Diamonds and brilliants: are the same?

The terms brilliant and diamond are routinely confused. At the Roosik&Co. shop, we often meet people who use these words as synonyms but they’re also sometimes used as if they were two different types of gem. In fact, they are two different concepts.

In jewellery, the term brilliant refers to a specific technique for cutting gemstones, known more technically as the brilliant cut. Diamond, however, is the name given to the gemstone, the mineral.

The brilliant cut is one of the most popular in jewellery. Traditionally this kind of cut has been widely used with diamonds as it enhances their natural beauty by particularly increasing the reflection of light and therefore their brilliance.



Diamonds and brilliants: are the same?

A brilliant cut has a total of 57 facets – or faces – and is the typical image that comes to mind when we think of a diamond: a gemstone with a round appearance when seen from above and with the lower part ending in an inverted cone. This cut has altered over time and, for quite a long period, some cutters added another facet – another face – cutting back the point of the aforementioned inverted cone. This “extra” facet was because of a certain superstition regarding the number 57 but it gradually disappeared since it impaired the optical characteristics of the diamonds.

The popularity of this cut, and the fact that, traditionally, it has been one of the most widely used for diamonds, has led to the word diamond being omitted and to the use of brilliant to refer to diamonds with this cut. But in fact, to be precise with the language and thereby avoid misunderstandings, it’s advisable to always talk about “brilliant-cut diamonds”.