You probably know many cuts and shapes of diamonds alone-but did you ever stop to think that those exquisitely faceted shapes are but one end-product of a raw stone? There are countless jewels that can be realized when the rough gemstone is given to a master stone cutter, who helps decide how to take full advantage of its potential. According to Adam Graham, the marketing manager of American Gem Trade Association, "A gemstone is cut to maximize the beauty of the material, and each gemstone type has specific traits-such as hardness, inclusions, color zoning, and cleavage planes-that a cutter must take into consideration." Many people prefer the light-refracting aspects of a faceted stone that seems to gleam in every direction and other "beholders" prefer the intense inner glow of a cabochon, smooth and rounded. Graham underscores these qualities, "Typically, translucent and opaque gemstones are cut into cabochons to feature rolling light from within, some producing star-and-eye effects. Transparent and clear gemstones are normally faceted to maximize the color and light return, resulting in sparkle and brilliance." Here are a few striking gemstones, cut to dazzle.
CUT 1: FACETED
CUT 2: CABOCHON