What Is a Brilliant Cut Diamond? | Our Detailed Guide to All the Facts You Need to Know!

Throughout my adventures in the shimmering realm of gemstones, I’ve often wondered what is a brilliant cut diamond. This stone, with its meticulous design, seems to imprison light itself, releasing a cascade of sparkles with every turn. But beyond its beauty, what distinguishes this diamond cut from the rest? 

Join me as we uncover the intricate details behind this dazzling gem—unveiling the facts you need to know about the brilliant cut diamond.

Key Takeaways

  • Brilliant cut diamonds are highly sought after for their sparkle and brilliance.
  • The classic round brilliant cut is the most well-known and popular.
  • Cut grade is crucial as it determines the sparkle and beauty of a diamond.
  • Well-cut modified brilliant diamonds have excellent polish and symmetry.

What is a Brilliant Cut Diamond? Facts You Need to Know!

I’ve always been entranced by the brilliant cut diamond which led me to research about it deeply. Masterfully perfected in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky, it boasts 58 facets (or 57 without a culet)—33 gracing the crown and 25 the pavilion. Its unique design is renowned for amplifying a diamond’s natural radiance and shimmer. When you think of dazzling light performance and fire, the brilliant cut diamond tops the list—making it a coveted centerpiece for engagement rings and exquisite jewelry.

Most recognize the classic round shape when they hear “brilliant cut”, but its brilliance extends to other shapes too: the elegant princess, the plush cushion, the timeless oval, the delicate pear, and beyond. But what truly distinguishes this cut? It’s the meticulous facet arrangement, choreographed to magnify light reflection and refraction.

Now, a word to the wise: when picking a brilliant cut diamond, don’t be solely swayed by diamond carat weight. It’s a measure of size, yes, but not a sole determinant of brilliance or allure. Believe me, a smaller diamond, if cut to perfection, can outshine and even appear larger than its heftier, less expertly cut counterpart. It’s all about the dance of light.

A diamond ring on the rock

The Basics of a Brilliant Cut Diamond

In the gem-filled odyssey, I’ve come to admire the masterful artistry of the brilliant cut diamond. Think of a round diamond, its facets meticulously arranged from center to edge, radiating unparalleled sparkle. That’s the essence of a brilliant cut diamond. With 58 facets (or 57 sans culet) — 33 on the crown and 25 below — it’s this precision that amplifies the light within, giving the stone its mesmerizing brilliance. 

This iconic round cut is a favorite among many, not just for its symmetry that suits varied jewelry designs, but also its knack for discreetly masking inclusions. Plus, a well-crafted brilliant cut can seem grander in size, thanks to its stellar light dance. It’s all about precision and perception.

Why Are Brilliant-Cut Diamonds Popular?

Now I will tell you why I’ve been especially smitten by the brilliant-cut diamond. It’s not just a diamond; it’s a spectacle of light and artistry. Why? Here’s a quick rundown:

1. Unmatched Brilliance: Thanks to precision in cutting, these diamonds have an unparalleled sparkle. They’re crafted to trap and play with every light beam.

2. Perfect Proportions: Their design ensures light bounces perfectly within, offering those captivating flashes of brilliance.

3. Stunning Scintillation: Their facet design equals more sparkle when hit by light.

4. Vivid Fire: Those rainbow flashes? That’s the optimal design of brilliant cuts at play, dispersing light into vibrant colors.

This magnetic allure, however, has a premium. Brilliant-cut diamonds, with their exceptional beauty, do come with a higher price tag. But oh, are they worth it!

Closeup of the diamonds on the white background

Why Are Brilliant-Cut Diamonds Expensive?

Here’s the essence about why brilliant cut diamonds fetch such a high premium. 

1. Complex Cutting: Crafting a brilliant-cut diamond is no small feat. The precision and intricacy needed in placing each facet for optimal light reflection make it a labor-intensive endeavor.

