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Engagement Ring Bling: Which Diamond Cut Sparkles the Most?

by Clean Origin
Last updated on November 21, 2022

Which diamond cut sparkles the most? Let’s break it down to which diamond cut will give you the most bang for your buck.

What Is Diamond Sparkle?

People that refer to sparkle are usually talking about glitter—either that or vampires. But a diamond’s sparkle is more complex than shiny plastic or Edward Cullen.

Today we’re asking, which diamond cut sparkles the most?

Diamond sparkle is the same as the overall brilliance of a diamond. Different factors contribute to the overall sparkle of a diamond.

The word “brilliance” refers to the white light the diamond reflects. The light is reflected through the bottom facets of the diamond. The white light makes a diamond sparkle.

The word “scintillation” refers to the tiny flashes of light throughout the gemstone. The white light reflected from the bottom facets bounces up to the crown facets. That creates gemstone scintillation.

Brilliant-Cut Diamonds

Clean Origin Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
Clean Origin Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Gem cutters usually facet diamond rough as a brilliant diamond or a step-cut diamond. Brilliant diamond shapes are easy to distinguish. Most diamond shapes are brilliant cut.

A diamond cutter shapes a brilliant-cut stone by adding many small facets. Most of them are triangular-shaped. Brilliant cut diamond shapes show display more light. The small facets allow the light to bounce back and forth, reflecting out of a diamond engagement ring.

The traditional brilliant cut diamond shapes are the round brilliant cut, princess cut diamond, radiant cut diamond, oval cut diamond, pear shape diamond, and the heart-shaped diamond. Other less common shapes or custom cuts may be brilliant-cut gems too.

Because brilliant diamond shapes reflect white light and have more facets, you’ll have difficulty spotting some inclusions close to the diamond surface. Inclusions are natural, but they are seen in your diamond’s clarity.

A brilliant diamond shape sparkles more than step cut shapes but hides inclusions better. With so much white light bouncing around, mixed with the colored light, you’re less likely to see inclusions that would otherwise stick out. Of course, it’s up to perception. Some of us have a more keen eye than others.

Step-Cut Diamonds

Clean Origin's Diamond Jewelry
Clean Origin’s Diamond Jewelry

Though step-cut diamonds are still legitimate diamonds, they don’t have the same sparkle as the brilliant-cut. A step-cut diamond doesn’t have a brilliant sparkle. Instead, they’re described as dramatic flashes.

The traditional step-cut diamond shapes are emerald cut, and Asscher cut diamonds. There are less popular step cuts available, like the Carre cut or baguette cut. Baguette diamonds are mainly side stones rather than a center diamond for an engagement ring.

The Grace Classic Ring
GRACE CLASSIC RING
Grace Classic Ring
The Vivace Ring
Vivace Ring
Vivace Ring

Step-cut diamond shapes have fewer facets than brilliant-cut shapes but require higher clarity grades and color grades. They can allow a buyer an in-depth look into the diamond. 

It lets you see dark inclusions easier. These shapes also show more tint in the color grade, so you’ll want to stay away from lower color grades with these diamond cuts. Alternatively, this makes step-cut diamonds the better choice to display colored diamonds.

You might wonder why anyone would want a step-cut shape if they don’t sparkle as well as a brilliant cut. For one, step cuts shapes are less expensive than most brilliant-cut shapes.

Plus, many people get sick of seeing the same popular diamond shapes. Sometimes you want a unique shape that most people don’t have. The stairlike flashes of an emerald cut diamond are the favorite of many celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Amal Clooney. And let’s not forget Elizabeth Taylor or Grace Kelly. There’s something to be desired in step-cut diamonds.

Which Diamond Shape Has the Most Sparkle?

WILSHIRE HALO RING WITH DIAMOND BAND
WILSHIRE HALO RING WITH DIAMOND BAND

We’ve established that brilliant-cut shapes have more sparkle. But which brilliant-cut diamond shape sparkles the most?

The answer to that question is simple, the round brilliant cut.

No other diamond shape compares to a round-cut diamond. No other diamond shape can be cut to exact proportions and symmetry. They are the only diamond shape with an official cut grade on a grading report. 

The Marseille Solitaire Ring
MARSEILLE SOLITAIRE RING
MARSEILLE SOLITAIRE RING

Why Round Diamonds Have the Most Sparkle

Diamonds weren’t too popular before the 1900s. They didn’t know how to cut them back then, so their diamond brilliance was pretty dull. Instead, the royal and rich were more concerned with colored stones. You’ll see many royal crown jewels with more colored stones than diamonds.

Marcel Tolkowsky was a brilliant mathematician and diamond cutter. He was the first person to facet a round shape diamond with exact proportions and symmetry. It was the first “Excellent Cut” or “Ideal Cut diamond” in the market.

Shortly after that, the Gemological Institute of America came up with the 4cs of diamond quality. That’s the grading system for all diamonds in the market.

Not All-Round Diamonds Are the Same

Just because you know round diamonds have the most sparkle doesn’t mean all-round shape diamonds have the same sparkle. The level of the sparkle of round-cut diamonds will depend on the diamond’s quality and cut grade.

Round brilliant diamonds receive a cut grade of Excellent/Ideal, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor. Round diamonds sparkle more, and they’re more expensive. They’re also the most popular of all the diamond shapes. More diamond rough has to be cut away by a gem cutter to facet a high-quality round diamond.

Most people can tell the difference in sparkle between an ideal round brilliant cut diamond and a Good cut round diamond if put side by side. It might be harder to distinguish ideal or excellent cut diamonds from Very Good cut diamonds.

A good rule of thumb is to not go for any round brilliant diamond-cut below ideal or Very Good. If you’re going the lab grown diamonds route, you’ll have more than enough budget to dedicate toward a higher cut while keeping your same carat weight. You might even be able to go bigger if you have the budget.

The point of a round-cut diamond’s value and popularity is directly related to the diamond’s ability to reflect light through more facets. It’d be a shame to buy the most expensive center stone and not receive optimal diamond brilliance.

Personally, I believe your diamond’s cut grade is the most important of the 4Cs of diamonds. However, fancy shape diamonds don’t have cut-quality grades.

Other Diamond Shapes With High Sparkle

Clean Origin Engagement Rings
Clean Origin Engagement Rings

While no shape can reflect white light like a round brilliant cut, there are still other shapes with lots of diamond sparkle. It’s just a little harder to fish out. However, it’s best to have a pool of diamonds to choose from. 

Clean Origin has many options to compare, without the pressure of a salesperson trying to shove an engagement ring you don’t want down your throat.

There’s no official diamond cut grade, so you might see some retailers separate their fancy shapes by diamond cut grades anyway. Usually, the best diamond cut grades have the most sparkle. You won’t see a cut grade on their grading report.

Fancy shape diamonds are easier to cut and less expensive because they come from oddly-shaped rough diamonds. Jewelers can use more diamond with fancy shapes. A round-cut diamond has to have a specific shape to facet a round-brilliant cut.

Princess-Cut Diamonds

A princess-cut diamond is the most popular shape next to a round-cut diamond. You’ll be more likely to find princess cut or round-cut diamonds in stores. Other diamond shapes aren’t as common in physical inventory because they sell what’s popular.

On average, buying a princess diamond shape instead of a round can save you an average of 20-25%. Lab diamonds can save you more.

Many companies claim to have ideal princess diamond cut quality, but it’s still official. Instead, there are recommended proportions for that shape.

Ideal princess proportions should have:

  • Table: 66-75% (not to exceed 80%)
  • Depth: 66-75%
  • Length to Width Ratio: 1.0-1.4
The Epaulette Ring
EPAULETTE RING
EPAULETTE RING

Radiant-Cut Diamonds

Radiant cut diamonds are less popular locally, but many have taken to them online. Radiants are considered the next shape with the best sparkle. A radiant-shaped diamond can either be a rectangle or square.

Many people love the rectangular look of an emerald shape but want the sparkle of a round brilliant cut. A rectangular radiant diamond is an excellent option.

The ideal proportions for a radiant diamond shape are:

  • Table: 61-69%
  • Depth 61-67%
  • Length to Width for square- 1-1.03
  • Length to Width for rectangular 1.2-1.3
The Infinity Ring
INFINITY RING
INFINITY RING

Cushion-Cut Diamonds

A cushion-cut diamond is the third most popular diamond shape in the jewelry industry and one of the least expensive. It is a cross between a classic round shape and a princess shape. Essentially, it’s a square shape with rounded edges.

