Knox Jewelers Blog

Minneapolis Minnesota Jeweler Specializing in Custom Design and Unique Engagement Rings.

What is a Round Brilliant Cut?

Knox Jeweler's Brittany Lennea custom designed ring.


A Round Brilliant Cut is the modern era’s most popular selection for diamond jewelry. This perfected cut represents six generations of skilled cutters’ efforts to create the maximum light return in a diamond.  A Brilliant Cut has a circular outline and a cone-like shape, with faceting patterns that create areas of light and dark contrast. Its triangular and quadrilateral facets are strategically placed to provide exceptional scintillation through the top facet of the gemstone, or its table. The faceting pattern of the modern Round Brilliant was developed in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky. Hailing from a family of diamond cutters, Marcel’s cut is based off mathematical calculations that took into account both the maximum brilliance and fire of a diamond. It is referenced to as a ‘Round Brilliant’ to distinguish it from earlier round shaped diamond cuts. The modern round cut consists or either 57 or 58 facets.  There are 33 on its crown, or top, and 25 on its pavilion, or bottom. A round brilliant may or may not include a culet, or the bottom-most point facet. Tolkowsky found that if a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep light can escape out of the side or bottom of the gemstone, resulting in the loss of brilliance and fire.

Round Brilliant Facet Diagram

This illustration shows the facet arrangement of a modern round brilliant. © GIA

Considering a Round Brilliant Cut

Round Brilliant Cut diamonds are admired for their exceptional fire and modern aesthetic.  Nearly 75% of diamonds sold in today’s marketplace are round shaped.  The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, introduced the 4Cs grading system to judge diamonds, with its cut grade exclusively created to evaluate Round Brilliant diamonds. A cut grade will determine how well a gemstone interacts with light.  A well-cut diamond will reflect light within itself, from one mirror-like facet to another. If a diamond is dark it means it has been cut too deep or too shallow and light is being lost through the side or bottom. This reduces its brilliance and value, and for this reason we recommend a cut grade of no lower than Excellent or Very Good when shopping for a Round Brilliant diamond.

Knox Jeweler's Meghan Renee custom designed ring.

A Round Brilliant’s faceting pattern will hide a small amounts of body color when face up, but we still recommend choosing a diamond above a I color grade to insure a near colorless stone.  When selecting a clarity grade for a Round Brilliant we recommend anything in the VS1 to SI2 range. A stone graded above an SI1 should be eye clean. Clear diamonds can be found in the SI1 and SI2 range, but it is best to evaluate them in person to determine if their characteristics are distracting or unnoticeable.

Knox Jewelers' custom designed ring.

Knox Jewelers is here to help you create a one-of-a-kind custom engagement ring. If you are considering a Round Brilliant center stone, our design consultants can walk you through all of your options and help you choose your perfect diamond. Contact us today to get started on your custom design.

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What is a Step Cut?


A Step Cut categorizes any gemstone with a square or rectangle outline whose facets are rectilinear and arranged parallel to its girdle. In the place of a culet, Step Cut  gemstones have a keel running the length of its pavilion. A Step Cut’s facets tend to be larger than its counterpart, the Round Brilliant. The facets also form a stair-like pattern, ergo its appropriate title. Diamonds cut in this fashion are among the first fashioned diamonds in history.

Common Step Cut Shapes

Emerald Cut

An Emerald Cut is a rectangle shaped Step Cut with truncated or angled corners, which gives it an octagonal outline.  Like all Step Cuts it holds rows of pavilion and crown facets that are parallel to its girdle. It is available in many length to width ratios, but the most sought after is the 1:1.5. The Emerald Cut has portrayed glamour and sophistication for decades, explaining its popularity with the royal and famed populations. An Emerald Cut diamond takes center stage in out Barcelona Engagement Ring below.

Asscher Cut

The Asscher Cut is essentially  a square variation of the Emerald Cut. It features similar truncated corners, octagonal shape and parallel running facets.  Asscher Cuts tend to hold a greater depth compared to an Emerald Cut.  Their unique octagon shape is famed for its connection to the daring Art Deco Jewelry of the 1920s and 1930s. An Asscher Cut diamond completes our Siempre Engagement Ring below.

Baguette Cut

The Baguette  Cut, which derives its name from the French loaf of bread, is the most common form of Step Cut seen today, though it is often used as an accent side stone not a center gemstone.  This cut does not feature the angled corners common to other Step-Cuts. Usually taking the supporting role in a piece of jewelry, the Baguette Cut does not emit a large amount of scintillation but its form adds a stylish and sleek accent. Tapered Baguette Cut diamonds compliment the center Emerald Cut in our Lucille Engagement Ring.

Carré Cut

A Carré Cut is a square shaped Step Cut without truncated corners. This cut was very popular in antique jewelry before the arrival of the modern square Princess Cut. An example of this cut can be seen featured in our Passion Engagement Ring as channel set side diamonds.

