Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Precision cut preference: fancy or simple?

deorwine

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
324
I'm really interested in what the precision cutters think (and I would adore it if you posted pics of stones you've done in the past that follow forum rules and aren't for sale etc. etc.), but also in what all the consumers think.

Gene made an interesting comment in https://www.pricescope.com/communit...-for-precision-stones-worth-it-to-you.161782/: he said that consumers by far prefer simple rounds/supernova ovals/cushions (and, I'm sure, asschers ;-) ) to fancy unique cuts.

This was news to me -- I think fancy cuts are really neat and I feel kind of like as long as I'm paying for precision cutting, I might as well get a design that no one else on the street is going to have. I have several gems from Uli just because I love the designs. One of my favorite non-Uli gems is cut in in the Jeff Graham "Mumble" cut that I absolutely adore (but I can't post it here because it's made up of a, um, let's say, reference material). I would love to have it in a natural CS material, though, and I always figured that the precision cutters weren't interested in doing something that was a little more wacky than a round or oval.

Anyway... now that I know this, next time I ask a lapidary about cutting something, maybe I'll ask if he can do a fancy sort of design.

(All this being said, I rather like some of Gene's simple-shape-but-not-entirely-standard cuts, like his Star 80, so maybe I'm part of the problem too ;-) )

Here's my Uli garnet:

TanRho1.83_1.jpg

Umm... yeah, I like threefold symmetry, why do you ask? :)
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,494
If I were after a fancy cut, then I'd go for only the cut and lessen the need for fine colour dramatically. There is consideration that the fancy cut will not only not bring out the best colour of the rough but also too much material loss. It is incredibly rare to see a super fine gemstone in an elaborate cut and the reason is clear.
 

PrecisionGem

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
1,712
Great topic!

The stone posted I think is a fantastic cut. I would venture to say he got a bigger stone because of the cut than had he done a more traditional trillion. The reason being the blunt ends. Often a stone is shaped well for this type of cut, and to make a standard trillion you loose more weight.

It's a myth that commercial cutters get better yield than a "precision cutter" gets. The precision cutter has a lot more tricks up his sleeve and designs to work with to fit into the rough stone, all the commercial cutter does to increase with is leave a fat belly that ends up with a window. Just as a better cut will bring out the color of the stone in a more vivid way. Give the same piece of rough to a commercial cutting house and to a lapidary artist, and the lapidary artist will produce the superior, more valuable stone, with better color and most likely a stone with a greater weight.

My findings are, except for high end custom goldsmiths, the more fancy cuts are a harder sell. These guys want a one of kind stone, to make a one of kind piece of jewelry, since it can command a higher price. Mass produced settings, seem to ask for mass produced looking stones, or a least that's how people envision them.
 

ruffysdad

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
127
Great question Deorwine,

Do I cut simple or complex and why? I suppose a lot will depend on my mood and what's playing while I cut. The round was cut during a heavy metal, rocking out (no pun intended :mrgreen: ) session. It was a modified portuguese with 129 facets on a 6mm stone. I don't usually hang names on anything but I called this one " That way madness lies " from Shakespeare's King Lear since I must've been a bit nuts to hang that many facets on a 6mm stone :mrgreen: .

The triangle is a modification on Marco Voltolini's "Tribal" design and it's actually pretty simple to cut. Combine a day off from the real world, felling pretty laid back, a little Bach thrown in and viola, this is the result.

Of course the shape of the rough tells me what kind of general shape I'll go for and yes, I do talk to rocks but most of them, at least don't talk back :mrgreen:

Pete

rhodo1.jpg

cs3.jpg
 

Jim Rentfrow

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
241
I would agree with Gene in that most consumers want rounds or other "normal" shapes. Unless there is a specific request I usually do not cut many different shapes than rounds, ovals and cushions. I recently requested on a B2B forum asking for a specific gemstone in a certain shape and I was beat up because "I cant ask for a round in a certain gemstone.....they just dont exist." The fact is many lapidaries, especially on this forum would want to cut a round because they tend to sell the quickest, even with a little more weight loss. I would rather have a dollar in my pocket today than two dollars in five months because the shape does not sell as fast.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
2,991
I like the fancy shapes but I wouldn't want all my pieces to be non-standard. The fancy shapes take a lot more creative thought (at least for me) on how to set them. Fancy cutting within a standard outline makes things easier on the consumer.

