A Guide to Diamond Shapes
All about diamond shapes and which diamond shapes are most popular in 2022
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All about diamond shapes and which diamond shapes are most popular in 2022
Diamond shapes define the overall geometry and form of a diamond. From the classic Round to the unique Marquise, each shape offers distinct characteristics and aesthetics. While Round diamonds are the most popular, accounting for over 65% of diamonds sold, other shapes like Princess, Radiant, and Cushion have their own charm. Recently, Oval and Pear shapes have been gaining in popularity.
Settling on a diamond shape is mostly dependent on your personal style and preferences. In this article we will discuss each shape and help you with that decision.
The term “diamond shape” refers the the geometric characteristics of a diamond. There are two major groups for diamond shapes: Round diamonds and fancy shapes diamonds. Round shape, or round brilliant cut, is the most popular and traditional cut by a considerable margin. That is why round shapes have always been their own category.
There are also several fancy diamond shapes, such as pear, heart and trillion-shaped diamonds. Each shape has its own advantages and disadvantages, from its appearance and brilliance to the diamond price per carat.
“Fancy Shaped or Fancy Cut diamonds (as they are also known) are beautiful and sometimes even more affordable than the traditional round brilliant. These geometric works of art are created by diamond cutters who are master craftsmen with a cutting wheel.” American Gem Society
Also, check out our article about what diamond shapes have the most brilliance.
What kinds of diamond shapes are the most common?
What is the difference between a diamond shape and a diamond cut?
Which diamond shapes are the most popular?
What is the ideal clarity for diamond shapes?
FAQs about diamond shapes
Bottom line recommendation
Knowing the basic information about diamond shapes will help you select the perfect diamond for yourself, a loved one or your fiancé-to-be. Each shape offers a distinct set of recognizable differences that determine cost, quality and overall appeal.
Below, we’ve listed the 12 most popular diamond shapes. We’ve also provided an overview of what to look for in each shape, as well as each diamond shape’s key strong points and weaknesses.
Our diamond shapes guide will help you maximize your budget with your desired taste and style. With these notes in mind, you can select a diamond that will be cherished and admired for years to come.
Select a style below to learn more about the most popular diamond shapes.
Diamond cut is sometimes used to refer to which shape the diamond is. This is a bit confusing. The reason for this is that each shape has a technical name that has the word cut in it (e.g. round brilliant cut). In this article, we are referring to the various shapes diamonds come in.
The cut of a diamond refers to the facets, symmetry, dimensions and reflective qualities of the diamond. A heart shaped diamond, for instance, may be cut shallow or deep, dull or brilliant. These factors don’t affect the shape of the diamond — after all, it’s still heart-shaped — but they do affect its cut.
The finer the cut of a diamond, the greater the level of brilliance and fire.
To find your ideal diamond, first, select the desired shape. Then work toward finding that shape in the most appealing cut.
Although diamond shape and diamond cut are often used interchangeably when it comes to diamonds, they’re actually quite distinct, different terms. For more information on quality, check out our article on diamond cut.
The shape of a diamond is indicative of the outline or external figure of the diamond. For example, pear shaped, round brilliant and cushion all refer to the actual shape and appearance of the diamond.
Note: Length to width ratio is measured by dividing the length of the diamond by the width. For example, if a diamond has a length of 5mm and a width of 3mm, the length to width ratio is 1.67.
The length to width ratio signifies how proportionate the diamond is along with its intended shape (i.e. square vs. rectangular).
As the leading diamond ring shape in terms of popularity, the round brilliant cut represents over two thirds of the diamonds sold.
In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky published, “Diamond Design: A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in Diamond,” which explained the ideal angles for a diamond to produce the highest level of brilliance and fire. His work created a surge in the round brilliant cut’s popularity, which remains consistent today.
The round diamond’s refined shape allows for maximum reflection of light, contributing to its incredible brilliance. Round brilliant cuts have 58 facets (including the culet).
Length to width ratio: For the most aesthetic diamonds, choose a length to width ratio of 1.0-1.03.
Strong points: The round brilliant cut is popular for many reasons, one being that it provides exceptional brilliance and a classic, ageless look. Round brilliant cut diamonds are stunning choices for engagement rings, necklaces and other fine pieces.
Sample cost (based on a 1.02 carat with an excellent cut, J color and SI1 clarity): $2,810 (via Blue Nile).
Sample cost (based on a 1.07 carat with an excellent cut, H color and SI2 clarity): $2,970 (via Blue Nile).
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This fancy cut shape is second in diamond popularity after the round brilliant cut. It’s created from the inverted pyramid of the rough diamond stone. Traditionally square, the princess cut diamond achieves greater brilliance and fire than other similarly shaped diamonds. Rectangular princess cuts are also available.
This is an example of a perfectly cut princess diamond.