Considering a Step Cut

Step Cut gemstones are admired for their traditional outlines and understated elegance.

With a Step-Cut’s long facets and large table imperfections are not hidden well.  Inclusions may be seen with the naked eye in lower clarity grade diamonds. To ensure your center stone is clear, we recommend looking for Step Cut diamonds with a clarity grade of  VS2 and higher.

Step Cut style faceting does create a less scintillating stone compared to a round Brilliant Cut diamond.  Scintillation in a diamond often masks small amounts of body color. This means Step Cut diamonds will need a higher color grade to be bright white. We recommend looking for a Step Cut diamond with a color grade of G and higher.

In colored gemstones, Step Cuts are employed to enhance richness and saturation. Their large tables and deep pavilions draw in light creating intensified colors and mesmerizing your eye.

Knox Jewelers is here to help you create the engagement ring of your dreams. If you are considering a Step Cut center stone, our design consultants can walk you through all of your options and help you choose your perfect diamond. Contact us today to get started on your custom design.

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Peridot – August’s Gem of Legend

Peridot, the August birthstone,  is one of the most sought after green gems, and is said to bring the wearer luck and a sense of tranquility. It is known for its glistening yellowish-green hue. Ranging from a lime green to olive color, and sometimes a deeper brown shade, it is without a doubt that peridot is a gorgeous gemstone. This article takes a close look at this August birthstone, including its history and how you can land yourself astonishing custom made jewels.
These two examples from GIA’s Dr. Eduard J. Gubelin Collection, a 10.09-ct oval peridot from Norway, and an 8.13-ct from round peridot from Pakistan display the gem’s finest colors. GIA

About peridot

Peridot is the gemstone form of olivine, a common mineral that is found in lava rocks. The gemstone forms deep inside the earth, and is brought to the surface by volcanic action. It is mainly found inside lava flows in countries like China, the U.S and Vietnam. It can also be found inside solidified molten rock in some regions – Pakistan, Mynmar and Zabargad. In some rare occasions, it can be as a result of extraterrestrial activity, being found inside fallen meteorites.

Peridot is chemically composed of Iron and Magnesium. It is one of the Idiochromatic gems, meaning it derives its color from the chemical composition rather than its impurities. It thus exhibits a narrow range of colors. It is found in shades of olive green, lime green and a brown-green to yellowish green hue. The yellowish-green color is the most common shade found in august birthstone jewelry, and it is a result of the iron content.

Significance and Symbology

Peridot produces a soft, light green glow under artificial light, which has earned the name “the evening emeralds.” The gemstone is associated with peace, prosperity and goodness. In Hawaii, the stone is believed to represent the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.

Although large crystals are available to cut impressive gems above 10-cts., smaller size rough is still vastly more abundant. GIA


Peridot is among the oldest known gemstones. References of the august birthstone go all the way back to the Bible, where it is referred to by its Hebrew name “Pitdah”. It is believed that “topaz”, which was on the breast plate of the High Priest Aaron in the Old Testament, was actually a peridot.

Historically, the gemstone was used to create beads during the Ancient Egyptians era around 1580 B.C to 1350 B.C. The Egyptians associated it with light, and it was even referred to as the “gem of the sun.” On top of being used to create beads, it was believed to protect the wearer from evil. The Egyptians mined the stone from a Red Sea island called Topazios, the current day Island of Zabargad.

Peridot was also popular gemstone in other early civilizations. In Greece, it was believed to bring dignity to the wearer. It was also a prized gemstone in the Ottoman Empire, as well as among the Turkish Sultans, who are believed to have owned the largest collection of peridots in the world.

Throughout history, peridot gemstones have been confused with other gems. It is one of the many gems that have been referred to as “topaz.” It is also believed that the famous gemstones worn by Queen Cleopatra were in fact peridots, and not emeralds as many people believed.

Today, peridot is one of the most prized gemstones, mainly due to its soothing hues and its long, colorful history.
Peridot and white gold stud earrings

Custom Made Peridot Jewelry

If you are in search of custom created august birthstone jewelry, Knox Jewelers is the place to be. We specialize in crafting custom designed jewelry, ranging from engagement rings to pendants and earrings. Peridot gems are a perfect birthday gift for people born in August. You can consult with Knox Jewelers to create an original design for the perfect birthstone jewelry.

Here at Knox, we have a wealth of experience in creating custom masterpiece jewelry from gemstones, having been designing engagement rings and other jewelry for decades. We employ skilled artisans who are always at hand, ready to make your dream come true. Our jewelry is of the highest quality, and it is guaranteed to stand the test of time.

To own a custom design of peridot jewelry, contact one of our knowledgeable consultants today.

