History of the baguette cut diamond
The baguette cut diamond is about 100 years old. Named after the famous French bread, it was developed around the 1920s – 1930s. The baguette diamond was very popular in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. That’s why we often still find baguette cut diamonds in jewelry from that period of time. The reason the baguette became so popular was that people were almost “bored” with the traditional round diamond shapes. They looked for something more daring to express themselves. Hence, the baguette cut was born.
Characteristics: craftsmanship over carat
Just like other diamond cuts, the value of the baguette diamond depends on the 4 C’s. Baguette cut diamonds were in general lighter than one carat. But carat wasn’t the most important feature of the baguette. What mattered most was the quality of the cut. Most often, baguette cut diamonds only have 14 facets. In some cases, baguette cuts have 24 facets. This is very little, especially compared to other diamond cuts. Other so-called “step cut” diamonds like the emerald cut and the Asscher cut also have respectively 57 and 74 facets. As you can imagine, 14 facets (but also 24 for that matter) really is extraordinary. Not only 100 years ago, but still today.
Just like the emerald cut diamond (left) and the Asscher cut diamond (right), the baguette (middle) is a step-cut diamond.
Fewer facets; fewer chances of greatnessAs a diamond polisher, I always try to make the most of every diamond that I touch. Placing the facets correctly is important for every diamond shape. But for a baguette cut it is crucial. Each cut has to be perfect and precise. Mess up one facet and the baguette cut is failed. It won’t “make the cut” for retail jewelry so to say. That’s why we only see high-quality baguette cuts in high-end jewelry. But when a baguette is perfectly cut, it displays an incredible show of fire and light. However, because it is a step-cut diamond shape, a baguette never sparkles as much as a brilliant cut.
Shape and size of a baguette cut diamond
Just like the emerald cut and the Asscher cut, the baguette cut is a so-called step-cut diamond shape. Step cut diamonds have rectangular or square facets. These facets graduate from the table like a set of steps. You can compare them to tiny stairs. Whereas the Asscher and emerald cut have cropped corners, baguettes have straight edges.
Regular baguette cut diamond and tapered baguette Unlike many other cuts, baguettes come in many different ratios. In general, they are around 1.5 to 1. But it is also possible to make baguettes with a 5:1 ratio. It Is up to the diamond polisher. Another rather unique characteristic of the baguette cut is its shape. A baguette can be straight with straight corners. But a very common variety is a baguette cut with tapered edges.
Baguette diamonds in jewelry
Baguette diamonds are by far most used as shoulder stones or as side stones. The thin shape of the baguette compliments almost every diamond shape. Baguettes also fit well in sidebands because of their thin structure. But because it doesn’t sparkle as much, the baguette does not attract the attention from the main diamond. It is the perfect sidekick in diamond jewelry so to say. However, even for a sidekick, you need to make sure the characteristics are right.
What to look for in a baguette cut diamond?When you’re about to purchase baguette cut diamonds, there are a few things to take into account:
- Match color and clarity
- Avoid inclusions
- Purchase in sets
1. Match color and clarityAll baguettes in a piece of jewelry should have a similar color and clarity. They should also match the center diamond – the hero of the jewelry piece. Sometimes I encounter a piece with a noticeable difference in color or clarity. This is such a shame because it doesn’t look as good as it could – and should. A difference in color and clarity crates an inharmonious and unappealing appearance.
2. Avoid inclusionsThe inclusions in baguette cuts are way more visible than inclusions in, for example, brilliant cuts. But they are even more visible than in other step cuts such as emerald cuts. That has everything to do with the small number of facets. That’s why I always recommend a clarity of VS or higher for baguette cut diamonds.
3. Purchase in sets
If you purchase loose baguette cuts, chances are they eventually end up as side stones in a piece of jewelry. To guarantee the symmetry, you want to make sure both diamonds look the same. That’s why I always advise to purchase baguette cuts at least in sets of 2.
Pros & cons of baguette diamondsJust like any other diamond cut, the baguette cut also knows its strengths and weaknesses. When you’re considering to purchase a baguette diamond, it is useful to take these into account.
Pros of the baguette cut diamondAs you can imagine, there are certainly a few characteristics of the baguette cut that are beneficial.
- Cheaper: baguette cut diamonds are less popular than other cuts like the brilliant cut or the emerald cut. Therefore, they have a lower price. This doesn’t mean the cut is of lower quality. It is just a matter of supply and demand.
- Great sidekicks: baguettes are a great addition to any main diamond or gemstone. They make sure all the attention goes to the stone in the center and don’t steal the thunder.
- Versatile: because the baguette diamonds are such great sidekicks, they are also very versatile. There are many ways to place baguette cuts in jewelry. This can be horizontal, vertical or even aligned.
Cons of the baguette cut diamondLike other diamond cuts, the baguette cut also has a few downsides.
- Less popular: it depends on how you look at it. But it can be more of a challenge to find baguette cut diamonds because they are less popular.
- Less suitable for solitaires: solitaire engagement rings are one of the most popular pieces of diamond jewelry. Unfortunately, baguette cuts hardly make pretty solitaires.
- Inclusions are highly noticeable: any baguette with a clarity below VS2 has noticeable inclusions. Brilliants and cuts derived from it can get away with a lesser clarity without having the inclusions so visible.
- Less brilliance: just like emerald cuts, baguettes are step cuts. This means they sparkle less than brilliants and most other diamond cuts.
A special bond with baguette cuts
At Royal Coster Diamonds, we have a special appreciation for the baguette cut. At the age of 15, our former CEO, Ben Meier (1930-2013) started as a diamond polisher at Coster. It became clear that Ben had a great eye for symmetry. He was a great craftsman. Therefore, it was no wonder he was given the Royal task of polishing the diamonds for Queen Juliana’s diamond watch. The craftsman he was, Ben understood the hidden potential of the baguette cut. He specialized himself in this diamond cut. To this day, we still share Ben’s enthusiasm about the baguette diamond.
Mr. Ben Meier as a diamond polisher in 1959 at Royal Coster Diamonds