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For those of us who love amethysts, there’s always a burning question: which cut do we like best? Or maybe, what cut of amethyst do we want for that new amethyst ring or pair of earrings we’ve wanted since forever? We hope that this guide to amethyst cut will help you choose, whether the amethyst jewelry is for yourself or someone you love. Considerations include the overall budget, the style you want, and even the occasion for a gift or treat for yourself.
Whether a piece of amethyst crystal is intended to be cut for a pair of earrings or turned into a piece of gemstone art, there are many similarities in determining amethyst cut. This is true whether you’re working with a lab created amethyst rough or a natural amethyst crystal.
First, gem cutters select the piece of amethyst that they want to work with. Sometimes, this is a fairly opaque gem. In this situation, the rough will probably be turned into tumbled specimens, beads, or cabochons. High quality gems are cut in order to showcase the color and hue of the amethyst. AAA quality amethyst gems are often chosen for jewelry pieces where the purple gemstone takes center-stage.
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Cabochons are the round-topped stones that don’t have many facets, but are still beautiful, smoothed out and polished. Some gemstones are usually made into cabochons, such as opals and onyx because they don’t let much light into the stone. Instead, making a cabochon allows the beautiful patterning in a gemstone to shine through. Beads are drilled to be put onto a string.
However, rough amethyst with good clarity is usually faceted. A gem cutter, or a lapidary will select the rough, and then inspect it for flaws. Flaws are cut out with a gem saw, and then the lapidary will decide what shape would best suit the amethyst. Generally, the aim is to maximize your rough while still getting optimal cut quality.
Next, the amethyst is cut into a rough outline of the final product, and then “glued” to a stick that will hold the gem while it’s being cut. With that done, facets are cut and smoothed out. This process begins with the bottom of the stone. After this has been finished through polishing, the process repeats with the top of the stone.
Once all the polishing has been done, it’s time to set the cut and polished amethyst into a setting. This can make any kind of amethyst jewelry, from amethyst earrings to a pendant or even a beautiful amethyst engagement ring.
About the only difference between cutting natural and lab amethyst is in the need (or lack thereof) to worry about flaws in the stone. Lab amethysts tend to have fewer. For most natural stones, the aim is to remove as many inclusions, such as feathers and dark or large crystals, as they can, or to hide them in the facets.
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As a rule, amethysts can be cut into any shape or cut style that a diamond or any other stone can. The only difference is that poor quality rough diamonds tend to be used for industrial purposes, while amethysts could end up as beads or cabochons (as pictured below).
For the purposes of this discussion, we will only look at faceted amethyst cuts. Keep in mind, the shape isn’t really the issue here: there are some shapes that can be obtained with more than one cut.
Do you like straight lines that are parallel to each other, when facing the facets across each other? That’s the hallmark of a step cut. Step cuts are the ones where a stone is cut in “layers,” employing symmetry and squared-off angles. Here are some examples, and why you might choose them:
This is a step cut that’s in the shape of a square, but the corners are cut off to make it easier to set. Experts call it the “hall of mirrors,” because the light reflects off of each parallel facet, back and forth. Plus, the light comes up from the bottom.
Another step cut similar to the Asscher is the emerald cut. Essentially, the emerald cut amethyst is an elongated Asscher, with two parallel sides noticeably longer than the other. Again, the corners are mitered to avoid a sharp point.
An emerald cut amethyst ring would elongate shorter fingers beautifully. Also, consider an emerald cut amethyst necklace for her birthday or a special occasion.
These two cuts are simplified versions of the other two. Baguette cuts have sharp corners and are more elongated than emerald cuts. Carre cuts are sharp-cornered versions of the Asscher.
Would you prefer something with a curved line along the outside of the gem? Brilliant cuts all fit this description, though they may also have sharp points. Here are some examples:
This is exactly what it sounds like: a 57-facet round cut with facets at numerous angles. It’s intended to maximize sparkle. This is one of the most popular cuts in many gemstones. At With Clarity, we carry a wide variety of round cut amethyst rings.
Oval cuts are the same thing as a round cut, only in an elongated oval shape. It also has a sleek, modern look because the oval was only recently modernized to reflect modern technology. These are very popular right now.
These are basically the brilliant version of an Asscher. Instead of mitered corners, however, the corners are rounded while the sides are straight. If you want something with sparkle that still retains that modern square shape, a cushion cut amethyst ring is a great choice. Or, think about a halo-style cushion cut amethyst diamond ring.
Essentially, a princess cut is halfway between the step and brilliant cuts. Its facet patterns are more like brilliants, but they have sharp corners. For a nice statement, consider a princess cut amethyst and diamond ring to surprise her on her birthday. Alternately, a princess cut amethyst wedding ring would be romantic.
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