Rhinestones - Machine Cut vs Table Cut/Polished vs Fire Polished

Posted by: Stefanie Brawner, Pretty Snazzy Vintage Jewelry & Supplies

07 August 2013

One of the most common questions people have about rhinestones is what the difference is between machine cut, table cut or table polished and fire polished. A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why I'm putting in pictures, but here are the basic differences. The photos are a mix of Swarovski (Austrian) and Czech rhinestones.

  • 1st Photo - Machine Cut (MC) - These have nice sharp facets like what you would see on a gemstone. They are the most expensive too! In about 2005-ish, Swarovski made major changes in their business structure. At that time the prices became substantially more for the "fancy" shaped machine cut stones - like 3 times as much by the time the European VAT taxes were added in. The round stones (chatons, rivolis, dentelles etc) are still machine cut and many of the smaller shapes of squares and baguettes are still machine cut. Much of what you see now in the larger ovals, octagons, pears, navettes - are all table cut/polished.
  • 2nd Photo - Tin Table Cut/Polished (TC or TP. Sometimes seen as TTC or TTP) - These have a sharper top facet and more soft or rounded side facets. These are substantially cheaper now-a-days but only come in certain shapes and sizes.
  • 3rd Photo - Fire Polished (FP)- These have very soft facets all over. They don't have nearly the sparkle that a machine cut or table cut stone will have.

Hope it helps a little!