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How is an Emerald Cut

An emerald’s cut is the main factor apart from the color that determines it’s value and beauty. Emerald is a durable gemstone but is also one that can be fashioned into a variety of shapes and carat sizes. Various factors are considered when crafting an emerald from a rough deposit. Emeralds nowadays are typically cut using technology-enabled cutting which ensures precision and beauty. Rough emeralds come in many shapes and sizes. Some are found within a mineral, while others have separated from rock, and are found their alluvial form (smooth like a pebble). Once extracted from mineral, various considerations are taken into account to produce a high-quality emerald.

Shape and Carat

Emeralds can be cut into a variety of shapes. Common shapes include cushion, round, emerald, and princess. Emeralds are fashioned into all the popular diamond shapes. However, the primary difference is that emeralds have a heavier carat weight at the bottom of the gem. This means that the top facet and millimeter size will look slightly smaller than a diamond of the same carat weight. Emeralds are cut in calibrated sizes according to their shapes. These common sizes enable jewelers to craft jewelry designs with widely accepted sizes of emeralds. Learn more about Emerald Shapes

round emerald natural AAA shape
oval emerald natural AAA shape
octagon emerald natural AAA shape

An emerald cutter will look at the overall shape of the rough stone to understand what is the best kind of shape that can be crafted from it. The goal is to create a shape that avoids wastage and utilizes the maximum amount of the rough gemstone. Round emeralds are popular but can carry a higher premium as they create more rough wastage when being produced.

Other shapes like emerald and cushion are commonly used to craft engagement rings. Emeralds are also popularly cut in the namesake emerald shape, the structure of the emerald crystal lends itself well to being cut in the emerald shape. This cut also creates the least amount of wastage and gives stability to this softer gem. Additionally, emeralds have a deep and rich green color that is shown off beautifully by the open facet of the emerald gemstone.

Color Consideration

The most prized emeralds are a pure green or one that has tinges of blue within it. Additionally, those that are saturated evenly with color and have a medium green tone (not too dark, not too light) are the ones that are truly prized. A cutter will also check that this green color is evenly distributed across the entire gemstone so that the emerald looks vivid and brilliant from all angles. With Clarity ensures that all emeralds used are hand-picked by our gemologists for even color and vivid green that is neither too dark or too light. More information can be found in our emerald color guide.

Emerald Brilliance

Emerald brilliance is the amount of life or sparkle that it can exhibit as it is tilted and viewed from different angles. An emerald cutter will ensure that the emerald has even faceting, and sparkle that comes alive due to the precise cutting. While an emerald does not sparkle as much as a diamond, it does have a pleasing sparkle that is created with the presence of light reflecting inside of the emerald. When light penetrates the emerald, a well-cut emerald with symmetrical facets will reflect light out. This will create flashes of brilliance, especially as the emerald is turned from side to side.

sparkling natural cushion emerald showing light performance and brilliance with another emerald shaped green emerald behind it

Types of Cuts

octagon step cut natural green emerald

Step Cut

A step or emerald cut is popular and named after the emerald gemstone. It has parallel facets that are precisely cut going down from the top open facet. This enables the color to shine through and also helps the emerald to maintain it’s structural integrity. Avoid emeralds that have large inclusions in the central top facet, as they are more visible. With Clarity ensures that all emeralds are chosen have minimal inclusions.

round brilliant cut natural green emerald

Brilliant Cut

The brilliant cut has triangular cut facets varying in number depending on the shape of the emerald. The brilliant cut can be difficult to produce as it requires more cutting, precision, and potentially more wastage. However, it produces the most sparkle.

oval mixed cut natural green emerald

Mixed Cut

The mixed cut is a combination of the brilliant cut and the step cut and is a common cut for the emerald. The crown of the emerald is typically brilliant cut to enhance the sparkle and the pavilion is step cut to minimize wastage. With Clarity uses emeralds that are brilliant cut or mixed cut to maximize the sparkle and color.

oval cabochon cut natural green emerald

Cabochon Cut

Cabochon cut emeralds are those that have a smooth rounded exterior and a flat bottom. These are easier to produce than other cuts and are therefore more affordable than other cuts. Cabochons are produced in a variety of sizes.

Emerald Inclusions

The majority of emeralds contain inclusions that occur naturally as they form in the earth. These inclusions create a distinct identity for each natural emerald. Because of the green color of the emerald and the silk-like inclusions within it, the inclusions are often known as a “jardin." A cutter must ensure that the inclusions do not hinder the appearance or appeal of the emerald. If there are too many visible inclusions, the emerald will look opaque, lifeless and devoid of sparkle. Additionally, the color will not be as vibrant looking. With Clarity ensures that all emeralds used are eye-clean with minimally visible inclusions. Learn more about emerald clarity.

emerald with natural crystal inclusions
emerald with many white feather inclusions
several overlapping needle inclusions with crystals in a green emerald


Can an emerald be cut into a princess shape?

Like other gemstones, emeralds can be cut into various shapes like cushion, round, emerald, and princess.

What is the best shape for an emerald?

This would depend on personal choice, but round and octagon are popular options for an emerald. Other shapes, such as pear and oval, are also much-loved as they help spotlight the gem’s vivid green hue.

Which is the best color for an emerald?

The most prized emeralds are pure green or with tinges of blue. Additionally, those that are evenly saturated and have a medium green tone (not too dark, not too light) are the ones that are truly prized.

What is a 'jardin' in an emerald?

The inclusions in an emerald are known as ‘jardin' - French for ‘garden', because they exhibit a mossy/grass-like appearance.

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