This one hasn't been set yet but I bet it would fit a standard trillion setting
kiz-osirisamethyst2.jpg

This is a 7 sided stone so the setting would probably have to be custom if I don't want to disguise the shape. I will probably treat it like a pear shape when setting it.
kiz-tealtourm2.jpg

This one is currently being set east/west in a semi-bezel ring
kiz-pgspess3.jpg

My first fancy shape to get set.
kiz-garnetpendant.jpg
 

deorwine

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
324
Thanks! This is an informative thread for me! More questions, if you don't mind:

Do you (cutters) enjoy cutting fancy designs more (or less) than simple ones? Are you okay with a client asking for a specific (fancy) design? What about giving you free rein with a couple of parameters? (For example, I'd be happy letting the cutter have mostly a free hand to choose his or her design, but I'd want it to have at least two axes of symmetry -- no elongated shields or keystone shapes, for example.)

It makes sense to me that a consumer would rather have a "normal" shape than a random specific shape selected by the cutter -- there are lots of shapes out there, many of which I don't like (e.g., keystone), but rounds and cushions and ovals are all safe stones; I'm not going to reject a cushion cut stone because it's not fancy enough! But it seems like there ought to be more people asking for fancy cuts when things are cut on commission. Of course, I never have asked (except once with the late Bob Collins, who advertised that he did fancy cuts) because it didn't occur to me I could do so without being rebuffed!

Kismet, those are beautiful stones. I agree with you and Gene that most will fit standard mountings -- my garnet above will definitely do that. I love your pentagon! I agree that a unique cut makes me think I should have a similarly unique mounting, which takes more thought, but I'm not sure I think that's a bad thing.

ruffysdad, those are beautiful stones. Keep the pics coming! :)

Gene, not only is the garnet I posted potentially bigger (which I didn't realize, though it makes sense -- thanks for your insight!), I suspect it is also way more flashy because of that cut. The body color is fairly dark, but this thing flashes pretty crazily.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
I, for one, really really really prefer fancy cuts over anything else, to the point that I will not cut a SRB, unless it's by specific request, just too boring for me. I mean, I do cut stones to sell, don't get me wrong - I have to sell some in order to keep buying other rough for other interesting cuts, but for me I don't push the standard cuts - it's just not the same if I do a SRB vs a Harlequin, Scintillator, Portuguese, etc. They're all round (more or less) so it's not really the shape, it's more about the challenge. If I don't feel challenged, then I get complacent, bored to tears, hope you get the idea.

As far as the shape goes, most of us have libraries of cuts to perform, some of us design our own, or modify an existing design from another cutter. Some are one of a kind cuts, some are fantasy cuts, some are impossible cuts, some cuts are designed for a specific piece of rough, some are written down on a paper napkin and then you lose the napkin, some are simple symmetry, some are complex, some are beautiful, some are designed for high RI, some for low RI, some enhance color, others enhance brilliance/dispersion, but chances are there is a cut you will really like that will be a 'fancy cut' and not be any more expensive than a similar stone cut in SRB.
 

John Dyer

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
24
I enjoy cutting "fancy" cuts more than simple ones, in the traditionally faceted shapes one of the most "fun" to cut for me is the pear shape because it is slightly more challenging than most other traditional shapes. But because they don't sell as well I usually try to get something different out of the rough if I can.

Not sure why people don't like pear shapes though, they seem like a great shape for a pendant.

