search
  • Sign In
    Sign Up
  • English speaking customer support only

    Toll Free - USA & Canada only:
    1-800-464-1640

    International:
    +66-39303404

  • Change Language
  • USD

History of Gemstone Briolettes

Most faceted gemstones today are cut with a flat table and crown and pavilion facets. It's a style that maximizes the light returned to the eye and thus the brilliance of the gem. But at one time this was not the most popular faceting style. Back in the 17th century the briolette was the favorite of royalty and aristocrats. A fine example is a diamond necklace that Napoleon presented to Empress Marie Louise containing 10 diamond briolettes weighing over 4 carats each. The necklace is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Blue Sapphire Briolettes
Blue Sapphire Briolettes

The briolette is a pear or drop-shaped gemstone which has its entire surface covered with long triangular facets. Historians believe that the briolette cut originated in India about 800 years ago. The popularity of the briolette in Europe was due to the famous French traveler and trader, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who brought briolettes back from India.

The popularity of the briolette started to decline in the late 17th century as gem cutting technology progressed and the early versions of the modern round, brilliant cut became popular. Many existing briolettes were in fact recut using modern methods.

The briolette regained popularity in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and was a favorite of Art Deco designers. However, briolettes soon faded into obscurity once again. In large part is was a cost issue. A briolette has a lot of surface area and requires large pieces of rough stone. It is quite expensive to cut diamonds, rubies or sapphires as briolettes, and gem cutters regard briolettes as an inefficient use of the rough material. Only recently have briolettes started to be seen again, particularly in the form of less expensive gemstone materials.

Buy all kind of Gemstone Briolettes at GemSelect

While it is true that briolettes do not concentrate brilliance like a modern round brilliant cut, briolettes have their own charm. They display color and reflect light from any angle, and have a quiet, refined elegance. They work especially well as earrings and pendants because they dangle and move, allowing them to catch the light. They are generally unencumbered by any setting except at the top, and this allows more of the gemstone to be visible than with any other cut.

When you buy loose briolettes you will often find that they come with a hole drilled through the top. Usually they are are cross-drilled, where a hole is drilled through the gem near the tip. This allows the gem to swing freely on a wire or pin and avoids the use of adhesives. Sometimes you will find briolettes top-drilled, where a hole is drilled a few millimeters into the gem from the top, allowing a small metal pin to be inserted. A third method is to abrade a small area at the tip, providing a slightly pitted surface in order for an epoxy resin to be used to secure a metal cap.

  • First Published: March-25-2008
  • Last Updated: August-12-2019
  • © 2005-2019 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
Pinterest Board Names
More Shapes
Popular Gemstones
  • Sapphire
  • Emerald
  • Ruby
  • Aquamarine
  • Zircon
  • Opal
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline
  • Garnet
  • Amethyst
  • Citrine
  • Tanzanite
All Gemstones (144)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V Z
  • Actinolite Cat's Eye
  • Agate
  • Agate Geode
  • Almandine Garnet
  • Amazonite
  • Amethyst
  • Ametrine
  • Ammolite
  • Andalusite
  • Andesine Labradorite
  • Apatite
  • Aquamarine
  • Aventurine
  • Beryl
  • Black Opal
  • Bloodstone
  • Boulder Opal
  • Calcite
  • Carnelian
  • Cat's Eye Apatite
  • Cat's Eye Aquamarine
  • Cat's Eye Augite
  • Cat's Eye Gemstones
  • Cat's Eye Moonstone
  • Cat's Eye Opal
  • Cat's Eye Scapolite
  • Chalcedony
  • Charoite
  • Chocolate Opal
  • Chrome Diopside
  • Chrome Tourmaline
  • Chrysoberyl
  • Chrysocolla
  • Chrysoprase
  • Citrine
  • Color-Change Diaspore
  • Color-Change Fluorite
  • Color-Change Garnet
  • Color-Change Sapphire
  • Coral
  • Demantoid Garnet
  • Dendritic Agate
  • Diamond
  • Druzy Amethyst
  • Druzy Azurite
  • Druzy Citrine
  • Emerald
  • Enstatite
  • Fire Agate
  • Fire Opal
  • Fluorite
  • Fossil Coral
  • Garnet
  • Golden Beryl
  • Grandidierite
  • Grossularite Garnet
  • Hawk's Eye
  • Hematite
  • Hemimorphite Druzy
  • Hessonite Garnet
  • Hiddenite
  • Howlite
  • Idocrase
  • Imperial Topaz
  • Iolite
  • Jade Gemstones
  • Jadeite
  • Jasper
  • Kornerupine
  • Kunzite
  • Kyanite
  • Labradorite
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Larimar
  • Malachite
  • Malaya Garnet
  • Mali Garnet
  • Maw-Sit-Sit
  • Moonstone
  • Morganite
  • Moss Opal
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Mystic Quartz
  • Mystic Topaz
  • Nuummite
  • Obsidian
  • Opal
  • Opal Doublet
  • Opal in Matrix
  • Pearl
  • Peridot
  • Pietersite
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Pyrope Garnet
  • Quartz
  • Quartz Cat's Eye
  • Quartz With Marcasite
  • Rainbow Moonstone
  • Rainbow Pyrite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Rhodolite Garnet
  • Rhodonite
  • Rose Quartz
  • Ruby
  • Ruby in Fuchsite
  • Ruby-Zoisite
  • Rutile Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Scolecite
  • Seraphinite
  • Serpentine
  • Sillimanite
  • Sillimanite Cat's Eye
  • Smithsonite
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Snowflake Obsidian
  • Sodalite
  • Spectrolite
  • Spessartite Garnet
  • Sphalerite
  • Sphene
  • Spinel
  • Star Diopside
  • Star Garnet
  • Star Gemstones
  • Star Lemon Quartz
  • Star Moonstone
  • Star Rose Quartz
  • Star Ruby
  • Star Sapphire
  • Star Sunstone
  • Strawberry Quartz
  • Sugilite
  • Sunstone
  • Tanzanite
  • Tiger's Eye
  • Tiger's Eye Matrix
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline
  • Tsavorite Garnet
  • Turquoise
  • Variscite
  • Zircon
Main Categories
  • New Arrivals
  • Gemstone Lots
  • Calibrated Gemstones
  • Gemstones By Piece
  • Top Grade Gems
  • Matching Pairs
  • Cabochon Gemstones
  • Drilled Gems, Briolettes and Beads
  • Birthstones
  • Gemstone Carvings
  • Fancy Gemstones
  • Star Gemstones
  • Unheated Sapphire
English speaking customer support only

Toll Free - USA & Canada only:
1-800-464-1640

International:
+66-39303404

Save Money
No shipping Fees for Additional Items!
$8.90 Worldwide Shipping

Update Translation
 
Current Value
New Value
GemSelect Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart