Side stones are jewels, commonly diamonds, which are used to flank the sides of a central gemstone, which is often the largest gem in the design. They’re most common on rings, though side stones may be found on pendants, brooches and other pieces of jewelry. Depending on the design, they may be the only embellishment on the ring, or may be accompanied by halos, pave sets and other decorative techniques.
Many diamond cuts multitask as both central jewels and side stones. A popular variation is a three stone ring featuring diamonds of the same shape. The biggest jewel sits in the middle, while smaller diamonds of the same carat size serve as accent pieces. The diamonds most often used in this style are round brilliants, princess cuts and emerald cuts, though other types like hearts and Asscher cuts are also used.
Diamond shapes such as ovals and marquises are used as side stones in a variety of ring designs, as well as the three stone variation. Other diamond shapes are used mainly as accent pieces. Among these are baguettes, triangular cuts, half-moons and trapeze cut diamonds.
Baguette cut diamonds are thin rectangular diamonds popular for highlighting jewelry, be it a simple bracelet or an elaborate suite of jewelry. They may have originated as a variation on the table cut, an antique diamond cut consisting of simple facets and low brilliance. Scraps of rough cleaved off to shape a larger diamond may have been transformed into smaller accent pieces like the baguette.
Modern baguette cut diamonds are related to the emerald cut and other step cut diamonds. This style of diamond has concentric angular facets which underscore the jewel’s clarity and luster. Unlike other step cuts, which are better suited for central stones, the baguette can be used as both an accent piece, adding shine and underscoring the shape of the design, or as a central feature. While a single baguette by itself is rarely the focus on a piece of jewelry, they are often lined up side by side for an eye catching effect.
A common variation on the baguette cut diamond is the tapered baguette. The latter are closer to a trapezoid than a rectangle, with the shorter sides parallel to one another and the longer edges gently sloped. Tapered baguettes are often found on rings as side stones, adding a subtle sheen to the central jewel. They are also used for halos, with the shortest ends against the center stone and the sloped sides flaring outwards, not unlike flower petals.
Triangular cut Diamonds
Also known as trillions or trilliants, triangular diamonds are a type of mixed cut diamond, designed for giving off brilliance while containing properties of a step cut jewel. They also qualify as modified brilliants, diamonds which reflect large amounts of white light while deviating from the standard round brilliant design. Triangular diamonds tend to be equilateral, with all sides of equal length. They are most often found as side stones, with sides resting against the center stone and a corner pointing outward.
There are multiple stories regarding the triangular diamond’s origin. One tale says that the Asscher diamond cutting family invented the cut, while other accounts say the Henry Meyer Diamond Company trademarked the “trilliant cut.” According to the Gemological institute of America, triangular cuts were first sold in 1978.
As diamonds are at their most fragile at their thinnest parts, make sure that your triangular diamonds are mounted in a bezel setting or with V shaped prongs covering their points. Clarity characteristics are easier to see with this type of cut, so consider jewels with high clarity grades. Triangle cut diamonds may come with straight sides or slightly curved. Whichever style you choose, make sure the sides are even.
Half Moon Diamonds
At their most basic, half-moon diamonds are semicircular jewels often used to highlight larger stones. They’re frequently set with their straight side against the central gem. There isn’t a standard shape for half-moon diamonds, which may take on the form of a semicircle, an oval with a cropped end, or crescents.
Half-moon diamonds enjoyed a heyday during the 1920s and 30s as part of the Art Deco aesthetic. Their geometric lines were considered ideal for the sharply defined designs of the day, made of circles and straight edges. Antique styles from this era include half-moon stones connecting pieces of bracelet, serving as a base for chandelier earrings, and encircling a larger central jewel on rings. Today, they’re considered an attractive compliment to cushion cut diamond center stones.
Trap cut diamonds
Trapezoid cut diamonds, also known as trapeze or trap cut diamonds, have one set of parallel lines and another pair of sides angled towards one another. They are most often used as side stones on rings, with their longest edge mounted against the central jewel. Trapeze diamonds are well suited to shapes like the emerald cut, princess cut and other jewels with straight edges. They provide a larger pavilion and surface area than baguettes, adding luster and brilliance.
Trapeze diamonds may be fashioned into a step cut, with concentric facets allowing one to look deep into the jewel. This style helps it coordinate with other step cut diamonds like the Asscher and emerald cuts. Those who enjoy a brighter style like the princess or radiant cuts may seek brilliant cut trapezoid diamonds to add yet more light to their ring. Another variation on the trap cut are stones with a curved edge, allowing them to be mounted harmoniously with shapes like ovals and marquises.
Like other diamonds with defined corners, trapezoid cut diamonds require a few precautions to prevent accidental damage. When selecting a ring with trap cut diamonds, look for rings with bezel or V shaped prongs, or ask your jeweler about recommended settings. It’s also important to make sure that the diamonds are secure in their mounts, to prevent accidental scratching.
Asscher cut Diamonds
The “Asscher cut” refers to two versions of the same step cut diamond. Both have similar shapes, square with cropped corners and concentric facets. Each type is designed to highlight the clarity of the jewel, though the faceting patterns are different. Both of these cuts get their name from their creators, the Asscher family of diamond cutters.
The original cut has 58 total facets, with three rows each on the crown, or upper diamond, and the pavilion, or lower half of the stone. The patent for the first Asscher cut expired in the 1940s, allowing other diamond cutters to use and experiment with the design. The Royal Asscher cut was patented in 2001, boasting 74 facets and five facet rows each on the crown and pavilion.
As a side stone, asscher cut diamonds pair well with other step cut diamonds, matching one another in facet style. Asscher side stones probably best coordinate with a larger Asscher cut diamond in a three stone ring style, though the conoisseur ultimately decides what their final ring will look like. No matter what diamond cuts are chosen, try to aim for Asscher diamond with a high clarity grade.
Cushion cut Diamonds
Cushion cut diamonds are an older relative of the round brilliant. The cut was developed as a way to brighten the inside of a diamond while preserving carat weight. Its shape usually sits between an oval or a rectangle with rounded corners. The cushion cut has no standard number or placement of facets, though cutters always aim to provide brilliance.
People who are looking for an economical stone, or want to add a vintage touch to their ring, might want to consider cushion cuts. These stones were popular from the 1700s onwards to 1919, when the round brilliant made its debut and angular cuts started gaining recognition. A cut as timeless as the cushion cut, however, will always be stylish.
Cushion cut diamond side stones coordinate well with other oval or rectangular shaped diamonds. They can be used to contrast with step cut diamonds, or add their light to other brilliant cuts. Those who want to try something striking with their side stones may want to consider pairing their cushion cuts with a distinct central stone, like a marquise.
Emerald cut Diamonds
Emerald cut diamonds are among the most famous of step cuts. It has a rectangular shape with cropped corners, broad table and culet, and large facets on the crown and pavilion. They were originally developed as a way to facet fragile emeralds into a shape that would discourage breaking, while also displaying the internal characteristics that are part of the green jewel’s appeal. In time, the emerald cut was used on other stones, including diamonds.
Since emerald cuts reveal quite a bit of the diamond crystal, they’re best suited for stones with a high clarity rating. If possible, aim for emerald cut diamonds with a clarity grade of Sl1 or higher. The jewel’s sides should be even, as should the cropped corners. Recommended length to width ratios sit between 1.3:1 and 1.5:1.
Emerald cut diamond side stones may be used as a counterpoint to the central jewel, providing luster and clarity next to high brilliance. These gemstones also work with other step cut diamonds, particularly if someone wants to have a ring with mid-20th century vintage appeal. One classic look with emerald side stones has one larger emerald cut diamond flanked by two smaller, narrower diamonds.
Marquise cut Diamonds
Marquise cuts are a brilliant cut diamond resembling ovals, with their two ends finishing into points. Their shape has inspired their other name, “navette,” or “little boat,” for their resemblance to a boat’s hull. The marquise cut is said to have been designed to mimic the shape of a woman’s mouth, adding a flirtatious touch to the gemstone, while its history in the French court gives it an element of romance.
Due to the length of marquise diamonds, they appear larger than their actual carat size. This makes them ideal for the budget conscious. They tend to look their best when not too wide or too narrow, with length to width ratios between 1.75:1 and 2.25:1. When choosing a marquise cut diamond, take care to find one that is even. Slight changes in symmetry is obvious in this shape. It’s also important that their tips are in alignment with one another, and are protected with V shaped prongs to prevent chipping.
As side stones, marquise diamonds elongate the finger when worn lengthwise down the hand. In this way, they add shape and brilliance to the ring. If mounted lengthwise against the band, their shape can emulate many things in the imagination. Set just so and paired with the right stone, marquise side stone can become leaves or wings to the central diamond.
Oval diamonds are a brilliant cut fancy shaped diamond that is both old and new. The shape probably came about as a way to improve the appearance of diamond rough that was longer on one side than another. One of the earliest known oval diamonds was first written of in 1304. Over the centuries diamond cutters tried to make this shape brighter. In the early 1960s, one jeweler succeeded in making an oval diamond with shine comparable to the round brilliant.
With their elongated shape, oval diamonds appear larger than their carat weight. Their recommended length to width ratio is between 1.33:1 and 1.66:1, so the stone is round without being too narrow. Its ends should be gently curved, neither too round or flat. The jewel should give off brilliance and scintillation, though a bow tie shaped shadow may be visible near the center of the jewel. This shadow should be as small as possible.
Oval side stone diamonds may be ideal for those who want additional brilliance to their ring but a modest carat size. Their shape will give you more size for the same weight. They pair especially well with other brilliant cut diamonds, adding optimum shine to your jewelry. Those who want an antique aesthetic to their ring may want to pair their oval side stones with a cushion cut center.
Pear cut Diamonds
Pear cut diamonds are a merger of oval and marquise diamonds, round at one end and pointed on the other. Their shape and brilliance makes them popular for use in many types of jewelry, including pendants, earrings, necklaces, and any design that calls for a hanging element. Pear cut diamonds lend themselves well to many designs, using their versatile shape to add a variety of lines, curves and points to jewelry.
Ideal pear cut diamonds are symmetrical, with the lines on one side mirroring those on the other. Its point should look sharp, rather than having a rounded or flat tip. The sides leading to the point should be straight rather than curved. The shoulders of the pear, the edges that lead towards the curved end, are prettiest with a moderate curve, neither too flat nor too exaggerated. Recommended length to width ratios are between 1.5:1 and 1.75:1.
Pear cut diamond side stones are usually mounted with the points facing away from the central jewel. This gives the impression of the diamonds on the ring gradually sloping into the shank. Pear cuts coordinate well with other brilliant cuts, and their shape allows them to look harmonious with a variety of shapes. Those interested in a ring with a crisscross shank will find that pear diamonds fit especially well inside the bands, adding an unusual design element.
Princess cut diamonds were created in the 1980s, and introduced by a number of diamond cutters with similar facet patterns and names like the “modified square brilliant” and the “quadrillion.” These diamonds are square shaped, with pointed corners and chevrons on the pavilion that form an X pattern when viewed from the top of the jewel. The number of facets vary, though 49 to 58 are common.
The square shape of the princess cut is not too different from the outlines of a rough diamond. Less crystal is removed in order to shape the jewel. Princess cut diamonds are an excellent choice for those on a budget who wish to have a diamond that gives off brilliance and fire comparable to the traditional round brilliant. The best princess cuts have straight sides of the same length which meet at right angles, forming a recognizable square. The defined corners mean that the stones should be placed in a bezel setting or other mounts that discourage accidental chipping.
Princess cut diamonds make excellent side stones to the radiant cut or other brilliant cut diamonds with straight sides. The geometric nature of princess cut diamonds allows them to fit snugly by other square or rectangular jewels. They may also be paired with Asscher, emerald or other step cut diamonds to provide a blend of brilliance and clarity to the ring.
Round brilliant cut diamonds are among the most famous of all diamond cuts. Diamond cutters have tried for centuries to create gems which reflect great amounts of light, though technological constraints and other factors made this goal a challenge. In 1919, the academic paper “Diamond Design” was published, outlining how adherence to certain proportions, facet placement and symmetry made unprecedented brilliance. “Diamond Design” inspired other cutters to improve upon the original ratios, making the brightest and most beautiful diamonds possible.
Modern round brilliants come in a variety of styles, with some that place a stronger emphasis on symmetry, others that increase the number of facets, and still more which aim to create greater brilliance and fire. To find the round brilliant cut diamond that’s right for you, try to look for a stone with a centered table facet, a pavilion with straight sides, and a thin girdle. The diamond should give off a balance of white and prismatic light as well as shadows.
Round brilliants are one of the most popular diamond cuts, and have remained so since its creation. The cut is timeless and can be paired with any other shape for a striking effect. Those who wish to have a theme uniting their side and central stones may want to consider pairing the round brilliant with a mixed cut or other brilliant cut diamonds to make a shining statement. No matter what it is mounted with, make sure that the prongs are secure, with the girdle and culet are secured from accidental bumps.
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