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The Difference Between a Gem’s Shape and Cut

We’re big believers that the more you know about a gem before purchasing, the happier you’ll be in the long run. Today, the lesson? Knowing the difference between “shape” and “cut.”


The cut of a gemstone describes how an artisan angles the gem to best reflect light through the stone. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any gemstone determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance.


The artisan will choose the ultimate shape which will best flatter this rough gem. The shape is basically the overall geometry or form of the diamond (round, square, etc.). The parts of the gemstone which reflect shape are the table and crown, for example in the round gemstone they are cut to produce a round shape when looking down from above.


To summarize: The “cut” is actually the angle and shape of the facets. The various cut angles determine how the stone will reflect light. That’s what gives a gemstone it’s brilliance. The “shape” refers to the overall shape of the stone geometrically or as defined by the outline or surface. Hope this helps you distinguish cut vs shape.


Below, an example of a shape chart: