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How to Facet a Brilliant Cut Diamond: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to facet a brilliant cut diamond in this comprehensive guide. Master the art of diamond faceting today.

10/21/202310 min read

silver diamond studded heart pendant
silver diamond studded heart pendant

Diamonds are often considered the epitome of luxury and beauty, and one factor that makes them so alluring is their cut. The brilliant cut stands out among the many diamond cuts for its exceptional sparkle and brilliance. The brilliant cut diamond is the most widely favored diamond cut globally. It is known for its brilliance, or its ability to reflect light. The radiant cut has 58 facets, or flat surfaces, arranged in a specific pattern. This pattern is designed to maximize the amount of light that is reflected from the diamond. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the world of faceting brilliant cut diamonds, covering the history, techniques, tools, and more.

History of Brilliant Cut Diamonds

The brilliant cut has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Initially, diamonds were cut into simple shapes, but the brilliant cut emerged to enhance their sparkle by optimizing light reflection. Over the years, the amount has undergone various transformations, leading to the dazzling diamonds we see today.

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Types of Brilliant Cuts

The brilliant cut is the most popular diamond cut in the world. It is known for its brilliance, fire, and scintillation. The brilliant cut comprises 58 facets: 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion. The facets are arranged to maximize the diamond's light performance.

There are several different types of brilliant cuts, each with unique characteristics.

  • Round brilliant cut: The round brilliant cut is the most frequently used style. It is known for its classic, symmetrical shape and ability to produce maximum brilliance.

  • Princess cut: The cut is a square or rectangular brilliant cut with sharp corners. It is known for its modern, elegant look and ability to produce a high level of fire.

  • Oval cut: The oval cut is a brilliant cut with an elongated shape. It is known for its flattering, slimming effect and ability to produce a high brilliance.

  • Marquise cut: The cut is brilliant with a pointed 舟形shape. It is known for its glamorous, sophisticated look and ability to produce a high level of fire.

  • Pear cut: The pear cut is a brilliant cut with a teardrop shape. It is known for its romantic, feminine look and ability to produce high brilliance.

  • Heart cut: The heart cut is brilliant with a heart shape. It is known for its romantic, symbolic look and ability to produce high brilliance.

  • Cushion cut: The cushion cut is characterized by its brilliance, featuring a square or rectangular shape with rounded corners. It is known for its vintage, elegant look and ability to produce high brilliance and fire.

  • Asscher cut: The cut is brilliant with a square or rectangular shape and cropped corners. It is known for its Art Deco look and ability to produce a high brilliance and fire.

Tools and Equipment for Faceting a Brilliant Cut Diamond

Faceting a brilliant-cut diamond is a meticulous and skilled process requiring specific tools and equipment. Whether you're a novice or an experienced lapidary artist, having the right tools is essential for achieving the precision and brilliance this cut demands. Below, we'll explore the necessary tools and equipment you'll need to get started:

  1. Diamond Rough

Before you begin the faceting process, you need a piece of uncut diamond, known as the "diamond rough." It is the starting point for creating your brilliant-cut gem.

  1. Dop Sticks

Dop sticks are essential for securely holding the diamond rough during faceting. They are usually made of brass and come in various sizes to accommodate different diamond shapes.

  1. Faceting Machine

A faceting machine is the heart of the process. It allows you to control the angles and facets of the diamond precisely. Modern faceting machines have digital readouts and adjustable settings for enhanced accuracy.

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  1. Laps and Lap Holder

Laps are flat discs coated with various abrasive materials, such as diamond powder or silicon carbide. They are used for shaping and polishing the facets of the diamond. A lap holder holds the lap securely in place on the faceting machine.

  1. Index Gear

The index gear is a crucial component of the faceting machine, enabling you to divide the diamond into the desired number of facets accurately. It's adjustable and allows for different facet angles.

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  1. Transfer Block

During the faceting process, a transfer block moves the diamond from one dop stick to another. It ensures precise alignment and symmetry.

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  1. Girdle Faceting Machine

For advanced faceters, a girdle faceting machine is used to facet the girdle or the diamond's perimeter. It creates a smooth and polished edge.

  1. Magnification Loupe or Microscope

A magnification loupe or microscope is indispensable to inspect your work and make fine adjustments. It lets you observe flaws and intricate details invisible to the unaided eye.

  1. Light Source

Proper lighting is essential for accurate faceting. A well-lit workspace lets you see the diamond's facets clearly and make precise cuts.

  1. Coolant System

A coolant system, typically a water drip or recirculating system, is used to prevent overheating and damage to the diamond. It keeps the diamond and lap excellent during the cutting and polishing process.

