10 Diamond Cuts And Shapes
Diamonds are not only the hardest material on earth, but one of the shiniest non-metal materials. The high luster of a diamond allows them to reflect most of the light that strikes their surface. Different diamond cut shapes can maximize a diamond’s sparkle based on the degree and number of facet angles.
One of the most important elements in buying a good diamond is choosing the right diamond cuts and shapes to enhance the diamond’s properties.
Choosing the right diamond cut is important because the cut can affect the diamond’s size, appearance of clarity, brilliance, and more. For diamond jewelry buying tips, check out our guide on the pros and cons of different diamond cuts and shapes.
The different kinds of diamond shapes are more than just a stylistic element. The shapes are cut by experts, who developed the different shapes for different purposes.
- Some diamond shapes make a diamond look larger.
- Some diamond shapes make a diamond more shiny.
- Some diamond shapes make a diamond more durable.
- Some diamond shapes make a flawed diamond look more flawless.
The type of diamond shape that’s right for you will depend on what you value most in a diamond. Do you want maximum shine? Or maximum diamond size for the price?
One of the most popular diamond ring shapes, round diamonds provide excellent brilliance and a classic look that’s always in style. More than 70% of all diamonds sold today are round diamonds, and it’s no wonder why.
- Round brilliant diamonds have the optimum facets (58) for the highest sparkle
- Round diamonds are symmetrical, classic, and reflect the light spectrum well
- Round diamonds pair well with a brilliant cut, which gives it the facets to maximize shine
- Great shape for diamond accents and smaller diamonds to go in a cluster to mimic the look of higher-carat diamonds
- Most expensive diamond cut (because the cutting process produces more wasted parts of the diamond)
These diamonds have recently become the third most popular shape for engagement rings, due to their luxurious and unique appearance. Designed in the 1800s, this cut was the most sought-after for the time because it exemplified the newest diamond cutting technology. It’s a round shape with squared edges, hence the name.
- Comes in antique and modern versions
- Antique: the original 1800s shape; it has broader facets
- Modern: the new version; has an extra row of facets to enhance the luster
- It’s a cross between the round and princess cut, making it a unique balance
- Vintage feel, timeless elegance
- Rounded edges won’t snag on fabric as easily
- The large facets of a cushion cut show inclusions if the diamond has flaws. You need a diamond with high clarity and color for it to look good in a cushion cut, meaning it will be a bit more pricey
Cushion cut diamonds can add a personalized element to any diamond jewelry, making it look unique. These are a great choice for people who want a less traditional but still brilliant diamond.
Fun fact: The world’s largest faceted diamond, the Golden Jubilee, is a yellowish brown diamond that’s over 540 carats. Its cut is a special form of cushion cut; the “fire rose cushion cut” which was designed by Gabrial Tolkowsky to maximize the diamond’s color and luster. It took him two years to cut and facet it (1998-1990).
This cut features a square shape that offers almost as much brilliance as round diamonds. It’s more geometric than the cushion cut, creating sharp, eye-catching angles.
- Cheaper than other cuts because less of the diamond is wasted in the process
- Most brilliant of all the fancy diamond shapes due to complex facet structure
- Hides inclusions and discoloration decently
- The corners may snag on something if the setting doesn’t protect the edges of the diamond
Princess cut diamonds are great statement diamonds because the price for this shape is typically a bit lower per carat, since it’s an easier cut to achieve. This shape looks great on minimalist and simple diamond jewelry, as well as elaborate styles.
The emerald shape is most famous on emeralds, but it’s also great for making diamonds appear large.
- The large facets bring out a diamond’s clarity, making it clean and confident
- Smooth surfaces show the diamond’s color and clarity
- Bevelled corners won’t snag on things
- Stands out due to size and clarity
- Emerald diamond rings make the fingers appear longer
- Affordable shape due efficient cutting
- It doesn’t hide inclusions or yellow tints, so if you’re diamond has a low grade, it will show
- Not as shiny, lower luster shape
- Must be cut by an expert due to the efficiency required
Diamonds that are emerald-cut will look bigger than diamonds of the same carat weight, and are a bit more affordable. If you want big diamonds, emerald diamonds are a great choice.
