There are 10 popular diamond shapes for use in engagement rings. These are the Round Brilliant and nine “fancy shaped” diamonds: the Princess Cut, Asscher, Emerald, Cushion, Radiant, Heart, Marquise, Oval and Pear.
The most popular of these is the Round cut, followed closely by the Princess cut. Choosing the diamond shape for you is dependent on your specific taste and style and is one reason why there are so many different shapes of diamonds available. For more info, check out our article on diamonds and personality.
Although not one of the “4 C’s“, the shape of the diamond also has an impact on with diamond’s price. The round cut tends to be the most expensive, while the princess cut, which follows the natural crystalline structure of the diamond, is one of the most cost-effective cuts…
Here is a more detailed look at the various diamond shapes…
The Round Brilliant cut diamond is the most popular shape for diamonds found in engagement rings. It is a traditional favorite and is noted for its sparkle and scintillation. The Round Brilliant cut is designed to reflect almost all the light that touches it. It is the most expensive cut as it takes a diamond cutter 4 to 5 times longer to cut a Round diamond to ideal proportions and symmetry.
More than a century ago, Marcel Tolkowsky, a member of a prominent diamond family and a Russian Mathematician, calculated just how many cuts it would take to fashion a diamond that was considered ‘ideal’. Today this particular cut of diamond is known as the round brilliant cut diamond and it exudes more fire and sparkle than any other cut of diamond currently on the market.
The round cut diamond accounts for about 70% of all diamonds sold. The most common use for this cut of diamond is in engagement rings, however it is used in other types of jewelry such as earrings and necklaces. The round cut diamond is classic and timeless and can appear either vintage or modern depending on the specific setting that is used. In addition to this, it is also a diamond that looks remarkable as a solitaire or with accent diamonds flanking it. It is this versatility which keeps the round cut such a popular choice more than a hundred years after its creation.
If you like the brilliance and fire of a round cut diamond but would prefer a more modern square shape instead, then you may want to take a look at a princess cut diamond.
Referred to as a “square modified brilliant” on lab reports and grading certificates, the Princess cut is the next most popular shape after the round cut. The Princess case is a good choice for engagement rings and works well and with a wide variety of setting styles, including the diamond solitaire, pave and channel stone settings.
The four sharp corners of the princess cut are usually protected by metal prongs so that they do not chip. Occasionally, these corners are chamfered in order to prevent wear.
The Princess cut is designed to follow the natural shape of the rough diamond and is cut with a process that focuses on saving as much of the rough stone as possible. This makes the Princess cut, on a carat for carat basis, less expensive than a Round cut diamond. The Princess cut offers brilliance, scintillation and fire at affordable prices.
The name “Princess Cut” was first used in association with a cut that was called the “Profile” cut, created in 1961 by Arpad Nagy a London diamond cutter. The profile cut was designed for use with flatter gemstones and is not the same as today’s princess cut diamond.
The next precursor of the Princess Cut was the Barion cut, a square-cut diamond with rounded corners, designed by South African diamond cutter Basil Watermeyer in 1971. The Barion cut style was for rectangular or square diamonds, with an improved method of faceting, designed to obtain the most sparkle and brilliance from the stone. Before the Barion cut, square shaped diamonds tended to appear dull.
Finally, in 1979/1980, after three years of optical research, the modern Princess cut diamond was developed by Betzalel Ambar, Ygal Perlman and Israel Itzkowitz. Later, a similar cut, patented the “Quadrillion”, was distributed by Ambar Diamonds. The Princess cut is designed to maximize brilliance and sparkle. The final goal of the princess cut is to have a diamond with the brilliance of the round cut, with clean, modern lines.
Princess cut diamonds can be placed in many different jewelry items, for example, diamond stud earrings, engagement rings, chokers, tennis bracelets and necklaces.
For further information please visit our Princess Cut Engagement Rings page.
Emerald cut diamonds are noted for their subtle beauty, and elegance. The Emerald cut is less sparkly than the Round cut, but tends to have more dramatic flashes of scintillation.
Initially, the emerald cut was created as a method of cutting emeralds. Known as a “step cut”, it creates large rectangular facets, which appear similar to staircase step. Eventually it was discovered that this cut could also be used for diamonds. This resulted in a diamond that is both classic and elegant.
In order to make an emerald cut diamond you need a rough crystal that is both high in quality and large enough to prevent the appearance of flaws. There are several things that you should take into careful consideration when choosing an emerald cut diamond. The color and clarity of the stone need to be carefully chosen because the large facets of an emerald cut diamond make flaws and imperfections much more noticeable. The ratio of an emerald cut diamond varies based on the exact shape of the stone in question. For example, a rectangular shaped emerald cut diamond has a ratio of about 1.50, however, if you prefer a shape that is more square, the length-to-width ratio should be around 1.30.
An emerald cut diamond is suitable for settings both simple and elegant as emerald cut diamonds possess a classic and quiet sophistication about them. This particular cut is used for engagement rings, and it is a very good choice for a standalone setting, such as a diamond solitaire, as there is no need for side accents to make the diamond stand out.
Cushion cut possess a look which is both classic and romantic.. The rounded corners and large facet of the Cushion cut diamond gives it a distinctive appearance and an antique feel. Many cushion cut diamonds have such a sparkle that they are often compared to the look of sparkling water or crushed ice.
The cushion cut diamond is a blend of an antique cut from the 1800’s known as the old mine cut and the present day oval cut. This particular cut of diamond is also commonly referred to as the pillow cut or the candlelight diamond. This is due to how the shape of this stone resembles that of a pillow or cushion, as well as the way it glimmers and glitters in the candlelight. Prior to the invention of the round cut diamond, the cushion cut was the most popular diamond shape.
There are two basic types of cushion cut diamonds, those that have a chunky appearance (referred to as an antique cushion cut because they resemble the antique miner cut diamond) and those which have a look that resembles crushed ice or glass (referred to, not surprisingly, as the crushed ice cushion cut). Cushion cut diamonds can be used in a variety of settings ranging from solitaire to pave to side stone.
The Asscher cut diamond was created by Joseph Asscher of the Asscher Diamond Co. in the early 1900’s. There are actually two different types to choose from, the standard Asscher and the royal Asscher. Generally, when someone refers to the Asscher cut, they are speaking of the standard or original Asscher cut. The standard Asscher cut has 58 facets, while the royal Asscher has 74 facets. Because of its higher number of facets the royal has a higher crown as well.
Like the emerald cut, Asscher cut diamonds fall under the category of step cuts. This is because the facets are lined up in such a way that they closely resemble steps on a staircase and reflect light much like you might expect from a hallway that has been lined with mirrors.
This cut of diamond is based on the clarity and luster of the rough crystal itself. It is for this reason that it is recommended that you choose crystals with the highest possible clarity. Using rough crystals with a lower grade clarity often leaves you with a stone that is not as elegant as it could be. This is because the Asscher cut has a large surface area, so imperfections of the finished stone much more visible to the naked eye.
An Asscher cut diamond can be used in a variety of settings from vintage to modern. This is also a cut of diamond that looks good as both a stand alone stone, such as a diamond solitaire, or with accent diamonds.
Radiant cut diamonds combine the elegance of the Emerald cut with the sparkle of the Round Brilliant cut. The Radiant cut works well for fancy colored diamonds, as the shape and facet arrangement intensify the color.
As with the Emerald cut, the Radiant cut diamond shows inclusions and imperfections very easily so it is important to select a diamond that has a high color and clarity rating.
The Heart shape is a variation of the Round Brilliant cut into the shape of a heart. It is considered the most sentimental of diamond shapes and is growing in popularity for engagement rings.
The Heart-shaped diamond requires skilled cutting to ensure proper brilliance. Symmetry is also an important consideration as the heart shape should be apparent in the setting.
Like the Heart-shaped diamond, the Marquise cut is a variation of the Round Brilliant cut, combining the brilliance and sparkle of a perfect Round Brilliant cut with an Oval cut.
The elongated shape of the Marquise cut flatters the finger and accentuates the carat weight. Color and clarity of the diamond are emphasized by the Marquise cut.
The Oval cut diamond is a longer and narrower variation of the Round Brilliant cut diamond.
The narrower shape of Oval diamonds gives it a very flattering effect to the finger and makes some of the most beautiful diamond engagement rings.
Clarity and color are important when choosing an Oval cut diamond as impurities and inclusions are more easily visible.
Like the Oval cut, the Pear cut is a modification of the Round Brilliant, and resembles a sparkling teardrop.
Pear cut diamond rings make the finger look elongated, enhancing the diamond’s elegance. It can be difficult to produce a Pear cut diamond with perfectly cut facets and proportions and they can easily lose their brilliance if they are incorrectly proportioned.