Diamond Shapes

Most Popular Diamond Shapes

Bottom Line Recommendations

  • Before buying a diamond, it’s important to understand the different shapes to be able to pick one that most appeals to you.
  • Some diamond shapes are cut to maximize brilliance. These are called brilliant cuts. Examples include the princess cut such as this one here and the radiant cut as you can see here. Other diamonds show the clarity and luster of the stone such as the emerald cut as you can see They are known as step cuts and are characterized by fewer and larger facets.
  • If you want a diamond with plenty of brilliance, consider choosing a round cut. They are cut to maximize light reflection and refraction and are the brightest of all the diamond shapes. Take a look at an example here.
  • If you want a diamond that does not shine too much in the light but is super clear, consider the emerald cut or the Asscher cut. These step cuts have a shallow depth which causes them to appear larger than they are.
  • If you have small fingers and you want a diamond that will make them appear longer and sleeker, go for a diamond that is more elongated such as the pear cut as you can see here.
  • The heart shape is perhaps the best display of love and romance. However, to really bring out the shape of the heart, it is recommended to go for a diamond with larger carat weight.

James Allen Diamonds

It is the form of a diamond that makes up its shape. This will be the first thing than any buyer or will consider when searching for an engagement ring. Some shapes are more popular than others with the round diamond is the most popular.

However, there are plenty more shapes that couples and buyers will find attractive and prefer over the round cut diamond. These other cuts are collectively known as fancy cut diamonds. Every shape has specific qualities that make it unique and this affects the overall look of the diamond.

Some shapes are designed for optimal light reflection. They are better known as brilliant-cut diamonds. Examples include the round cut, the cushion cut, oval cut, heart shape, marquise cut, pear cut, and the radiant cut diamonds.

A common characteristic of these shapes is that the bottom facets will meet at a point. The result is an optimal light return.

Some shapes, however, are meant to display how clear the stone is. They are commonly known as step cut diamonds and include the emerald shape diamond and the Asscher cut. The lower side facets are parallel to the pavilion. The result is a small amount of shimmer but stunning clarity.

It is easy to confuse the diamond shape with its cut. The cut is one of the 4Cs of evaluating diamonds. Others include the color, clarity, and carat. While a diamond rough can be cut into any shape, all the shapes will boil down to step cuts or brilliant cuts.

Cut defines the reflection of light through the stone depending on the arrangement of the facets. The amount of reflection, sparkle, and scintillation on the stone depends on the arrangement and angle of these facets.

If you are shopping for your next diamond, make sure that you choose a cut grade starting from Very Good and above.

Top 10 Diamond Shapes


Round Cut Diamond

The Round Diamond

This is by far the most popular diamond shape. It is also referred to as the round brilliant cut diamond. It is designed and cut to maximize light reflection and has the most fire and brilliance of any diamond shape.

The round brilliant cut diamond has been around for a long time is over 100 years old. It has 58 facets. The shape of the diamond can also be considered an open cut because of its high sparkle and light display. Most of the light that enters the crown of the stone will be reflected back up to the observer.

The pavilion or lower part of the stone has 16 facets, 1 culet, and 8 pavilion facets. There are also 33 facets on the crown

The first brilliant-cut was developed by Marcel Tolkowsky. He derived the cut through mathematical calculate which he used to optimize and maximize light reflection.

Since then the round brilliant cut has seen a steady rise in popularity and accounts for 75% of all the diamonds sold.

If you are interested in getting a round brilliant cut, there are few things you will need to keep in mind. First is that you want a stone that has a ratio of 1.0 or close. It is okay to go with a few points on either side such as 0.98 or 1.02. However, any more than this and it will not appear round.

Since the round brilliant is so popular it also comes with a wide range of setting options. Its very round shape means that it will work with any type of fingers. That said, if you have smaller hands, it’s probably a good idea to go for smaller carat weight and vice versa.

princess cut diamond

The Princess Cut Diamond 

The princess cut comes second as far as popularity goes. They are able to take the sparkle and brilliance of the round cut and put this in a square shape. This type of cut has a contemporary feel and aura to it.

While they are amazingly brilliant, the princess cut is not as brilliant as the round cut. That said this shape is the most popular of the fancy cut diamonds. Among the fancy cut diamonds, none can match up to the sparkle and light performance of the princess cut.

It is also less pricey than the round brilliant cut mainly because there is less diamond rough wasted. A lot of the diamond rough will be wasted when cutting the round brilliant cut.

Due to a large diagonal center, the princess cut shape can appear larger than it is. If you are searching for a shape that will catch attention even at smaller carat weights, then the princess cut is a great choice.

The corners of the princess cut can snag and are therefore likely to chip. Because of this, it is important to choose a setting that has prongs to protect the corners of the princess cut diamond.

