Diamond Shape Guide
When talking about diamonds, many will immediately think of the classic round diamond shape. It’s no doubt that the round brilliant cut is the most popular shape; However, there are plenty of other shapes available. There is a major difference between the shape of the diamond and the cut of the diamond. A diamond’s shape refers to its physical form and each diamond shape is very different, possessing unique characteristics. The cut of the diamond is part of the 4 C’s of Diamonds, and usually indicate how well made is the stone, this element will have an impact on the appearance and price of your diamond. Since each diamond shape is cut to different specifications, they reflect light differently, giving each shape a unique fire and brilliance.
Popular Diamond Shapes
Choosing the right diamond can be tricky for many people. It is our hope that the information below will provide you with a basic understanding so that you can confidently move through the process. We strive to offer our clients the highest quality diamonds and carry a large selection of loose diamonds. Below you will find a comprehensive list of the most popular diamond shapes and their characteristics.
The round brilliant cut diamond is a most popular diamond shape. For nearly a century, diamond cutters have been using advanced theories of light behavior to optimize the fire and brilliance in a round diamond. Round diamonds are known for offering more flexibility in terms of cut, color, and clarity grades, while still getting the fire and brilliance to maximize the stone’s appeal.
Round cut diamonds account for nearly 75% of all engagement rings sold today. This is most likely due to the fact that the round brilliant cut stone simply gives off the most sparkle, due to its numerous facets.
The history of the brilliant cut oval diamond is relatively easy to track because it is a relatively young shape. Created by Lazare Kaplan in the late 1950s to early 1960s, the oval brilliant cut is an elliptical variation of the more common round brilliant. The modern oval cut is a fiery diamond that reflects light brilliantly. It’s a wonderful selection for someone who loves the sparkle of the round brilliant, but desires a less common shape.
Oval diamonds are very popular in jewelry like rings as their length accentuates long, slender fingers. In fact women with smaller hands or shorter fingers prefer the look of oval and pear shaped diamonds because they elongate the fingers on the hand in addition to offering exceptional brilliance.
The princess is the most popular non round diamond. this is most likely due to its beautiful brilliance in a square shape makes it a very popular non round diamond selection for jewelry like engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. Princess cut diamonds can vary in how square (or rectangular) they are.
While some princess cuts are square, most are longer on one side and so are more rectangular in their shape.
Princess cuts are also such a popular selection because they look tend to look so much bigger than they actually are. The 90 degree corners really make a diamond look larger than it really is. Quite simply, princess cuts are stunning and have surpassed every other square or rectangular cut of diamond in popularity!
The cushion cut diamond is also known as a pillow cut diamond and sometimes as the candlelight diamond (a reference to cuts designed prior to electric lights, when diamonds sparkled in the light provided by candles). This shape of diamond has been popular for more than a century. The cushions have rounded corners and larger facets to increase their brilliance. Cushion cut diamonds are available in shapes ranging from square to rectangular.
The cushion cut is an antique cut that most often resembles a cross between the Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. It tends not to be as fiery or brilliant as many of the newer cuts, but it has a marvelously romantic and classic look and definitely stands out from the crowd of round brilliants.
Although cushion cut diamonds were a very popular shape over a century ago, they continue to be a favorite as they’re known for having a deep cut with large facets. It’s these large facets that bring out the sparkle and brilliance when the diamond is exposed to light.
Marquise cut diamonds tend to look like boats or football shapes with their curved centers and pointed ends. Marquise look great when the measurements are 2:1. That’s twice as long as they are wide. They are known for their distinct bow-tie effect that shows up in the center of the diamond, due to the ends of the stone being narrower than the center and letting in more light. The bow-tie is a good thing to have!
The marquise diamond maximizes your carat weight, giving you a much larger looking diamond. Marquise cut diamonds is a fancy shaped diamond that can set off a brilliant sparkle with the right cut. While marquise diamonds are not as popular as round cut diamonds or princess cut diamonds, they are still quite sophisticated and elegant. In addition, the shape of the marquise diamond makes the stone appear larger than it is, so you can purchase a smaller size and get the illusion of a bigger carat weight stone.
