By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief
Move over, pears and ovals, extra-fancy and novelty-inspired cuts and shapes are gaining traction in the tradition-steeped Diamond industry.
From butterflies to bull horns and penises to portrait cuts, anyone looking for an alternative to round brilliant Diamonds can now easily source a far-out silhouette that will speak to the most ardent fancy admirer or quasi-freaky collector.
Novelty cuts are unusual silhouettes that fall outside of the parameters for more familiar fancy shapes like emerald and portrait cuts. Novelty cuts certainly aren’t new—one diamantaire started cutting horse heads upwards of 50 years ago—but it’s a category that’s grown with gusto. As cutting techniques and technologies have improved, and personalized fine jewelry has evolved, custom- or novelty-cut Diamonds and gemstones were a natural progression.
“People want jewelry that feels unique and special, and nontraditional cuts speak to a generation of people who don’t want their jewelry to look like what their parents’ jewelry looked like,” says Ashkan Asgari, Founder of Misfit Diamond, whose company is known for putting penis-shape Diamonds (and now Sapphires!) on the market.
Tired of Tradition
A select group of firms digs into the novelty-cut category, and all have plenty of business because their clients are tired of tradition. Diamonds cut into specific shapes speak directly to certain groups, like animal or insect lovers.
At Dayagi Diamonds, bunnies and butterflies are super popular, and the company recently finished a Diamond in a lightning bolt shape that turned out well. Ninety-five percent of what Dayagi cuts are exotic shapes. Its most requested silhouette is a trapezoid, followed by tapered baguettes, trillions, and half-moons; others include hexagons, kites, shields, epaulettes, portraits, and more.
Less than 10% of inventory at House of Gems 1986 is the traditional round brilliant cut. “We specialize in fancy color Diamonds and gemstones, with an emphasis on fancy shapes,” says Jacqueline Troesch, Marketing Manager.
Its most unusual cuts include bull horns and a modified brilliant-cut rhino. The care required to cut both is mind blowing, especially when carat weights are under 100 points. Troesch says the company got a boost when GIA shared a video of one of its bulls; to date, the video has garnered more than 1.5 million views.
“Imagine the level of care required not to chip the tiny horns during polishing,” she marvels.
Ditto for the rhino. “The Diamond was under 1.0 ct. and was polished to cutting perfection with the small rhino horn, nose, and ears!”
At Misfit, top sellers include step and rose cuts, portraits, and marquise, though other modern shapes are included in the mix—think coffins, shields, and hexagons. Even more-unusual shapes include flowerpots and teddy bears.
Many know Misfit, however, for its penis-shape stones. They developed from a few customer requests back in 2021. After a few months of fleshing out samples, Asgari posted a 4 mm sample to Instagram. “It blew up and suddenly we had preorders for 100 more,” he recollects.
The Right Rough
Not surprisingly, certain types of rough are best for select shapes, and nearly all have a hazard—high weight loss. To wit, novelties have a higher premium than classic shapes.
“Buyers who are trying to purchase [novelties] based on preconceived notions surrounding Rap pricing and discounts may be in for some sticker shock,” says Asgari.
Troesch’s House of Gems 1986 seeks out both rough and polished Diamonds with the sole intention of cutting or recutting material into something special.
“This may not be the most cost-effective method, but our clients are educated collectors,” she says. “We basically cut one-off stones as passion projects.”
House of Gems 1986 also tends to stick with clean Diamonds, but that’s not the case for others. While imperfection-free Diamonds can make for super clear portrait cuts, with large, open flat tables and minimal faceting, internal Diamond flaws have appeal for others.
“I’d argue that included Diamonds also make for great portraits,” says Asgari. “We’ve cultivated a client base that works with everything from salt and pepper [flawed] Diamonds to internally flawless ones.”
For Rough Diamond World’s Owner Andrew Slesinger, whose company is known for rhombus, fan shapes, crescent moons, and more, the shape of rough diamonds often inspires silhouettes. Slesinger himself is a fan of freeform cuts, which can put perceived imperfections front and center—a great trait in the eyes of many.
“I have a 4 ct. freeform cut that shows off a banding of imperfections inside it,” he says.
Meanwhile, Slesinger’s innovative cabochon-cut Diamonds are mostly cut from salt and pepper Diamond material. “You want to balance shine with inclusions for character,” he says about the cut he pioneered.
Slesinger’s cabochon-cut Diamond was born from a request he got to make one 10 years ago from jewelry designer Todd Reed. After much R & D and legal legwork, the resulting stones were super cool, but the process of maintaining the exclusivity became exhausting.
“It took me years to build an intellectual property suite to own the invention of the cab Diamond,” says Reed. “It was a slow process to get patents in every country around the world and then to maintain them.”
Plus, the dramatic dome cut was ahead of its time. “The Diamond language is slow to evolve,” observes Reed, who put rough Diamond-set jewelry on the map. “It takes a while for a new concept to get going, so I just decided to let Andrew sell them.”
The move is a boon for the rest of industry. Slesinger recently cut about 200 carats and put photos on Instagram at @roughdiaworld. They didn’t last long; he’s sold out of all but a few carats.
Like Reed, other designers are drawn to the softness and femininity of the cab. Reed did make a few one-of-a-kind pieces with small 1.3 mm to 3.0 mm stones, which ended up in some extraordinary pieces, like his Aspen ring.
“The Diamonds in that are more translucent and gemmy than the ones in my Tide bracelet,” he says. “I’m hoarding my tinies! There are a few collectors out there who realize how unique and rare these cabochons are.”
More Crazy Cuts
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