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Diamond Shapes

The shape of your diamond is often where the search for the perfect stone begins; people feel drawn to one shape over another, and you may want to narrow your search on the Diamond Select Ring Builder or loose diamond finder tool by shape from the start.

Below we discuss the most common diamond shapes, each of which can form the base of a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Diamond shapes

Cushion

The Cushion shaped diamond has been around since the mid-1800s, with some modern improvements. This is a wonderful shape for people who prefer vintage-type rings with a feature solitaire stone. This shape is also sometimes referred to as the pillow-cut or the candlelight diamond. A Cushion-shaped diamond is not as fiery or brilliant as many of the newer cuts that focus on “sparkle,” but it has a romantic and vintage look that stands out from the crowd of round brilliants. To achieve this shape, the diamond is cut into a square or rectangle with rounded corners and sides.

Diamond shape cushion

The large, open table on the Cushion diamond is its primary feature, and there are not as many facets as in the modern “brilliant” cuts, so as with any cut with a large table you should focus for Cushion shapes on selecting a stone with the best clarity and color available in your price range. Standards for Cushion cut diamonds vary widely and much is left to personal taste -- some Cushions are nearly square, others are long rectangles, and there are varying tables and depth percentages.

Diamond Select recommends that you look for square-shaped Cushions with a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 and 1.05, and rectangle-shaped Cushions with a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 to 1.15 or greater.

Round

Round (sometimes called round brilliant) is currently the most common shape chosen for diamonds. Because round diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, there is always an extensive selection of Round-shape diamonds from which to choose in all price ranges. Starting in 1919, the use of modern tools and science set standards for optimize the brilliance of a Round diamond cut, and cutters have perfected this shape to maximize the stone’s “sparkle” so that when color and clarity are equal, a Round diamond is considered more value than alternative shapes.

During cutting and processing, a Round-cut diamond sacrifices more of its original carat weight than any other shape because Round brilliants have very specific proportions that must be maintained in order to be considered a “Round”. Much of their popularity comes from the fact that because a Round-cut diamond emits higher levels of brilliance and fire, it will offer terrific appeal even if it has a lower color, clarity, or cut.

The modern Round brilliant consists of 58 facets; 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion. The girdle may be frosted, polished smooth, or faceted (most modern Rounds have faceted girdles to increase brilliance, but such facets are not counted towards the total facets on the stone).

GIA and other diamond graders have established a set scale for Rounds that establishes whether the cut is Ideal, Premium, or Good. The essence of differentiating between grades of Round diamonds is the depth percentage -- the length of the stone from table (top) to culet (bottom), expressed as a percentage of the diamond’s width, measured at the girdle (width). This depth-to-width relationship is what results in the proper refraction of light and maximum fire and brilliance.

Round Brilliant Diamond Cut Grades    
GRADE TABLE PERCENTAGE DEPTH PERCENTAGE
Ideal 53% - 57% 59% - 62%
Premium 58% - 63% 58% or 63%
Good 64% - 65% 57.5 or 64%

Diamond Select recommends that you look for Rounds with a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 and 1.02.  

Oval

For someone who wants the same brilliance as a Round, but wants a more unique shape, an Oval diamond is a popular option. This shape with 56 facets was created in the late 1950s as an elliptical variation of the round brilliant, using the same mathematical and scientific faceting principles behind the tremendous sparkle of the Round.

Diamond shape oval

Oval diamonds are known for accentuating long, slender fingers (and for helping to create the illusion that fingers are longer and more slender). Ovals can range in elongation, with some looking very close to rounds, so you will want to check the length-to-width ratio of the diamond and think about whether you prefer a longer, thinner cut or a rounder, softer cut.

For a more traditional Oval shape, Diamond Select recommends that you look for Ovals with a length-to-width ratio between 1.33 and 1.66.

Marquise

The Marquise shape has a storied history; the legend of this shape is that it was created at the request of King Louis XIV of France who demanded that his jewelers cut a diamond that captured the sparkling smile of his mistress, the Marquise. The stone is thus cut somewhat like a sideways smiling mouth, with an elongated stone with pointed ends for dramatic appeal. (Others think of the shape as a skinny football, which is not quite as romantic.)

Diamond shape Marquise

Marquise diamonds, which are a brilliant-cut, have 58 facets. One reason people are drawn to the Marquise shape is that it maximizes carat weight, meaning that your diamond can look larger (and cover more territory) with fewer carats as the stone is stretched out on both ends. As with an oval shaped diamond, the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender.

Diamond Select recommends that you look for Marquise diamonds with a length-to-width ratio between 1.75 and 2.25.

