Not quite. The two terms are often used incorrectly as synonyms, but a brilliant is actually a diamond with a special cut. That is the secret. The brilliant is the finest cut that can be given to a rough diamond, and it has also been the most desirable ever since its development in 1910.
The term “brilliant” comes from a French verb meaning to shine brightly or sparkle. That is also the essential difference between a brilliant and other jewel shapes: the brilliant shines more brightly than any other diamond! Any light that falls on the gem is optimally reflected thanks to the specially perfected cut, revealing the full shine of the jewel. The fire of the diamond is created through careful grinding and polishing. Light is then refracted through the facets, spreading out into its spectral colors, which unleashes a unique dance of light in every color of the rainbow.
Given that a brilliant is a specially cut diamond, it would be more correct to speak of “a diamond of brilliant cut.” When people began using the brilliant cut, it was only really diamonds that received this special treatment – but today other gemstones such as rubies also receive the same cut. Nevertheless, the meaning of the term “brilliant” has simply expanded over time to include other gemstones with a high level of brightness, or brilliance.
Long before the brilliant cut existed, diamonds were considered to be the most precious jewels on earth. Originally, diamonds were left with their natural octahedron shape, and the existing surfaces were simply polished to enhance their appearance. It took several hundred years to arrive at the perfect full-cut brilliant, which came about through the development of grinding and polishing tools as well as the optimization of mathematical proportions.
Only with the right cut can a rough diamond reflect incident light and begin to sparkle. The flattened, polished surfaces of a jewel are called facets. The difference between a brilliant and all other types of diamond are the perfect angular proportions, which make optimal use of light and allow the gem to sparkle with radiance. The brilliant is characterized by a table and 32 facets on the crown, arranged in a radiating manner. There are 24 additional facets on the pavilion, and possibly one more called a culet if the diamond has a point. However, not every rough diamond is suitable for this cut because grinding always means losing material. Depending on the starting material, the grinder must always weigh and consider the stone carefully, then calculate whether a brilliant cut is worthwhile. Is it better to decide on a sophisticated, high-quality cut or might it be preferable to keep the natural shape of the rough diamond and to maximize its weight? There is a big difference in price for brilliants and diamonds with the same number of carats. Nothing is more exclusive and beautiful than a brilliant diamond.