The French cut has very little do to with France itself. First created in the 1400s, its striking feature is the cross hatch shown via the crown facets. For this reason, French cut stones are always either square or rectangular in shape to better show off that cross. The French cut is designed to make the best use of the natural dodecahedral crystal structure found in all diamonds.

Essentially, the French cut is an evolution of the table cut, made by grinding off the top of the crystal to create a table, and then polishing down the top and creating an additional 4 facets for a symmetrical design. The stone is then further fashioned into a square and the pavilion is cut into 4 symmetrical facets to maximize light return.

Despite being first produced in the 1400’s, the French cut didn’t really take off until it attracted the favor of royalty in the 17th century. Even then, this was mostly to do with the explosion of diamonds on the court scene.

Even after coming back into favor in the 17th century, the general public didn’t truly appreciate the geometric design of a French cut until the Art Deco period of the 1920s, when geometrical designs were suddenly in fashion. The name more than likely stems from the cut being more popular in France than other European countries, but realistically, that name probably didn’t develop until the 20th century.

Today, French cut diamonds are rare in large sizes, but they do exist. More often than not, French cut diamonds are used as accent stones, and it is also a popular method of cutting colored accent stones.

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