Professional Jeweler Archive: Flight of Fancy

June 2000


Flight of Fancy

Four-sided diamonds provide an alternative to the ubiquitous round

If you ever tire of selling round diamonds, examine your options from all four sides. That’s right, consider the long, elegant emerald cut or the glittering princess cut. Diamond manufacturers say they’ve been making these cuts in increasing numbers because their unique qualities make them increasingly appreciated by consumers.

“We’ve seen a 25% increase in our sales of princess cuts in the past year,” says Helen Slotar Hovis of Ernest Slotar, Chicago, IL.

Farther east, it’s a similar story. “We’ve had increases of 25%-30% in square diamond sales,” says Sholem Spira of Julius Klein, New York City.

Why the buzz? “Square diamonds possess an understated elegance,” says Leon Cohen, president of Codiam Inc., New York City. “We find the popularity of square cuts is purely fashion-driven.” For her part, Slotar Hovis notes most of the demand she’s experienced is concentrated in princess cuts – which possess great brilliance. She sells larger center stones and calibrated smaller ones, which she says look particularly good in channel-set jewelry.

For the Special Customer

Diamonds with four main sides – not counting the bevel or corner facets – are not for everyone. But you should consider having some on hand for customers looking for something unique – as more and more customers are.

Also, because few chain stores carry these types of diamonds, you can use them to differentiate yourself. It’s harder for consumers to comparison-shop square diamonds because they’re not found in as many stores as rounds.

This increases the chance you’ll make a handsome profit on sales of these diamonds, assuming you can turn them over regularly. Here are some selling points to help you match the customer to your princess- or emerald-cut diamonds.

Selling Points For Princess Cuts

  • Princess-cut diamonds exhibit a glittering brilliance. Because of the way they’re fashioned and because they’re equilateral, light return and scintillation are among the most impressive in these fancy-cut diamonds.
  • Princess-cut diamonds sport a modern look. “Because of their liveliness and because they’re different from rounds, princess-cut diamonds are perceived as modern,” says Margaret De Young of Ernest Slotar Inc. “In addition, they’ve been around only for a few decades.”
  • Because of the linear outlines, princess-cut diamonds conform to modern, angular styles of jewelry.

Selling Points for Emerald Cuts

  • Emerald or step-cut diamonds denote tradition. Several famous diamonds – including the Porter Rhodes and the Portuguese – are emerald-cut diamonds (see table above for a list of famous emerald diamonds).
  • Emerald-cut diamonds have a subtle beauty. They don’t return light all at once. But when light is refracted from the broad back facets through the table, the viewer sees a sudden, broad flash of light. It is a now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t appeal.
  • Emerald-cut diamonds suggest understated wealth. “They are simply classy, especially in larger sizes,” says De Young. “A big, beautiful emerald-cut diamond suggests an upper-class social standing.” Leon Cohen of Codiam Inc. agrees and says this type of customer tends to prefer subtlety, especially if the diamond is over 10 carats.
  • One caveat: diamonds that have long, broad facets tend to be less forgiving about inclusions. Emerald cuts have large tables to see through, accentuating any inclusions. This means better emerald-cut diamonds also tend to be cleaner or cleverly cut so inclusions are concealed in non-reflecting corners.

Remember four-sided diamonds are not for everyone. But if you face an indecisive customer who keeps looking for something different or unique, consider showing a princess or emerald cut.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Princess and emerald-cut diamonds offer an alternative for customers who seek something unique. Gems courtesy of Ernest Slotar Inc., Chicago, IL; (800) 621-6537.

Famous Emerald Cuts

A large proportion of famous diamonds throughout history have been emerald cuts. Here are a few examples.

  • Darya-i Noor, 175-195 carats. Initially examined by Jean Baptiste Tavernier in the mid-1600s, it’s now one of the Crown Jewels of Iran.
  • Jonker, 125.60 carats. Now privately owned, it was once worn by child actress Shirley Temple.
  • Mouawad Magic, 108.81 carats. Owned by Lebanese jeweler Robert Mouawad.
  • Porter Rhodes, 54.99 carats. One of the first large diamonds found at Kimberley, South Africa, in 1880. D-color, it’s now owned by London jeweler Laurence Graff.
  • Portuguese, 127.01 carats. It’s nearly octagonal in shape, was once owned by the Ziegfield Follies’ Peggy Hopkins Joyce and is now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
  • President Vargas, 44.17 carats. The largest of several satellite diamonds, this came from Minas Gerais, Brazil, from a piece of rough that weighed over 700 carats. Its current owner’s name has not been disclosed.

– R.W.

Source: Famous Diamonds by Ian Balfour, 2nd Edition, 1992. Published by Christie, Manson & Woods, London, England.

Branding Squares & Rectangles

With the craze for branding heating up, don’t forget branded four-sided diamonds. They include:

  • Quadrillion Diamond
    by Ambar Diamonds, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 626-1465, fax (310) 329-5823,
  • Crisscut Diamond
    by Christopher Designs Inc., New York City; (212) 382-1013, fax (212) 768-8978,
  • Starburst Diamond
    by Louis Glick & Co., New York City; (212) 259-0300, fax (212) 489-8178.
  • Royalcrest Diamond
    by Merit Diamond Corp., New York City; (212) 391-2770, fax (212) 398-5853.
  • Princessa or Perfect Princess
    by Orion Diamond Inc., New York City; (212) 888-8000, fax (212) 888-9011.
  • Radiant Cut Diamond
    by Radiant Cut Diamond Corp., New York City; (212) 382-0386, fax (212) 869-1038.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications