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Just like clothing and other accessories, jewelry and gemstones are one way we share our unique perspective and personality with the world. Uncommon gem styles are gaining popularity as collectors seek to express themselves in more diverse and creative ways.
Demand for original cuts, combined with a growing number of designers taking risks and experimenting, is causing a revolution in the gem industry. A wider variety of cuts means more ways to interpret each gem, the opportunity to discover greater value in all types of stones, and freedom to create the look you love best.
Uncovering Beauty and ValueEven the practical-minded have good reason to covet unique cuts. The right cut can increase brightness and brilliance, improve color and shape, and make a star sapphire or cat’s eye really pop -- all of which adds value.
The value of a gem is affected by five features: color, origin, size, shape, and cut. Cut is special because it can enhance almost all of the other features, significantly influencing a gemstone’s appraisal.
Good cutting can increase value 10 to 40 percent, depending on a variety of factors. The greatest impact is typically seen in simple colored gems cut by known and respected designers. But a unique cut can provide a fresh take on just about any stone, adding value with a singular design.
The Many Facets of Gem Cutting
Gem cutting is an art of translation. Like translating a poem from Mandarin to English, or transforming a block of marble into an exquisite sculpture, the gemcutter must decide how to give their material new life in a fresh language.
To create something truly unique that still preserves and augments the beauty of the original, gemcutters must first master their craft. As one of the oldest professions, stone cutting and faceting techniques have been perfected over thousands of years. From the popular princess cut to an intricate intaglio, gemcutters have many shapes and styles to play with.
The challenge is to use the traditional methods to create new facet arrangements that break the light into unusual patterns. Just as a fresh translation can breathe new life into a sonnet, a unique cut can allow us to see a ruby or alexandrite as if for the first time.
Be Inspired by These Unique Cuts
In the words of Jane Austen, “One man's style must not be the rule of another's.” While she may not have been talking about diamonds and pearls, her words are certainly true for jewelry designers and collectors today.
Unique cuts are often pioneered by individual artists. Designer cuts, also known as precision cuts, are styles that feature a new shape or new arrangement of facets. Designers may play with pattern and contrast to create something visually striking, sometimes at the expense of other features. For example, they may work to turn up the brightness, even if it means weakened color, if that’s the desired effect.
While there are too many types of unique cuts to list, here are two examples that show the wide range of possibilities.
Fantasy cut: While the fantasy cut was invented in the mid 20th century, it is still unique and memorable. This is largely because no two fantasy cuts are alike. Gemcutter Bernd Munsteiner developed the technique of cutting grooves and concave facets on the back of gemstones in order to create a striking display of light on the front. Designers ever since have used this technique to make signature fantasy cuts, which are often intricate works of art.
Freeform cut: A freeform cut is exactly what it sounds like. Gems are cut and polished according to what features the gemcutter wants to bring out of the raw stone, rather than a particular pattern or rule. Freeform gemstones come in irregular shapes and often emphasize rough beauty and natural striations, though they can also be highly polished and delicately carved.
Looking For an Uncommon Gem?Whether you prefer a head-turning piece or an understated look, a unique cut can bring beauty, interest, and value to any gem. It may also be the key to creating a piece of jewelry that perfectly showcases your taste and personality.
I draw on close relationships with my sources, artisans, and designers to bring unusual gemstones and exceptional craftsmanship to my clients. Together we can help you find -- or custom design -- jewelry worth treasuring. If you’re looking for a distinctive, expertly-cut gemstone, take the first step and reach out today for a consultation.
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