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Brilliant Cut vs. Rose Cut Diamonds (Guide)

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Brilliant Cut vs Rose Cut Diamonds

Engagement rings and other pieces of jewelry consist of many parts, but the most important is the center diamond. There are several aspects to consider, and one of the first to explore is your choice of cut.

Brilliant and rose cut diamonds each possess unique characteristics that could make it the right fit for you.

The main difference between brilliant and rose cut diamonds is that brilliant cuts are designed to maximize the light performance of the gem with its triangular-shaped facets. Rose cut diamonds have larger facets, with a flat bottom and a dome on top, so it doesn’t have as much brilliance.

Let’s compare brilliant versus rose cut diamonds, including an overview of each, how they differ in the most important qualities of a diamond, and how to decide between them.

What is a Brilliant Cut Diamond?

Brilliant cut diamonds are cut in a way that maximizes their brilliance. 

Brilliant Cut Diamond

Most have 58 facets, which are triangle- and kite-shape. The design allows it to capture and reflect the most amount of light, minimizing how much leaks from the bottom.

A round brilliant is shaped like a cone, with a flat table on top and a pointed culet at the bottom. The pavilion forms a V-shape and serves as its base below the girdle.

They’re most often seen as the center diamond on an engagement ring but are also used as accents to complement the main gem. 

Whether channel- or pave-set, brilliant cuts line the shanks of many rings to enhance its sparkle.

What is a Rose Cut Diamond?

Rose cuts are a vintage style diamond with a domed top and flat bottom.

Rose Cut Diamond

The design is modeled off the petals of a rose, and it consists of between three and 24 facets.

The triangle-shaped facets on top of a rose cut diamond are similar to a brilliant cut, except they’re often larger. 

The wide facets, and lack of facets on the bottom, allow light to move subtly through the stone instead of bouncing back up through the diamond. 

This contrasts with the flashy sparkle of a brilliant cut.

There’s also a variation called a double rose cut. Also referred to as a Dutch rose cut, it has two layers of facets on the top and bottom. It’s a deeper cut that mimics a briolette cut.

What are the Differences Between a Brilliant and Rose Cut Diamond?

If you’re considering a brilliant or rose cut diamond, you should know how they differ across the primary traits that make up a diamond, such as its shape, fire and brilliance, price, and size.

We’ll explore these aspects and more below.

History

Brilliant cut diamonds are a modern design that resulted from improved technology. 

It allowed diamond manufacturers in the early 20th century to precisely cut them in a way that optimized light performance.

By perfecting their symmetry and the size and shape of facets, they maximized how much light entered, bounced around, and returned to the viewer.

History of Rose vs Brilliant Cut

There were designs imitating brilliant cuts in the 17th century, but the type seen on engagement rings today wasn’t developed until a couple hundred years later. 

Rose cut diamonds were first created a few hundred years before the modern brilliant cut. They’re cut by hand, while brilliant cuts use a combination of handcrafting and technology such as lasers.

The process of hand-cutting diamonds into the rose shape meant the original types weren’t perfectly round. 

As the processes improved, it gave way to other cuts such as old mine cuts, and eventually, brilliants.

Shapes

Both brilliant and rose cut diamonds are formed into many shapes. The cut of a diamond doesn’t refer to its shape but instead to how its facets are cut and affect light performance.

Traditional brilliant cuts are round, but princess, oval, pear, and marquise cuts are modified brilliants that have similar facets to a round cut. 

Shapes of Brilliant Cuts

They’re designed to enhance brilliance while also offering an alternative to the standard round cut. 

These shapes sell for a lower price-per-carat than round brilliants, so you can choose a higher carat weight while spending the same amount.

The same is true for rose cuts. The cut refers to the shape and alignment of facets, not its overall shape. 

With its flat base, it can be cut into shapes such as squares, hexagons, ovals, and pears.

Its unique facet arrangement allows it to be cut into almost any shape, though the rounded look is the most common.

Depending on the shape you choose for brilliant and rose cuts, you can expect a difference in price and light performance.

Fire and Brilliance

Fire and brilliance in a diamond are distinct qualities.

Fire refers to the colored flashes of light that radiate from a diamond when light is refracted inside it. Brilliance is the white flashes of light. 

Together, they create scintillation, or sparkle.

Brilliant cuts have more fire and brilliance than rose cuts. Their facets and shape are designed to allow light to enter the diamond, bounce around, and exit to the viewer. 

The pointed culet at the bottom minimizes how much light leaks.

Pointed Culet on Brilliant Cut Diamond

This sparkle is what makes brilliant cuts valuable as the center diamond in an engagement ring. You want the most prominent part of the ring to glimmer when it’s twirled, and brilliant cuts deliver on this front.

Round brilliant cuts have the most brilliance and fire, but modified brilliants such as marquise and oval cuts also achieve this effect.

Rose cuts don’t have strong fire or brilliance because their shape inhibits light refraction. With three to 24 facets, there aren’t enough surfaces to reflect high amounts of light. 

Additionally, its flat bottom means light leaks and doesn’t bounce back through the diamond.

Instead, rose cuts offer a subtle shimmer of light.

Inclusions

Brilliant cuts hide inclusions better than rose cuts.

Inclusions are imperfections in a diamond that can affect its appearance, light performance, and durability. Examples include etch channels, cavities, and indented naturals.

Most buyers select an eye-clean diamond, where the inclusions can’t be seen without magnification.

Inclusions in a rose cut, even if they’re similar to ones in a brilliant cut, are more likely to be visible because of its lack of brilliance. 