  1. Safety Gear

Safety goggles, gloves, and dust masks are crucial for personal protection. Cutting and polishing produce dust and debris that can pose a health risk if inhaled or if it comes into contact with your eyes or skin.

  1. Measuring Instruments

Calipers and angle gauges are used to measure and verify the dimensions and angles of the diamond. Precise measurements are essential to attain the desired level of brilliance.

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  1. Faceting Dop Wax

Dop wax is a thermoplastic adhesive to secure the diamond to the dop stick. It can be quickly melted and reshaped to reposition the stone during faceting.

  1. Workholding and Dop Transfer Tools

Various workholding tools and dop transfer accessories are available to facilitate the transfer of the diamond from one dop stick to another and to secure the stone during faceting.

  1. Saw and Jigs

You'll need a diamond saw to cut the diamond into its initial shape. Jigs are used to hold the diamond in place while sawing.

Having the right tools and equipment is essential for embarking on the journey of faceting a brilliant cut diamond. Whether you're a professional lapidary artist or a hobbyist, the quality and precision of your work depend on the tools you use. With the proper equipment and skills, you can transform a raw diamond into a dazzling gem that captures the essence of brilliance.\

Step-by-Step Guide to Faceting a Brilliant Cut Diamond

Faceting a brilliant-cut diamond is a meticulous craft that requires precision and patience. This step-by-step guide will lead you through the process, from selecting a diamond rough to achieving that mesmerizing sparkle. Remember that practice and attention to detail are crucial to mastering this art.

Step 1: Select Your Diamond Rough

Begin by selecting a suitable diamond rough. Consider factors such as size, quality, and shape. The quality of the wild will significantly impact the final result. The diamond should be clean and free from inclusions or defects.

Step 2: Dop the Diamond

Use a dop stick and dop wax to attach the diamond rough to the dop stick securely. Make sure it's centered and securely held. The dop stick allows you to control the diamond while you work on it.

Step 3: Shape the Diamond

Use a diamond saw or laser-cutting machine to shape the diamond. This step determines the basic outline of the brilliant cut. Follow the design you have in mind and make precise cuts, taking care not to remove too much material.

Step 4: Pre-Polish the Diamond

Using a series of abrasive laps, pre-polish the facets. Start with a coarse lap and gradually move to finer ones to achieve a smooth surface. Ensure that the facets are even and symmetrical.

Step 5: Transfer the Diamond

Transfer the diamond from the rough dop stick to a temporary dop stick using a transfer block. It allows you to access different facets of the diamond easily.

Step 6: Facet the Crown

Work on the crown of the diamond, which is the upper part. Begin by cutting the main crown facets, typically consisting of eight main facets. Use the faceting machine to adjust the angles and facets precisely.

Step 7: Refine the Crown

After the main crown facets are complete, add additional facets between them. These facets are smaller and require careful adjustments to achieve the desired brilliance.

Step 8: Transfer Back to the Original Dop Stick

Once the crown facets are complete, transfer the diamond back to the original DOP stick. Ensure it's securely fastened and centered.

Step 9: Facet the Pavilion

Move on to the pavilion, the lower part of the diamond. Begin cutting the pavilion facets, paying close attention to achieving the correct angles and elements for optimal light reflection.

Step 10: Refine the Pavilion

Just as with the crown, add smaller facets to the pavilion. These facets create the brilliant cut's signature sparkle. Adjust them meticulously to enhance the diamond's brilliance.

Step 11: Polish the Diamond

Once all facets are cut and refined, it's time to polish the diamond. Use a polishing lap with a high-quality compound to achieve a mirror-like finish on each part. It is the stage where the diamond's brilliance truly shines.

Step 12: Final Inspection

Use a magnification loupe or microscope to inspect the diamond for imperfections or irregularities. Ensure that all facets are symmetrical and polished to perfection.

Step 13: Remove the Diamond

Remove the diamond from the dop stick by gently heating the dop wax. Be careful not to overheat, as this can damage the diamond. Clean off any residual wax.

Step 14: Clean the Diamond

Thoroughly clean the diamond using a soft brush, mild soap, and warm water to eliminate any residue from the faceting process. Rinse and dry it carefully.

Step 15: Final Quality Check

Before concluding your work, conduct a final quality check to ensure the brilliance, symmetry, and overall appearance meet your expectations.

You may read: Lapidary Machines: Crafting Gemstone Brilliance

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • They are faceting too deep or too shallow. The diamond will lose its brilliance if the facets are faceted too deep. The diamond will only reflect light properly if the facets are faceted enough.

  • They are creating uneven facets. Only some facets will cause the diamond to appear dull.

  • Polishing incorrectly. Incorrect polishing can damage the diamond's surface.

Achieving Perfection

Perfectly faceting a brilliant-cut diamond is an art. To guarantee the final product is outstanding, it's crucial to comprehend the intricacies of quality control and inspection.