Another thing to throw into this conversation is that "Fantasy" or "Combination" cuts take (in most cases) FAR longer than a standard faceted gem. A "Bubble" will take at least 10 times longer than a flat facet to polish. Many of my larger gems of this type will take two days or more with some taking up to 8 days (8 hour days too, not just a few hours each day). All of this being spent on one gem. The results are very cool IMO but it does add to the price. Concave gems are somewhere in between in the amount of labor they take.
 

ruffysdad

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
127
I like doing fancy cuts more than say, SRB's or a by-the-book emerald cut and I'd venture to say that most cutters are the same way. The SRB is a compromise of best light return and dspersion but there's so much more that can be done with a stone. The only qualifier to that is, I like to keep the stones symetrical and to be able to be set in a standard mount. The stone setters can appreciate that one :mrgreen: . That said, there are thousands of designs out there that fit those parameters and I'll usually toss in a few new cuts on a design if I think they'll add to the finished stone. With all of the designs out there, I usually have no problems working with a person to come up with a design that will get the best out of a stone so I don't mind working with a buyer at all. After all, it's going to be their stone and they, not I, are going to be the ones looking at it fo a long time to come :mrgreen: . And lastly, cutting a custom with a lot of facets really doesn't take that much longer for me. It's a trade off. Large facets take longer to polish than small ones so the time used cutting in extras gets made up for when polishing. Just have to be a little careful not to over polish and mess up the meet point.

This is a 1.29ct Nigerian, Oyo tourm I cut for a customer. I love cutting thes stuff :mrgreen:

Pete

ctourm129.jpg
 

mastercutgems

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
356
I am a little confused here :) Which is not out of the ordinary :twirl:

To me a fancy cut is something other than a standard emerald cut, a standard round brilliant, a trap cut or step cut oval, pear, etc.

I have seen and finished many gems that kept the same geometric shape and put an odd array of facets some askew-ed, etc. on the same geometric design. Are we calling a fancy something that is odd shaped like a pentagon, hexagon, trapezoidal, etc. or are we calling concave, dots, etc. the fancy cuts as to me so many gems can be considered fancy cuts??? I have a database of well over 2000 cuts and to me most are fancy as they are not the "standard" but even though you can take a standard round brilliant and throw in a few culet facts like the zircon cut and a few on the crown and it will surely look different than a SRB but would you call it fancy???

I know I too worked strictly for the trade for over 7 years and they wanted mostly everything calibrated and ovals, rounds, pears, and emeralds, very boring so that is why I started to add facets and designs to try to make it not so boring and give the gem a little more POP as to me a standard 8 main brilliant anything can make the eye fixate on the mirroring image of the mains; especially if the cutter does not take the breaks down low enough to the culet.

But I was really wondering what made a fancy cut; I know what makes a precision cut; but the fancy can deal with a broad spectrum of cuts.

Just my ole humble opinion though :)

Most respectfully;

Dana
 

ruffysdad

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
127
Imho Dana, I call a fancy cut anything outside of the SRB, by-the-book emerald, standard pear or oval. Cuts that are totally asymetric I class as a freeform cut. So by my definition, a split main SRB falls into the fancy cut class. Other cutters may have a different opinion but it's pretty wide open to individual interpretation I think.

Pete
 

deorwine

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
324
I think a fancy cut is whatever you want to call it :)

In Gene's original post, I think he was talking specifically about shapes that were not round/cushion/oval, since I know he cuts non-SRB rounds and other stones in not-quite-standard cushion/oval shapes that are quite popular. (Though correct me if I'm wrong!) And I have to say that I think non-standard shapes are a little more interesting to me personally as the thread originator, but I'm not a cutter, so you get to decide what you think is a fancy cut :)

But that's another question! Do you find non-SRB round cuts to be vastly less popular than SRB round cuts, or do you find that consumers are pretty interested in the slightly-different-and-more-interesting cuts as long as they are a standard shape?
 

ruffysdad

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
127
Not really. I don't cut many, if any SRB's. I think it's something that sets my gemstones apart from what you see in the brick and mortar jewelry stores. I do know that a lot of the custom goldsmiths appreciate the extra zap that a fancy cut brings to their work :mrgreen: .

