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What is the difference between a diamond and a brilliant?

  • 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?

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.

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.

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.


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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