Brilliant is a term that refers to the most famous diamond cut. A rough diamond is cut in a certain shape, the brilliant cut being just one of these shapes. So it is only after cutting that the diamond gets its unique sparkle and brilliance. A diamond is thus the rough stone, and brilliant indicates the typical round cut with 58 facets.

Although the terms 'diamond' and 'brilliant' are often used interchangeably to refer to any diamond jewellery, it is necessary to differentiate. But why are these terms mixed up so often?In this article, you will learn all about the difference between a diamond and a brilliant.

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What does the term brilliant mean?

Brilliant inspected with tweezers – BAUNAT
The difference between a diamond and a brilliant therefore lies in the cut. A diamond can be described as the rough gemstone which is naturally uneven and matte. A brilliant, on the other hand, refers to the most occuring diamond cut, and you can easily recognize it by the round shape.

A brilliant has 58 facets placed in a specific way to reflect the invading light. This creates unparalleled brilliance and a deep lustre. That's why the brilliant is one of the most loved diamond cuts for engagement rings, but necklaces and earrings with brilliants are also real classics that bestow every woman with a sparkling allure.

The unique brilliant cut

Woman holds brilliant ring – BAUNAT
The cut with the most sparkle, is the brilliant. That's why it is one of the most popular cuts for engagement rings. A brilliant cut is distinguished by its round shape and optimal reflection of the incoming light, resulting in a brilliant colour display. This cut is also the favourite choice for rings with a claw setting or a cathedral setting.

A brilliant is sometimes also called a 'Tolkowsky cut', referring to the Antwerp diamond cutter Marcel Tolkowsky. In 1919, he devised a mathematical method for cutting round diamonds with 58 facets, thus developing the round diamond shape as we know it today.

The value of a brilliant vs. a diamond

The difference between a diamond and a brilliant is thus based on the processing method of the rough diamond. But is there a difference in value? Or in other words, which is more expensive, a diamond or a brilliant? The answer to this is as versatile as the brilliant itself. First of all, the value of a diamond is determined by the 4 Cs:


  • CaratThe weight of the diamond determines the number of carats. A diamond with a higher carat will therefore be a larger diamond.

  • Colour – The value of colourless diamonds is estimated based on a gradation that starts from completely colourless to yellowish tones. The highest grade is given to the most colourless and purest diamonds. Naturally coloured diamonds are also divided on the basis of colour intensity. Original coloured diamonds are also very rare, and lend themselves perfectly to an investment.

  • ClarityClarity is also an important factor in determining the value of your diamond. Impurities or flecks on the diamond are not visible to the naked eye. A professional uses a specific loupe to establish this.

  • Cut – The cut is the most decisive factor of the 4 Cs. The cutting method is for instance assessed on the proportions, the finish and the symmetry. It's not the shape of the diamond, but the placement of the facets that has an influence on the value.




The value of the brilliant also depends on the international diamond price and the way the brilliant is incorporated in the jewel. The cost of forging and the setting of the diamond also plays a role.

Finally, it is also important that you purchase the diamond from a party that purchases directly from the source, such as BAUNAT. Thus, you will not pay too much for the diamond, and you will buy at the price that reflects the intrinsic value of the stone.

Complete your look with brilliant jewellery

Why opt for a brilliant?

The sparkling colour play and unparalleled brilliance that are so typical of a brilliant, make this cut the favourite choice for engagement rings. But brilliants are much in demand for other jewellery such as bracelets or necklaces too.

Another cut that looks a lot like the brilliant, is the European cut. This cut is often considered the predecessor of the brilliant and enjoyed its heyday in the late 1800s. Like the brilliant, the European cut is also round, and has 57 to 58 facets. However, the shape and placement of these facets differ. In concrete terms, this means the European cut actually absorbs the light, while brilliants reflect the light.

Other cuts

A brilliant sparkles most of all. There is no doubt about that. But other cuts also have unique properties that are well worth exploring. For example, the marquise diamond cut makes your diamond appear larger, optically. Another popular cut is the radiant cut, a cut with 70 facets that bears strong similarities with the princess cut. A princess cut diamond has 76 facets and a beautiful square shape, and besides the brilliant, the cut most often used in engagement rings. Curious about other cuts for engagement rings? Discover them below:

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GUDRUN MALIK