History and Development The emerald cut is a rectangular diamond shape with an eight-sided outline. The name comes from the style of cutting often used for emerald gemstones, part of the beryl mineral family to which aquamarines also belong. The journey to establish the cut began with a simple table cut through to the step cut or trap cut (see diagrams below). These early cuts were able to evolve due to increased technical skill, and encouraged by the prevailing fashion, to a rectangular shape with truncated corners. The small corner facets not only complement the cut but they also prevent what would be corner points from breaking off
The hardness of diamond was one of the reasons for the delay in developing a variety of cuts until the 20th century. Compared to coloured stones that have been cut into various shapes for centuries, the only way to polish a diamond is to rub it with another diamond. Even then, the hardness varies slightly according to the angle of individual crystals within the structure of the gemstone. The diamond powder produced is used for polishing. The emerald cut may need very little removal of material if its original crystal shape is a good octahedron. They are cut from the same type of eight-sided rough diamond crystals as cushion cut diamonds. To hurry the process, diamonds can be split along cleavage planes. A sawing process could be used to form the table, or top facet of the stone, while the rest of the facets are finished by polishing the natural faces to the correct angles and the corners of the diamond are cut.
Style Influences Emerald cut diamonds convey a vintage style with their elongated step cuts and large facets. The emerald cut is one of the diamond shapes that became popular because of the influence of Cubism and the Modernist style of the early 20th century. Geometric shapes, including the rectangle, became one of the principle motifs in Art Deco jewellery. Emerald cut diamond rings, often combined with baguette cut shoulders, were well suited to the symmetrical silhouettes of 1920s and 1930s jewellery designs. The architecture of stepped Mayan and Aztec temples influenced the contours of this design.
Fire and Clarity Fiery diamond flashes enhance this elegant shape. The 'fire' is caused by a prismatic effect when white light enters the stone’s flat surfaces and the light is dispersed into its component colours. The shape reveals the stone’s clarity and for this reason most emerald cut diamonds are of high clarity grades. View our emerald cut engagement ring collection to see a wide range of ring designs.