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Learning Library

Checkerboard Cut

Add a little scintillation into your life.



A style of faceting the table and crown of gemstones that often increases the surface scintillation of the gem. The best way to imagine this style of cutting is to visualise a chessboard rotated so one of the corners is resting on a desk and the individual black and white shapes are no longer square, but Diamond-like in appearance.

The cut is normally applied to large coloured gemstones and is particularly popular on cushion shaped gems. Although the effect usually covers the entire gem above the girdle, it is occasionally only applied to the crown.

It is normally applied to opaque and translucent gems, although occasionally it is used for transparent gems that are lighter in tone. As mentioned above, the style lends itself to cushion shaped gems; however it can also add an extra dimension to trilliant, oval and heart shapes. A well-cut checkerboard, will display incredible surface lustre. Rock it backwards and forwards slightly and you should see facets light up and off similar to lights on a Christmas tree (this is effect is known as scintillation). In China, where gems are often cut by machines, the checkerboard cut is now featuring more often.

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Checkerboard cut Smokey Quartz

in an opulent pendant by Sarah Bennett.