The fourth most popular diamond ring shape, asscher diamonds have a deep pavilion and precise cut. They’re more sparkly than emerald diamonds and also appear a bit larger than other diamonds of similar carat weight. Perfect for a balance of size and shine.
- Looks great in almost any engagement ring design
- No sharp corners to catch on things
- Not prone to breakage
- Unique appearance, balance of brilliance and clarity
- Doesn’t hide a diamond’s flaws or blemishes well
- Has a very deep cut, so the stone doesn’t take up as much surface area which would make it look bigger
These diamonds became popular during the Art Deco period in the 1920s, but remain popular today as a throwback style to the roaring 20s. It’s a great choice for the 2020s since it’s the 100th-year anniversary of the shape!
A marquise cut diamond shape was designed in France and is like an elongated oval diamond, but with points at either end. This makes it look larger than other stones of similar carat-weight. It’s also called a navette diamond, after the French word for “little ship.”
- Brilliant cut, high sparkle
- Shallow cut makes the diamond appear longer
- Makes shorter fingers appear longer
- Works in most settings
- Hides flaws and inclusions well due to a combination of its shape and faceting layout.
- The facets can create what’s called a bowtie. This is a dark reflection area in the center of a diamond that has the shape of a bowtie. You can reduce this dark area by choosing an expertly-cut stone
- The sharp ends are more delicate and may snag on things if the edges lack protection
This diamond shape traces its origins to the French court during the reign of Louis XV. According to legend, the shape of the diamond is said to be a tribute to the shape of Madame de Pompadour, his mistress.
A premium shape, heart diamonds are associated with romance. It takes a lot of skill to cut a diamond like this, so its value tends to increase. It’s typically cut with advanced technology.
- Modern shape that’s feminine and meaningful
- A unique diamond shape for an engagement ring as they’re not highly popular
- Eye-catching shape that works well as a solitaire, or with other diamonds
- The most symbolic shape for a diamond
- A more expensive diamond shape due to the difficulty of achieving the cut
- Not as traditional, it has a modern feel
- Requires a diamond of high color and clarity
Some people think heart-shaped diamonds are cute, others don’t like them, and many people haven’t seen them. It’s one of the most unique diamond shapes out there.
Considered a fancy shape, oval diamonds are one of the most durable shapes for diamond jewelry. They’re cheaper than round diamonds, yet still provide the elegant round shape with stunning brilliance.
- Highly brilliant shape with many facets in a specialized arrangement
- Great sparkly stone that’s an alternative to round diamonds
- Make shorter fingers appear longer and thinner
- Good value for the price
- No sharp edges to catch on things
- High durability
- If it’s not cut perfectly, it can have the bowtie effect in its reflection
- They don’t hide inclusions or flaws very well
Oval diamonds were designed in the 1960s, to create a sophisticated shape that works well as a modern classic with a unique flair.
It’s hard to find well-cut pear-shaped diamonds, so when you own one, it stands out. The shape is hard to ignore and makes the diamond even more eye-catching than some traditional shapes. You can also get away with a slightly lower-quality diamond in a pear-shape, because the shape can hide inclusions better than some others.
- Great in modern and vintage settings for a sleek look
- Elongates the fingers and looks elegant on the hand
- A beautiful and rarer diamond shape, it’s a unique choice if you want to stand out
- Affordable compared to round cuts and some other diamond shapes
- The bowtie effect can occur and reduce brilliance in a pear shape that’s not perfectly cut
- Requires expertise to achieve, making it a bit hard to find
- Pointed edge is vulnerable to snags and breakage, so it requires a bezel or v-tipped prong setting for ideal durability
- Shows tints, blemishes, and flaws so you need a high-quality diamond
It might surprise you that the pear shape is an old diamond shape, which was created in the 15th century. It makes it a great historical diamond that is interesting to look at and ponder over.
These diamonds are a combination of the princess cut and cushion cut. They look similar to ice, and any diamond flaws can work in favor of this shape by making the ice look more realistic. These cuts have many angular facets, and are pretty stable.
