The emerald cut is one of the first cuts to be used in jewellery, and is a rectangular shape with truncated corners and a broad and flat plane that can resemble stair steps when viewed from above. The emerald cut can also be referred to as a ‘step cut’. The emerald cut is normally comprised of 57 facets (comprising 25 facets on the crown and 32 facets on the pavilion). It should be noted that the number of rows of facets on both the crown and pavilion can vary, which alters the total number of facets in this type of cut.
Although the emerald cut typically has less fire and brilliance than the brilliant cuts, the broad flat plane of this shape does highlight the clarity of a diamond as well as its natural crystalline rectangular growth. In addition to this the flat planes of the edges allow for a variety of side gemstones. Often these are long thin rectangular diamonds, which are known as baguettes.
Normally emerald cut diamonds have a length to width ratio between 1.30 and 1.50 with 1.40 considered “ideal” and most popular. Some people prefer a more squared shape and therefore will opt for lower ratios while those who prefer a more rectangular cut will choose higher ratios. Emerald ratios outside the range above are generally atypical and therefore less desirable.
Although the precise origins of the first emerald cut remain somewhat ambiguous, its stylistic specifications can be traced at least back to the single table cuts of around 500 years ago and the multi-faceted table cuts of the Art Deco period during the early 20th century.
In fact the term “emerald cut” actually only started being used during the Art Deco period, despite the fact that diamond cutters were already cutting the same shape under various names. Initially, the emerald cut was (as the name suggests) developed specifically for emerald gems in order to reduce the amount of pressure exerted during cutting, which protects the gemstone from chipping. Soon after diamond cutters began to realize the importance of this cut and started applying it to diamonds as well.