Diamonds come in many shapes and sizes and if you are looking to buy a engagement ring or a piece of Diamond jewellery, it can be a little confusing as to what the different shapes are and that is why I decided to create this post.
But before we get into the post, there is just one thing that I need to clear up…
Diamond Cut vs Diamond Shape?
There is a bit of a confusing mix of terminology when it comes to diamonds because even though many people talk about cut as the shape of the diamond, this isn’t actually correct as:
- Diamond Cut is the quality of the cut and is a combination of the proportions, symmetry and the final polish, all of which are assessed and graded from poor to excellent on diamond grading reports
- Diamond Shape is the outline shape of the stone, which is what I will be focusing on in this post
Something that makes this even more confusing is that the technical name for the shape of a diamond does include the word cut (they don’t like making things easy for us!) and the one doesn’t affect the other as the quality of the cut doesn’t impact on the shape of the diamond and vice-versa.
When it comes to diamond cut, generally speaking, the better the quality of the cut, the more fire and brilliance the diamond will have, making it much more appealing to look at, if you want to know more about cut quality, then check out my Learn About Diamonds post, which covers this in much more detail.
Different Styles of Diamond Cut
Click on the image of the cut you would like to learn more about to be taken to that section.
The Round Brilliant Cut
The Round Brilliant cut is by far the most popular style of Diamond and a popular choice for all types of jewellery, including engagement rings.
Round Brilliant Diamond History
The Modern Round Brilliant cut is the most researched and developed style of Diamond and it’s history can be traced back to the 17th century, with the Old Mine cut being one of the earliest examples of a Diamond cut to display what we would come to know as brilliant facets on the pavilion of the stone and this would evolve into the Old European cut, that is believed to have been designed in the late 19th century.
The Old European Cut would adopt a rounder shape than the Old Mine Cut, which is more similar to Cushion Cut in terms of outline and was popular in the Art Deco period and the modern Round Brilliant that we know today was designed by famed Diamond Cutter Marcel Tolkowsky, who published his research into the cut in 1919 and it would become the most popular style of Diamond following the Art Deco period.
Round Brilliant Diamond Cut Length to Width Ratio
The majority of Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds have a ratio of 1:1 but there are occasions where this can be up to a ratio of 1.02, which won’t be particularly noticeable to the naked eye.
The modern Round Brilliant consists of 57 facets (or 58 if the stone has a culet), 33 of which are on the crown and 24 on the pavilion and is designed to produce the best brilliance and fire in a Diamond and the Round Brilliant is the style that sparkles the most.
Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
The Round Brilliant is suitable for all types of jewellery and is a popular option for all styles of engagement ring. Round Brilliant Diamonds can be used with claw or bezel settings but for larger Diamonds, going for 6 or more claws does provide a more secure setting for the Diamond.
Small Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds are also used in channel and pave settings and are ideal for this application.
Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Prices
Due to the popularity of the Round Brilliant, prices for them are much higher per carat than the majority of other styles of Diamond and due to the continued popularity of this style, prices are pretty stable as they generally don’t go in and out of fashion like some other Diamond shapes.
One of the most popular styles that isn’t the Round Brilliant is the Princess cut, which is a Square style of Diamond and a popular choice for engagement rings.
Princess Cut Diamond History
The history of the Princess cut can be traced back to the 14th century as Table Cut Diamonds share the same square shape to the modern Princess cut and the Table Cut is thought to be one of the earliest examples of a faceted Diamond and this cut evolved to be what was known as the French Cut in the early 20th century and was a popular choice in Art Deco jewellery.
The name Princess was first used for a style of square Diamond designed by Arpad Nagy, a London-based Diamond cutter in 1961 (it was also known as the profile cut) but the modern Princess cut that we know today was created in 1979 by Ygal Perlman, Betzalel Ambar, and Israel Itzkowitz.
Even though the trade name Princess cut is the most well known, the ‘correct’ name for it is a Square Modified Brilliant cut and while many will have 58 facets, the number can vary as there are many variations of the Princess cut.
