SIde stones are matched pairs of jewels that used as accents for a center stone in three- or five-stone rings. They are also used in earrings, usually as links in drop earrings.
Side stones are judged by how well they are matched to each other in terms of their size, shape, color, faceting pattern, and, to a lesser degree, their clarity. The carat weight is secondary for side stones because it often does not correspond to the diamond's overall size.
They also must complement but not overshadow the center stone they support. As a rule, side stones are kept one color grade below the center stone.
Some side stones such as straight baguettes, radiants, emerald cuts, ovals, and marquises can be positioned both parallel to the finger (north-south), or across the finger (east-west).
Common diamond cuts such as rounds, pears, emeralds, etc. can serve both as centers or side stones. On the other hand, specialized cuts such as shields or bullets are used exclusively as side stones.
Learn more about Three-Stone Rings.
Baguettes are the most common step-cut side stones used in three-stone engagement rings. Baguette, as a distinct diamond cut, was recognized at the dawn of the 20th century. Until then, the slender shards of a diamond crystal left after cleaving were simply discarded as unusable.
There are two types of baguettes - straight and tapered. The short sides of a great majority of baguettes are parallel to each other.
Straight baguettes are rectangular. Square step-cut baguettes length and width are equal. They are called "carré," which is "square" in French.
A straight baguette is close relative to an emerald cut but with fewer facets and unbeveled corners. In a three-stone ring, straight baguettes can be positioned in both, North-South, and East-West directions.
Straight baguettes are commonly staggered next to each other to form a ladder descending away from the center stone.
A brilliant-cut baguette is a novelty-cut without a specific use. It is genuinely the ugliest diamond cut that can be produced.
Tapered baguettes' width gradually decreases toward one end. Its longer sides angle inwards at approximately 5 to 8 degrees. Tapered baguette's wider end abuts the center stone, while the narrow end points toward the shank.
Some people call a baguette ring a solitaire, even though it has three stones. The reason for that is that baguettes radiate from the ring's shank. They are viewed as a shank extension, not a structural part of the ring's "head." Both slim elongated tapered baguettes and tapered bullets are positioned lower and at a steeper angle to a center stone.
Bullets are elongated pentagons with two long sides and two short ones. One short side is terminated with a sharp point. They are similar to baguettes, which are often turned into bullets. The V-shaped tip allows for a better transition into the shank and for the shank to appear thinner.
Typically the bullet's point is protected by a V-shaped prong to underscore the bullet's exquisite shape. There are several kinds of diamond bullets: straight or tapered, step-cut, or brilliant-cut, long or short.
Each bullet style has its fans and advantages that depend on the specific application. Tapered bullets, just like tapered baguettes, are generally more pleasing to the eye. Bullets combined with diamond half-moons, or diamond trapezoids, make the two most popular five-stone ring styles.
Brilliant cut bullets will match a brilliant-cut center stone. They work well with colored stones and colored diamonds. They are less common but still available. Step-cut bullets will compliment an Asscher or Emerald cut diamond.
Straight bullets were commonly used in the Art Deco era, often bezel-set to highlight their shape. Elongated bullet-shields are bullets with blunted or clipped corners. They are usually larger stones.
Cutting smaller diamonds as bullet shields is not practical. The regular tapered bullets will do the job. The trimmed corners make room to blend in prongs holding the stone.
Trapezoids or "traps" are modified straight baguettes slanted on both ends to form a trapeze. When the trapezoid is angled down next to the center stone, tapering has a vanishing effect. Trapezoids need a large center stone to lean on. When the center stone is too small, it has to be elongated to accommodate the trap's length.
Step cut trapezoids work great with an emerald or an Asscher cut.
Brilliant cut trapezoids are usually matched with brilliant-cut diamonds such as radiants, cushions, and princess cuts. They work well with colored diamonds and colored stones.
French cut trapezoids work well with antique cuts such as the Asscher's or Old Miners.
Crescent trapezoids' longer sides are carved in. Caved-in side designed to fit them next to a rounded stone, such as oval or round. The sharp points of the crescent are prone to breaking. In most cases, the curve is unnecessary. A skilled jeweler knows how to set the three stones tight without the need for a caved-in diamond side.
Shields are triangular diamonds with two clipped corners, and the third finished as a V-shape. The shields' proportions vary from wide or elongated.
Some shields resemble chubby diamond bullets, and some shields look like chevrons with blunt corners.
Most common and eye-pleasing shields are slightly elongated. Very small shields can substitute for bullets. They are beautiful, versatile, and can be paired with virtually any center stone.
