Is a brilliant a diamond?

I am often asked what the difference is between a diamond and a brilliant. And it’s actually almost the same.

A diamond is a gemstone made of carbon which comes in lots of colours. So that’s the element.

While a brilliant is a diamond cut in the brilliant-cut.

The brilliant cut was invented in 1919 in Antwerp by a diamond cutter named Marcel Tolkowsky.

He found that in order to get the greatest reflection of light from a round diamond, it must have 58 facets.

There must be 33 facets on the crown, ie everything that is above the girdle and 25 below.

And all of these facets need to be positioned precisely so that the brilliant shine as much as possible.

We want the light to come into the brilliant from above, and then it should be reflected around inside the brilliant and be reflected back through the top again, it is this reflection which makes diamonds shine so amazingly.

Tolkowsky also calculated that a brilliant of 1 carat in excellent cut should be 6.5 mm in diameter.

Nowadays we just say brilliant, and mean a diamond that has been cut in the brilliant-cut.

A diamond’s cut is assessed on the basis of:

  • The degree of cut, which is the overall assessment of how the diamond is cut
  • Polishing
  • Symmetry

They are judged on the following scale:

  • Excellent
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

So brilliant is the cut, but not the quality of the cut. And here it goes without saying that you want a brilliant-cut diamond in a cut grade that is either Excellent or Very good.

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Diamond expert Trine Lamm

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Born in Denmark, I work in Antwerp in Belgium – the centre of diamond trade in the word. From here, I find and select premium diamonds and gemstones to create custom-made jewelry for clients all over the globe. I love the idea of customized jewelry as I want to help you make exactly the piece of jewelry you desire. Read more about Diamond Dealer Services