With a rounded bottom, elongated sides and a pointed top, the Pear Shape is sometimes referred to as the Teardrop Cut. While approximating the contour of the popular fruit, it combines elements of both the both the Round Brilliant and the Marquise Cut.
The origins of the cut are traced to Lodewyk van Bercken, a Flemish diamond cutter who lived in Bruges in the second half of the 15th century, and is widely credited with inventing the scaife, or the modern polishing wheel, onto which was spread an abrasive paste made of diamond dust mixed with olive oil. What made this revolutionary was that it enabled facets to be polished symmetrically, at angles which best reflect the light.
Van Bercken developed an earlier form of the Pear Shape, called the “Pendeloque” or “Briolette,” which is an elongated cut that was often drilled from top to bottom to hang as a bead. It was especially popular during the Victorian times, although the most famous example of it is older, and is a 275-carat centerpiece of necklace presented in 1811 by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to his consort Marie Louise. It can be seen today in The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
The modern Pear Shape diamond usually comprises of 58 facets, with the number of pavilion facets ranging from 4 to 8. The height of the rounded side varies of the stone varies, with the more angular, or squatter varieties said to have “high shoulders.” Most Pear Shapes have length-to-width ratios between 1.45 and 1.75.
The point end of the stone, which is most fragile element, generally features a large bezel facet. To strengthen it, some cutters prefer to replace the bezel facet with star and upper girdle facets called a “French tip.” This is a technique also common with the Heart and Marquise shapes.
Good symmetry is essential in a well-cut Pear Shape, with the axis from the point end to the apex of the rounded end, crossing the exact midpoint of the axis drawn between the two widest end of the stone. The shoulders (the curves on the rounded sides) and the wings (the longer diagonals on the right and left sides) should appear uniform.
Pear Shapes are prone to the bow-tie effect and high and uneven shoulders, which can reduce their value. The “bow-tie effect” occurs when light passing through the diamond casts a shadow across the central facets of the stone. It can be reduced by altering the depth of the pavilion, and adjusting the angles of the table and facets to better diffuse light in the central area.
Pear Shapes in necklaces and earrings are set with the point facing up. In rings, they generally have the pointed end facing the finger nails, which it is said have a slimming effect on the hands.
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