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The 5 Reasons Not to Buy a Rose Cut Diamond

A rose cut diamond is the anti diamond. What’s to love? A better question might be, what’s not to love and lucky for you — we’re here to answer that.

If you hate diamonds and you’re being forced to wear them anyways, a rose cut diamond is probably your best option. The round brilliants have an unmistakable sparkle. Emeralds have a slender flash. Rose cuts do none of these things. So, what’s all the fuss about?

Rose cuts have a distinctive faceting pattern and a certain old world charm that can lead to irrational decisions. If you’re here, you’ve already fallen at least partially under their spell. But, you’re going to make some sacrifices if you choose a rose cut. You should know what tradeoffs you’re making before you get fully mesmerized by the bold triangular facets of this rare and unusual cut. While there are many things to love about rose cut diamonds, let’s cut to the chase and tell you how they disappoint.

ROSE CUT DIAMONDS AREN’T SPARKLY. LIKE, AT ALL.

There are the ultra sparkly brilliant-cut diamonds, like rounds, ovals, and pears. Slightly less sparkly are the emeralds, Asschers, and baguettes. But, last place in the sparkle race goes to the rose cut. Unless of course you’re the one in a million person considering the portrait cut. It’s literally just a flat diamond.

Rose cut portrait diamond

A portrait cut hexagonal diamond

Rose cut portrait diamond

A portrait cut rectangular diamond

If rose cut diamonds are indeed diamonds, then why do they look so much like glass? Diamonds “work” by refracting & reflecting light. The light captured in a diamond is its brilliance (which we think of as sparkle). Fire is what the flashes of color are called. Fire and brilliance work together to create what is called scintillation, which is the true beauty of a diamond.

The rose cut falls short on both fire and brilliance. Its consistent inability to play well with light is the result of its shape. The specifics of the rose cut shape can vary, but, they generally have between 3 and 24 facets. Compare that to a rounds brilliant’s 68 facets, or an Asscher’s 72. More importantly, round brilliant diamonds, like most shapes, feature a pavilion — the conical underpart of the diamond. By contrast, rose cuts are completely flat on the bottom. With no facets down there, no light gets bounced back up and out of the diamond. We call this process “light return.” If there’s no light return, there’s no sparkle.

Notice how much sparkle this round diamond throws back.

Now compare that to this more glassy rose cut.

Instead of sparkle, rose cut diamonds have a lovely shimmer that begs to be admired up close. They are more sensual than showy. If you find yourself enchanted by the femininity of the rose cut, but, you’re concerned it’s too glassy — there is still hope. A double rose cut could be right for you. Double rose cuts boast a second layer of facets on the underside, same as on top. They also tend to be cut a bit deeper than the classic rose and are more akin to a briolette. Their look has more sparkle, and more shimmer.

Pro tip — if you’re considering a rose cut, we’d recommend seeing one in person first. You may be surprised by just how glassy this vintage cut is.

ROSE CUT DIAMONDS FALL FLAT

If you look at a rose cut diamond from the side, it looks like someone took a round diamond and chopped off the bottom. As we just learned, this is why rose cuts don’t sparkle. It’s also why they don’t come in taller setting styles. If you like the look of a taller setting, like a tiffany solitaire, you won’t find one with a rose cut in it. Rose cuts sit close to the finger. While this may be a problem for anyone that prefers a tall setting, there are some advantages to the rose cut’s flat physique.

 One — all of a rose cut’s carat weight is visible. There’s no wasted carat hidden where you can’t see it.

Two — rose cuts are exceptionally low-profile. They’re probably the easiest shape to wear. That makes them more practical for high activity levels or anyone that works with their hands. If you’re concerned about a ring that catches or snags on clothing, or just generally sticks out, consider the rose.

Rose cut bezel in yellow gold

A rose cut diamond set in a yellow gold bezel for the ultimate in low profile settings. Get the look.

Rose cut bezel in yellow gold

Antique glitz meets modern romance in this low-profile, simply set rose cut beauty. Get the look.

Three — Because there’s no wasted carat weight, rose cuts look big. Really big. A 0.5 carat rose cut is 6.5mm across. A round brilliant that measures the same size weighs twice as much. Carat for carat, rose cut diamonds look bigger, spread more, and take much more of the real estate on your finger.

