The briolette takes its name from an 1860s French alteration of brignolette ("little dried plum"). Today, it's as popular a cutting design as it has ever been—and it's been around for centuries. Commonly defined in Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as "any pear-shape gem having its entire surface cut with tiny triangular facets," the briolette is actually more complicated. Most gem book definitions will add descriptors such as "tear drop," "pendant," and having "brilliant facets." But cutters and wholesalers also describe as briolettes faceted gems that have been drilled off center or suspended, so today's definition focuses more on how the gemstone hangs rather than how it is shaped. Whether spherical, flat, round, or elongated (horizontally or vertically), if a faceted gemstone is suspended and most of the gemstone hangs below the suspension point, it'

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