That’s why you’ll also find salt and pepper diamonds with rose cuts.

Inclusions in Rose Cut Diamonds

White light reflecting off a diamond can hide small or transparent inclusions, but this quality is lacking rose cuts.

Most brilliant cuts with a clarity grade of SI1 or above from the GIA are eye-clean. 

If you’re considering a rose cut, you’ll have to choose a higher clarity grade to ensure it’s inclusions aren’t visible.

Price

You’ll often pay a higher price-per-carat for brilliant versus rose cut diamonds. There are a few reasons for difference in price:

  • Higher demand for brilliant cuts
  • Brilliant cuts have more sparkle, a coveted trait in a diamond
  • Brilliant cuts often result in more of the rough diamond being discarded

The exact price of a brilliant and rose cut diamond depends on many factors such as its cut quality, shape, clarity, carat, and color. 

In fact, the price of a one carat round brilliant diamond can be anywhere from $1,000-$18,000.

Rose cut diamonds start at a lower price point. In fact, some retailers sell one-carat rose cut diamonds for less than $1,000.

There are many with significant inclusions which also decreases their value.

Popularity for Engagement Rings

Brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular style for engagement rings. Rose cuts are rarely the center gem because of their lack of brilliance.

The most popular cuts for engagement ring diamonds are all brilliant or modified brilliant cuts such as round, princess, marquise, and cushion. 

Brilliant Cut Engagement Ring

It’s not until the step-cut emerald, often the fifth most common choice, do sales surpass other modified brilliant cuts.

The reason is buyers want their engagement ring diamond to exhibit brilliance and fire. A brilliant cut with ideal proportions will sparkle when it’s in motion.

Rose cuts, on the other hand, are too subtle for many buyers. They can appear dull, and their vintage style hasn’t seen a resurgence in popularity.

You’ll have far more options to choose from if you search for a brilliant cut over a rose cut.

Settings

You shouldn’t neglect exploring a variety of settings for brilliant and rose cuts. It can accentuate the diamond and add unique elements such as the type of metal, diamond accents, or milgrain.

One difference between settings for brilliant versus rose cut diamonds is rose cuts sit closer to your finger. This is known as a low setting, which contrasts with the high setting often used for brilliant cuts.

The advantage of a low setting is it offers protection against the prongs snagging or the diamond experiencing a hit or bump. 

The downside is it doesn’t display the diamond as prominently as a high setting.

Brilliant and rose cut diamonds can sit in a solitaire setting or be surrounded by other stones.

For example, this petite pave cathedral setting includes a round brilliant cut with small diamonds lining the shank. 

Petite pave cathedral setting

It adds sparkle to the piece without the price increase that would result from a higher carat weight.

This engagement ring includes a trellis setting with a cathedral

Trellis Setting Engagement Ring

It’s interwoven prongs are supported by two arches that extend from the shank to hold the brilliant cut.

You can also find settings with multiple rose cuts. As an example, this 18K yellow gold ring features a rose cut in the center, flanked on both sides by two smaller diamonds. 

Five-Stone Rose Cut Diamond Ring

None of those rose cuts will display strong brilliance, but the five diamonds will give the whole piece a subtle glow.

Many retailers allow you to choose a diamond and setting separately, so explore how your choice of diamond fits with different types of settings to find the right combination for you.

Size

The size of a diamond is measured in weight. One carat equals 0.2 grams. If two diamonds both weigh three carats, they’re considered the same size.

But many buyers are less concerned about its weight and more interested in its visible appearance because some cuts look larger than others.

A rose cut looks bigger than a brilliant cut, even if they’re the same weight. Its flat bottom has a large circumference when compared to a round brilliant.

In most cases, a one-carat round brilliant measures 6.5 millimeters with a top-down view. A one-carat rose cut often measures 7.5 millimeters.

Combined with its lower cost-per-carat, you can buy a rose cut that looks significantly larger than a brilliant cut, even with the same budget.

Colors

Colorless diamonds are considered the most valuable because of their visual appeal and light performance. On the other end of the spectrum, some diamonds exhibit yellow or brown shades.

Champagne Colored Rose Cut Diamonds

Rose cuts often display more color because the facets don’t allow for strong brilliance and sparkle. 

If you compared a brilliant cut versus rose cut diamond with the same color grade from the GIA, the brilliant cut would likely show less color.

Buyers considering a rose cut often aren’t concerned with a colorless diamond. That’s why rose cuts are sold in a variety of colors including champagne and black diamonds, as well as colored diamonds such as blue, green, and red.

These warmer colors complement the subtle glow of a rose cut, while brilliants are focused on light reflection and scintillation.

How to Decide Between a Brilliant and Rose Cut Diamond

Deciding between a brilliant versus rose cut diamond requires understanding which qualities are most important to you. Both types of diamonds have distinct traits that fit the style of certain buyers.

Here are some guidelines to help you choose between the two.

You should consider a brilliant cut if:

  • Strong light performance is appealing to you
  • You’re willing to pay a higher price-per-carat
  • You want to minimize the visibility of inclusions and color

You should choose a rose cut if:

  • You want an alternative to traditional engagement ring diamonds
  • You prefer to subtle glow of a rose cut versus the strong sparkle of brilliant cuts
  • A low setting that sits close to your finger is appealing
  • You’re considering a colored diamond such as blue, red, or yellow

By examining both brilliant and rose cut diamonds and learning what makes each unique, you’ll find the right cut for you.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

Learn More About Devon