A diagram comparing a one carat round to a one carat rose cut diamond

ROSE CUT DIAMONDS AREN’T DRAMATIC. THEY’RE SWEET.

Like their name suggests, the rose cut diamond is designed to resemble the spiral of the petals of a rosebud. First popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras, rose cut diamonds are decidedly vintage, and have a romantic old time feel. If your proposal fantasy involves a jumbotron and the mets, stick with a round brilliant. The rose cut would be more appropriate for a lovers tryst, in a garden setting.

While rose cut diamonds have ebbed in popularity over the years — mostly due to the ultra sparkly witchcraft of the round brilliant — fans of this dainty diamond cut remain loyal. Their understated elegance, characteristic shimmer, and effortless wearability make them perfect for a modern woman with a vintage streak.

CELEBRITIES HATE ROSE CUT DIAMONDS, (AND YOU CARE).

Have you ever seen a celebrity wearing a rose-cut diamond ring? If such things matter to you, there’s only one example in recent history. In 2012, Justin Theroux proposed to his now ex-wife Jennifer Anniston with an enormous rose cut diamond. When it’s that big, who cares if it sparkles. But, the rest of Hollywood was not impressed enough to start a trend. Every other celebrity ring in recent memory has had more sparkle, (if not more finger coverage).

ROSE CUTS ARE OLD FASHIONED

Diamonds will never go bad or die of old age. But, most of them will eventually turn into a round brilliant. How, you ask?

Today, baby boomers have over a trillion dollars in diamonds locked in safes and deposit boxes. Many of them rose cuts, old European and old mine cuts. These vintage stones are often sold in online auctions or to pawn shops. From there, the antique diamonds go to diamond cutters.

Diamond cutters run a calculation to see if they can make more money by recutting the antique gem into a contemporary round brilliant. The answer is usually yes. The increase in cut grade adds more to the value than the loss of carat weight. Whether a diamond is on its first, fifth, or fiftieth owner, there’s more demand for round brilliants and the updated shape makes it more desirable.

Rose cuts are one of the few exceptions to this rule.

Rose cuts are so useless, they can’t even be recut into something else.

Other antique cuts are typically recut into round brilliants or some other modern cut. Overtime, most antique cuts will go extinct. The rose cut, because of its shape, is terrible at being anything other than a rose cut. Recutting them would only produce lots of really tiny diamonds, worth much less than the original. So, the rose cut is likely to linger in dusty display cases for centuries to come.

There’s more vintage rose cuts available than new ones, in fact. Only 0.1% of modern diamonds are produced as rose-cuts these days. And why would you want a new one when you could buy vintage? Isn’t that what the rose cuts all about? The perfectly imperfect facets that came from a time when diamond cutters worked exclusively by hand.

1.09 Antique Rose Cut

0.33 Oval Rose Antique Cut

ROSE CUTS ARE OFTEN CUT FROM HEAVILY INCLUDED OR LOW QUALITY ROUGH DIAMOND

Salt and pepper diamonds are generally, although not always, rose cut. This is for a variety of reasons, but one of the benefits is that it allows there inclusions, not their sparkle, to be the star of the show.

Rose Cut | Salt and Pepper Round 0.53ct
Rose Cut | Orange Flame Cushion 0.51ct
Rose Cut | Orange Pear 0.37ct
Double Cut | Green Round 0.83ct
Rose Cut | Orange Pear 0.67ct
Rose Cut | Dalmatian Oval 0.49ct

SHOULD YOU BUY A ROSE CUT DIAMOND?

So should you buy a rose cut diamond? For most of you, the answer is no. It will simply not give you enough sparkle to warm your heart. But, if you’re looking for a uniquely low-profile design that won’t get in the way, or if you relish the contradiction of diamond that doesn’t sparkle, or perhaps your perfect diamond is the one that says, “I’m not here to be looked at, but, now that I’m here, aren’t I so very interesting to look at.”

If you do, find yourself hopelessly mesmerized by the rose cut, consider Billie No. 5, our rose cut bezel. Or text us at (646) 859-0718. We can help you source the rose cut diamond of your dreams whether it’s lab grown, recycled, newly mined or full of a galaxy of inclusions.