  • Polishing and Final Touches

The final stages of faceting involve polishing the diamond. We'll provide tips and techniques to give your diamond that captivating sparkle that is the hallmark of the brilliant cut.

  • Importance of Angles and Proportions

Angularity and proportions play a crucial role in creating a brilliant cut. We'll delve into the science behind these factors and their impact on a diamond's brilliance.

Caring for Your Diamond

Faceting a brilliant-cut diamond is a labor of love, and once you've created a masterpiece, it's essential to care for it to maintain its sparkle and brilliance. Here are some tips on how to care for your diamond and keep it looking stunning for generations to come:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Regular cleaning is crucial to remove dirt, oils, and other residues that can dull your diamond's shine. Use a soft brush, mild soap, and warm water to clean the diamond gently. Ensuring the final product is exceptional requires a comprehensive understanding of the details involved in quality control and inspection.

  2. Ultrasonic Cleaners: Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners are excellent for deep cleaning your diamond. These tools employ high-frequency sound waves to eliminate dirt and debris from the most minor gaps. However, check with a jeweler to ensure your diamond is suitable for ultrasonic cleaning, as some gemstones may be sensitive to these vibrations.

  3. Professional Cleaning: Periodically, it's a good idea to have your diamond professionally cleaned and inspected. Jewelers have specialized equipment to clean your diamond and check for any loose prongs or other issues that may require maintenance.

  4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Keep your diamond away from harsh chemicals and cleaning agents. They can damage the metal settings and the diamond itself. Remove your jewelry using chemical activities, such as cleaning, swimming in a pool, or applying makeup or hairspray.

  5. Storage: When you're not wearing your diamond, store it in a jewelry box or a soft pouch to avoid it coming into contact with other jewelry, as this can cause scratches. Also, diamonds are tough, so they can also scratch other gemstones and metals.

  6. Check the Setting: Periodically inspect the setting to ensure that the diamond is secure. If you notice any movement or the diamond becomes loose, immediately take it to a jeweler. Preventative maintenance is essential to avoid losing your precious gem.

  7. Avoid Impact: Diamonds are highly durable but not indestructible. Avoid subjecting your diamond to sharp blows or impacts, leading to chips or cracks. Remove your jewelry from activities that might expose your diamond to such risks.

  8. Protect from Heat: Extreme heat can damage your diamond. While diamonds are created under immense pressure and heat, exposure to high temperatures, such as from a jeweler's torch during repairs, can cause thermal shock and fracture.

  9. Insurance: Consider insuring your diamond against loss, theft, or damage. It provides peace of mind and financial protection should the unexpected occur.

The Role of Technology

In the modern age, technology has revolutionized diamond faceting. Explore how advancements have transformed the industry and made the process more precise and efficient.

The Value of a Brilliant Cut

Beyond their inherent beauty, brilliant-cut diamonds hold significant value. We'll discuss their investment potential and resale considerations, making this cut a wise choice for collectors and investors.

Expert Insights

Hear from experienced diamond faceters sharing their thoughts on the craft and industry. Gain valuable insights from those who have mastered the art of brilliant cut faceting.

Ethical and Environmental Considerations

As the world becomes more conscious of ethical and environmental concerns, we'll touch on the ethical issues surrounding diamond mining and discuss eco-friendly alternatives.


In conclusion, facing a brilliant-cut diamond is a blend of science, art, and precision. Understanding technology's history, techniques, tools, and role is essential to create a gem that dazzles the beholder. Whether you're a hobbyist or a professional, the brilliance of a well-faceted diamond is sure to captivate hearts for generations to come.

FAQs About Faceting Brilliant Cut Diamonds

How long does it take to facet a brilliant-cut diamond?

The time required depends on your skill level and the complexity of the diamond. It can range from a few hours to several days.

What is the difference between a brilliant cut and a step cut?

Brilliant cuts have facets that act like mirrors, reflecting light internally. On the other hand, step cuts have facets that create a "stepped" appearance.

Can I facet a brilliant cut diamond at home?

While it's possible, it requires specialized equipment and expertise. It's recommended to learn from experts and practice extensively.

What is the best brilliant cut for maximum sparkle?

The round brilliant cut is renowned for its maximum sparkle due to its precise symmetry and optimal facet arrangement.

Are brilliant-cut diamonds more expensive than other cuts?

Brilliant cuts are often priced higher due to their superior sparkle and popularity, but the price also depends on other factors like carat size and clarity.

Embark on a sparkling adventure as you transform rough diamonds into timeless treasures. Your journey to brilliance awaits, so don't miss out – start today and let the radiance of brilliant cut diamonds captivate your world.