Cushion shapes have many variables. You’ll find mostly square cushion engagement rings, but elongated cushions are popular online. They also have a few different styles of cushions.

Their styles are chunky or crushed ice. Chunky cushions or cushion brilliants have larger facets. 

A crushed ice cushion diamond shape refers to cushions with smaller facets. When they reflect light, they look more glittery.

The ideal proportions for a cushion are:

  • Table: 61-67%
  • Depth 61-67%
  • Length to Width for square cushion 1-1.03
  • Length to Width for rectangular cushion 1.15-1.2
The Grande Dolce Vita Ring
 GRANDE DOLCE VITA RING
GRANDE DOLCE VITA RING

Oval-Cut Diamonds

An oval diamond is a fancy shape that many people choose when looking for a vintage diamond engagement ring. These diamonds are a choice alternative for someone who likes the round shape but wants a bigger-looking diamond. A 1-carat oval diamond will appear larger than a round one of the same carat weight.

Oval diamonds can be difficult to find because they’re susceptible to the bow-tie effect. Radiants and marquise shapes are also victims of shadow shapes. A bow tie is a dark shape that appears on some fancy diamond shapes. All oval diamonds have them. You want to find one that’s not as prominent. However, ovals tend to have the most prominent ones.

It’s a purely subjective effect and doesn’t affect the durability. Some people find bow ties charming. However, it can affect your diamond sparkles by casting a dark shape where it should reflect light instead.

The ideal proportions for ovals are:

  • Table 53-63%
  • Depth 58-62%
  • Length to Width 1.35-1.50
The Marquise Ring
MARQUISE RING
MARQUISE RING

Marquise-Cut Diamonds

Marquise diamonds are difficult to find because they’re not as popular. If you find a well-cut marquise, it can be a beautiful stone. 

However, it’s not a sparkly center stone for an engagement ring because there’s not a lot of surface area. A marquise diamond is a long and thin shape. 

Marquise diamonds appear larger than a round of the same carat weight. It will also make fingers look longer. Many people with larger fingers love the length of marquise engagement rings. They’re also one of the more affordable shapes.

  • Table 53-63%
  • Depth 58-62%
  • Length to Width 1.85-2.0
The Renee Classic Ring
RENEE CLASSIC RING
RENEE CLASSIC RING

Heart-Cut Diamonds

Heart-cut diamonds aren’t as in-demand for engagement rings as you’d think. While it’s the oldest symbol of love, this shape is usually chosen for other occasions, not engagement-related.

Heart shapes are also alongside the small end, like a square cushion or a round diamond. They are less expensive but harder to find as a center stone for an engagement ring. I also recommend choosing heart diamonds 1 carat and above. Anything below .5 carats won’t look like a pronounced shape.

Recently, pop-punk queen Avril Lavigne was proposed to by rocker Mod Sun with a gorgeous 5-carat heart in a beautiful pave setting.

  • Table 53-63%
  • Depth 58-62%
  • Length to Width: .95-1.02

Pear-Cut Diamonds

A pear-shaped diamond can also be called a teardrop shape. It can be harder to find preset pear-shaped solitaire settings, but pears in halo settings are very popular.

A pear diamond cut can be hard to find because many have poor cut quality. You’ll also find that many pear cuts have bow ties as well. 

A pear diamond has the same number of facets as a round diamond but won’t sparkle the same. It can dull the diamond sparkle.

The ideal proportions for a pear shape diamond are:

  • Table 53-63%
  • Depth 58-62%
  • Length to Width 1.45-1.55
The Rose Classic Ring
ROSE CLASSIC RING
ROSE CLASSIC RING

Choose Your Sparkle

As you can see, there are a bunch of sparkly shapes for a diamond engagement ring or diamond jewelry in general. Statistically, a round diamond cut sparkles the most out of all diamond shapes. It’s the diamond’s ability to reflect light within exact proportions.

All brilliant fancy shapes can give excellent sparkle if the round diamond isn’t for you. Remember: all that glitters isn’t gold. Sometimes, it’s diamonds!