Understanding Mixed Cut Diamonds + Top Settings

Mentioning mixed cuts...

What happens when you combine all the good parts of both brilliant and step cut diamonds? Something wonderful called a mixed cut diamond! The mixed cut is a hybrid design that brings the best of both worlds (or cuts) to one diamond. Mixed cuts aren’t always as popular as true brilliant or step cuts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in the diamond world. In fact, some of the most popular cuts available are or incorporate facets of mixed cuts, and they may just be your cup of tea! Let’s discuss:🍵

  • What is a mixed cut?
  • Types of mixed cuts
  • Mixed cuts vs. Modified brilliant cuts
  • The pros and cons of mixed cuts
  • Top settings for mixed cuts
Princess Mixed Cut Diamond Ring
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

What is a mixed cut?

So what is a mixed cut diamond, and are there any rules that dictate what’s considered a mixed cut? Here’s a bit of history about the mixed cut as well as some more information regarding this particular diamond cut style’s anatomy.

The mixed cut made its first appearance in the 1960s, a time of experimentation when it comes to fashion. As such, it’s a relatively new design compared to the classic brilliant and step cuts. However, the mixed cut—also known as a hybrid cut—is famous for taking these two traditional diamond cut styles and combining them.🙂 That’s right, a mixed cut is literally a mix of brilliant and step cut features, from facets to angles to proportions.

Most mixed cuts carry the optical brilliance of a standard brilliant cut with the weight retention of a step cut, so they’re often affordable for their particular carat size with an intense sparkle. Many mixed cuts also combine the shape of a step cut—square or rectangle—with that brilliant cut sparkle, so it’s like getting the best of both cuts in one diamond.

To do this, gem cutters use a brilliant cut pattern on the crown (top) portion of the stone and a step cut pattern on the pavilion (bottom) side—or vice versa! That being said, there are no specific rules a mixed cut must follow: there are certain well-known mixed cuts that have defined proportions and characteristics, but this isn’t necessarily true for all hybrid styles created by designers.😽

So now that you know a little more about the mixed cut, what popular styles are considered hybrids of brilliant and step cuts? Next, we’ll take a look at some popular and lesser-known cuts that are considered mixed.

Types of mixed cuts

Here you 4 types of mixed cut diamonds you may run into as you begin your own diamond search:

Princess

The princess cut is only second in popularity to the famous round brilliant! Many people may regard these diamonds as a modified brilliant cut style. But technically, they can be grouped into a semi-mixed cut style.

A princess cut typically has 50-58 facets, and it has a square body with pointed corners, much like some step cuts. If you flipped a princess cut over onto its table, you’d notice it actually has a pyramid-like shape with unique chevron patterns, which is similar to the appeal of step cuts, but it features plenty of brilliant cut facets on its crown for a sparklier appearance with much more fire.😇

A princess cut also retains much of its weight during the cutting process, so you tend to get more diamond per carat as well as a great mix of brilliant and step cut designs. Because they have pointed corners, princess cut diamonds work best with corner prongs that cover every vulnerable point. However, these can be found in a variety of settings, such as solitaire, three stone, and accent stone designs. Or, you can always opt for a halo or bezel to surround your diamond in metal and keep it extra safe!

Radiant

Do you love the truncated corners and edge appeal of step cuts but want a more brilliant sparkle? Sounds like you’re looking for the gorgeous fire, brilliance, and scintillation of a radiant cut diamond! A product of the 1980s, the radiant cut is still popular today with couples who want a perfect hybrid of step and brilliant cuts. Radiant cut stones have that signature step cut silhouette: a rectangular body with cut corners for an elegant, eight-sided figure. However, rather than the typical mirror-like shine of step cuts, radiant cuts have brilliant cut crowns with a staggering 70 facets that create a “crushed ice” sparkle. These fractal beauties easily hide inclusions and mask color while still having some of the elongating effects of a step cut due to their similar length-to-width ratio. They look amazing in a solitaire setting—particularly at larger sizes where they can outshine any other cut—but halos and settings with accent stones also help these gems to sparkle their absolute best.

Barion

Named after the diamond cutter who invented it, the Barion cut is a combination of his name (Basil) and his wife’s name (Marion): such a sweet tribute!💞 While the Barion cut doesn’t see a lot of action in the diamond world, it’s still a stunning style that can look amazing on both diamonds and colored gemstones.

The crown portion of the Barion cut features emerald step cut facets, but the bottom of the stone is a little different. If you look at the pavilion of a Barion cut, you’ll notice half-moon shaped facets at the girdle and fan-shaped facets below them. This sets the Barion cut apart from other mixed cuts, giving it a unique ability to take on more than one shape! You can find octagonal, triangular, and even cushion Barion cuts as well as custom shapes. Because they’re so versatile, Barion cut diamonds can look amazing in literally any setting: just pick the style that speaks to you and add a Barion cut and we guarantee it’ll still look wonderful!

Tiffany True

Tiffany True Mixed Cut Diamond Ring

A product of Tiffany & Co., this proprietary mixed cut actually takes the usual hybrid cut formula and flips it on its head—literally! The Tiffany True has a step cut crown and a brilliant cut pavilion unlike the other diamonds on this list, making it a unique choice among mixed cuts. With truncated corners and a hint of sparkle in its step cut table, the Tiffany True is an incredibly modern take on the mixed cut that looks wonderful when placed in a solitaire setting. We recommend tab prongs to protect the edges of those cut corners and highlight the stone’s soft, eight-sided shape.

