Jewelry Guide

Briolette Cut – The Unique Shape That’s Existed for Centuries

As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.

The Briolette cut is one of the oldest and most valuable cuts you can encounter. It’s a truly exquisite way to cut a gemstone and is both very hard to do and stunning when properly done.

The Briolette cut is highly brilliant due to the large number of facets in every angle and it’s probably the only cut to feature facets from every angle in a spherical shape.

But what exactly is the Briolette cut and if it’s so impressive and valuable, why aren’t we seeing more of it?

Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons followed by everything you need to know about the Briolette cut.

Pros And Cons Of The Briolette Diamond Cut

Prasiolite briolette cut earrings

Prasiolite earrings cut in Briolette shape. See them here.

To help simplify the process of judging and describing the Briolette diamond cut, let’s briefly list the cut’s main pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It’s extraordinarily beautiful both in its design and in the way it bends and reflects the light.

  • It is quite a rare and valuable cut so definitely something that attracts people’s attention.

  • When cut properly and a sufficiently hard and durable stone is used – such as a diamond – the Briolette cut is actually very durable and can resist wear and tear.

  • Unlike almost every other gemstone cut (including the famous round and princess cuts), the Briolette is the only shape that is completely spherical and contains facets all around it making it highly brilliant. It has no flat sides.

Cons:

  • This is quite an expensive gemstone cut. When used on precious gemstones such as diamonds, the price of a good Briolette cut can reach well into the 5-digit price range.

  • This cut isn’t suitable for rings or other jewelry types that rely on a secure setting. It’s mostly used for earrings and necklaces.

  • Even the hardest gemstone will be at much more of a risk from wear and tear from a Briolette cut than from most other cuts. Briolette cut jewelry is generally not meant to be worn on a daily basis.

What Is A Briolette Cut Stone?

briolette cut amethyst earrings

Briolette cut amethysts. See these here.

The Briolette is a round or teardrop shaped cut with elongated facets that are typically triangular or hexagonal. It’s similar to the rose cut in appearance.

briolette cut guide

Source

 

The shape can be extremely elongated and thin, it can be slightly flat or short and pear-shaped. Either way, it’s easily distinguished by the number and style of facets as well as by the extraordinary way its facets break the light around them.

The Briolette is usually reserved for oval-shaped or pear-shaped gemstones that lend themselves to this type of cut.

It’s most popularly used on gemstones like amethysts, citrine, topaz, ruby or sapphire but diamonds can be cut in this shape as well.

The key factor to whether a gemstone is suitable for a Briolette cut, in addition to its shape, is whether it’s strong and sturdy enough to withstand being exposed to the environment without a secure jewelry setting.

The reason for that is that Briolette cuts are typically meant to be left hanging from earrings or necklaces.

Blue topaz briolette cut ring

A rare vintage ring featuring a Briolette cut blue topaz. See it here.

Their spherical or elongated teardrop form doesn’t really make them suitable for engagement rings or other jewelry types that offer a protective setting to the stone. So, if the gemstone is not hard enough it can easily break or scratch and become unwearable within a very short amount of time.

Fortunately, diamonds are even harder than sapphires, rubies, and the other traditional Briolette gemstones, so they too are a good choice for this cut.

Why Are Briolette Cut Diamonds Rare?

There are several reasons why we don’t’ see as many Briolette cut diamonds as we see rubies, amethysts, sapphires or topazes.

One such reason is that diamonds are usually reserved for more traditional purposes such as engagement rings.

Another and probably more significant reason is that the Briolette cut is a rather sizable one. There are some small Briolette cuts you can find, but the Briolette cut usually works best with bigger gemstones.

And since large diamonds are rare, large diamonds cut in this complicated and rare shape are even rarer and quite expensive.

The rarity of Briolette cut diamonds is indeed a shame considering that the cut works so beautifully with crystal-clear white diamonds.

History Of The Briolette Cut

The Briolette cut is one of the oldest diamond cuts. It’s been a part of the jewelry world for over 800 years and was especially popular in the late middle ages when it was reserved for royalty and for those of noble standings. One very famous example is the necklace that Napoleon gave to Empress Marie Louise containing ten Briolette cut diamonds.

napoleans diamond necklace for empress marie louise

The famous necklace that Napolean gave to Marie Louise featuring 10 Briolette diamonds. Source

However, this special cut took quite a fall in its popularity during the 17th century. This was largely due to the changes in the technology and manufacturing process in the diamond industry which opened the way for a whole new set of diamond cuts, shapes, and types for people to explore and popularize.

The Briolette had its own little revival phase in the Art Deco era but it never really regained its former glory. To this day, the Briolette cut, whether for diamonds or for other gemstones, remains a rather obscure and rare cut.

The fact that, even with today’s technologies, it’s still significantly more expensive than most other cuts doesn’t help, nor does the fact that it’s generally not suitable for diamond rings.

Still, thanks to some celebrities in the last couple of decades, Briolette cut earrings and necklaces are still very much a part of the jewelry world.

How To Cut A Briolette Diamond?

The cutting process for the Briolette stone is a long and tricky one which is why not many cutters even attempt it.

A lot of professionals can go their whole careers without cutting a single Briolette. There are several ways for a Briolette to be cut but one of them is generally recognized as the easiest, safest, and most efficient way – the Pin-cap method.

With it, the gemstone is held stable on its both ends with a cap and a pin while the cutter works it from all sides.

This method ensures that the diamond or other gemstone won’t crack or break during the cutting process. The pin-cap method works for small, medium-sized, and even larger Briolettes. Plus, it allows the cutter to very easily drill the main hole on the end of the gemstone.

The Best Setting For Briolette Diamond Cut

briolette cut blue topaz

How to set a briolette cut stone? See this here.

As we mentioned above, the Briolette diamond cut is not really suitable for rings. Hypothetically a ring can be made with a Briolette stone but this is rare and would require a modified Briolette shape.

Instead, the Briolette cut is intended for hanging gemstones – mainly earrings and necklaces, or even bracelets if the gemstones aren’t too expensive (that’s usually done with Briolette beads).

As for how the Briolette cut diamonds or gemstones are set into jewelry, that’s actually the easiest part of the whole tricky process – they are just hung through a hole that’s drilled in either their narrow or wider end.

From there, all the jeweler needs to do is attach the Briolette to its post with a strong adhesive. For example, for Briolette earrings, simply having a pair of earring findings and gluing the stones to them is all there is to it.

10 facts about the briolette cut

To Wrap Up…

As one of the rarer and most expensive diamond cuts, the Briolette is not something you’ll see very often. Still, if you have the money to splurge, a set of Briolette cut diamond earrings or a stunning Briolette cut diamond necklace can easily turn you into modern-day royalty.

Ready to browse? Click here to check out jewelry featuring the Briolette cut. 

Jewelry Guide
Logo