Step-cut shields work best with step-cut center stones. Brilliant-cut shields are usually paired with brilliant-cut centers. Brilliant-cut shields are often used with colored gemstones as well.
Heater shields present an opportunity to re-use broken marquise diamonds. Marquise points are prone to chipping, rendering the whole diamond unusable.
Diamond cutters saw off the broken tip giving the stone a clothing iron shape, hence the name. These recycled marquises lack the elegance of a pear shape diamond, which would be a better choice. Their crushed-ice brilliance makes them a poor choice for most diamond shapes, except for a princess-cut.
Royal shields are a rare and unusual step-cut, best paired with a round brilliant in the center.
Chevrons and epaulettes are five-sided diamonds with one long and four short sides. The difference between chevrons and epaulette is the angle at which the sides meet. Chevron sides are well-tapered, and their point is typically sharper than the point of epaulettes. Chevrons are more elongated with a length-to-width ratio of more than 1.0. In contrast, the epaulettes' ratio is below one.
Epaulettes have an obtuse point, while chevrons' point is sharp. Three points of a chevron are close to the equilateral triangle, its vertex angle less than 140 degrees. Step cut chevrons can be used with all kinds of center stones.
Brilliant-cut chevrons are sometimes confused with trillions. Brilliant cut chevrons, pretty much like all brilliant-cut side stones, are too flashy and tend to compete with the very stone they are supposed to enhance. Crescent chevron's longest side caves in for better fit against a round diamond, or the oval, pear, or marquise.
Using a laser to indent a diamond seems impressive to an average person, but jewelers find this feature useless. What looks like a premium feature is, in reality, a creative way to carve out an inclusion.
A skilled jeweler knows how to set all three stones tightly together without butchering diamonds.
Epaulettes, or Epaulets, as Americans call them Chevrons, but they are generally shorter and less angled. Three furthest points of epaulettes form an isosceles triangle with more than 150-degrees vertex angle.
Sometimes called Cadi or Cadillac because they resemble the Cadillac emblem, these stones have limited use. Unlike trapezoids, Epaulettes cannot be combined with bullets or tapered baguettes into the Balle Evasee Martini-glass flute. Brilliant cut epaulettes are uncommon and not very attractive.
Epaulettes can be used for small finger size rings.
One side of a half-moon diamond is straight (the chord), and the other side is an arc. A Half-moon diamond has a shape of a segment of a round or an oval diamond.
A half-moon diamond can be skinny (the chord slicing less than half), full (semicircle), or fat (high-dome).
Skinny half-moon diamonds (those with their length-to-width ratio exceeding 2.0) look pleasant with large ovals and elongated cushion diamonds. They complement many diamond shapes, particularly cushions, ovals, and radiants. Fat half-moons look like Mickey's ears and should be avoided.
At Leon Mege, we cannot find a use for these overweight stones. Step cut half-moons are beautiful, but they are tough to find. Putting steps on a small diamond requires much patience and precision.
On occasion, we see step-cut half-moons fashioned from emerald-cut stones. Those do not have an elegant arc of real step-cut half-moons. These step-cut half-moons are not attractive and should be avoided.
Crescent-shaped half-moon diamonds with a scooped long side are usually lifeless and dull.
The story of a French-cut diamond starts with the never-ending search for a diamond cut so unique that only a few knew it exists. The French cut is an antique diamond cut with a high crown and deep pavilion. The traditional old-style French-cut diamonds are cut from rough, while the modern version with a flat crown is typically cut from baguettes.
The traditional French-cut has a small rhombus-shaped table rotated 45-degrees to the girdle. French cut crown has nine facets, four of them are triangles pointing to each corner. These facets give the stone its unique four-pointed star look. The pavilion has only four facets.
French cuts date back to the 14th century but enjoyed renewed interest in the late 19th to early 20th century. Sometimes, it is confused for the Peruzzi cut, an obscure transitional cut, a bizarre cross between French and Old Miner diamond cuts. Small French cuts are typically used in sets or layouts.
They mix well with other antique cuts such as antique cushions and Asscher cut diamonds. French cuts are typically square or rectangular.
There are modern versions of traditional French cut in trapezoid or tapered baguette shapes. They are very popular with antique diamond cuts.
One of our wildly popular ring styles, "Leon Mege MonCheri™" features tapered French cuts calibre.
The unusual triangular step-cut diamonds with beveled points are called "Calf's Heads."
