Originating in the 14th or 15th century, the French Cut is one of the earliest used to facet diamonds and other stones. It features an overall square shape with a square table rotated 45 degrees so that it looks like a diamond sitting on tops of a square. There are 8 triangular facts on the crown, and four flat sides on the pavilion. With only 13 total sides, the brilliance of a French Cut stone is limited.
Likely named for the source of their popularity in France, French Cut stones became popular with nobility in the 17th century. They enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1920’s and 1930’s Art Deco period. In the 1970’s the French cut evolved into today’s modern princess cut, keeping the overall square shape but adding many more facets and improved brilliance.