How to Choose a Diamond Shape

How to Choose a Diamond Shape

When it comes to purchasing a diamond, understanding the intricacies of shape is crucial. The diamond's shape not only impacts its aesthetics but is also an embodiment of personal style and taste. This guide offers insightful direction on how to select the perfect diamond shape for you.

Understanding Diamond Shapes

A diamond's shape is defined by its geometric form when viewed from above. The most popular diamond shape is the round brilliant cut, renowned for its exceptional brilliance and fire. However, there are several other shapes, known as 'fancy cuts', including princess, oval, marquise, pear, cushion, and emerald, each with its unique characteristics.

Each diamond shape possesses its own character and charm, and the choice often comes down to personal preference and the desired style of the jewelry piece in which it will be set.

Round Cut Diamonds

The round diamond shape, also known as the brilliant cut, is renowned for its iconic and timeless elegance. Its symmetrical and perfectly circular silhouette, comprising of 58 facets, maximizes light reflection to deliver unmatched brilliance and sparkle. This cut is the epitome of a classic diamond, offering extraordinary fire and scintillation that makes it a popular choice for various types of jewelry, especially engagement rings.

Oval Cut Diamonds

The oval diamond shape, known for its modern and innovative design, is a unique take on the brilliance of the round cut diamond. Its elongated form, consisting of 56 to 58 facets, provides an illusion of greater size, making it an excellent choice for those desiring a larger-looking diamond. The slender shape of an oval diamond can also create a flattering, elongating effect on the wearer's finger. This cut strikes a balance between timeless elegance and contemporary style, making it a preferred choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry among those seeking a distinctive yet sophisticated look.

Cushion Cut Diamonds

The cushion cut diamond, fondly referred to as the "pillow cut", is a blend of the old and new world, characterized by its square or rectangular shape with rounded corners. This cut features large facets, typically 58 to 64, which enhance the diamond's brilliance and highlight its clarity. With a charming vintage appeal dating back to the 1800s, the cushion cut offers a soft romantic glow and substantial fire. Its distinctive shape and captivating sparkle make it a favored choice for those seeking a touch of vintage elegance and a unique alternative to the more traditional round cut. This cut is frequently selected for engagement rings and other significant pieces of jewelry, lending an air of antique grace and luxury.

Pear Cut Diamonds

The pear cut diamond, often referred to as the "teardrop diamond," is a unique and hybrid cut that combines the brilliance and design of the round and marquise cuts. This distinctive cut, typically comprising 58 facets, boasts a rounded edge that subtly tapers into a single point at the opposite end, forming an elegant and versatile shape. Its elongated form can create an exquisite slimming effect on the wearer's finger, making it a particularly flattering choice. The pear cut, with its singular design and enhanced sparkle, conveys a sense of adventurous individuality and is an excellent choice for those seeking a mix of classic and unconventional style in their jewelry. Its unique form lends itself well to a variety of jewelry pieces, including engagement rings, pendants, and earrings, infusing each piece with its own unique elegance and flare.

Emerald Cut Diamonds

The emerald cut diamond, named for its similarity to emerald gem cuts, is an elegant and iconic diamond shape. Renowned for its understated sophistication, the emerald cut is a rectangular shape with cut corners, typically composed of 57 facets. This cut focuses on clarity over brilliance, featuring large, open tables which showcase the pure and clear quality of the diamond. Its hall of mirrors effect, created by the interplay between light and dark planes, exudes an exquisite vintage charm. The long, straight lines and dramatic flashes of light give the emerald cut a bold and classic look. It's a popular choice for those seeking a timeless yet distinctive diamond, often chosen for engagement rings and statement jewelry pieces. The emerald cut's clean lines and balanced symmetry lend an air of refined elegance that truly stands the test of time.

Radiant Cut Diamonds

The radiant cut diamond, a brilliant fusion of the traditional round cut and the elegant emerald cut, offers a unique blend of sophistication and sparkle. This distinctive cut, known for its trimmed corners and vibrant brilliance, typically consists of 70 facets, allowing for maximum light reflection. The radiant cut is particularly admired for its versatility, being equally alluring when set in a simplistic solitaire setting or nestled among other stones in a more elaborate design. Its multifaceted nature results in an intense fire and sparkle, capturing and refracting light at various angles to create a stunning visual effect. Often chosen for engagement rings, the radiant cut is a testament to both modern cutting techniques and timeless allure, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a balance between traditional elegance and contemporary charm.

