:

Now this something not many gemstone collectors knows about the Topaz. A regular item in Ayurveda, the gemstone was used to treat tongue infections, sexual dysfunctions, improve vision and purify the blood. Used with rubies and pearl extracts, the calx of topaz also effective treats symptoms associated with leprosy, skin disorders and blisters on elbows and palms.

5.  Aquamarine:

A gemstone from the beryl family, Aquamarine beads is a beryl that has been used in Ayurveda to treat coughs and throat related issues. The blue color of Aquamarine is attributed to the Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions. The concentration of the ions can produce other colors like green, yellow and even pink. However, only blue beryl in the form of Aquamarine are used in the form of dew-drop briolette, faceted round or nugget shapes.


These 5 gemstones can be worn around the neck, wrist, or around the waist. Some individuals even prefer to stud their eyeglasses with these gemstones for extra cooling effect.



3 Modern Fancy Cuts for Every Gemstone Collector

Facing and cutting results in sizeable loss of crystal material. However, without the faceting process, the raw gemstones will hold no commercial value whatsoever. A diamond with exquisite faceting has at least 400% more value than a raw, dark rock. However, more than anything else, it is the choice of cut that earns the gemstone its repute in the collection.

Here are 3 top-end fancy cuts that every buyer must explore.

Modified brilliants:

They modified brilliants are recent entrants in the collection of fancy-cut gemstones. They are direct descendants of the original brilliant-cut gemstone. They differ from their older sibling by virtue of having an extra row of facets. They look like a crushed ice crystal owing to the half-length pavilion that does not touch the girdle.

Cheaper than the original cushion cut brilliant gemstones, the modified gemstones is preferred only when there is a distinct flaw in the crystal at a particular angle. The modified brilliant cut hides the flaw by resembling a floral shape.

Regarded as the most commercially saleable cut in the industry, the modified brilliants can be further classified into Marquis, Hearts, Trillions and Briolette depending on the size of the raw gemstone. They have a length to width ratio ranging between 1.33 and 1.66, making them look heavier and bigger compared to other cuts. Moreover, the Modified Brilliants can be developed further into intricate shapes of stars, floral and butterflies, without affecting the brilliance and fire interplay.

Modified brilliants can have 56, 102 or 144 facets with 8-fold or 10-fold facets.

Step cuts:

Gemstones that resemble a cube or dice are very popular. The most alluring shape is the faceted cube that exhibits a square or a rectangular outline with facets running parallel to the girdle. Also called the Trap cut gemstones, these step cuts are produced by making flat stepped incisions on the stone. They could feature rows or series of steps in a narrow, long plane.

The popular gemstones that are often given a step-cut are topaz, emerald, amethyst, agate, and tourmaline gemstones.


How to identify a genuine step-cut gemstone? In step-cut gemstones, the corners are often truncated into an octagonal contour to avoid sharp edges from cutting skin. Moreover, the truncated outline prevents the gemstones from cracking up. In theory, sharp edges are point of weakness that can lead to cleave or a fracture. The length to width ratio is 1.50.

Step-cut gemstones are often re-cut into smaller brilliants and briolette shapes to bring in more revenue per-carat.

Mixed Cut:

Also called the hybrid cushion cuts, the mixed cut gemstones reveal fascinating features of both Brilliants and the Ste-cut gemstones.  The crown resembles a brilliant cut, with a pavilion that is cleaved in step-cut. The first mixed cut gemstone was produced in the middle of the Cold War when Brilliants were temporarily replaced by Fancy cuts in Step-cut and briolette designs.

The popular Mixed Cut is the Barion Cut, invented by a South African trader. With a total of 62 facets, it can be easily identified from the rest of the collection.


4 Factors to Compare Before Buying an Anniversary Ring

Anniversaries are special, and they can be made memorable by gifting a lovely, delicate natural gemstone ring and neckpiece collection. The buyers are always on the lookout for new designs and cuts in the gemstone segment. Each year 100,000 gemstones are flooded into the market cut in different ways. However, not all gemstones have the same styling or faceting. Some might have a lower critical angle compared to other; most gemstones might just exhibit a slightly different shade from what it was a raw item.

Here are 4 factors that every buyer must compare between different facets and designs before picking an anniversary ring.

1.  Age of the gemstone:

This is a key aspect of buying a natural gemstone anniversary ring. The date of extraction from the quarry, the date of cutting and manufacturing are important factors that can make a sizeable impact on the price of the gemstone. While most gemstones are hardly a year old, high-priced Anniversary ring gemstones could be as old as 50 years or more.