Pete
 

PinkTower

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
1,129
Kismet|1307643170|2941794 said:
I like the fancy shapes but I wouldn't want all my pieces to be non-standard. The fancy shapes take a lot more creative thought (at least for me) on how to set them. Fancy cutting within a standard outline makes things easier on the consumer.

This one hasn't been set yet but I bet it would fit a standard trillion setting
kiz-osirisamethyst2.jpg

This is a 7 sided stone so the setting would probably have to be custom if I don't want to disguise the shape. I will probably treat it like a pear shape when setting it.
kiz-tealtourm2.jpg

This one is currently being set east/west in a semi-bezel ring
kiz-pgspess3.jpg

My first fancy shape to get set.
kiz-garnetpendant.jpg
I love your starfish. How did you ever think that up? It is beautiful.
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
995
I believe that a fancy cut is one that deviates entirely from the standard shape from a consumer perspective. A modified round/square/pear etc would be just modified standard cuts.

I love fancy cuts, but I would really only pony up money for a fancy cut for a gem that isn't too valuable from a strictly $ and cents point of view. The fancy cut would elevate the gem to an exceptionally interesting piece of art, and would look amazing in a collection or a nice setting and be a good conversation piece. I'm sure if well set it would get many comments.

For more valuable rough going into 4 or 5 figures per carat in asking price, I would want a precision standard cut or modified cut. No longer a fancy cut. Simply because I would want an extremely beautiful example of the gem I put money down for - in a more mainstream fashion.

I'm not sure if people with far more money than me would feel the same, just with bigger numbers being their criteria.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
2,991
Pink Tower|1307834345|2943621 said:
Kismet|1307643170|2941794 said:
My first fancy shape to get set.
kiz-garnetpendant.jpg
I love your starfish. How did you ever think that up? It is beautiful.
I didn't, not really. Peter Lees had 3 sided stone set that way and I just asked him if he could do that setting for a 5 sided stone.
 

corundum_conundrum

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 31, 2012
Messages
462
Great Thread!

I'm new to gemstone buying, but my own preference is for "fancy" cuts (other than the SRB, emerald etc.) but still not a totally asymmetrical--ie nontraditional--shapes. I love Dana's compasses, Gene's Juas, and Jim's squaretugueses. I like Jerry Newman's cuts a lot because they fall into the fancy-but-not-free-form category.

Drool:


blaze-4-61-ct_2.jpg


I would guess Precisiongem would agree that consumers are really not so stodgey about symetrical fancy flat-faceted cuts as they are stodgy about concave-faceted and free-form cuts. Of course, maybe I'm just unusual in being stodgy about shape, but not the faceting design.

I also have no problem with hexagons etc. I'm just not so attracted to very elongated or very assymetrical shapes.
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,231
I'm a consumer, not a cutter, but I prefer standard shapes because (1) I prefer symmetry across multiple axes (which is one reason why pears don't usually appeal to me), and (2) fancy shapes are much more difficult and more expensive to find settings for. (I'm still scratching my head about how to set the pendeloque-like benitoite I just bought.) I buy a lot of stones, so my budget for buying and setting each one is extremely limited, so that's often on my mind. I like calibrated sizes even more so than just standard cuts. Still, I will almost always choose precision cut over commercial cut stones, just usually in a standard shape.
 

lambskin

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
2,282
I love a beautifully cut stone. My personal preference is classic cuts ( round, step cuts, oval, marquise) for the big three-ruby, saphs, and emlds, but for semi precious stones I do like the newer modern cuts as well.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,682
Fancy (especially irregular) cuts are a nightmare to set and will typically cost substantially more for settings. So I agree with Gene.
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,379
I also suspect it depends on where you are in your experience collecting. I imagine that one is more apt to stick with the more conventional cuts when first starting out, but with a growing collection and experience setting, I'd bet that people tend to branch out and become willing to take more risk.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    A 1.7ct Upgrade For A 17th Anniversary
    A 1.7ct Upgrade For A 17th Anniversary
    A Classic Solitaire
    A Classic Solitaire
    August Birthstones: Peridot And Sardonyx
    August Birthstones: Peridot And Sardonyx

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top