By Rémy Rotenier
When a customer tells you they want a square-shaped stone, how do you know the specific gemstone cut they’re referencing? There are a number of cuts that a customer could possibly be describing. Princess? Emerald? Radiant? You could try describing the patterns and effects of different stone cuts, but I’ve found that to be a quasi-impossible task.
Luckily, when I was a young (and shy) designer, I realized that drawing could save me a lot of time, effort, and words as my sketches made for wonderful visual aids. Freehand jewelry design is a great communication tool, so when someone says they like “squarish, maybe rectangular” stones, you can quickly show them the difference and identify what they mean.
Here, I will demonstrate how easy it is to quickly sketch emerald, radiant, and princess cut stones for comparison. You’ll notice some similarities in the methods used to draw each cut, so to make sure the differences between the cuts are clear, always draw with the light for each sketch coming from the left at 45 degrees and hitting each of the stones at about the same place. To try this yourself, you’ll need 0.3 and 0.5 mm HB mechanical pencils, an eraser, a couple of rolled paper stumps for blending, some copy paper, and a see-through plastic inch/ metric ruler.
1. Let’s begin with an emerald cut stone. (I recommend drawing all three cuts in one straight line as it will help the client better see the differences between them.) To center the stone, draw a vertical line 11 cm from the left side of the paper. Draw the gem’s outline as a 26 x 20 mm rectangle with cut corners. Next, draw the table. Since it is the largest facet of the stone, it is an important guide for the rest of the process.
2. At each of the four corners, draw a triangle from the outline toward the center line. These will define the culet of the stone. Erase the vertical lines above, through, and right below the stone.
3. Add the crown facets evenly between the table and outside edge of the stone.
4. Select one facet as the highlight on the edge of the table; this facet will stay white. Shade the facets on either side of the highlight light gray; these are the lowlights. This indicates that light is present in the area but not as bright as the highlight.
5. Placing dark tones right next to the light ones makes stones look transparent and sparkly. Add some medium gray values around the highlight of the crown facets as well as inside the pavilion. Then add more gray values around the right side of the table (forming a reversed L shape).
6. Finally, jazz it up. Add the darkest values to accentuate the form and make the sparkle stand out. The contrasts be-tween values are what make the gem scintillate.
7. To create a radiant cut, draw the same outline as the emerald cut: a 26 x 20 mm rectangle with cut corners. This time, make the table an octagon shape that is centered on the meridian points: north, south, east, and west.
8. Add four triangles from the corners to the edges of the table.
9. Draw long triangular star facets at the four corners of the table. Next, add a straight line between the tips of the octagon and the middle of each side of the triangle.
10. Lightly draw a four-point star in the center of the table; this represents the pavilion underneath the stone. On the top of the stone, select the highlighted facet and leave it white. On either side of the highlight, shade in the lowlight facets with a light gray.
11. As we did with the emerald cut, add some medium gray values around the highlight of the crown facets as well as inside the pavilion. Also, add more grays around the right side of the table in a similar reversed L shape.
12. Now it’s time to have fun! Bring the stone to life with strong dark values and white accents.
13. To create a princess cut, draw a 26 mm square and then center a much lighter 16 mm square inside the stone, indicating the table facets. Note that the table is rather large in princess cuts.
14. Along the top and bottom of the interior square, add a shallow X shape using the interior square as a guide.
15. Next, connect the Xs so they look like two slightly rotated squares. These are the star facets.
16. Erase the original lighter interior square, leaving only the two crossed squares.
17. Add lines running from the outside corners of the star facets to the corners of the outside square. As we did with the radiant cut, draw a straight line connecting the outside corners of the star facets. Next, lightly draw a four-point star in the center of the table. It represents the pavilion as seen from the top.
18. Select the highlighted facet and leave it white. On either side of it, use light gray to create the lowlight facets.
19. Just like for the emerald and radiant cuts, draw some medium gray values around the highlight of the crown facets as well as inside the pavilion. Add some additional gray values around the right side of the table, forming a reversed L shape.
20. Now the princess needs to wake up. Add some dark grays and balance them with white pinpoints (using your eraser) and reflections. Finally, once your customer selects the square-shaped cut they like best, the design fun can begin!