Another reason why buyers must investigate the date of manufacturing of the gemstone is to stay clear of the Black Diamonds and smuggled rubies, garnets, black moonstone, emeralds, black tourmaline and sapphires that have ripped apart the economy of many African countries.


2.  The shape of the gemstone:

Anniversary gemstones are cut in 10 commonly accepted shapes. The 10 shapes are:

1.  Round
2.  Princess
3.  Oval
4.  Marquis
5.  Pear/ Briolette
6.  Cushion
7.  Asscher
8.  Radiant
9.  Emerald
10. Heart

More than 75 percent gemstones are shaped in round brilliants. In recent times, Asscher and Princess Cut anniversary gemstones have gained immense popularity, thanks to LASER cutting techniques. For special occasions other than anniversaries like Valentine’s Day and Engagement, Heart shaped gems are also preferred.  The radiant cut gemstones are also accepted widely for their unique bow-tie effect. For buyers looking for a mixed cut anniversary ring resembling Princess Cut and Cushion Cut, the Radiant-cut gemstones fit in flawlessly.

3.  Symmetry:

Anniversary gemstones have to necessarily exhibit the highest level of symmetry. Symmetry showcases the quality of gem cutting and is calibrated by measuring the table, girdle, and Length/Width ratio. Perfect symmetry in the anniversary gemstones ensure that the light is brilliantly reflected and faults are strategically hidden.

A poorly shaped gemstone invariably has a bad symmetry too. The highest symmetry of the gemstone is established under 10-X magnification with zero defects.

4.  The cut:

The way the Anniversary gemstone is cut can have a huge impact on its life, durability, and overall price.  The gemstone has to be cut in such a way that the light is reflected from the pavilion at an angle lower than the Critical Angle. This ensures that the light is reflected effectively from the pavilion to the crown creating a scintillating fiery brilliance.

The cut also establishes the price of the Anniversary gemstone. A ruby or a diamond with a heavy girdle indicates that the gemstone will have more weight but would not look big from the top view.



Emerald Cut: 5 Reasons you should Step Cut gemstones for your collection

Big, handsome and subtle… these are some of the ravishing adjectives used by emerald collectors. However, more than the brilliance of the gemstone, it is the way they are cut that makes them so popular. Step-cut or trap cut emeralds gemstone beads are expected to fetch the highest price considering their alluring beauty and per carat weight. Also called Emerald Classics, the step-cut is undoubtedly the first choice for most emerald dealers.

If you are new to gemstone market, here are 5 reasons why Emerald-cut items safest to deal with.


1.  The most symmetrical cut ever:

The Emerald Cuts are revered for their pristine beauty and symmetry, hard to match by regular cuts like Brilliants and Cushions. The step-cut is made in such a manner that every facet in the gemstone is capable of reflecting light. The cuts are made parallel to the girdle, which means that the gemstone acquire a distinct, flat and uniform table for highest stability.

The facets could be completely squared off or it could be given a slightly truncated edge to ensure that the points of weaknesses are minimized.

2.  Strongest configuration:

The emerald cut gemstones are considered as tough and strong. They don’t chip away easily, especially if they have truncated corners. The stones with hardness less than 7.0 on the Mohs scale are usually given the Step-cut to ensure that the finished item stay intact and never crack or facture along the points of weakness.

Citrine, Diaspore, Tourmaline, topaz, and quartz acquire strength by virtue of the Emerald cut or step-cut done on them.

3.  There is no compromise:

Step-cuts or emerald cut gemstones have long been accused of hiding the brilliance that comes out well when the same gemstone is cut in Round Brilliants or in Heart Briolette shapes.

Heart Briolette

However, this accusation is not entirely true. The step-cut gemstone indeed loss 12-15% of their brilliance over round brilliants; they earn 50% extra strength when compared to the same set of gemstones. In short, emerald and topaz collectors prefer to have a stronger, velvety gemstone than ending up with a weak one.

Hence, there is no compromise as far as cutting a gemstone into steps is concerned.

4.  No heat treatments and dyeing involved:

The emerald cut gemstones with step-cuts can be used for engagement rings, necklace, pendants, earrings, nose ring and bracelets. The talismans and rosaries too have emerald cut gemstones made of tourmaline, garnet, rubies and quartz.