Princess Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The majority of Princess Cut Diamonds will have a ratio of 1 to 1.05 and will have a very square appearance but there are occasions where a Princess Cut can have a ratio of greater than 1.05 and this will give the stone more of a rectangular appearance.
Princess Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
If you are choosing a Princess Cut Diamond as the centre stone, especially in rings, then you want to choose a setting style that is going to protect the corners of the stone as they are susceptible to chipping and breaking and the best for this are either V shaped claws or a bezel.
Many people prefer the look of thin claws for Princess Cuts but they don’t provide the most secure setting and personally don’t recommend this style of setting, especially for engagement rings.
Princess Cut Diamond are also a popular choice for channel set eternity rings as they can be set very close together without any noticeable gaps between the stones.
Princess Cut Diamond Prices
The prices of Princess cut Diamonds can vary quite a bit but they are usually less per carat than the equivalent quality and weight Round Brilliant, with anywhere from 10%-25% less being seen.
As with Round Brilliants, Princess cut Diamonds generally don’t go in and out of fashion, meaning prices are quite stable.
The Cushion Cut is one of the styles of Diamond shape that has a tendency to go in and out of fashion and it’s most recent ‘in’ trend followed the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as her engagement ring featured a large Cushion Cut Diamond in the centre, with two smaller Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds on either side.
Cushion Cut Diamond History
In terms of the history of the cut, just like the Princess Cut, it can trace it’s history back to the 14th century table cut and as Diamond cutting evolved, this developed into a style we know as the Cushion cut in the 19th century as the design included rounded corners.
There are many variations of the Cushion Cut, including the Cushion Modified Brilliant Cut, which has more more sparkle due the addition of more facets to the pavilion of the Diamond, with many of the modern Cushion Cuts having 58 carats but this can vary between designs.
Cushion Cut Length to Width Ratio
Many Cushion Cut Diamonds will have a length to width ratio of between 1 and 1.05, which gives them a more square outline but there are also rectangular Cushion Cuts that have a ratio of 1.10 or more.
Cushion Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
If you plan on choosing a Cushion Cut Diamond for a piece of jewellery or engagement ring, then make sure you have a secure setting such as split claws or a bezel as the rounded corners make securing the stone challenging and if you don’t have the right setting, the stone can easily become loose or worse fall out!
Cushion Cut Diamond Prices
Prices for Cushion Cut Diamond can vary a lot depending on the current fashion status of the style but they can cost anywhere from 30%-50% less per carat than the equivalent Round Brilliant Cut.
The Radiant Cut is a unique and beautiful style of Diamond Cut that offers the wearer a combination of a traditional out (the Emerald Cut) combined with the sparkle of a modern brilliant cut Diamond.
Radiant Cut Diamond History
The Radiant Cut was designed in 1977 by a gentleman called Henry Grossbard and what makes this style of Diamond unique is that there are design elements taken from the Round Brilliant, Princess and Emerald Cut.
The resulting hybrid cut produces a style that has a similar look to a traditional Emerald Cut, with the truncated corners and nice geometric outline but possesses the fire and brilliance of a Brilliant Cut Diamond due to the faceting of the pavilion of the stone.
Radiant Cut Length to Width Ratio
The Radiant Cut can also be cut with different ratios, with square Radiant cuts having a length to width ration of between 1.00 – 1.05 but they can also be cut as rectangles, with a ratio of between 1.05 – 1.50, with most Radiant Cut Diamonds having 70 facets.
Radiant Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
The style of the Radiant Cut means that there aren’t any issues when it comes to using it in jewellery and the truncated corners mean that you can opt for claws or a bezel as the choice of setting and they both work equally well.
Radiant Cut Diamond Prices
As with Cushion Cuts, Radiant Cuts can go in and out of fashion but can be bought for between 20% and 30% less than an equivalent quality Round Brilliant Cut Diamond.
The Oval Cut is a popular alternative to the Round Brilliant Cut as the stones can wear larger than a Round Brilliant of a similar weight, which might be appealing to some.
