If you’re looking to purchase a diamond engagement ring, one of the first decisions you’ll be making relates to the shape of the diamond. There are ten main shapes that diamonds come in and each has their pros and cons. Of these 10, we outline the top five below.
An important point to note is that the diamond cut and the diamond shape aren’t the same things.
Let me explain. Diamond shape refers to the overall form of the diamond, while diamond cut refers to the technical aspects of the shapes such as the number of facets. For example, a single shape can have various types of cuts.
The shape and cut of the diamond affect the price, appearance, brilliance, and style of your engagement ring, making the diamond shape you choose one of the most important decisions of the entire engagement ring process.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 diamond cuts, as well as their pros and cons.
1 The Round Brilliant Cut
The most popular cut of them all, the round brilliant is the quintessential diamond shape that commonly comes to mind when you say the word diamond. Over 70% of all diamonds manufactured are round cuts and it’s easy to see why they are so coveted.
Round cuts are generally the most brilliant of all diamond cuts due to the number and arrangement of the facets, which allows for maximum light reflection and excellent light performance. Round cuts pair well with almost all types of engagement ring settings and have a timeless, classic look.
The process of cutting round diamonds results in the high amount of wastage of the rough diamond, meaning that this shape is among the most expensive.
2 Princess Cut
The second most popular diamond shape, the princess cut is very versatile and looks amazing in most ring styles. The princess cut is a square shape that is generally second only to the round diamond in terms of brilliance. It is the most brilliant of all the fancy shapes (on a side note, fancy shapes refers to all diamond shapes except the round).
Princess cut diamonds are generally less expensive than most other diamond shapes and also have the tendency to hide flaws and inclusions in the diamond. This makes it a great choice for engagement rings. The shape is modern and sleek, ideal for solitaire rings or more intricate settings.
Possibly the main disadvantage of the princess cut is the fact that it has four sharp points, which are its most vulnerable sections. However, a well-chosen setting can provide protection to the diamond while remaining aesthetically pleasing.
3 Cushion Cut Diamonds
The cushion cut was first created almost 200 years ago and was the most popular cut at the time. While the round brilliant now holds that prestigious position, the cushion cut has been gaining popularity lately and is number three on the list of most popular diamond shapes. This timeless cut contains rounded edges that give it a pillow like an appearance, hence the term ‘cushion’. You can liken the cushion cut to a square shape with rounded corners.
There are two main varieties of cushion cuts – a) the modified cushion brilliant which has a crushed-ice appearance and is highly brilliant due to an extra row of facets added to the table, and b) the antique style cushion cut which has larger facets. Cushion cuts have a vintage touch about them and are often found in antique rings. With the resurgence in the desire for all things vintage in the fashion world, cushion cut diamonds are in demand more than ever before.
4 Emerald Cut
The emerald cut was initially used to shape – you guessed it – emeralds. With colored gemstones, such as emeralds, the focus of the cut is to maximize the color and not the brilliance. Interestingly, the emerald cut was so popular that it was then used in shaping diamonds. This has resulted in a cut which has a unique look. It is not fiery or brilliant but has a classic appearance that highlights the clarity and color of the diamond.
The emerald cut employs what is known as a step cut, where the long facets and large open table of the cut create a hall of mirrors effect as opposed to fiery sparkle. Emerald cuts are relatively affordable and also makes a diamond appear larger.
The emerald cut was highly popular during the Art Deco era of the 1920s, making it perfect for vintage-inspired rings.
They look especially stunning when set in halo settings, as the sparkle of the little diamonds surrounding the emerald contrasts beautifully with the classic calm look of the emerald. While bezel settings offer great protection for a diamond as they can make an emerald cut diamond appear dull and smaller in size.
If you want a brilliant diamond, then the emerald cut is not for you. Also, emerald cuts don’t hide tints or imperfections well. However, for a unique look, the emerald is a great option.
5 Oval Cut Diamonds
The oval cut has been around since the 1950s and, like the cushion cut, has lately been surging in popularity. An increasing number of people want to find alternatives to the traditional engagement ring with the classic round brilliant and the oval cut offers a great option. Oval cut diamonds are highly brilliant as they are a modified brilliant cut and have fire and sparkle that is almost as good as that of round diamonds.
Oval cuts tend to look large and highlight the beauty of the diamond. They are great in all types of settings but look especially stunning in vintage-inspired designs, due to their old world charm. Ovals are also perfect for all types of fingers as they tend to elongate the fingers and complement any type of hand.
Here’s a quick guide on matching your engagement ring to your finger.
Credit: Jewelry Shop Guide
Whether you opt for one of the top five or decide to go with a lesser-known cut when choosing your diamond shape, consider your preferences, budget, setting and whether or not the shape complements your fingers. Always shop from a reputable vendor who can offer you solid and unbiased advice when selecting your diamond. And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process! After all, it is a once in a lifetime experience.