Types of Diamond Shapes and How They Affect Size, Color, and Clarity

Types of Diamond Shapes and How They Affect Size, Color, and Clarity

One in ten diamonds sold for use in jewelry is either round or fancy in shape. Here is a quick introduction to the common types of diamond shapes and how they affect the perception of the diamond’s size, color, and clarity.

1. Round Cut Diamonds

Over three-quarters of all the diamonds sold are round cut diamonds, simply because the mechanics of this particular shape makes them superior in a number of aspects. Round cut diamonds are the brightest because their very symmetrical shape allows them to reflect light properly.

2. Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Heart-shaped diamonds are a lot less common than round diamonds, but these brilliant-cut pieces make some of the most unique centerpieces for jewelry. They are popularly used in solitaire pendants and sometimes even engagement rings. The downside to this shape is that it is virtually indiscernible when applied to anything that is less than .50 carats, more so if the diamond is set in prongs.

3. Princess Cut Diamonds

Princess cut diamonds were first created in the 80s and have since been commonly used in engagement rings and other types of jewelry. Their popularity stems from the fact that they closely resemble round cut diamonds in terms of versatility and brightness but offer a unique shape that can be used in almost every type of ring.

4. Radiant Cut Diamonds

These are some of the liveliest diamonds you can find. Their radiance is attributed to the application of brilliant-cut facets on both the pavilion and the crown. Their unique shape, which is a cross between a princess cut and cushion, provides them with a flexibility that allows them to look perfectly at home whether they’re set among cornered or rounded diamonds. As a result, these diamonds look stunning on most pieces of jewelry.

5. Oval Diamonds

Oval diamonds possess the same radiance seen in round cut diamonds and, for the most part, are just as versatile and easy to set on various types of jewelry. However, their slightly more elongated shape causes them to be perceived as larger than their round cut counterparts. As such, these are the best choice if you’re looking for size and brilliance in equal measures.

6. Asscher Cut Diamonds

The Asscher cut diamond is said to be the forerunner to the equally popular emerald cut. Created in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers who hailed from Holland, Asscher cut diamonds possess more radiance than their successors because they have larger step facets and a higher crown. These brilliant-cut diamonds also have a higher table which is likely due to their square shape.

7. Marquise Diamonds

Marquise diamonds possess a football-like shape, which is longer and narrower than that of oval cut diamonds. Thanks to their elongated shape, these diamonds also appear larger in size than they really are. Marquise diamonds are fairly brilliant but are ultimately the best choice for maximizing the diamond’s perceived size.

8. Emerald Cut Diamonds 

Emerald cut diamonds are highly unique due to their narrower step facet cuts, rectangular-cornered shape, and wider table. Although the cuts on the pavilion don’t necessarily improve its brilliance, they make up for it by creating an impressive hall-of-mirrors effect which is brought on by the interplay of light on the dark and light planes. On the other hand, emerald cut diamonds are the best for showing off body color since their wide table makes it easier to see.

9. Pear Shaped Diamonds

Pear shaped diamonds share a resemblance with both oval-shaped and marquise diamonds. Their most important attribute is that they possess great symmetry, which is necessary to ensure that the tapered point aligns perfectly with the apex of the curved end. These diamonds are slightly elongated thus the shape creates the illusion of a larger size. Their greatest appeal is, however, the symmetrical curves of the shoulders and the wings.

10. Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cut diamonds possess a shape that is a cross between square cut and round cut diamonds. Their pillow-like appearance is what gives them their name. This classic shape has been around for close to two centuries and was considered the most popular diamond shape for the first 100 years of its existence. Recently, they have begun to resurge as the preferred diamond shape for several types of jewelry. Although they’re still less popular than round cut diamonds, these are just as brilliant.