Oval Cut Diamond History
Even though oval shaped Diamonds have been around for over 200 years, the modern Oval Cut was designed in 1960 by famed Russian Diamond Cutter Lazare Kaplan and the modern Oval Cut is a modification of the Round Brilliant Cut
Most modern Oval Cut Diamonds have 58 facets as the maximises the amount of fire and brilliance that is seen within the stone and while it is not quite to the same level of a Round Brilliant, it is still more than most of the other fancy cut Diamonds.
Oval Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The length to width ration for Oval Cut Diamonds typically range from 1.30 to 1.60 and there is an effect known as ‘bow-tie’ that can be found in Oval Cut Diamonds, which is a shadow that appears across the central facets of the Diamond and is found in all Oval Cut Diamonds but it may be more noticeable in some than others.
Oval Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
The main thing to think about when using an Oval Cut Diamond in a piece of jewellery is to make sure that the setting is designed for the stone as there are many variations in length/width ratios and if the setting hasn’t been designed properly, you may end up with either gaps between the stone and setting or the stone overhanging other parts of the design.
Oval Cut Diamonds are suitable for either claw or bezel settings but make sure the claws are evenly spaced around the stone to ensure that it is held securely.
Oval Cut Diamond Prices
Oval Cut Diamonds are one of the closest in terms of pricing to an equivalent quality Round Brilliant as they are usually around 5% – 10% cheaper per carat but there may also be situations where the Oval will be basically the same or slightly more expensive.
The Pear Cut, also known as the Teardrop is one of the most beautiful Diamond styles in my opinion and is a popular choice as a main centre stone or as accent stones.
Pear Cut Diamond History
It also has one of the longest histories of all the styles I’ve talked about in this post as it can be traced back to the 15th century and was designed by a true diamond cutting pioneer called Lodewyk van Bercken and came up with the design following his invention of the diamond-polishing wheel, which enabled him to place facets on Diamonds.
And what is crazy is that the design hasn’t really changed since as Pear Cut Diamond have the same number of facets (58) as the original Bercken design and even with advances in Diamond cutting and research (which helped developed the Round Brilliant).
Pear Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
But the outline of Pear Cut Diamonds can vary depending on the length to width ratio and this can range from 1.30, which are a bit stubby in appearance to 1.70, which has an elongated appearance but most people prefer the look of Pear Cuts at around 1.50. Pear Cut Diamonds can also show the ‘bow-tie’ effect that is also found in Oval Cuts.
Pear Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
As with Oval Cuts, you want to make sure that the design of the setting matches the outer shape of the stone so that it fits properly and looks right.
In terms of setting style, a bezel or claws are a fine option but if you opt for a claw setting, you want to make sure that the point of the pear is protected and a V shaped claw is usually the best option for this along with 2 or 4 additional claws depending on the size of the Diamond.
Pear Cut Diamond Prices
Pear Cut Diamonds usually have a very similar price per carat as Round Brilliants and it is not unusual to see Pear Cuts range from 5% above to 5% below the price per carat of an equivalent quality Round Brilliant Cut Diamond.
The Emerald Cut is the first of the ‘step cut’ Diamonds that I’ve talked about on this list and this style of cut is different to the brilliant cuts mentioned above as Emerald Cut Diamonds don’t possess the same level of fire and brilliance due to the design of the facets.
Emerald Cut Diamond History
The origin of the Emerald Cut can be traced back to the the 1500s and as the name suggests, this style of cut was originally designed for Emeralds as it helped prevent the corners of Emeralds getting chipped or broken during the cutting process.
But the name Emerald Cut only started being used for for Diamonds during the Art Deco period in the early 20th century but Diamonds with what we would identify as an Emerald Cut had been around for many years.
As Emerald Cut Diamonds don’t possess the same fire and brilliance as brilliant cuts, they aren’t as forgiving when it comes to hiding inclusions, which is why most Emerald Cut Diamonds have a very high quality, usually VS or better and often have a good colour.
Emerald Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
Most Emerald Cut Diamonds will have a length to width ratio of between 1.30 and 1.50, with the ‘ideal’ being somewhere around 1.40.