Length to width ratio: As noted with asscher cuts, a length to width ratio of 1.0-1.05 offers a square shape to the naked eye. For a rectangular princess cut, 1.5-2.0 is a suitable range.
Strong points: The princess cut allows for a square outline while still offering nearly the same brilliance as the round diamond. Due to the larger yield maintained from cutting for a princess, the price per carat is usually much lower than the round cut.
Sample cost (based on a 1.01 carat well cut, I color and a VVS2 clarity): $3,410 (via Blue Nile).
Using the technique originally designed to cut emeralds, this diamond ring shape comes rightly by its name. With its large table surface, the emerald cut diamond offers abundant reflections through its long, straight lines or ‘steps.’ Emerald cuts are prominent in both square and rectangle.
Length to width ratio: A traditional emerald cut ratio ranges from 1.30 to 1.60, with the most popular choice being 1.50.
Strong points: Most notably, the emerald cut showcases size better than other diamonds of the same carat. Emerald cuts are a premium choice for those desiring a larger piece without an enormous price tag.
Sample cost (based on a 1.01 carat well cut, I color and a VVS1 clarity): $3,200 (via James Allen).
The cushion cut diamond gets its name from the combination of a square or rectangular shape with rounded edges, making it look like a pillow or cushion. Due to its precise bending and dispersion of light, the cushion cut beams with fire.
Different than other diamond ring shapes, the cushion cut can be designed in many variations, including standard, modified and modern.
Length to width ratio: Cushions are often square, but can be rectangular as well. For the square shape, keep the ratio between 1.0 -1.09. Slight rectangles usually range from 1.15-1.25 in ratio.
Strong points: With many cut options, choosing a cushion diamond offers creativity and personalization. Cushions also have the luxurious appeal of a classic fashion along with modern fire and flair.
Sample cost (based on a 1.00 carat well cut, E color and a VS2 clarity): $4,450 (via James Allen).
First produced by the Asscher Brothers of Holland in 1902, the asscher cut diamond regained popularity in 2002 after its one hundredth anniversary and a slight modification to the cut technique.
As a dazzling alternative to the emerald cut, the asscher cut diamond hosts a smaller table and more layered facets. Brilliance is achieved through light reflection among the square facets seen underneath the table. The asscher cut’s trimmed corners give it extra style and stability.
Length to width ratio: A length to width ratio for a square asscher should fall between 1.0-1.05 to maintain a square look for the naked eye.
Strong points: The asscher cut’s deep pavilion and precision creates an enamoring appeal. While similar to the emerald cut, the asscher tends to offer a bit more sparkle, due to its high crown and 58 facets.
Sample cost (based on a 1.01 carat well cut, I color and a VVS1 clarity): $2,780 (via Blue Nile).
With a rounded side that narrows to a distinct point, the pear shaped diamond is an elegant, timeless choice. If purchasing for a ring, the pointed end will point toward the heart of the wearer. Symmetry is critical to the appearance of a pear shaped diamond so it shimmers evenly.
Length to width ratio: The classic length to width ratio ranges from 1.45-1.75. Reviewing a variety of ratios will give you an idea of personal preference. You may wish, for example, for a wider or more narrow shape.
Strong points: A pear shaped diamond makes for an enchanting engagement ring. Because well-cut pear shapes are harder to find, it’s an exquisite alternative to traditional cuts like the round diamond. The pear shaped also hides inclusions well.
Sample cost (based on a 1.01 carat well cut, E color and a SI1 clarity): $4,210 (via James Allen).
Showcasing similar brilliance and fire to the round cut, the oval cut diamond is an exquisite choice for those who wish to wear a unique shape. The oval’s elongated silhouette offers a large appearance compared to other shapes of the same carat.
Length to width ratio: While always dependent on personal preference, the oval diamond is often appealing in a ratio of 1.30-1.50.
Strong points: This fancy length diamond is durable because it carries no pointed edges. Ovals also have a lower price point than round diamonds while still maintaining the curved shape.
Sample cost (based on a 1.00 carat well cut, E color and a SI1 clarity): $4,400 (via James Allen).
A prominent symbol of love, the heart shaped diamond boasts an exquisite figure that can be set in a ring, pendant or other jewelry piece. Heart shaped diamonds range in slenderness and width, selected primarily on personal preference. A well-cut heart shaped diamond should be symmetrical, so it appears balanced and full. The point or cleft of the diamond should be distinct.
Length to width ratio: An ideal length to width ratio is 1.00. The lower the ratio, the more “chubby” the heart will look. If the ratio is above 1.10, the heart will appear more stretched (elongated, tall and thin).
Strong points: In addition to being a sign of romance, the heart shaped diamond requires a premium cut, prolonging and possibly increasing its value over time.
Sample cost (based on a 1.01 carat well cut, H color and a VS2 clarity): $3,920 (via James Allen).