The pear shaped diamond is also known as the tear drop shaped diamond and is a pendeloque cut diamond. That’s a combination of both a round brilliant cut diamond and a marquise cut diamond – rounded on one end and pointed at the other.
This brilliant cut is also a popular choice for a variety of diamond jewelry especially in pendants and earrings. And when it comes to jewelry like rings, if you choose an elongated pear shape, (much like the oval and the marquise cut diamonds) the length of the diamond will create a subtle slimming effect on the fingers.
Having one rounded end and then a single point, they offer exceptional brilliance. While pear shaped diamonds are not as traditional as round cut diamonds, or as trendy as princess cut diamonds, they are still coveted by many investors, collectors and retail customers alike. If you like to deviate a bit from the norm, than you will most likely appreciate the appearance of the pear cut diamond.
Heart shaped diamonds are essentially pear shaped diamonds with a cleft at the top creating the appearance of a heart. They are the ultimate symbol of romance, and are gaining popularity as a choice for jewelry like engagement rings. As with all loose diamonds, the beauty of the heart shaped diamond depends on the skill of the cutter.
While the heart may very well be the ultimate symbol of love, the heart shaped diamond is sort of a teeter-totter in that people either seem to love them or hate them. We find when it comes to jewelry some people find them so cliché, they’re almost considered cheesy. As an asset however, there is no argument whatsoever as to their tremendous popularity.
As may be evident by the name, the “emerald cut” was originally developed for cutting emeralds, not diamonds.
While the emerald gemstone is a relatively hard stone (7.5 – 8.0 on the MOHS scale), it is known for numerous inclusions (naturally occurring internal flaws). The inclusions make the stone vulnerable to breakage, making them difficult to cut. The stepped, normally rectangular cut with cropped corners, known as the “emerald cut” was developed to address these issues.
The emerald and Asscher cuts are from the same cut group. What makes them different is that their facets create a unique optical appearance like a clear pool of water. The emerald cut diamond is a classic step cut rectangular diamond (if it’s square, it’s called a square emerald cut). This cut doesn’t quite have the brilliance or sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond. Which also means, it can’t hide the flaws and imperfections like the other diamonds can.
So with an emerald cut, you’ll more than likely need to get a clarity grade of at least VS1 in order for the diamond to look clean and face up well to the naked eye. Due to its larger, open table, this highlights the clarity of a diamond. If you choose an emerald cut with a lower clarity grade, such as SI1, be sure to review the clarity plot on the diamond certificate.
Also, emerald cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are. If your preference is an emerald cut with a squared outline, you may actually prefer an Asscher cut diamond.
The Asscher cut diamond was developed in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland. It is a stepped square cut, often called the “square emerald cut” and like an emerald cut, the Asscher has cropped corners. This all works to draw the eye inward towards the center of the stone. If you choose as low as SI1 clarity, view the clarity plot on the diamond certificate, because this shape highlights the clarity of the diamond and you may be sacrificing some of the stone’s dazzling brilliance.
Until recently Asscher cut diamonds were very difficult to find, but the Asscher cut has rapidly gained popularity as it was featured on the television show “Sex & and the City” and stars such as Kate Hudson received Asscher cuts as engagement rings. Although they have gained popularity, the range of diamonds tends to be smaller than for other more common cuts.
If you love the fire of the traditional round brilliant cut and the shape of the less fiery emerald cut and Asscher cut, you just may love the radiant cut diamond. It’s the patented 70 facets offering brilliant light refraction, that makes the radiant cut diamond sparkle so beautifully in the light.
Most square or rectangular cuts just don’t live up to the round brilliant for sparkle, but the radiant cut was designed specifically for getting maximum brilliance. Like the emerald cut, the radiant cut diamond is often a rectangle (sometimes square) with cropped corners, but that’s where the similarities end. Where the emerald cut has long trim lines, the radiant cut is faceted for fire.