A rough sapphire can be cut into many different shapes. Most of it is dependent on the quality of the sapphire, and also its colour. There are, in fact, many different factors to take into consideration when deciding how to create a polished sapphire out of a rough one. We’re going to explore some of these factors today.
Cutting a sapphire is a process in which the rough stone is turned into the polished sapphires that we know. Cut and shape work together in order to enhance the clarity, colour and sparkle of the gem. Gem cutters, or lapidary (the professional term for them), weigh up all of the various factors and then they choose which cut is best for the unique sapphire. Ideally the lapidary wants to minimise any imperfections and maximise the best qualities of the gemstone.
Colour of the sapphire
Diamonds have a uniform colour throughout. However, sapphires pose a bit more of a tougher challenge when it comes to colour. This is because colour usually appears in greater and lesser concentrations. The lapidary must try to navigate and orient the stone so that the best part of the colour is shown on the table of the stone.
It is often the case that sapphires which show a lighter colour will be cut deeper to add a level of intensity and dimension to the hue of the colour of that stone. In contrast, a sapphire with a darker colour of blue will more than likely be cut shallower, so to allow more light to reflect within the stone. The shallower cut often softens and brightens the colour.
The edges of the sapphire, regardless of the shape or cut should be even and symmetrical. The facets in the crown should be even in size, location, and shape. The table, the largest facet on the crown, should be symmetrical in shape, and also should be well-centered.
Colour is guaranteed the most important thing to think about when picking a sapphire. However, the sparkle of the gemstone is also an important factor. The shine or brilliance that a sapphire emits is dependent on the amount of light that enters and reflects from the stone. A sapphire which is cut optimally will have symmetrical, even facets that will add to its sparkle. So let’s have a look at a few different types of sapphire cut.
The most popular sapphire cuts are cushion, round, and oval. Round cut sapphires actually demand that more rough be thrown away; because of this a round cut sapphire often has a higher price tag.
A cabochon cut is possibly the easiest cut for a gemstone cutter. The cabochon sapphire has a domed top that is smooth. Typically the bottom surface is flat. Probably because they are quite easy to produce, cabochons are usually less expensive than other sapphire cuts.
The cushion cut was originally introduced in the 1900’s. The cut has a window on the table with rounded faceted corners. The cushion cut truly allows the wearer to see the stone clearly and also has the advantage of showing off the colour of the stone well.
An oval gemstone has been cut in a similar way to a round cut diamond, just with a little ‘extension’ to it. An oval cut is perfect for those with long slender fingers.
A round cut gemstone is perhaps the most popular cut. The cut optimises the dispersion of light in a stone, by the careful placement of the facets.
A step cut has a large, smooth top facet. The facets surrounding the top one gradual work down, cut in a way that resemble a staircase- hence the name ‘step’ cut. Each level is cut so that it is even with the prior one.
Here at AC Silver, we love all the different sapphire cuts, and the factors that influence them. Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
Rachel Atkinson – Digital Assistant
Rachel is AC Silver's Digital Assistant helping the website and marketing team with many digital tasks including blog post creation and social media assignments.