A briolette is an elongated pear-shaped gemstone cut with triangular facets. Approximately 800 years ago, the cut was very popular during the Victorian period. Although its popularity waned thereafter, this shape has enjoyed a recent resurgence to precious and semi-precious stones. To which I say, “YEAH !”Because of its three dimensional shape and faceting, briolettes are not suitable for rings or styles of flat jewelry and instead lend themselves well to drop style pendants and necklaces.
Most luxurious example? The Napoleon Diamond Necklace. To celebrate the birth of his son in 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte presented his second wife, Empress Consort Marie Louise of Austria with a 263 (yes, that’s two hundred and sixty three) carat diamond briolette necklace. It consists of 234 diamonds; 28 cut diamonds on a single thread, off set with alternating pendeloupe and briolette diamond cuts. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Bonaparte returned to her native Austria with the necklace. Two of the pendeloupe clusters were removed from the necklace and made in to a set of earrings for her sister (today, the whereabouts are unknown . . . sad face). The necklace exchanged several hands before being purchased by Harry Winston (yes, THAT Harry Winston . . . of Harry Winston Diamonds) in 1960. Thankfully, he decided to keep the necklace intact rather than remove the stones and sell them individually, as was common practice at that time. The necklace was sold that same year, and then donated in 1962 to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, where it remains on display (I’ve seen it….two words . . .A MAZING !)Now, you may not be able to fit a 263 carat diamond necklace into your budget, but having a piece of jewelry with briolettes is worth the investment. There are many price point options, and briolettes are cut in a wide variety of different coloured gemstones. There is added life to a briolette cut, the facets allow for extra light to enter them and refract which makes them beautiful against any skin tone. Couple that with the elegance and extra sparkle and you’re sure to garner compliments and curiosity when wearing this gemstone cut.