The Context cut is a registered trademark and patent of Dr. Ulrich Freiesleben of Munster, Germany. In 1997, the Context cut won the “Best of the Best Award” for highest quality design in the Design Innovationen competition in Germany.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND CUTTING ISSUES The Context was researched and developed in the early 1980s by Dr. Freiesleben, based on a patented design from the early 1960s by master gem designer Bernd Munsteiner. It is a square shape with a girdle and two culets. When viewed from the top, the stone exhibits a four-point, star-shaped, diagonal cross. The cross illusion is created with eight facets on each side.
The light refraction from the facets creates a mirrored optical phenomenon. The overall shape is that of a pyramid above and a pyramid below, with their flat sides joined, nuking the cut as close to the natural shape of an octahedron as a cut diamond can be. It is distinguished from other fancies because of its simplicity and uniqueness.
Only one out of every 100,000 rough diamonds is of the quality needed for shaping the Context cut. As the heart of each perfect crystal used for the cut yields only one diamond, there is more waste per stone. The amount of yield varies, depending on the individual octahedron.
MARKETS AND MARKETING
The cut, which was developed in Germany, has been selling for about 12 years in Europe, mostly to high-end designers and manufacturers. Many U. S. designers are attracted to its classic modernity. It is used as a center stone for engagement rings and as accent stones in many types of jewelry.
As an expensive designer cut, it has not yet gained a following in mid-markets or lower. But awareness of the Context is rapidly increasing in the United States thanks to advertising and marketing efforts over the years. Trade magazine ads and editorial press have helped to get the word out. The JCK International Jewelry Show in June 1998 premiered a collection called “American Designers…in Context,” featuring set jewelry using this cut by well-known designers.
PRICING AND SUPPLY
There is a very limited supply of Context cuts and they are expensive to make, especially in .50-carat sizes and above. The Context is substantially more expensive than traditional cuts of the same size and weight.
WHAT BUYERS SHOULD LOOK FOR
The Context exhibits high reflectivity, which is apparent visually. Relative light reflectivity is 115.4 percent, compared to the Antwerp Diamond High Council’s (HRD) measurement of brilliants at 100 percent and Tolkowsky’s measurement of brilliants at 104.9 percent. A J-color Context will often reflect lighter than its color grade, as evidenced by sample tests done by an independent applied optics institute in Germany. Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has also graded some Context Cuts.
Each Context is laser-etched with an individual serial number that refers to a database containing information on that stone’s particularities, its source and cutter. There is also room for additional inscriptions.