Properly faceted, Calf's Heads have more sparkle and fire than brilliant-cut trillions while retaining a noble twinkle of a step-cut diamond. Calf's Heads run the gamut when it comes to proportions, so they should be selected carefully to match the center stone's faceting pattern.
Brilliant cut calf's heads look like trillions with broken tips. Recommendation - avoid.
Thanks to the glut of shallow triangular rough called macle that is hard to polish into anything decent, trillions rose to popularity in the late '60s. It is no surprise that the first triangular diamond was developed in Amsterdam.
A trillion looks like something from the Twilight Zone, screaming "Don't smoke and cut" at the cutter. Trilliant is the brand name that gave us the trillion, a generic term for any triangular diamond.
For example, there are other brands, a patented triangular cut with completely straight sides called Trielle. Regardless of what condition your condition is in, trillions are not the best side stones for any ring.
Wildly popular in the acid haze of the '60s and '70s, trilliants look dated and mildly tasteless today. Their points are vulnerable to chipping or shattering, the risk apparent during the diamond's polishing and setting.
Balle Evassee (French for a "Bell Tutu") is a combination of two stones, usually a trapezoid or a half-moon with a bullet. The iconic design achieves a dramatic effect of diamonds seemingly exploding out of shank. The flare effect is achieved by putting two precisely calibrated stones together.
Balle Evassee makes a dazzling five-stone ring that can complement any diamond cut in the center as long as it is long enough. The result is guaranteed to be stunning.
Balle Evassee with half-moons can include both versions, brilliant- and step-cut as long as the faceting pattern is proportional to the center stone. Balle Evasee is not recommended for those with petite fingers, i.e., US size four or less, especially when the center stone is large.
Caesar is a relatively obscure cushion cut with mixed faceting. The crown has brilliant facets, while the pavilion usually has steps. Because of this "dual-personality," the Caesar cut can be used with both step- and brilliant-cut center stones.
Sometimes the elongated Caesars are confused with other mixed-cut cushions such as Ashoka or Chrisscut. However, the Caesar cut has a different faceting arrangement.
It has a superior brilliance when compared side-by-side to Ashoka or other inferior mixed cuts. Caesar cut is not protected by any patent. Anybody can cut one, which makes the Caesar cut affordable. Caesar cut diamonds come in various length-to-width ratios - mostly elongated.
They could be an exciting option as side stones for modern cushions, emerald cuts, and even ovals. Caesar cut with a one-to-one ratio can be used with a round center.
Kites have two longer identical-length sides and two shorter ones; the opposite angles are equal. Sometimes the top of such stone is sliced off, turning it into a pentagon, but it is still called a kite. Diamond cutters are not mathematicians.
In a ring, the diamond kites have limited use. They are not elegant when used as side stones, even the step-cut version of kites.
The pentagon kites are sometimes used as a substitute for diamond shields or pear-shapes. Step-cut pentagon kites are one chipped point away from being a shield. Matching pairs of kites often replace briolettes in drop earrings and fringe necklaces.
The ace-cut diamonds have four equal-length sides where opposite sides are parallel and opposite angles equal. The technical term for such a shape is the Rhombus. In popular culture, this is the shape of a diamond suit in a card deck.
Ace cut rarely used in rings, and if they are, not as side stones, but rather as accents, similar to pave diamonds. Most Ace cuts are step cuts; brilliant cut Aces are simply skewed Princess cuts.
The pear shape diamond has brilliant facets, but rare vintage stones are step cut. The cut may seem modern, but the first one on record dates back to the 15th century.
A round stone with two pear shapes is one of the most elegant combinations of stones in a three-stone ring category.
The heart-shaped diamonds are exceptional. There’s no other diamond cut with more symbolism built into its shape.
They are a perfect fit for a round, oval, marquise diamond. They look great next to colored cabochons, and they are fantastic flanking a pearl.
Rounds, Emeralds, Radiants, Ovals, Marquises, Princesses can be both the center- and/or side-stones of a three-stone ring. Used as side stones, they are usually matched with the same shape diamond in the center.
Round side stones make any center diamond, except round center, to look like it grew Mickey's ears.
Asscher side stones can be combined with an Asscher or with a chubby emerald cut.
Radiant side stones can be found next to a Radiant or a large Princess cut in the center. Princess cuts go together only with a princess cut.
Oval side stones match oval center and pretty much nothing else. Single Marquises as side stones are horrific, but they make a lovely cluster to accent any brilliant-cut center stone in combination with other marquises and pears.