The number of facets on an Emerald Cut Diamond is usually 57 but there are a number of design variations, which can include additional rows of facets on the crown or pavilion of the stone.
Emerald Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
As with Radiant Cut Diamonds, there aren’t any issues when it comes to using Emerald Cut Diamonds in jewellery and they are suited to both claw and bezel setting styles, they are a popular option for Art Deco inspired jewellery due to their geometric shape and more understated look than modern brilliant cut Diamonds.
Emerald Cut Diamond Prices
Emerald Cut Diamonds can usually be had for between 20% and 25% less per carat than the equivalent quality Round Brilliant but you will struggle to find lower quality Emerald Cuts due to them not being as forgiving at hiding inclusions as Brilliant Cuts.
The Asscher Cut is another popular ‘step-cut’ Diamond style and while it has a few things in common with the Emerald Cut mentioned above, it is very much a style of cut in it’s own right.
Asscher Cut Diamond History
The Asscher Cut was designed in 1902 by a hugely important man in the history of the Diamond industry, Joseph Asscher, who was the owner of the Amsterdam based Diamond company of the same and was the man tasked with cutting the famous 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, the Asscher Cut was also the first Diamond cut to ever be patented.
The Asscher Cut would become of the most popular Diamond cut styles of the Art Deco era due to it’s geometric shape and attractive look and even though the popularity of the Asscher Cut did fall from its Art Deco peak, it was still a popular option for engagement rings, which lead Joseph Asscher’s grandsons, Edward and Joop Asscher to redesign the Asscher Cut in 2001.
The redesign resulted in an additional 16 facets being added and would be called the Royal Asscher Cut, the Royal became part of the Asscher Company name after Queen Juliana of Holland granted the company a royal title in 1980.
Asscher Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
Unlike the Emerald Cut, Asscher Cut Diamonds have a much squarer outline and will have a length to width ratio of 1-1.05.
Original Asscher Cut Diamonds usually have 58 facets but the modern Royal Asscher Cut has 74.
Asscher Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
Asscher Cut Diamonds are a popular choice for engagement rings and Art Deco inspired jewellery and as with Emerald Cuts, are suitable for all types of setting styles due to the octagonal shape and look great with claws or in a bezel.
Asscher Cut Diamond Prices
Asscher Cut Diamonds usually cost between 20% and 30% less than the equivalent quality Round Brilliant but as Asscher Cuts are a step cut, they usually have good colour and clarity due to the style not being as forgiving as brilliant cuts for making inclusions appear less obvious.
The Marquise Cut is one of the more unique Diamond cuts but isn’t as popular as many other cut styles, especially for engagement rings as the long, thin outline doesn’t give the same wow factor as some other styles.
Marquise Cut Diamond History
The origin of the Marquise Cut can be traced back to 18th century France as King Louis XV commissioned a court jeweller to create a Diamond that resembled the smile of his official mistress, Marchioness Madame de Pompadour and the Marquise Cut appeared around 1745.
Following the initial release of the Marquise Cut, there were many modifications done to the design and in the 20th century, many of the modern techniques that were being used for Diamond cutting were applied to this stone and this resulted in the Marquise Brilliant Cut that we know today.
The Marquise Cut would become a very popular style of cut between the 1960s and 80s but its popularity has since fallen a little in favour of other styles of cut.
Marquise Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The Marquise Cut has the longest length to width ratio of all the main Diamond Cuts and this ranges from 1.85 to 2.10 and results in a long, thin shaped Diamond.
Most Marquise Cut Diamonds will have 58 facets, similar to many of the other brilliant cut Diamond styles.
Marquise Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
When it comes to using a Marquise Cut Diamond in jewellery, you want to ensure that the points of the stone are protected to stop them from chipping or breaking and it is advised to use V-shaped claws on the tips if you want to use claws or opt for a bezel setting.