2. Quality Over Everything: A diamond’s allure lies in its ‘four Cs’: carat, color, clarity, and especially, cut. Brilliant-cuts, with their precise faceting, often earn top grades, driving up their price.

3. Endless Desirability: Their unmatched sparkle makes them a top pick for significant pieces like engagement rings. This demand, coupled with the craftsmanship required, elevates their worth.

For those seeking timeless splendor, the investment in a brilliant-cut diamond is a testament to its enduring elegance.

Which Is the Best Setting for a Brilliant-Cut Diamond?

Various diamond settings

My realization after much digging suggests that the backdrop for a brilliant-cut diamond isn’t just about function—it’s about capturing its essence. From my perspective, here are some top contenders:

Prong Setting: Think of it as a pedestal for your diamond. With minimal metal, it lets the gem bask in all its radiant glory.

Bezel Setting: It’s like a protective embrace—a metal rim encircling the diamond. Secure, and oozing contemporary charm.

Pave Setting: Imagine a starry night. Tiny diamonds, nestled close, create a sea of sparkle. Perfect for those who adore extra dazzle.

Tension Setting: For the bold at heart, this setting makes the diamond appear suspended in thin air—a modern marvel.

Solitaire Setting: A stage for the solo performer, highlighting the sheer beauty of your brilliant cut without any distractions.

While the options are many, the right one echoes your voice. A chat with seasoned jewelers can shed light on this sparkling decision. To me, understanding these settings isn’t just knowledge; it’s empowering your gem to shine its brightest.

Diamonds on the black background

Modern Brilliant Cut Diamond Modifiers

I’m not an expert but I’ve noticed the brilliant cut’s evolution is nothing short of art. Modern tweaks to this classic design have birthed diverse shapes like the princess, oval, pear, and cushion cut diamonds. Each, though distinct, aspires for that hallmark sparkle, radiating facets seamlessly from the heart to the edge. Notably, certain cuts, like the princess or cushion, embrace bezel facets—little enhancements ensuring the diamond captures and throws back every ray of light, amplifying its inner dance.

But as cuts evolved, so did standards. Today’s brilliant cut is a testament to precision and expertise, embodying perfect symmetry, polish, and proportions. And while the 4Cs (carat, color, clarity, cut) help grade a diamond, its cut is pivotal. It’s the cut that orchestrates the light symphony inside, making brilliance come alive. So, in my eyes, prioritizing cut isn’t just wise; it’s essential for the perfect diamond experience.

Evaluating a Round Brilliant Cut Diamond: the 4Cs

Guided by the esteemed four Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat, let’s look deeper into the round brilliant cut diamond!

The ‘cut’ isn’t just about shape; it’s the masterful art of sculpting and faceting, holding the secret to a diamond’s brilliance and dance of light. Color gauges the diamond’s natural hue, with purer stones showcasing minimal tints for higher grades. Clarity is the window to a diamond’s soul, examining those tiny inclusions and blemishes. The fewer there are, the loftier the grade.

Finally, ‘carat’ weighs the diamond’s stature. It’s not just about size; it’s a determinant of value and allure. Each ‘C’ weaves its magic, culminating in a gemstone story waiting to be told.


The precision of cutting a diamond is pivotal: too shallow or deep cuts can diminish its natural brilliance and fire. The magic behind a brilliant-cut diamond’s radiance lies largely in its cut. Here’s what one should know about the anatomy of a round diamond’s cut:

– Proportions: The right balance ensures light dances within, amplifying the stone’s inner glow.

– Facet Symmetry: Uniformity in facet arrangement lets light meander flawlessly, creating an enchanting play of sparkle.

– Polish: A superior finish is like the diamond’s skincare—it amplifies its luminosity.

– Grading Insights: While the GIA diamonds have cut grades spanning from Excellent to Poor, the diamond’s story isn’t just told by one grade alone.

