The Barion Cut

| 3 min read

Diamond cutter Basil Watermeyer developed the Barion Cut in October 1971. He described it later as a “lucky accident”. Since then, this cut has generally only been used for extremely high-end Diamonds, but now Gemporia is using the cut for a very different purpose.

Watermayer’s Cut

The ‘Barion’ cut is named after a combination of Watermeyer and his wife’s first names – Basil and Marion. He was pondering what was (then) an age-old cutting problem. The round brilliant cut was the very best cut to increase the brilliance of a gemstone (a gem’s light return). Elongated cuts, such as the baguette, oval or Emerald, tend to suffer from ‘bowtie extinction’. (That is, a dark patch towards the centre of a gem in the shape of a bowtie.) So how do you cut a long gem that returns light evenly throughout the gem?

Watermeyer was cutting a typical Emerald cut when one of the facets on the underside of the gem accidentally fractured into a half-moon shape. This gave him an idea – just as the princess cut is an adaptation of the round brilliant cut into a square shape, by adapting the marquise cut into an Emerald cut, he could retain even light return from the gem. He even realised that this new cut returned more light than the famed round brilliant. Eureka!

Watermayer's Barion cut

Gemporia Develops The Cut Further

Gemporia Purchasing Director Jake Thompson-Bennett was at a car boot sale in early 2016 and stumbled across a 1980 book called ‘Diamond Cutting’ by none other than Basil Watermayer. Taking it home, he read all about Watermayer’s ‘lucky accident’ and started to do his own research. The Gemological Institute of America had published several papers about the cut soon after its development. One of these caught Jake’s attention. The GIA had written that there was no reason that this new cut could not be applied to other gemstones. Jake scoured the internet and as far as he could see, other than a few hobbyists, nobody was producing Barion cuts in anything other than Diamond and nobody seemed to be cutting more than one or two.

Jake took his idea to our Gemporia cutting team and asked them to create the cut in a variety of gemstones. Obviously every gem would need different cutting angles due to the differences in how light travels through different materials – this was a huge undertaking for our team. This is a notoriously difficult cut to perfect – if it isn’t completely symmetrical it can easily look lop-sided. Finally, having learnt how to create this difficult cut, they worked out how to cut it in several different gemstones. Jake picked his favourites – Amethyst, Prasiolite, Champagne Quartz and White Quartz, which after years of development, we are finally able to bring you.

Explore our Barion Cut designs here.

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