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:

Frequently asked Questions


A crystal made up of 99.95% pure carbon atoms arranged in an isometric, or cubic, crystal arrangement. It is this unique arrangement of the carbon atoms that makes diamond look and behave differently from other pure carbon minerals such as graphite (the soft black material used to make pencils). There is no material harder than diamond. This means that it can only be scratched with another diamond. For as far as we know diamond is the hardest mineral found in nature and that is why it gets the maximum rating of 10 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

What is a brilliant?

Brilliant refers to the diamond’s cut. This round diamond shines the brightest of all cuts and has 57 facets. The brilliant is by far the most popular shape for golden engagement rings. BAUNAT offers this shape as standard.

Learn more about the brilliant or instantly choose the right diamond shape from BAUNAT.

What is the difference between a diamond and a brilliant?

  • What are brilliant jewels and what does the term ‘brilliant’ mean?
  • How does it influence the quality of my diamond?
  • Why should I buy a brilliant and not another diamond cut?

‘Brilliant’ and ‘diamond’ are often used interchangeably. They are, however, not synonyms. ‘Diamond’ is the name of the precious stone itself, whereas ‘brilliant’ denotes the cut of a diamond. But why are they so often confused? And why should I buy a brilliant instead of another diamond cut?

Find your ideal brilliant ring now in our extensive collection.


What does the term ‘brilliant’ mean?

The term ‘brilliant’ is in fact an abbreviation of ‘brilliant cut’; a method of cutting a diamond that optimizes its appearance as well as the way it reflects light. ‘Cut’ can refer both to the shape and the cut quality of a diamond. The latter is one of the 4 C’s, designed to describe the quality of diamonds. A well cut diamond has a higher reflection. A brilliant cut diamond, with the ideal number of 57 facets, therefore has a more intense brilliance and a higher appeal.

Of all diamond shapes, the brilliant cut shines the brightest. This is why this diamond shape is highly sought after for engagement rings, a classic white gold ring with a brilliant or delicate brilliant earrings.

View this 2.00 ct. brilliant ring here or by clicking on the image.

How does it influence the quality of my diamond?

The cut quality of a diamond refers to its proportions, its symmetry and its polish and is therefore one of the most important characteristics of a diamond. If its depth is too deep or too shallow, the light that enters the diamond through its crown will escape instead of being reflected.

Diamond shapes other than the standard round cut are called ‘fancy shapes’. The most well-known shapes are the marquise, the pear, the oval, the heart and the emerald.

Ring with pink pear shaped diamond by BAUNAT

View an even more exclusive ring with pink pear shaped diamond here or by clicking on the image.

Why should I buy a brilliant and not another diamond cut?

If a brilliant has the most beautiful luster, why would I buy any other diamond shape? Every diamond cut has its own unique characteristics. A marquise cut, for example, is one of 6 ways to make your diamond appear larger. After all, larger diamonds come with a higher price tag. Others opt for a fancy cut instead of the classic brilliant because it adds a more original and personal touch to their ring.

Brilliant can now come out in a more original way than it used to be by e.g. an uncommon setting. The wedding ring with a brilliant is up and coming, while the classic choice would be a smooth wedding ring.

How can I combine different diamond cuts in one jewel? Where can I have my jewel custom-made? Contact the diamond experts from BAUNAT for all diamond or jewellery related questions you might have.

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