- Extremely brilliant, great for maximizing shine and the sparkle in bling jewelry
- It’s a durable shape without much risk for snags and breaks
- Durability makes it one of the best diamond shapes if you have an active lifestyle
- This shape hides any diamond flaws pretty well so you can buy a cheaper diamond and it will look higher-quality in this shape
- Inclusions can give it the unique look of cracked ice
- It’s a pretty rare cut, so it can be hard to find
- The depth of the cut doesn’t make the diamond appear larger than its carats
Radiant shaped diamonds were designed in the 1970s and have remained somewhat rare since then. It’s a shape that may gain mass popularity in upcoming years, but currently it remains unique and eye-catching. It’s one of the best cuts to make the most of a cheaper diamond and create artistic designs out of the natural inclusions.
Diamond cut diamond shapes – what’s the difference? Diamond cuts are not the same thing as diamond cut shapes, although certain shapes tend to have certain cuts more than others (most round diamonds have a similar brilliant cut).
Diamond cutting is all about the proportion, symmetry, angles, and facets. The shape refers to the overall silhouette of the diamond. Cuts and shapes interact with each other to produce different optical effects in diamonds.
In a good cut, the light can disperse throughout the whole shape of a diamond. In a poor cut, the light may not reflect in certain parts of the diamond’s shape, which is what creates darker spots and can produce the bowtie effect.
Here are some of the categories of cuts and how they affect the light-play in a diamond.
- Shallow Cut
When a diamond is shallow, the light is lost out the sides and the diamond loses its captivating brilliance.
- Deep Cut
When a diamond is cut deep, the light escapes out the bottom and the diamond appears dark.
- Ideal Cut
The ideal cut allows the light to travel freely through the diamond and exit in a rainbow of sparkles.
Polish and Symmetry
Just like a cut, polish and symmetry interact with cut and shape to affect the appearance of a diamond. Poor polish will leave a diamond’s facets dull, which will make the diamond appear blurry and produce less sparkle.
Symmetry allows the light to travel freely through the diamond and poor symmetry will dramatically subtract from the diamond’s appearance.
Some shapes are easier to cut in a way that achieves optimal polish, symmetry, and cut depth. Other shapes, like the marquise and bowtie, require expertise to balance all of the elements in a cut for an optimized look.
When choosing the best diamond within your budget, you want to look at which diamond cuts and diamond shapes will bring out the best qualities of your diamond and minimize the lesser traits.
When choosing diamond ring shapes for an engagement ring, you want to make your ring appear as dazzling as possible, for both high prices and low prices. Here are some examples of diamond shapes and cuts that work for different budgets:
- If you have a high budget and want to maximize the sparkle of your ring, a good choice to buy is a large three stone diamond engagement ring with large round and pear cut diamonds. The center round diamond provides dazzling sparkle, while the pear-shaped diamonds on the sides take up a lot of surface area, making the diamonds look huge.
- A good option for unique engagement rings for under $10,000 is cushion cut fancy diamond engagement ring that has colored diamonds, rose gold, and a unique center diamond shape.
- If you have a medium budget, you can achieve the shine of a larger gemstone with a cluster diamond ring, which groups many smaller round diamonds together, creating a dazzling effect.This saves money because round diamonds can get expensive as the carat number goes up.
- If you’re looking for an engagement ring for under $500, a good cheap real diamond engagement ring option is a real gold diamond solitaire engagement ring that features one round-cut diamond that shines bright and maintains the traditional diamond engagement ring look without breaking the bank.
- A great affordable diamond engagement ring under $400 makes use of many smaller diamond accents (totalling 0.31 carats) which shine as bright as larger diamonds and have many diamonds, while being cheaper than it looks due to the diamond’s lower carat weight.
As you can see, playing with different diamond shapes for rings can maximize the appearance of a diamond, no matter its quality or carats. Affordable diamond rings can look just as beautiful as more expensive ones; they don’t have to look cheap.
The key to choosing the best cut, shape, symmetry and polish for any diamond is to buy your diamond jewelry from a jeweler who sells expert-cut diamonds. Even a stunning diamond can be marred by a poor cut. Craftsmanship is just as important as quality.