Marquise Cut Diamond Prices
As Marquise Cut Diamonds don’t produce the best yield when they are cut from rough crystals, prices for Marquise Cut Diamonds can be higher than the equivalent quality Round Brilliant and they can range from 5% to 20% higher, especially on Diamonds with better colour and clarity.
The Heart Cut is one of the styles of cut that really divides opinion as some people love them but others don’t like them and it is definitely a style you need to think about before buying, especially for an engagement ring.
Heart Cut Diamond History
Unlike many of the other Diamond cuts I’ve talked about in this post, the history of the Heart Cut isn’t as clear but there are references to heart shaped Diamonds as far back as the mid 15th century but they may have existed before then.
But there have been references to heart shaped Diamonds since, with a prominent one being that Queen Mary of Scots sent Queen Elizabeth I a heart shaped Diamond Ring and famed French Gem Dealer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier mentioned a 36 carat heart shaped Diamond on one of his many travels to India in one of his books written in 1655.
The Heart Cut Diamond that we know today is a product of the 20th century and is one of the many Modified Brilliant Cuts that are available.
Heart Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
Even though it may not look like it, Heart Cut Diamonds usually have a length to width ration that ranges between 0.90 and 1.10 and as with most Modified Brilliant Cuts, they also usually have 58 facets.
Heart Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
Heart Cut Diamonds can be used in all types of jewellery but the shape of the stone can be designs challenging, especially if you want to use other shaped Diamonds in your piece, which is why many are used in Solitaire or Halo pieces.
Care needs to be taken when choosing a setting style as the point needs to be protected and a V-claw is recommended if you want to use claws for the setting, or you can opt for a bezel, which will help maintain the outline of the stone, especially for smaller Heart Cut Diamonds.
Heart Cut Diamond Prices
Unsurprisingly for a shape that attracts a smaller number of buyers, Heart Cut Diamonds are usually between 15% and 25% cheaper per carat than the equivalent quality Round Brilliant but you may be able to push for a slightly better deal as Heart Cuts aren’t the most in demand shape.
Old Mine Cut
The Old Mine Cut is a fascinating style that holds an important place in the history of Diamond cutting as this would eventually evolve into the Modern Round Brilliant Cut.
Old Mine Cut Diamond History
The origins of the Old Mine Cut are believed to date back to the early 18th century and was one of the most popular styles of Diamond cut from the early 18th century to the late 19th century and is regularly found in Georgian and Victorian era jewellery.
But the name ‘Old Mine Cut’ is only believed to have been used for this style of cut in the late 19th century and was originally used as term for any squarish cut, colourless or near-colourless ‘brilliant’ Diamonds that were from the old mines of Brazil and India following the discovery of the Diamond fields in Africa but as better quality Diamonds were found in Africa, the name was applied to squarish Diamonds with a faceting arrangement similar to the Diamonds cut in the early 1700s.
By modern standards, the proportion of Old Mine Cut Diamonds don’t look quite right as they were all measured and cut by hand and it was the skill of the cutter that determined how good the final Diamond looked and it is not uncommon to see:
- Quite high crowns when compared to modern brilliants
- A large culet that can be seen through the table of the Diamond
- Poor symmetry and precision of facets
But this does mean that pretty much every Old Mine Cut Diamond is unique.
Old Mine Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
Old Mine Cut Diamonds are usually quite squarish in appearance, with the more preferred ration being between 1.00 and 1.05 but due to the way that they are cut, you may find Diamonds with a ratio greater than 1.10.
Most Old Mine Cut Diamonds will have 58 facets, similar to a modern brilliant cut but this can vary between stones.
Old Mine Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
If you are choosing an Old Mine Cut Diamond then make sure that the setting is designed for that stone as the differing proportions means that don’t always sit properly in mounts designed for modern brilliant cuts and as the Old Mine Cut has rounded corners, if you want to use claws, it can be a good idea to go for a split claw to help secure the stone.
Old Mine Cut Diamond Prices
Prices of Old Mine Cuts can vary a lot and I’ve seen them range anywhere from 10% below to 50% above the price per carat of an equivalent quality Round Brilliant, they can also go through periods of being very popular when vintage styles come back into fashion, which can push prices up.