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Mohs Scale – Choosing Durability

Created in 1812 by the German geologist Friedrich Mohs, the Mohs scale rates the hardness of gems and minerals. A gemstone’s hardness determines its resistance to scratching. He chose ten minerals and assigned them numbers based on how easy or difficult they could be scratched by the other minerals.  Today, this scale is an important tool to utilize while shopping for diamond or gemstone jewelry. A Mohs rating helps us identify a gem’s durability, and the more durable a gemstone the greater its longevity in a piece of jewelry that will be worn on a daily basis.

When consulting the Mohs scale, its important to remember that the gaps between the ten incriminates are not actually equal, even though they are evenly space on the scale. Diamonds are known for being one of the hardness substance on Earth, so hard, that they take the number ten position on the scale. Though only one seat away from corundum, diamond is actually 90 times harder in comparison.  Corundum, which includes Sapphire and Ruby, is five times harder than Topaz which earns the rank directly below it.

Based on the Mohs scale, at Knox Jewelers we always recommend diamond or fancy colored diamond first  in engagement rings or rings worn everyday. Falling in second place, Sapphire, Fancy Colored Sapphire and Ruby are durable enough to be featured in engagement rings or wedding bands. Sapphires are a great way to add a little contrast to your engagement ring, they are available in nearly every hue imaginable. Gemstones rated lower than a nine are not recommended for everyday rings, they could eventually become scratched or scuffed from daily wear.

Gemstones and their Mohs Rating

10Diamond, Fancy Diamond

9Sapphire, Ruby, Fancy Sapphire

8.5 – Alexandrite

8 – Topaz

7.5 - Aquamarine, Emerald, Morganite

7 - Amethyst, Garnet, Tourmaline

6 - Tanzanite

The Mohs scale and hardness are not the only factor to consider when buying gemstone jewelry, but it is an essential factor to help you understand how well that gem will survive years of wear.  At Knox Jewelers, we want your ring to last several lifetimes, and choosing a proper gemstone could aid in that longevity.

If you have any questions about Mohs rankings or the jewelry creation process at Knox Jewelers, please be sure to let us know. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, and we look forward to working together with you to design a work of art that will last and be passed down throughout the ages. Contact our friendly and professional staff today, and we’ll get started on the journey of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind piece of custom jewelry.

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Things to Avoid While Wearing your Knox Engagement Ring

We know you want to wear your Knox Custom Engagement Ring every minute of everyday, but there are a few things you should avoid to keep it looking as beautiful as the day he slipped it on your finger. We are happy to help you maintain your ring for a lifetime of wear, with complimentary polishing, plating, and stone tightening. However, you have to help us and your ring out by  treating it like the fine piece of jewelry that it is. We have compiled a list below of the most common, everyday things that can harm your ring over time.

  1. Working Out: We know you don’t want to get hit on at the gym, but wearing your ring during your sweat session is an all around bad idea.  Precious metals, especially gold, can wear and thin out over time.  Gripping bars, hand weights or the treadmill with your band on can bend, crack or even break a ring. Be weary of gripping anything too intensely while wearing your ring, shopping carts and steering wheels can cause just as much damage.

  2. Cleaning the House: Household cleaners and bleach are harsh on precious metals. Over time they can even break down the alloys in gold, causing pitting, and making your ring very fragile. We don’t want your precious center stone held in by weak prongs. Without even realizing you could also hit your ring on things like dryer sides or sink edges, which could bend prongs or chip stones.
  3. Swimming or Playing Sports: Sports can be just as rough on your rings as working out with the added bonus of swift hand movements. Tennis swings and football throws can remove rings from hands quite quickly.  As for swimming, no one wants their ring at the bottom of a lake, or its finish dulled by saltwater. Indoor pools and hot tubs are especially not safe for your rings. Like bleach, chlorine can cause irreversible damage to the alloys in gold.

  4. DIY Projects: While prepping for your wedding or redecorating your house you may want to tackle some do-it-yourself projects, but please leave your rings in a safe place, away from the mess. Stain, paint, and glue can adhere to the smallest openings in your ring and we do not want any of that stuff stuck around your diamonds or gemstones.

  5. Moving Heavy Furniture: If you are getting ready to move, it may be a good idea to pack up your engagement ring in a safe place until all the heavy lifting is over. Catching your ring on a door frame or racking it against furniture could cause severe damage, including breaking prongs. Knowing your ring is in a safe place during the chaos of moving might also lend some piece of mind.
  6. Sleeping: We highly recommend not wearing your rings while sleeping. Your hands can fluctuate in size overnight and tight rings can be quite uncomfortable.  High settings and rings with prong can also tear holes in sheets or scratch your significant other. A bedside ring dish could save your ring from wear and be safer for everyone involved.

        We know you love your Knox Jewelers custom engagement ring and we want to do everything we can to keep it in perfect condition for years to come. With your help, your engagement ring can truly be an heirloom piece of jewelry. When you do remove your ring, make sure to always leave it in a safe, designated spot. If you have any questions about ring maintenance contact the consultants at Knox Jewelers today!

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