Radiant cut diamonds gained their popularity in the 1980s due to their dazzling brilliance which is only exceeded by the round brilliant.
The radiant cut is an enchanting choice due to its numerous facets found in the pavilion and crown. These features provide a high level of both brilliance and fire. Its cropped corners also make it a delightful match for pairing with rounded or square diamonds.
Length to width ratio: A 1.0-1.05 is an ideal range for a square cut. Rectangular shapes may have a ratio of up to 2.0.
Strong points: Radiants are formed with many facets and angles, making them appear almost like cracked ice. Because of this, flaws and inclusions are easily hidden. The beveled corners of radiant cuts allow for more stability—making it a wise choice for those with an active lifestyle.
Sample cost (based on a 1.02 carat well cut, H color and a VS1 clarity): $3,330 (via Blue Nile).
Originally requested by King Louis XIV to mimic the shape of his mistress’ mouth, the marquise diamond has remained a flattering and delightful choice for several centuries.
The narrow body shape of the marquise resembles the shape of an elongated eye. Its stunning large crown is complementary to wearers as it makes the finger appear longer and more slender.
Length to width ratio: The marquise’s unique structure offers a length to width range of 1.85 to 2.1.
Strong points: The marquise’s elongated figure gives the appearance of a larger stone when compared to other shapes in the same carat. Making the fingers of the wearer look thinner and longer, the marquise shines brightly and is usually noticed for its unique shape.
Sample cost (based on a 1.03 carat well cut, H color and a VS1 clarity): $4,730 (via James Allen).
Showcasing 24 parallel facets, the baguette diamond hosts long, parallel lines and remarkable clarity. Rectangular in shape with step cutting, baguettes make for vibrant ring center pieces and graceful side stones.
Length to width ratio: Based on personal preference and use of the baguette diamond, length to width ratios range from 1.50-2.40.
Strong points: The long bar shape of the baguette offers exceptional size even at a low carat. Its clarity and appealing symmetry make it a classic and timeless diamond.
Sample cost (based on a 1.0 carat well cut, G color and a VS1 clarity): $3,200.
Trillion diamonds, also known as trilliant diamonds, are incredibly enchanting and unique. Different than round, square or rectangular shapes, the trillion almost always makes an impression.
With their rich brilliance and deep fire, trillions diverge from popular shapes yet are just as exquisite.
Length to width ratio: The ideal length to width ratio for a trillion is 1.0-1.10.
Strong points: The personality of the trillion is perhaps its strongest asset. The sharp, unique features create a dashing look, maximized by the trillion’s immense width. For this reason, trillions tend to look larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight.
Sample cost (based on a 1.0 carat well cut, G color and a VS1 clarity): $5,180.
“Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Using the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).” Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
Different diamond shapes can affect the minimum clarity grade you should look for. Diamond clarity chart shows how many, how large and what types of imperfections are present in a diamond. The highest grade you can get in clarity is FL, or Flawless, indicating the diamond is completely clear of inclusions even under intense magnification.
Your aim shouldn’t be to find a flawless diamond, however. Instead, you’ll want to look for diamonds that are “eye-clean”, meaning they have no inclusions that are easily noticeable to the naked eye. Oftentimes a VVS or VS clarity diamond will look no different to a flawless diamond, yet it will carry a significantly lower price tag.
The threshold for what makes an eye-clean diamond can vary greatly, depending on size (it’s easier to spot imperfections in larger diamonds), as well as shape. Some diamond shapes hide or show inclusions better than others, allowing you to go with a lower clarity grade, without sacrificing quality.
Brilliant cuts, such as round, cushion, radiant, oval and pear shaped diamonds, all hide inclusions well, which may allow you to go as low as SI1 or SI2.
Princess cut diamonds, too, hide inclusions well, but with this shape you need to ensure that it doesn’t have any inclusions in its corners, as this can cause the diamond to chip if it knocks on something.
Step cuts, unlike brilliant cuts, make it easier to notice inclusions. These shapes include asscher, emerald and baguette diamonds. The long, straight facets of these diamond shapes make imperfections very visible, so you should look for at least VS1 or VS2 in clarity here.
Not sure which shape is best for you? Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about diamond shapes and cuts.
There’s no “best” diamond shape for everyone. Each diamond shape has its own range of strengths and weaknesses, meaning that the best diamond shape for you depends on your personal tastes, preferences and budget.
The round brilliant cut offers the greatest level of brilliance and fire, meaning it tends to shine more than other diamond cuts. However, it’s also the most expensive diamond shape from a cost-per-carat perspective.
From a value-for-money perspective, oval, pear and marquise diamonds often look larger than they are, meaning they offer a good combination of brilliance and value for money. Shapes like the princess cut are also a great value for money buy if you want to get the most carats for your budget.
