What Does Calibré Cut Mean?

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Antique Calibre Cut Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
Romanov Russia/1stdibs

Calibré is a term that describes a technique using smaller, custom-cut stones in a larger jewelry design. The concept is one you should know if you want to learn more about Art Deco jewelry. The style of cutting is also referred to as cailbré cut, calibré-cut, caliber-cut and calibre cut. 

Calibré usually references faceted stones that are custom cut in order to line up perfectly together. Unlike most designs, there are virtually no gaps between the stones or against the setting.

Though diamonds are used, the method usually incorporates colored stones that enhance the overall design of a piece. In order for all the stones to fit perfectly together, each shape will vary slightly in size. The shapes usually are either square, tapered keystone, rectangular, or rounded and are often set in a pavé around the center stone. 

The most popular calibré cut stones include the precious ones -- emerald, sapphire and ruby. Diamonds may not be considered calibré cut unless they are fancy colored. 

You won't find many modern calibré cut designs on the market today. If you do, they will be very expensive because the process is extremely labor intensive. The most common designs you'll find will be either authentic and reproduction Art Deco one. 

Want to own jewelry implementing this aesthetic?  Your best bet is to look for jewelry that was made between 1910-1935. The jewelers and artisans of that time were true masters of the calibré cut. 

Antique Jewelry Tip: If you see words like "antique style" or "art deco style" in the description, that ring is likely a reproduction.

Scroll through to admire some incredible examples of calibré cut engagement and dinner rings. 

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Calibre Cut Sapphire, Emerald and Diamond Engagement Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
Doyle & Doyle

This ring is a wonderful example of the diverse ways calibré cut stones can be used to enhance a ring's design. The emeralds and sapphires are cut in a round cabochon shape and a tapered square shape, both of which fit perfectly next to the other stones and the setting. 

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Calibre Cut Sapphire and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
Erica Weiner

Calibré cut stones aren't just popular in Art Deco engagement rings but also work well in dinner or cocktail rings like this one.  The small sapphire stones fit into larger shapes that make this ring so unusually beautiful.

If you own a ring similar to this one, take great care to not damage or lose any of the stones. Once a stone on a calibre cut ring is lost, they are extremely difficult and expensive to replace. 

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Calibre Cut Emerald and Diamond Engagement Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry

Sometimes calibré cut stones are used merely as small accents in a setting. This ring is a perfect example of how a little green from the emeralds can make the overall ring more impressive. 

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Calibre Cut Sapphire and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers/Live Auctioneers

This Edwardian ring is a great example of how teeny tiny calibré cut stones can get. Each stone measures no more than 1mm in diameter and are tightly ​set below the large accent diamond bezels. Can you imagine having to set all those small sapphires into each circle? 

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Calibre Cut Ruby and Diamond Wing Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
ROMANOV RUSSIA

Sometimes designs implement multiple styles of stone settings. This ring was made in Russia in the 1930's and has a very simple yet powerful calibré cut design with rich colored rubies. Each calibré consists of only three rubies. Since each ruby is a slightly different custom-cut size, the design is still considered to be calibré.

Can you imagine this ring without the ruby accent? It would not be nearly as eye-catching. The designer also took note to set the rubies in rose gold and the diamonds in platinum in order to make the calibré design stand out even more. 

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Calibre Cut Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring

Calibré cut antique ring
ROMANOV RUSSIA

This last example is one of the more common halo designs using calibré cut sapphires. Sometimes you will see only one circle or halo of stones in what is called a target design.

This engagement ring has two rows, one with sapphires and one with diamonds. What makes this ring a little more unusual is the shape. Most target design rings have round stones and a round halo. Instead, this ring has an impressive antique cushion cut diamond and two halos that are more oval in shape.