Grasping these nuances is the key to truly appreciating the artistry in a round brilliant cut diamond.

Diamonds on the dark background


The multifaceted design of a round brilliant cut diamond often masks its true color, making it appear whiter due to its brilliance. This makes it a favorite for those chasing a near-colorless gem. Its dazzle stems from its symmetry and exact proportions, enhancing white light reflection and boosting its sparkle. Despite its ability to hide color, imperfections might still be evident upon closer look. Hence, while appreciating its luminosity, also factor in its clarity grade before settling on a choice.

Diamond color grades


In this context, clarity is paramount. It’s the measure of a diamond’s internal and external imperfections—known as diamond inclusions and blemishes, respectively. The GIA sets the gold standard, grading diamonds from ‘Flawless’ (a pristine beauty under 10x magnification) to ‘Included’ (where flaws catch the naked eye). Comprehending this grade gives insight into a diamond’s true nature and worth. The brilliant cut diamond, boasting 58 facets, is crafted to amplify light reflection, delivering unparalleled brilliance. For a holistic grasp of how clarity intertwines with the radiant dance of a brilliant cut diamond, consult the table below.

Clarity GradeDescriptionImpact on Brilliance
FlawlessNo inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnificationMaximum brilliance
VVS1-VVS2Very slight inclusions only visible under 10x magnificationExcellent brilliance
VS1-VS2Minor inclusions slightly visible without magnificationGood brilliance
Diamond clarity scale


The allure of a brilliant cut diamond isn’t just about clarity; carat weight is pivotal too. Carat measures a diamond’s weight, with one carat equaling 200 milligrams. When buying a diamond, the price per carat significantly influences its total cost. Round brilliant diamonds provide a broad spectrum of carat weights, especially popular in the 1-3 carat range. 

However, options might taper off for weights beyond this. Yet, for those eyeing round brilliant diamonds, there’s a plethora of choices across carat weights.

Diamond carat weight comparation

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common shapes of modified brilliant cut diamonds?

The modified brilliant cut diamond comes in various shapes, including princess, cushion, oval, and pear. These shapes feature radiating facets that enhance brilliance and sparkle. Well-cut modified brilliant diamonds exhibit excellent polish and symmetry.

How does the sparkle pattern of step cut diamonds differ from brilliant cut diamonds?

Step cut diamonds, like emerald or Asscher cut, have a different sparkle pattern compared to brilliant cut diamonds. They offer a subtle and sophisticated flash due to their rectangular facets, creating a hall of mirrors effect.

Do fancy shaped diamonds have official cut grades?

Yes, fancy shaped diamonds do not have official cut grades except for round brilliant diamonds. However, some retailers may provide cut grades for fancy shapes to assist customers in evaluating their sparkle and symmetry.

How can you determine if a fancy shaped diamond is well-cut?

Determining if a fancy shape diamond is well-cut involves examining its brilliance and symmetry. Brilliance refers to the diamond’s ability to reflect light, while symmetry ensures evenness in the arrangement of facets. A well-cut fancy shape diamond will exhibit both qualities.

What factors contribute to the expense of brilliant-cut diamonds?

Factors that contribute to the expense of brilliant-cut diamonds include the carat weight, color grade, clarity grade, and most importantly, the cut grade. A higher cut grade indicates a well-cut diamond with superior sparkle and brilliance, which increases its value.

Diamonds on the dark surface


Throughout my exploration in the world of diamonds, I’ve come to appreciate the intricate dance of light that defines the brilliance of each stone. The carat, clarity, and meticulous crafting play pivotal roles in sculpting a diamond’s allure. Every time I glimpse the shimmer of a round brilliant cut, I’m reminded of the craftsmanship and precision behind it. This is not just about buying a piece of jewelry; it’s about investing in a timeless emblem of elegance. 

As I reflect on my learnings, I’m confident that understanding these nuances can transform a simple purchase into a treasured experience.

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