More care needs to be taken when evaluating your princess cut diamond. Note that the corners of the diamond can come in two main cuts, these are the French cut and the bezel cut. The French cut results in star facets with all of them pointing to the corners of the stone.

The bezel cut on the other hand has facets that are shaped like diamonds that start from the corners of the table and extend to the diamond’s corners. The bezel corners are more durable than the French corners.

Cushion Cut Guide

Cushion Cut Diamond

The cushion-cut was derived from the mine cut and has been in existence for hundreds of years. Cushion Cuts are the second most popular diamond shape among the fancy cuts. Their price is lower than the princess cut so if you are on a budget, these are an excellent choice.

You can think of the cushion cut as somewhere between the round cut and the princess cut. It has a square shape while also having rounded edges. The round edges mean they are less likely to chip compared to the princess cut. The result is a stone that gives off a romantic feel.

Always ensure that you look at the videos and images of the cushion cut when making a purchase decision. Note that if the imperfections of a cushion cut diamond are visible to the naked eye, the diamond will be less appealing. The great thing is that since the cushion cut has brilliance, it can hide away the imperfections. It is, therefore, a great choice if you are looking for a nice diamond with fire while still being on a budget.

The cushion-cut can come with a square shape or a rectangular shape. Most of the stones However will have a square shape. If you want a diamond that appears larger than it is, a rectangular shape is a good choice.

Consider the length to width ratio when buying a cushion cut diamond. For a square cushion cut, a length to width ratio of between 1 and 1.05 is ideal. For the rectangular shape, go for 1.15 to 1.20.

As for the best setting, a halo setting works perfectly with the cushion cut. They are also great for placing in a vintage setting.

These diamonds have the most varying standards. They may not have as much brilliance as the round cut but cushion cut diamonds will often have more fire.

Emerald cut diamond

The Emerald Cut diamonds

This cut gives off a feeling of elegance with its shallow pavilion and the crown which causes the stone to appear stunningly clear. The steps are reflective and give the diamonds its luster and life.

The emerald cut has a wide table and the long step cuts allow the stone to reflect both white as well as colored light. The most popular shape for the emerald diamond is the rectangular shape. However, you can still have it in a square shape.

For people looking for a larger sized diamond which is not so steeply-priced, the emerald cut is a good choice. It gives off an illusion of size making it look bigger than other stones in the same carat weight.

It’s important to make sure that you get am emerald cut with the correct length to width ratio. The right stone will have an L/W ratio of between 1.30 and 1.60.

The table or top facet of the diamond is a clear mirror that draws the observer’s eyes to the center of the stone. Because of this, if there are any inclusions it is highly likely that they will be visible. Owing to the shallow nature of the crown and the pavilion, the emerald cut is not known for its fire and brilliance.

However, the best will be the clearest stone. Because of their design, any flaw in the stone will be visible. When buying your emerald cut, you need to focus on the clarity of the stone to get the best value for your money.


The Asscher Cut Diamond

A characteristic of this diamond is the square shape and the cut corners. It looks similar to the cushion cut but the corners are sharp. The Asscher cut features a high crown and has brilliance thanks to the steps and in fact, among the step cuts, it is the Asscher cut that has the most brilliance. It gives off a vintage feel to it.

Asscher cut diamonds come in two different variations. These are the standard Asscher cut and the Royal Asscher cut. Since the cut doesn’t offer as much brilliance, it is important to be careful with a diamond that has color. The lack of sparkle means it will not hide the color very well.

Similar to the emerald cut, the Asscher cut is known best for its clarity. It is important therefore that you pay close attention to how clear the stone is. The elegance and beauty of these cuts lie in their clarity.

Note that the pavilion and crown of the Asscher cut are set relatively low which causes it to lack much fire and brilliance.

When you observe the Ascher cut through the table, you should notice concentric squares. This is due to the proper positioning of the pavilion facets.

Radiant Cut Diamond

The Radiant Cut Diamond

You can think of a radiant cut as a combination of the emerald cut and the round brilliant cut. It has plenty of fire and brilliance while also having the silhouette of the emerald.

The brilliance of the radiant cut is as a result of its 70 facets. This is the second most brilliant diamond shape surpassed only by the round cut and is even more brilliant than the princess cut. Since the corners of the shape are beveled, this makes it highly durable against chipping. It is a good choice diamond shape for people with active lifestyles.

Radiant cut and cushion cuts are quite similar in appearance but there are some major differences. While both diamond cuts have edges, the cushion cut is more curved. The radiant cut also features more facets than the cushion cut making it more brilliant.

The radiant cut can come in a square or more rectangular shape. It comes down to personals preference. Since the radiant cut is a brilliant-cut diamond, special care needs to be given to the light action, angle of the facets and how well the diamond reflects light.

If you like the look of the emerald cut but you still want something with a bit more brilliance, then the radiant cut diamond fits the bill.