Old European Cut
The Old European Cut is the style of Diamond cut that sits in the middle of the Old Mine and Modern Brilliant Cut and was one of the first round Diamond cuts to be done at scale.
Old European Cut Diamond History
As with the Old Mine Cut, the origins of this style of cut can be traced back to the early 1700s but cutting cut round Diamonds, especially at scale was very difficult until the invention of the bruting machine in 1874, which gave Diamond cutters more control over the shape of the Diamond.
The new round Diamond became very popular in the late 19th century and through the Art Deco period of the early 20th century but the evolution of the modern Round Brilliant Cut would soon become the most popular style of cut as they have more fire and brilliance than the Old European.
Even though the diagrams of the Old European and Round Brilliant look quite similar, there are some notable differences between the two styles of cut, including:
- The crowns of Old European cuts are much higher than Round Brilliants
- Old European Cuts have a greater total depth
- The table of the Old European is usually notably smaller
- Old European Cuts generally have a much larger culet
Old European Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
As Old European Cuts are round, they usually have a length to width ratio of between 1.00 and 1.05 and generally have 58 facets, the same as the modern Round Brilliant cut.
Old European Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
Similar to the Old Mine Cut, you want to make sure that the setting is designed for an Old European Cut due to the difference in proportions to a modern Round Brilliant but as they are round in shape, they are ideal for use with both claw and bezel settings.
Old European Cut Diamond Prices
Prices of Old European Cuts are often more per carat than an equivalent quality Round Brilliant and I’ve seen them range from 30% to 60% more per carat, plus they are much rarer than Round Brilliants, which also pushes the prices up as they are popular with people who like antique jewellery.
The Rose Cut is different to every other style of Diamond cut I’ve already talked about in this post as most Rose Cuts have one unique feature, which is that they have a completely flat back and can be found in a variety of different shapes including round, oval and cushion shaped.
Rose Cut Diamond History
The Rose Cut is thought to date back to the 16th century but there isn’t that much information regarding the cuts origin, such as who or where it was developed but it is believed to one of the oldest Diamond cuts.
The Rose Cut did gain a lot of popularity in the Georgian and Victorian eras and it is not unusual to find them in antique jewellery and as Diamonds were all cut by hand during these periods, many vintage Rose Cuts will have varying degrees of symmetry and proportions, making each one unique, which is different to the precision Rose Cuts that are produced today.
And while the majority of Rose Cuts will have a flat back, you can also find double sided Rose Cuts, which will have similar shaped triangle facets on both sides of the Diamond.
Rose Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The length to width ratio does really depend on the shape as to which outline the Rose Cut has been cut into but will generally match similar ratios to similar shaped Diamond cut into other styles such as round, oval or cushion.
Rose Cut Diamonds in Jewellery
Due to most Rose Cut Diamonds having a flat back, they require a different style of setting and these may be more similar to those used for cabochons rather than faceted stones and due to the thin edges of the cut, they may be better suited to bezels rather than claw settings.
Rose Cut Diamond Prices
Rose Cuts are a style that do go in and out of fashion but are usually around 5% – 15% less per carat than an equivalent quality Round Brilliant. The style of cut also means that Rose Cut Diamonds are usually of higher quality as the lack of facets on the back of the stone makes inclusions very obvious.
I had to do a little section on fancy cuts are they are becoming more readily available due to the introduction of lasers in the cutting process and this makes it much easier to create less traditional shapes and this can include:
- Triangular cuts such as the Trillion or Trilliant
But it can do far beyond this and include Diamonds shaped as animals or other objects but do think hard before committing to a fancy shape as you may struggle to sell it if you decide you don’t like it anymore!
As you can see, there are many different styles of Diamond Cuts and these can range from traditional styles such as the Round Brilliant and Emerald to fancy shapes that could be anything.
If you are buying a Diamond for a piece that you plan to keep for a while or is intended to be worn for a long time, such as an engagement ring, then it can be best to go for a timeless style as this will stand the test of time.