Mixed cut diamonds vs. Modified brilliant cut diamonds

As you search for the perfect diamond, you may come across the term “modified brilliant cut” and wonder: “Is this the same thing as a step cut?”. Not exactly, and there are a few differences to keep in mind between these two designs if you’re looking at either (or both) for your engagement ring.

For instance, a mixed cut features style elements from both a brilliant cut and a step cut. They contain facets from both cut types—usually brilliant on top and step on the bottom—and may even have facets of cabbing in their silhouette. They’re not just one cut type, but rather a beautiful mix of multiple cuts to produce something entirely new.

In contrast, modified brilliant cuts are really brilliant cuts at heart, and they share a lot of the same characteristics. The main difference between a modified and traditional brilliant cut varies by stone, but it may be a different amount of facets, a modified angle or surface, and more. Pear, oval, and marquise shaped diamonds are good examples of modified brilliant cuts, while a radiant would qualify as a mixed cut.

Pros and cons of mixed cut diamonds

There are plenty of good things to love about mixed cut diamonds, but there are a few drawbacks to consider as well. If you’re on the market for a new diamond, here are the pros and cons of selecting a mixed cut stone for your engagement ring:🕵🏻‍♀️

Pros

  • Mixed cuts offer the best of both worlds: brilliant cut sparkle with a sophisticated step cut appeal.
  • They produce a unique sparkle—think the “crushed ice” look of radiant cut diamonds—for a more personalized engagement stone.
  • Some mixed cuts maintain more weight, such as the princess cut, meaning you get a larger diamond for a lower price!

Cons

  • Mixed cuts can be harder to find or shop for, as most mixed styles aren’t as popular as traditional brilliant and step cuts.
  • They can be somewhat pricey depending on the shape and special design, especially if they carry a big company name like Tiffany True.
  • They have very specific, squarish/rectangular silhouettes that don’t look good on every finger. Plus, if they’re not elongated, they don’t offer the slimming effects one would get from an equally square or rectangular step cut.

Top settings for mixed cut diamonds

Mixed cuts aren’t exactly your typical diamond silhouette, so what settings work best with those squared bodies and that brilliant sparkle? You can really place your mixed cut in any setting, but here are our top 4 favorite designs for hybrid cuts:

Solitaire

There’s no sparkle quite like that of a mixed cut, so why not let your diamond steal the show? A single mixed cut diamond on a simple band is an absolute showstopper, and whether you choose the sophisticated sparkle of a princess cut or the dazzling crushed ice look of a radiant cut your solitaire is sure to impress anyone. White, rose, and yellow gold as well as platinum are all excellent choices for solitaire settings, and you can even switch up the minimalist design with a few added features. Try a twisted band or milgrain to call attention to your stone’s fractal sparkle, or try a mixed metal design if you’re someone who likes wearing both white and yellow metals. And, if you’re worried your ring looks too simple, you can easily dress it up with a pavé or channel set wedding band for some extra brilliance.

Mixed cut settings

Mix it up with hybrid cuts by pairing your center stone with brilliant or step cuts for a truly “mixed” aesthetic! Because they feature some of the best characteristics of both cuts, you can easily pair a mixed cut center stone with either brilliant or step cut side stones and create something seamlessly spectacular. You can even try a classy three stone setting or opt for something with a little more sparkle like this five stone design. Or, go even smaller and surround your mixed cut center stone with tiny brilliant or step cut accent stones of your choice to give it a personal touch. These designs don’t even need additional accents like milgrain or fancy bands, but you can also add them if you feel your ring is missing something!

Pavé or channel setting

We already mentioned a pavé or channel set wedding band, but you can always get that same brilliance on your engagement ring instead. Pavé and channel set engagement rings bring additional sparkle to your mixed cut diamond, and you can add either brilliant, step, or other mixed cut gems to your design. These setting styles are perfect for including a pop of color as well, so consider colored gemstones like sapphire, ruby, emerald, morganite, and more as possible accents for your pavé or channel set band. You can always opt for a double or triple row of pavé as well to make the setting slightly more secure, or add milgrain or other design elements to your channel setting to bring your own personal touch to the overall look.

Pavé and channel settings do slightly increase your risk of losing stones since there are so many—especially with pavé—but you can easily replace these diamonds or colored gemstones over time if necessary. Or, remove your ring whenever you plan on cleaning, exercising, or working with your hands for added protection!

Unique bands to match your uniquely cut diamond

We briefly touched on twisted bands in our solitaire entry, but did you know there are several different unique band designs that can bring a hint of personality to your already lively mixed cut diamond? In addition to twisted bands, split shanks are incredibly popular and create some negative space around your stone for added sparkle. There are also nature-inspired bands that incorporate leaves, branches, flowers, and animals to produce a more organic or feminine look for the nature-lover in your life.☘️ Or, maybe you’d prefer an antique band with filigree and other metal elements that make your ring look like it belongs in a museum with the Crown Jewels. For modern-day witches, another fun design is mystical rings that bring together cosmic symbols like the moon, sun, and stars for a completely out-of-this-world ring.🌠

Get creative with the band of your mixed cut engagement ring to create something that’s entirely your own, you do want to enjoy wearing it forever after all!

Is a mixed cut right for you?

The mixed cut is a true marvel of gemological technology and innovations surrounding cut ideology. Whether you love the classic princess and radiant cuts or want something a little different like the Barion or Tiffany True, these combo cuts are guaranteed to have you smiling with their unique, unbelievable sparkle.

However, if you’re not 100% sold on the idea of a mixed cut, you may want to learn more about brilliant and step cuts to see if one of these original designs makes more sense for your personal tastes. Take a look at our brilliant cut and step cut guides to learn more about what to expect with both cutting styles.😘

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