The De Beers Supplier of Choice initiative, launched in the early 2000s, rewarded diamond manufacturers who ventured downstream into jewelry and retail branding efforts. As a result, we witnessed an explosion in proprietary diamond cuts that continues today, albeit to a lesser extent. A Google search can lead to hundreds of unique diamond shapes, but even within this long list of unusual diamonds there are still a few that really stand out for their creativity and uniqueness.
The Buddha cut was co-designed in 1995 by a Buddhist member of the Japanese Soto Zen Federation and Oliver Korn for J. Korn & Partners in Antwerp. It is made into the shape of a meditating Buddha. The shape is often the centerpiece of much more elaborate jewelry designs that are often customized for individual consumers' personal tastes and religious principles.
The patented Buddha cut has a very exacting definition, including 33 crown facets, 21 pavilion facets and a culet. For religious reasons, Buddha's head must be free of any inclusions, however no such restrictions apply to the body . This makes it a more challenging cut to manufacture and also leads to higher weight losses than traditional fancy cuts, in the range of 65-70% loss. The International Gemological Institute (IGI) officially recognizes the cut as 'fancy shape Buddha' in its grading certificates. Unsurprisingly, the principle markets for the Buddha cut are in Asia, primarily in Japan and Taiwan.
Another diamond shape built with religious overtones is the 10 Commandments diamond manufactured by Trillion Diamond Company, and patented in 2006. The diamond is first cut into the shape of the tablets on which the 10 Commandments were written and then the commandments themselves are permanently laser etched onto the back of the stone, easily read with a magnifying glass. These diamonds are typically mounted in pendant settings to be worn close to the owner's heart and are available in 3 versions Protestant, Catholic and Jewish.
Religion plays a role in still more unusual and inventive diamond cuts with the Cross Cut, patented by Israel-based R.G.S. Diamonds Ltd. The Cross Cut comes in several different styles including brilliant, classic, gothic, lotus and step. Like the Buddha and 10 Commandments, Cross diamonds are most often worn as necklaces, but are also fashionable as earrings and rings. The most common usage of the cross diamond is to position it in the center of a larger cross made of gold or other precious metals.
Star of David
The Star of David is of course a globally recognized symbol for the Jewish people and is used in a myriad of jewelry designs adorned by millions. It is not uncommon to see diamonds made into the Star of David, however this is often done by arranging several diamonds as needed, often with a hexagonal center stone surrounded by small triangles.
An Israeli diamond company, Elanor Agam Jewelry, was the first to fully facet a single rough diamond into a Star of David, or Shield of David, as it is commonly known in Hebrew. The proprietary shape is a brilliant cut, however it loses a significant portion of its rough size and is said to be one of the most difficult shapes to cut. Even the company's expertly trained cutters sometimes encounter problems with diamonds breaking in the manufacturing process, and each stone is an exercise in patience and precision.
Yin Yang Cut
Like the Star of David, jewelers have been fashioning small stones into the shape of the Ying Yang symbol for many years. The symbol is perhaps as important to the Chinese culture as the Star of David is to Jews and many elaborate and colorful pieces have been designed.
Second generation Israeli diamantaire Rony Golomb, together with Joey Peleg, whose roots go back to a well-established New York diamond family, have invented the Yin Yang Diamond – two half diamonds which together create the Chinese symbol. Although the pair has produced Yin Yang pieces in many different colors, the most common is to have half the piece in a colorless (white) diamond and the other half in a black carbonado stone that has helped to develop another use for black diamonds.