The weight of the step-cut gemstone hovers around 2.3 to 4 carats. They have hardly treated artificially or dyed. Heat-treated Emerald cut gemstones can be easily identified from their purer counterparts, and hence they are least subjected to any artificial treatments

5.  Opaque versus transparent:

The step-cut can be made on any gemstone with hardness above 5.0. The opaque gemstones like black diamond, spinel, lapis lazuli and onyx can be either given a rough step cut or merely placed in the form of a Faceted Nugget. Without the doubt, the faceting with step-cuts is more popular on translucent gemstones than the opaque ones.



A Look at 5 Popular Gemstone Designs

Prayer beads and gemstones rosary are widely revered by the followers and practitioners of the different religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and new spiritual movements. Beads are easily the oldest forms of prayer items that trace their origin to the Stone Age when they were made of bird’s bones, ostrich egg shells and seeds. With time, the beads and prayer rosaries have evolved and the sparkling gemstones feature in the commercial markets as one of the largest selling items.

The choice of the beads and prayer rosaries depend on the size of the gemstones, texture, strength and the overall weight.

Here are 5 lovely rosary gemstone designs that every devout follower can embrace.

1.  Faceted Rondelle:

All ornamental stones can be cut and polished into faceted rondelle in such a way that the stones look neatly arranged and clean. Faceted Rondelle beads made of opal, jade, quartz, aquamarine and red garnets are commonly available in the size of 5 mm, 7.5 mm, 10 mm and 15 mm.


The ornamental stones are arranged in series of 2, 4, 8 and 16 so that they feel dense and matte. The stones are drilled at the center and strung together using glass fiber, golden thread, and platinum wires.

The cost of the faceted rondelle beads is decided on the number of beads strung together. The ideal number is usually set at 36, 72, 108 and 256 beads.

2.  Faceted coins:

Mystic and alluring, the prayer beads shaped like pebbles are usually tagged as Faceted Coins. The faceted coin prayer beads are pressed together in such a way that the string passes underneath the surface. Gemstones like Lapis Lazuli, opal, labradorite, blue angelite, quartz, amethyst, serpentine, jade, garnet, and agate are pressed like faceted coins.

The best aspect of owning the faceted coin gemstones is that they can be engraved with hymns, images, and symbols representing the faith. The diameter of coin surface could be anywhere between 7.5 mm and 15 mm. The edges are smoothened to avoid bruising or cutting the skin surface.

faceted coin gemstones

3.  Faceted Nugget:

Rough and unabashed, the faceted nugget gemstone beads are very popular. The size of the gemstones is usually between 15 mm and 45 mm. The multi-color Aquamarine, black agate, gray labradorite, larimar, amethyst, and quartz are arranged like nuggets. The faceted nuggets are strung together by drilling a hole in the middle.

4.  Faceted cubes:

Faceted square cubes are the ravishing arrangement of transparent gemstones. The faceted cube gemstones are usually made of silica glass, moonstone, and sapphires. Red agate, peridot, and opal are also available in faceted cubes’ design.

They are usually set in odd numbers, in series of 25, 55, 115 and 175 beaded gemstones.

5.  Faceted Marquise:

Designed like tear-drop briolette, faceted marquise gemstone beads are very popular among fashion designers. The beads can be designed like head-piece, ear-rings, bracelets, anklets and waistbands. Faceted marquise rosaries made of garnets, blue topaz, Ethiopian opals, green emeralds, Rose quartz, Lemon quartz and Tanzanite are considered as luxury designer items.



5 Misleading Facts about Faceting Techniques

The art of cutting gemstones is as old as fashion itself. While most gemstone owners in the past preferred to keep the original, natural contour of the stone. However, a chip made strategically, resembling a geometric shape turns the stone into a brilliant, glittering item that can be adorned around the neck, arms, wrist, and ankles or on clothes. Faceting is one of the cutting techniques employed to extract maximum commercial value out of the gemstone. There are many confusions and misleading aspects associated with faceting of the gemstones.

Let us clear 5 of the most misleading “facts” related to the gemstones available in the market.

1.  Faceting is possible only for hard gemstones:

It is indeed true that hard gemstones are faceted in some way or the other. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are carved to induce clear brilliance and clarity. However, softer gemstones like agate are also faceted in a similar way hard stones are done. Agate gemstones have a hardness of 5.0 on Mohs scale, and when they can be faceted, other gemstones can be cut in a similar way as well.