Pear

Pear shapes (also called a teardrop diamond for the single point and rounded end) are another variety of brilliant-cut diamond, with 58 facets. Essentially, the Pear shape has the top of a Round diamond, with the bottom of a Marquis diamond, creating the teardrop shape that is the favorite of many. Like the Round and the Marquis shapes, a Pear diamond has 58 brilliant facets.

Diamond shape Pear

The Pear shape is popular not just for its unique blending of shapes, but because like other non-round diamonds, the length of the diamond can subtly slim the fingers. Standards for Pear cut diamonds vary widely and much is left to personal taste -- some Pears have wide, rounded tops, while others are longer and slimmer.

Diamond Select recommends that you look for Pear diamonds with a length-to-width ratio between 1.4 and 1.75.

Heart

The name says it all: a heart-shaped diamond is a heart, similar to a pear-shape but with a dimple at the top that transforms a teardrop into pure love. This romantic cut is popular for engagement and anniversary rings, and this brilliant-cut stone generally boasts 58 facets (although there may be some slight variation, depending on the cutting technique).

Diamond shape Heart

Heart-shaped diamonds, similar to the Princess shape, are more prone than other diamond shapes to show color impurities at their corners. Therefore, although the price for a heart-shaped diamond with lower color grade can seem inviting, we recommend choosing a heart-shaped diamond with the best color grade that fits your budget (and no lower than H).

Diamond Select recommends that you look for Heart diamonds with a length-to-width ratio between .9 and 1.10 to get the more traditional Heart shape.

Emerald

The Emerald shape joins the Cushion shape in being more traditional and less “sparkly” than the brilliant cut shapes, and in offering a large, open table at the top of the diamond. This shape is considered traditional, elegant, vintage, and the closest in appearance to the natural state of the diamond. The unique rectangular cuts on the pavilion highlight the clarity of your diamond.

Diamond shape Emerald

Because of its large table, which is intended to show off the high clarity and good color of your stone, when choosing this shape you should focus on selecting a stone with the best clarity and color available in your price range. The large, open table on the Emerald diamond is its primary feature, and an Emerald does not have as many facets as more modern cuts.

Diamond Select recommends that you look for Emerald diamonds with a length-to-width ratio between 1.25 and 1.5.

Princess

The Princess shape diamond is currently the second-most popular diamond (after Round). This brilliant-cut diamond shape was created in the 1980s to give the same high degree of brilliance as a Round in a square or rectangular shape with pointed corners. A Princess shape is ideal for masking inclusions, which are less visible due to the unique cutting and polishing technique that is used, so less expensive stones with lower clarity can look amazing in this shape.

Diamond shape princess

Because the Princess has pointed corners, as with Marquis shapes, sometimes a lower color grade diamond in a Princess shape will manifest as visible color in the corners of the stone. Thus, while clarity can be lowered in a Princess, high-grade color should be a primary focus in selecting a Princess (we do not recommend going lower than H in color). The Princess diamond lacks a standardized cut grading. Thus, you should look at the symmetry in the diamond grading report. You should also consider the length-to-width ration to make sure you get the right Princess shape you want.

For a square Princess shape, Diamond Select recommends that you look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 and 1.05; for a more rectangular Princess shape, choose a length-to-width ratio over 1.05.

Radiant

A Radiant shape has signature trimmed corners, and is a relatively new shape designed to offer both the brilliance of a brilliant-cut diamond and the elegance of an Emerald shape. This hybrid between round-cut and emerald-cut techniques leads to an intricate 70-facet cut, which in turn creates exceptional brilliance.

Diamond shape radiant

Radiant shapes (which can be rectangular or more square) appeal to those who want to mix the “sparkle” from modern cutting techniques with the sophistication of an Emerald cut.

For a square Radiant shape, Diamond Select recommends that you look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 and 1.05; for a more rectangular Radiant shape, choose a length-to-width ratio over 1.15.

Asscher

The Asscher shape is named for jeweler Joseph Asscher, who developed this shape in 1902 by using many of the same cutting techniques found in a square Emerald cut. These differences between an Asscher and an Emerald shape are that Asschers are always square, have larger step facets, and have more dramatically cut corners. An Asscher diamond is elegant and tasteful; also, because of its square proportions, it can have more light reflection and fire than a square Emerald.

Diamond shape Asscher

It is important with an Asscher that you prioritize color and clarity, as color impurities can show in its corners and the large table can highlight imperfections.

As the Asscher shape is square, Diamond Select recommends that you look for Asscher diamonds with a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 and 1.05.