Brilliant Cut vs Rose Cut Diamonds
Are you considering a rose cut diamond for your engagement ring, or maybe you are curious what the difference is between a Brilliant Cut and a Rose Cut diamond? You’re not alone. Rose Cuts have become more widely used by designers for their vintage appeal. Rose Cuts do come in all shapes, with round, pear, oval, and marquise shape being the most popular. Let’s dive into a comparison of these two popular diamond cut styles to help figure out the perfect diamond for you.
A Brief History
Diamonds are famous for being the hardest natural substance on Earth, which makes them very difficult to cut. In fact, they can only be cut by other diamonds! It wasn’t until the 15th century that it was discovered diamonds could be cut by their own dust. Up to that time, diamonds had only been worn in jewelry in their uncut form with a superficial polish to give them some shine.
Diamond cutting has evolved through the ages as tools and techniques advanced. The Rose Cut is one of the earlier styles, first created in the 16th century when special tools were invented to cut facets into diamonds.
The Rose Cut was improved in the Victorian Era (1800s), when steam-driven machines revolutionized diamond cutting, enabling cutters to shape diamonds more precisely. It was also during this era of industrial revolution that Old European and English Round Cuts, the precursors to the modern Round Brilliant Cut, were invented.
The Brilliant Cut itself was first invented in 1919, using very specific proportions and precise geometry (which have been further perfected over time) to maximize the brilliance and dispersion of light within a diamond. The modern Brilliant Cut represents the culmination of diamond cutting evolution over more than six centuries. No wonder it’s by far the most popular diamond cut for engagement rings!
The individual flat surfaces on a diamond are called “facets”, which diamond cutters use to control the way light interacts with the diamond. The fewer facets of a Rose Cut diamond (24 in a round shape) result in the subtle beauty of a soft diffused light, while the modern Brilliant Cut’s 58 facets allow for a brighter, flashier sparkle.
The art and science of faceting is so important that GIA (the Gemological Institute of America) dedicated one of their famous 4Cs of diamond grading to the Cut quality of Brilliant Cut diamonds.
Carat Weight vs. Visual Size
Another significant difference between these two diamond cutting styles is that Rose Cuts are flat on the bottom and domed on top, while Brilliant Cuts have culets (pointy bottoms) and tables (flat tops). This means that Brilliant Cut diamonds carry a lot of their weight in the bottom of the stone however, the depth of the culet does contribute to the diamond’s overall brilliance.
Since Rose Cuts have flat bottoms, the top-down view of a 1-carat round Rose Cut has a much larger circumference compared to a 1-carat Brilliant Cut. If size is more important than sparkle when it comes to your engagement ring (or, you just love vintage styles), you might prefer a Rose Cut.
Another nice quality of the Rose Cut is how low they can be set on the finger because of their flat bottom. A brilliant cut has a culet which means it needs to sit off of the finger higher. If comfort is of importance then having a low-profile set Rose Cut diamond is a great option.
What’s in a Name?
Names do have meaning: a Rose Cut diamond is so named because the facets are designed to mimic the narrowing spiral of a rose’s petals. This romantic old world feel of a Rose Cut is why so many designers have gravitated to this special cut.
The Brilliant Cut is also quite obviously named: the cut is intentionally designed to maximize the natural brilliance of a diamond.
So, Which Cut Is Right For You? (A Quick Quiz)
To determine which diamond style better suits the personalities of you and your partner, ask yourself these questions:
Q: Do you prefer vintage or modern styles?
A1: Vintage - Rose Cut diamonds have that vintage appeal.
A2: Modern - Brilliant Cut diamonds owe their fabulous sparkle to modern technology.
Q: Are you a trend-setter or trend-follower?
A1: Trend-setter - Rose Cuts are having a resurgence in the designer community.
A2: Trend-follower - Brilliant Cuts continue to be the most popular style diamond for engagement rings.
Q: Do you prefer handcraft or precision?
A1: Handcraft - Rose Cuts are all cut by hand so each stone has a unique personality.
A2: Precision - Brilliant Cuts are created using a combination of handcraft and modern technology, such as 3D scanning and laser “bruting” to produce the best possible diamond finished diamond from the rough material.
Q: Which is more important: maximum size or maximum sparkle?
A1: Maximum size - Rose Cuts look larger than Brilliant Cuts of comparable carat weight because none of the diamond weight is hidden in a pointy culet.
A2: Maximum sparkle - Brilliant Cut diamonds owe a lot of their brilliant sparkle to the way light refracts within their pointy culet.
Q: Are you on a tight budget?
A1: Yes - Rose Cut diamonds cost less per-carat and, as mentioned, give you a larger face-up size compared to Brilliant Cuts of similar carat weight.
A2: No - Brilliant Cut diamonds are more expensive because they require such a large amount of precision work to create the ideal cut and also result in more loss of rough material compared to a Rose Cut.
If you answered mostly “A1”s, a Rose Cut diamond is for you! If you answered mostly “A2”s, your ideal stone is a Brilliant Cut diamond. Or, if you’re considering a non-round shape, read our Emerald Cut vs. Radiant Cut article to help make your decision.