Princess Cut Diamonds

The princess cut diamond, a top contender for the most popular diamond shape, is best known for its distinctive square profile and brilliant sparkle. Characterized by sharp, uncut corners and typically composed of between 58 and 76 facets, the princess cut achieves a luminosity nearly as bright as a round cut diamond. This innovative cut, first introduced in the 1960s, has since become a contemporary favorite, particularly for engagement rings. Its geometric simplicity and high degree of light dispersion provide a modern twist, while still exuding an air of regal elegance. The princess cut's balanced combination of brilliance and clarity makes it a versatile choice, suitable for a variety of ring settings and styles. Whether set in a classic solitaire or a more intricate design, the princess cut diamond is a testament to both modern style and timeless beauty.

Marquise Cut Diamonds

The marquise cut diamond, also known as the "navette", boasts a rich history and unique, elongated shape. Its distinctive boat-like silhouette, composed of 58 facets and sharp, pointed ends, is influenced by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour, for whom the cut was named by King Louis XV of France. The elongated design of the marquise cut not only makes it appear larger than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight, but also enhances the finger's length and slender appearance when set in a ring. This cut's symmetrical design results in a high level of brilliance and fire, creating an exceptional play of light. The marquise cut diamond, with its blend of royal history, unique shape, and brilliant sparkle, offers an unconventional and stylish choice for those seeking a piece of jewelry that truly stands out.

Asscher Cut Diamonds

The Asscher cut diamond, first introduced in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, is a unique and sophisticated choice. Recognizable by its distinctive square shape with deeply trimmed corners, it is often compared to an octagon. This cut features a small table, high crown, and step facets, resulting in a captivating "hall of mirrors" effect. The 58-facet design emphasizes clarity over brilliance, with inclusions more visible than in other cuts. However, this also means when a high quality diamond is used, the Asscher cut's display of clarity can be truly breathtaking. Its timeless Art Deco aesthetic and the vintage charm it exudes make the Asscher cut diamond a distinctive and stylish choice for those desiring a piece of jewelry that combines traditional elegance with individual flair.

Heart Cut Diamonds

The heart cut diamond is a romantic and symbolic choice, admired for its unique and sentimental shape. Often associated with love and affection, this cut is typically chosen for its symbolic meaning rather than its brilliance. The heart shape is a complex cut composed of between 56 to 58 facets, requiring a high degree of craftsmanship to achieve. It is paramount that both halves of the heart are identical to create a balanced and symmetrical appearance. Despite not being the most brilliant of cuts, the heart cut diamond can still produce significant sparkle, particularly in high-quality diamonds. Ideal for pendants and solitaire engagement rings, the heart cut diamond offers an unconventional and expressive choice for those seeking a piece of jewelry that truly speaks to the heart.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Diamond Shape

Personal Style

Diamond shape selection often reflects personal style. Round and princess cut diamonds suit those who appreciate classic elegance, while more adventurous or avant-garde personalities might prefer the marquise or pear shape. In essence, the diamond's shape should resonate with the wearer's individuality.

Light Performance

Different diamond shapes yield different light performances. Round cuts offer the highest levels of brilliance due to their symmetrically aligned facets, while shapes like the emerald or asscher cut offer a more subdued, hall-of-mirrors effect, showcasing the diamond's clarity.

Hand Shape

The diamond's shape can also compliment the wearer's hand. For slender fingers, oval, pear, or marquise shapes elongate and flatter. For wider fingers, round, princess or cushion cuts offer significant cover and are strikingly beautiful.


Price is another factor to consider when choosing a diamond shape. Round cut diamonds, being the most in-demand, typically command higher prices, while fancy shapes, due to less demand and more of the rough diamond being retained during cutting, often come at a lower cost.

Choosing a diamond shape is a personal journey that reflects individual style, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Understanding the different shapes and their characteristics can help guide you to the perfect diamond that will sparkle for a lifetime.

What Shape is Right for You?

Choosing the right diamond shape largely depends on personal style and preferences. Classic shapes like the round brilliant cut are versatile and timeless, and are particularly popular for their brilliance and fire. The princess cut, with its modern, geometric look, is perfect for those who prefer contemporary styles. Oval diamonds elongate the finger and are often chosen for their unique and flattering look. Emerald and Asscher cuts exude vintage elegance, while the marquise, pear, and heart shapes are distinctive and bold. It's important to factor in how the diamond shape will look on your hand, the style of the setting, and your overall budget. Remember, there's no right or wrong choice—it's about what feels most "you."