2.  Faceting is exhibited by the only gemstone:

Absolutely untrue, faceting can be done on any compound that has a solid, defined crystalline structure. Rock salt, sand grains, and glass can also be given a facet. In fact, they showcase a natural facet, which makes them sparkle when exposed to light.

However, natural gemstones may not exhibit brilliance in the beginning. That’s why they are cleaved or cut in such a way that they display brilliance.

3.  Facet angles can change for different gemstones:

Faceting is done by cutting the gemstone at a certain angle depending on its “critical angle”.
What is the critical angle for a gemstone? Well, it is the smallest angle of the refractive surface that will reflect the light back into the gem. If the light hits the refractive surface at an angle lower than the critical angle, it will not produce a good brilliance.

Thus faceting angles remain more or less constant for every gemstone, like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.

4.  Cutting facets is limited to transparent or translucent gemstones:

This is another misleading statement that is true only partially. Not all transparent gemstones can be given a faceted cut. However, some opaque gemstones like black spinel and gray diamond are common examples that can be faceted.


Faceted transparent gemstones, undoubtedly, attract more price, and that’s why it is a common myth among gemstone dealers that opaque gemstones can’t be faceted.

5.  Faceting is wastage of gem surface:

Faceting involves removal of unwanted planes and angles. It is done only when the gemstone brilliance is not at par with the required standards of clarity, color, and brilliance.

While it indeed involves removal of material, the per-carat rate of a faceted, a brilliant gemstone is always higher than the uncut, raw gems. Diamond-cut, Princess-cut, and Round-cut or Brilliant cut are common faceting samples done on various gemstones like diamond, emeralds, sapphires, agate and rubies.


Briolette Cut: The Oldest Gem Cutting Technique

Gemstones across the world are cut in different shapes and sizes to reveal their most fascinating aspects like brilliance and fluorescence, with minimum wastage of raw gemstone while cutting. The most popular gemstones are mostly cut with a flat table and pavilion facets. Preferred over other cuts, the crown and pavilion are preferred owing to the maximized beauty and brilliance.

Thus, it is the amount of light that the can pass through the gemstones that make them viable in the market. And it all depends on the cut made. In this play of cuts and shapes, the art of making Briolette gems have regained their importance in the last few years.

How old is the briolette culture?

The first briolette was probably cut in the 15th century for the King of England, Henry V. However, they gained prominence after a special briolette necklace was presented to the French Empress Marie Louise, gifted by none other than Napolean, the Great. Currently exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, the lovely diamond necklace has 10 briolette gemstones weighing over 40 carats in total.

The Indian Connection:

The mention of the briolette cutting of gemstones finds their origin in India. However, there is no concrete evidence to prove this. The Briolette of India, one of the oldest diamonds in the world was the first briolette to be ever cut.

A colorless diamond, this briolette gemstone weighs over 90.4 carats. It was acquired by King Louis VII’s consort, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Even Koh-I-Noor is believed to have sported briolette cut before it was robbed from the Indian treasury by the Persian invaders in the 17th century.

Why briolette gemstones are hard to cut?

The briolette gems and beads have a unique tear drop gemstone shape that has pointed tip and curved top. It takes many strokes of cutting to derive the shape. Hard to manufacture by hand, even best machines and Laser-cutting tips can’t generate the perfect Briolette gemstones. Relatively soft gemstones like quartz, emeralds, turquoise, aquamarine, oval and chalcedony are cut into briolette shapes.


Briolette setting:

Briolette gemstones are mounted on wires and strings by using sandblasting techniques. The procedure increases the overall surface area of the finished briolette, which means that the gemstone will have clear peaks and valleys for superior structural strength.
Adhesives can also be used, but only to fill gaps up to 0.04”.

Modern machines to make briolette gemstones:

The briolette-cut gemstones are usually manufactured by making a cross-drill using laser beam or pin. It requires expertise to make the cut, as briolette gemstones can’t be held together using adhesives. One of the costliest cuts in the market, briolette gemstones are 100% adhesive free and often come with conical caps.

The drilling is done by an Ultrasonic machine that minimizes chipping and prevents breakages mid-operation. The quality of briolette is examined by checking the degree of flatness, tip radius, angle of cut and diameter of the gemstone.

Higher the quality, higher will be the quoted price. Of course, the color and the raw material are primary factors that decide the price of the finished gemstone.