For people who had just started doing their research, the various shapes that diamonds can be cut into is probably one of the first few concepts you would come across. Upon delving deeper, you will soon realize that the core of the various cutting styles stem from the same roots.
Did you know that a large number of modern fancy shapes are actually based on the full round cut brilliant? In fact, many branded diamonds like the Leo Diamond, Zale’s Celebration, Gassan 121 Wylde Flower Diamond and 221 facets Brilliant Lady are created by making modifications to the facet structure of traditional round brilliant cuts. For a technically correct label for these stones, grading labs like GIA and AGS use the term modified round brilliant cut to depict such stones.
Are modified cuts more brilliant and sparkly?
In today’s market, the brilliant cut is the most dominant cutting style found in diamonds. Nothing proves that better than the fact that the two most popular shapes (round and princess) are brilliant cuts themselves.
The modern brilliant cut has been perfected with the aid of mathematical and empirical data since Marcel Tolkowsky’s days. Today, the proportions for brilliant cuts have been optimized so they yielded diamonds with maximum brilliance and fire.
When inspected under a special viewer, a perfectly aligned round brilliant cut displayed patterns reminiscent of arrows when seen from the top and of hearts when seen from the bottom. For these reasons, such diamonds are often referred to as “hearts and arrows”.
The traditional brilliant resembles a cone and has 57 tiny surfaces called facets. While the 57 facets style of brilliant cut is the “generic” round diamond you usually see, it is possible for a different look to be achieved by varying the number and orientation of facets.
When it comes to modified brilliant designs, one of my personal picks is the Solasfera diamond. “Sol” is Latin for “sun” and the name Solasfera is rather eloquent. On that note, even the internal facet structure of the stone is reminiscent of perfectly distributed sunbeams.
Technically speaking, a Solasfera diamond has 91 facets or 92 facets when a culet is present at its tip. The company claims that their creation is the “most brilliant” round cut diamond on Earth. And if you had been following my blog long enough, I usually toss such claims out the windows.
However, this case was an exception. The Solasfera really features vivid brilliance and scintillation that makes it well worthy of its name. In terms of craftsmanship, the Light Masters Corporation has set really high standards and quality control into the Solasfera’s cut.
There are a number of other modified round cut diamond shapes apart from Solasfera. The list is endless (most of them are bad anyway) but I would like to mention some notable ones like the Star 129 and Eighternity.
As the name suggests, Star 129 diamonds have 129 facets instead of the “standard” 57 that the standard round has. That’s almost twice as many facets and it is also dubbed as “absolutely the most spectacular diamond on the planet”.
When the polishing of a rough stone is carried out with skilled labor and proper planning, the additional number of facets can yield an increased shine and brilliance. That said, you should not be tricked by the sheer number a diamond has since there are many other modified rounds that don’t appear as aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Also, unless you are thinking of buying a diamond of least one and a half carat in size, you should probably stick with the standard round cut. The appearance of a Star 129 might come across kitschy if the diamond is not large enough to support all that brilliance.
If you think about it logically, 129 surfaces need to be placed onto the diamond during the cutting process. If you try to divide all that up within the surface area of a small stone, what do you think you would end up with? Well… it will result in 129 super small surfaces. And when light hits on hundreds of this small surface, it can create a very messy (though bright) appearance.
Here’s a blown up view to let you see the finer details of the Star 129.
As you can see, the Star 129 wins hands down in spotlighting scenarios. I can honestly say this is almost the maximum brightness and brilliance any diamond can show under this lighting condition. However, I would still prefer the Solasfera over the Star 129 diamond.
It really depends on where the lady works. Chances are, she is more likely to be exposed to diffused lighting conditions (office lighting) most of the time and I personally feel that the Star 129 diamond loses out on the contrast aspect.
Remember, diamond carat weight is a factor that comes into play when you are looking at modified cuts with significantly more facets. When the size of the diamond is small (< 1.5 carats), every individual facet would also be cut relatively smaller and tend to display a chaotic appearance. If you are buying a smaller diamond, my advice is to stick to the traditional round brilliant cut.
Ultimately, it is what you prefer (or the lady prefers) that really matters.