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Our Guide to the Different Diamond Cuts

by Molly Jones
Last updated on August 21, 2023

The shape of your diamond ring is usually one of the first things someone notices, even before they see the quality of its craftsmanship or the sparkle it emits.

Fortunately, there is a large variety of diamond shapes ranging from the stunningly unique (hello, heart!) to timeless classics (because who hasn’t loved a round brilliant?).

Below, we’ve gathered our favorite cuts and styles to help you decide what’s right for you. But before we begin, let’s unpack what we mean when discussing a diamond’s ‘cut’ versus diamond ‘shapes.’

Diamond Cuts vs. Diamond Shapes

Usually, the terms ‘diamond cuts‘ and ‘diamond shapes‘ are used interchangeably. However, there are a few key differences that are important to know.

What is the Cut of a Diamond?

The cut is one of the principal characteristics of a diamond and measures how well a diamond reflects and refracts light. A well-cut round diamond will capture more brilliance and fire than an equally sized, poorly cut stone.

Grading cut diamonds is according to the quality of their design and craftsmanship. The GIA has developed a global standard for identifying diamond shape, size, weight, and overall beauty related to a diamond’s cut.

What is the Shape of a Diamond?

A diamond shape references the outline of a diamond cut.

The Different Diamond Cuts

There are two categories of diamond shapes: round and fancy shape diamonds. Round diamonds are the traditional diamond cut. They are so classic that GIA has created assessment criteria around the round-cut diamond.

GIA does not give fancy diamond shapes a cut grade due to the sheer amount of cutting options that can be utilized to maximize brightness. This also makes fancy cut diamonds unique as differently desired attributes can be highlighted in various fancy shapes.

Round Brilliant Cut Diamond

Round lab grown diamond. Different diamond cuts.

There is no denying that round diamonds are the most popular diamond shape. In 2021, 51% of people purchased a round brilliant cut diamond, and there was a 40% difference in the second most popular shape, the princess cut.

Many love round diamonds – that could be thanks to their unparalleled sparkle! The sparkle isn’t a random effect. A diamond cutter painstakingly will cut a rough diamond into 56 facets using various techniques to maximize the stone’s brilliance.

Because the Round Brilliant diamond cut creates the most diamond waste out of any other diamond shape, it is often slightly pricier than different shapes.

Asscher Cut Diamond

Lab created Asscher. Different diamond cuts.

The Asscher-cut diamond was created by, and named after, the Asscher Diamond Company in 1902. However, it did not achieve popularity with the public until the 1920s.

Unlike a round brilliant, an Asscher-cut diamond utilizes a step-cut instead. This cut allows more light to enter the stone and increases its brilliance.

Asscher cut diamonds are often compared to emerald cut diamonds. However, they are very different diamond cuts. Asscher diamonds have four cropped corners that result in an octagonal shape.

The octagonal shape is created by a square with rounded corners at each end that is then split into two triangles. The square and triangles create the octagonal shape when the three edges of each triangle are put together. The square and triangles also create angles that form the corners of the octagonal shape.

If you’re interested in purchasing an Asscher diamond, consider prioritizing clarity as the step cut in combination with the flat table will provide a clear view into the diamond.

Princess Cut Diamond

Princess lab created diamond. Different diamond cuts.

Princess cut diamonds are the second most popular diamond shape behind and the most popular fancy diamond shape. Another name for this unique diamond is a Square Modified Brilliant because so many people see it as a square modification of the round brilliant cut.

The Princess was developed in the 1960s and is loved worldwide for its radiant sparkle and square shape with pointed edges. Because of these edges, the Princess cut diamond is more prone to chipping and breaking, so pick a setting and shank that can protect its delicate corners. Be sure to browse our selection of beautiful princess cut engagement rings.

Emerald Cut Diamond

Emerald lab created diamond. Different diamond cuts.

The square shape of the emerald-cut diamond includes rounded corners. It is cut with 57 facets on each side of the stone (the top is cut at 57 degrees). These facets create the illusion of light refracting through the stone for a dazzling hall-of-mirrors-like effect.

Much like the Asscher, it is best to prioritize clarity when looking to purchase an Emerald Cut diamond. As a bonus, thanks to their elongated shape, Emerald cut stones enjoy a larger surface area, thus making them seem larger than different diamond shapes of the same carat weight.

Marquise-Cut Diamonds

Marquse lab created diamond. Different diamond cuts.

