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 CelebrationGassan 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.

modified round brilliant cut ring

Are modified cuts more brilliant and sparkly?

What is a Brilliant Cut? What About Hearts And Arrows?

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.

Taking a Look at Solasfera Diamonds

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.

What About Star 129 And Other Modified Cuts?

star 129 diamond review


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.

star129 modified round magnified image

Visual Comparisons of Diamonds Under Various Lighting



Is There a Winner Between These Stones?

warningAs 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.

When unsure of the recipient’s preferences, the general rule of the thumb is to stick with the safest choice of buying a round brilliant cut diamond. Whiteflash and Brian Gavin both offer ideally cut diamonds that exhibit superb optical performance.

Related Articles

Share This Page on Social Media!


  1. Avatar
    Roy Niswanger-
    May 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Mr. Paul,

    I just fell upon your site because like many out there, Costco seems to be an option when buying diamond rings, for me a new bridal set for the wife of 17 years.

    So, my budget is $3500. I have seen bridal sets with center stones in the .5c to .7c range for this price. Two things I’ve learned over the course of a week researching is that I should put cut at the top of the 4-Cs list and I have learned that cut isn’t always so easy to determine (often not listed very clearly).

    First, should I really invest in an Ideal Scope and learn how to use it on a mounted ring and if so which one would you recommend buying?

    Second, for Solasfera cut bridal sets w/in my budget and center stone specs. Is it even possible and if so where do I go to buy/find/look/try these bridal sets? I live in Austin, TX.

    Thank you,
    Roy Niswanger

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    May 7, 2015 at 1:23 am

    There are online vendors who can provide ASET/Idealscope images for their diamond listings. For a list of recommended vendors with reasonable prices, you can them here:

    Costco is not a place I would recommend for the uninitiated. You need to be extremely knowledgeable in picking diamonds and have to go through the hassle of finding a separate jeweler for resizing the ring if required. (Costco does NOT offer ring sizing services). Read our review of Costco here:

    If you want to spend 50-70 dollars for a scope, I recommend that you get an ASET scope and use this reference chart to help you determine light performance:

    As far as I know, Jared is a vendor whom you can find the Solasfera bridal set from in Austin. You can check the list of authorized retailers at this webpage:

    However, the branded Solasfera diamond won’t come cheap and if you are on a budget, I suggest that you stick to traditional round brilliant cuts to get the biggest bang for your buck.

  3. Avatar
    Janet Harper-
    August 30, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for this article and recommendation to stick with the traditional number of facets for smaller stones. I recently purchased a 98 facet 8 stone 4/10 carat total weight band off a home shopping network. All the reviews are raving about it, but I don’t think it has as much sparkle as a 58 facet 10 stone 3/10 carat band of the same style. Both are said to be H VS. The 98 facet ring does sparkle like crazy in certain light, but side by side under normal reading light or outdoor light, the smaller 58 facet stones have much more sparkle. The 98 facets on such small stones are less sparkly and can look rather flat, if that makes sense. Thanks for your explanation.

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    August 31, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for leaving a comment. Is the 98 facets stone called the Lilla Diamond?

  5. Avatar
    Janet Harper-
    September 11, 2015 at 3:20 am

    The 98 facet stones are not marketed as the Lilla Diamond.

Leave A Comment