All in all, the best diamond shape comes down to your tastes, preferences, expectations and budget. There’s no “best” cut, meaning it’s best to choose something that you think your fiancé-to-be will enjoy and appreciate.
Understand that diamond shape and cut are two very different things. Cut is a measurement of quality – diamonds are given grades for cut ranging from Poor to Excellent (or Ideal, depending on the grading entity), so it’s easy to say that one diamond has a better cut than another. Diamond cut is also the most important of the 4Cs that determines how much brilliance a diamond has.
Diamond shape, however, is a matter of personal preference rather than quality. There’s no one shape that is better or worse than another shape, so it’s not like diamond cut where you might put your budget towards the highest grade possible.
As we mentioned above, the round diamond offers the greatest level of brilliance and fire, meaning it sparkles the most. With 58 facets, the round brilliant cut is actually designed specifically to offer the most brilliance and fire.
Other diamond shapes that sparkle a lot include the:
Radiant cut. As its name suggests, the radiant cut is extremely brilliant, especially when exposed to light. A radiant cut diamond has 70 facets, allowing it to take in and reflect an incredible amount of light.
Cushion cut. The cushion cut is based on a combination of the round brilliant cut and the classic old mine cut. This gives this shape a lot of brilliance and fire when it’s cut well. As an extra bonus, a cushion cut diamond is usually less expensive than a round brilliant cut diamond of equivalent cut quality, clarity, color and carat weight.
Oval cut. Oval diamonds offer similar brilliance and fire to the round brilliant cut. Due to their shape, diamonds in this cut can also appear larger than others.
Marquise cut. Marquise cut diamonds have 58 facets, providing great brilliance and fire. Thanks to this cut’s unique shape, it also looks larger than other diamonds of an equivalent carat weight.
While the shape of a diamond can affect its brilliance, it’s not the only factor that determines how much a diamond will sparkle.
The cut quality of a diamond has a huge impact on how much it will sparkle. While an Excellent (GIA) diamond will look fantastic in just about any shape, even a round brilliant cut diamond will have relatively little sparkle if it has a Fair or Poor cut grade.
Because of this, it’s important to look at more than just a diamond’s shape if you’re looking for a lot of fire and brilliance. While shape plays an important role, it’s not the only factor that determines how much light a diamond will reflect.
The round brilliant cut is the most expensive diamond shape. This means that you’ll pay more for a 1 carat round brilliant diamond than you would for a diamond of equivalent cut quality, color, clarity and carat weight in a different shape.
The reason for this is the amount of rough diamond that’s cut away during the cutting and polishing process. On average, for a round brilliant cut, only about 40% of the original rough diamond is left in the finished diamond. In other words, around 60% of the rough diamond is wasted.
As we’ve covered in our guide to the most affordable diamond shapes, the most affordable diamond shapes are usually those that use a large amount of the original rough diamond. These include the: asscher cut, emerald cut, radiant cut, cushion cut and princess cut.
With this said, each diamond’s characteristics can affect its pricing and overall value for money. For example, while an emerald cut diamond will cost less than a round brilliant cut diamond, its large table means it’s more likely to display inclusions or color. This means that you might need to buy a diamond with a higher color or clarity grade than you would for a round brilliant cut, negating some of the value for money factor.
Generally, diamond cuts with an elongated shape, such as the marquise or pear cuts, look larger than diamonds with a round or square shape. This is because these shapes tend to have a larger surface area relative to the total weight of the diamond.
This is occasionally referred to as “face-up size,” since it refers to the total area of the diamond that’s visible when it’s set in a diamond ring. Diamond shapes that appear larger than their carat weight include the: pear shape, oval cut, emerald cut, marquise cut and trillion cut.
Of these shapes, the marquise cut usually looks the largest due to its length, giving it a more impressive face-up size than other cuts.
The smallest looking diamonds cuts are the asscher, princess and cushion cuts. Because of their square length-to-width ratio, these diamond shapes all have a small diameter and surface area relative to their carat weight.
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Understanding the basics of each diamond shape allows you to select what’s right for you or your loved one from a variety of options. Feel free to use this diamond shapes guide as you search for diamonds on the internet or in stores.
In the end, it’s most helpful to consider the unique person, style and occasion for which you are purchasing the diamond. For example, if it’s for an engagement ring, you’ll want to make sure your spouse-to-be will be comfortable and excited to wear the diamond for many years to come.
Still unsure of which diamond shape to buy? Contact us and we’ll be happy to share our expert advice and even help you search for diamonds—bringing you only the very best to choose from.
From round to cushion cut, the shape of diamond that you choose will have a huge impact on the look of your fiancé-to-be’s ring. It could also have a surprisingly large impact on the engagement ring’s price. In this article we’ll go over the basics of each shape and get you pointed in the right direction for your diamond purchase journey.
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