Another diamond cut that is longer than it is wide (its length to width ratio is 2:1), and the Marquise cut diamond appears very much like a boat with each of its tips ending in a point. Because of its elongated shape, this style makes for a very flattering and elegant look on most anyone. It’s a great choice if you have long fingers and are looking to accentuate your neckline.

Marquise cut diamonds got their name in the 18th century when King Louis XV commissioned his jeweler to create a new diamond cut that accurately represented the lips of his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour. Despite their salacious beginnings, Marquise cut diamonds continue to be a popular choice for brides today.

Cushion Cut Diamond

Lab grown cushion. Different diamond cuts.

The cushion cut is a round diamond with a modified faceting pattern. The shape and size of the diamond are similar to that of a princess cut but with a larger table, smaller crown, and pillow-like figure. The cushion cut has a modified faceting pattern to make it appear more round so that when you look at it from above or below, it appears to be a circle.

The most notable characteristic of this diamond shape is its brilliance and sparkle. Because of its rounded edges, the stone reflects light in every direction. Like other princess cuts, the cushion cut is the perfect diamond shape for people who prefer the brightness of the round brilliant with the modern sensibilities of a fancy shape.

Radiant Cut Diamond

Loose radiant. Different diamond cuts.

The square cut diamond with an astonishing 70 facets produces unparalleled vibrancy called a radiant cut diamond. Radiant cut diamonds have cropped corners, called beveled corners, and a 1.00 to 1.03 length to width ratio.

As this fancy diamond cut is square, it will not elongate the finger but rather provide a show-stopping and commanding presence.

Oval Diamond

Lab grown oval.

An oval diamond cut is elegant. It draws the eye towards the stone and lengthens the finger. Every Clean Origin masterfully cuts oval diamonds from a rough diamond into a 1.35 to 1.50 length to width ratio to ensure that the oval shape is not too pointy or round.

As with most other length-to-width ratios, pay attention to the middle of the face as a common bow-tie effect can occur. Buyers can avoid this by choosing a diamond with high brilliance and strong dispersion, which will minimize the appearance of any bow-tie effect when viewed under magnification.

Pear Shape Diamond

Pear lab created diamond.

One of the more popular diamond shapes, the pear shape diamond cut, goes back to the 1400s. However, it did not gain public favor until 1969, when Elizabeth Taylor rocked a 69-carat pear diamond ring.

The combination of sharp corners and curved edges garners reverence. With a round bottom and tapered tip, the pear-shaped diamond provides the show-stopping ‘wow’ factor while elegantly lengthening the finger.

Heart Shape Diamond

Loose heart lab grown diamond. Different diamond cuts.

The heart-shaped diamond is possibly the most unusual shape of all the diamond cuts. It’s also the newest! This unique shape is a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft in the middle, thus creating the iconic heart shape.

Endlessly romantic, heart-shaped diamond engagement rings create the perfect shape for the partner looking for a modern yet timeless expression of love.

What is the Best Diamond for Me?

In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all in finding your perfect diamond. While the round brilliant, and princess-cut diamonds are the most popular diamond shapes, opinion is subjective. The best diamond for you may not be the best for someone else. However, there are a few things you can ask yourself that can help you narrow your choices down.

Traditional vs. Fancy

One of the most accessible places to start is to question whether you want a more traditional engagement ring or not. Consider the modern Round Brilliant, Emerald, Princess, Oval, or Cushion Cut diamonds if you find yourself drawn to traditional diamond cuts.

Looking for more fancy cuts? Why not consider the Asscher, Radiant, Heart, or Marquise cuts? Each of these famous fancy diamond cuts radiantly shines and is sure to bring the sparkle.

Consider How Often You Use Your Hands

Some shapes are more resilient than others, so if you often use your hands and fingers for work, you may want to invest in a diamond that can stand up to heavy use.

Diamond cuts with pointed edges and tips are prone to chipping, so looking at rings with curved edges may be helpful, or investing in a secure band.

Get What You Like

It doesn’t matter what others consider the best diamond shape if you aren’t a fan of it. Spend time reflecting on your desire, and then don’t be afraid to ask for it. You know yourself best, after all!

Find Your Perfect Diamond at Clean Origin

Clean Origin is a 100% ethical online diamond retailer specializing in superior and affordable lab created diamonds. You won’t find a high crown, light leakage, or shallower diamonds among our selection of premium sparkling gems, so you can shop knowing that you’re browsing high-quality at an affordable price.

Plus, Clean Origin offers a 100-day return policy, free shipping, and a free complimentary ring resizing should you find you need to adjust your ring size. So share your love and commitment with the world and purchase a stunning diamond from Clean Origin today.