Point Cut - early 1300s
The "Point Cut" is one of the first symmetrically faceted diamond cuts. The Point Cut design is dictated by the natural shape of an octahedral rough diamond (An eight-sided geometric solid and the most common crystal in which diamonds occur). The "Table Cut" (below, right) was created by cutting off some of the top half of the Point Cut's octahedron to create a table.
Single Cut - late 1300s
Invented in the late 14th century, the "Old Single Cut" (sometimes called Old Eight Cut) diamond has the addition of corner facets to create an octagonal girdle, an octagonal table, eight bezel or crown facets, and eight pavilion facets. The Single Cut may or may not have a culet at the bottom.
Rose & Briolette Cut- 1500s
Invented in the mid 16th century, the Rose Cut is also known by the Antwerp rose, Crowned Rose Cut, Dutch Cut, and the Full Holland Cut. The Rose cut can form a single hemisphere for a total of 24 facets or it can be two back-to-back hemispheres (Double Dutch Rose) forming a total of 48 facets. The "Senaille Cut" is a Rose cut with irregular or non-symmetrical faceting. The "Briolette Cut" is a modified Double Dutch Rose cut with one of the hemispheres being elongated.
Old Mine Cut - 1700s
The "old mine" cut is the earliest form of the "brilliant cut" diamond. Also called the "cushion cut", it has a cushioned or rounded girdle shape. This Old Mine cut is basically square with gently rounded corners and "brilliant" style facets. The crown is typically tall, resulting in a smaller table. The culet is usually large enough to be visible when viewed through the table.
Old European Cut - 1800s
The "Old European" cut was the forerunner of the modern Brilliant Cut. The Old European diamond cut has a very small table, a heavy crown, and very tall overall depth. Like the modern round brilliant, the old European diamond has a circular girdle.
Eight Cut & Swiss Cut
The "Eight Cut" is primarily used for small stones when a brilliant cut would be impractical. The eight cut is similar to the "Single Cut" in that there are eight four-sided trapezoidal facets at the crown, eight facets at the pavilion, and an octagon-shaped table for a total of 17 facets (18 if a culet is used).
A "Swiss Cut" is a compromise between an eight cut and a Brilliant Cut, with a total of 33 facets (34 if a culet is used); 16 isosceles triangle facets on the crown and 16 facets on the pavilion.
The Modern Round Brilliant Cut - 1900s
The "Modern Round Brilliant Cut" was developed by Belgian diamond-cutter Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. This cut is also known as the "Tolkowsky Cut" and "Tolkowsky Brilliant." Even with modern techniques, the cutting and polishing of a diamonds resulted in a loss of as much as 50% of the stone's total weight. The round brilliant cut was a partial solution to this problem.
As with its predecessor the "Point Cut" over 600 years earlier, the Modern Round Brilliant cut is beneficial when the crystal is an octahedron (diagram above), as two stones can be cut from one crystal with a minimum amount of waste.