Its fire and brilliance are what give the radiant cut its value and appeal. You can tell how proportionate a radiant cut is by observing its length to width ratio. Most radiant cut diamonds will be between 1.00 and 1.35. However, you can still find some diamonds having an L/W ratio of 2.

Thanks to the fire and brilliance in a radiant cut, you can get away with a stone that has some inclusions and blemishes.


The Oval Cut Diamonds

The oval cut is popular for its fire and brilliance. It features asymmetrical cut and due to its elongated shape, it appears larger than it really is. This is a versatile shape that can fit any situation.

Since the oval cut has an elongated look, it can make the hands appear slimmer than they actually are. The lack of sharp corners means the wearer doesn’t have to be overly concerned about chipping.

When evaluating an oval cut demand, pay special attention to the stone’s cut quality. This has the highest impact on the beauty, fire, and elegance of the stone.

Keep in mind that owing to the elongated nature of the oval cut, these diamonds are prone to the bowtie effect. The idea is to minimize the bowtie as much as possible since an easily visible bowtie will lower the appeal and the brilliance of the stone.

The great thing with an oval cut is that they can work in any situation and any type of setting. The halo setting complements the center stone and is a common setting with the oval cut.

You also need to consider the length to width ratio of the oval cut. While it will mostly come down to personal preference, most will be between 1.30 and 1.5. The larger the reaction the more elongated the diamond.

As far as clarity goes, oval cut diamonds are good at hiding blemishes and imperfections. While some imperfections will be visible near the edges of the diamond you can get over this by choosing a setting that helps to hide this.

The oval cut diamond is a good choice if you want something that looks different from the round cut but still offers plenty of fire and brilliance.


The Pear Cut Diamonds

One edge of the pear cut is smooth and rounded while the other edge is sharp resulting in a pear shape. It is known for flattering the fingers and making them look elongated. The pear shape highlights the brilliance and sparkle of the stone. Because of this, it is crucial that you search for a stone that has perfect symmetry.

The pear shape looks like a mix between a round brilliant cut and a marquise cut having one sharp point on one the end. Many people will prefer wearing a diamond with a sharp point facing the hand. Some pear diamonds will be slimmer than others so the right one for you will depend on your personal preference.

When evaluating your pear cut diamond, the rounded top edge should be a semi-circle and should not be squat or narrow.

Symmetry is an important factor to consider when buying the pear shape. If one side is not perfectly similar to the other side, the appearance of the diamond will be less appealing. The shoulders, as well as the wings on each side of the pear-shaped diamond, should be perfect mirrors of each other.

Most pear shape diamonds will have a length to width ratio of between 1.4 and 1.7. The larger the ratio the longer the stone.

Since one of the edges is sharp always ensure that you pick a setting that protects this sharp edge from chipping and breaking. Another benefit of having a prong at the sharp edge is that it will hide the imperfections that are likely to appear here.


The Marquise Cut Diamonds

This shape has two pointed ends while the middle is curved. The marquise cut features a much larger surface area than any diamond shape and can actually appear larger than it is.

The diamond gets its name from the Marquise of Pompadour. King Louis XIV wanted to have a diamond cut in the shape of her lips as a sign of his love for her. The long and narrow size can cause the diamond to appear larger than it actually is and is a perfect way of making the fingers and hands look elongated.

The marquise cut diamond, however, is prone to the bowtie effect. It is therefore crucial that you evaluate the diamond yourself through images, video or physically to be able to judge the stone. Such information will not be contained in the diamond certificate.

When choosing the ideal marquise cut diamond for you, how long you want the diamond to be is a matter of personal preference. The common length to width ratio is between 1.75 to 2.15.

Also, when choosing the righty stone for you, pay close attention to the symmetry. The right and left side of the stone should be perfect mirrors of each other. If there is even the slightest misalignment, it will be visible to the eye and the stone will not appear balanced.

Always ensure that you choose the right setting for your marquise diamond. This should have prongs at the edges which are prone to chipping and breaking.

When being cut from the rough, it is these points that will be closest to the outer edges of the rough stone. Because of it, they are more likely to have imperfections. Choosing the right setting can make the blemishes less visible and enhance the look of the stone.


The Heart Shape Diamond

The heart shape diamond-cut features two halves that are symmetrical and have a lot of fire and brilliance. The result is a romantic and bold feel. They are a great choice for an engagement ring as this shape signifies love the best among all other diamond shapes.

Make sure you observe the symmetry in the heart shape diamond before making the purchase. The right and left half of the stone needs to be perfect mirrors of each other. Also cut at the cleft which is between the two halves needs to be distinctive and sharp.

The wings should also feature a slightly rounded shape. When choosing your heart shape, it’s better to go with a stone that is larger than .50 carat. Anything smaller than this and the shape will not be easy to perceive. This is especially so when setting on prongs.

The most common length to width ratio is 1.0. However, you can get away with an L/W ratio of 1.05-1.15.

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