The PriceScope Guide to Diamond Shapes

Fancy Diamond Shapes
Fancy Diamond Shapes

When the first diamond facets were cut in the 16th century, the seeds of possibility for diamond shapes were sown. Over the centuries that followed, new diamond shapes emerged, bringing with them a chance for wearers to express their personality and mark significant moments with unusual diamonds.

Each diamond shape carries its own particular set of advantages and disadvantages – durability, appearance and price all greatly differ between each shape. This guide will take you through the finer details of diamond shapes, covering their unique properties and how to assess them. Familiarising yourself with the various options will ensure you find the perfect diamond.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIAMOND SHAPES AND DIAMOND CUTS 

Shape and cut are often used interchangeably; in fact, they are two very different diamond properties. The diamond shape refers to the outline – quite literally, the shape you see when viewing the diamond from above (for example, a heart shape, a pear shape etc.).  

Cut refers to the diamonds proportions, angles, and facet symmetry. The cut of a diamond will dictate how effectively the diamond handles light and is the key to unleashing fire, brilliance and scintillation. You can read the ins and outs of diamond cut here.

 

BASIC DIAMOND SHAPE TERMS

Fancy Shapes: 

Fancy shapes are any diamond shape that is not a round brilliant

Brilliant Cuts:

A brilliant cut has facets arranges in a vertical pattern to maximize sparkle

Step Cuts:

Step cuts are square or rectangle-shaped diamonds with facets arranged in parallel rows

Mixed Cuts:

Mixed cuts use a combination of brilliant and step facets

Length to Width Ratio:

Often expressed as L:W. Compares the relationship between the length and width of Fancy Shapes by numerically illustrating how long or wide the stone appears from the face-up view

THE SHAPES 

There are a lot of diamond shapes to choose from, but we will be focusing on those most popular and readily available from reputable vendors.

1) Princess Cut

Princess Diamond Shape

Second, only to the round brilliant, a princess cut is an extremely popular diamond shape for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. It gives a square silhouette whilst offering the sparkle and brilliance of a round brilliant.

Our advice:

Although the GIA is the leading standard of diamond certification, they do not offer cut grades for princess cut diamonds. For those of you looking for the best possible cut, the AGS offer cut grades and Whiteflash have an in-house range of super-ideal princess cut diamonds (A CUT ABOVE® Princess Diamonds).

For a ‘true square’ princess cut, a ratio of 1.0-1.05 is optimal.

A princess cut looks great in a variety of settings, but to ensure longevity, the corners of the diamond should be protected with prongs or a bezel setting.

 

2) Radiant Cut

Radiant Diamond Shape

Radiant cuts are a mixed cut. They offer a dazzling fire and brilliance and the cropped corners create a shape that pairs beautifully with a variety of other diamond shapes.

Our advice:

The facet patterning of a radiant cut is adept at concealing inclusions allowing you to maximize your money by buying a lower clarity grade if you wish.

Look for a L:W of 1.0–1.05 for a square shape and up to 2.0 for a rectangular shape.

 

3) Emerald Cut

Emerald Diamond Shape

An emerald cut features a large table, drawing in the eye with long straight lines giving a clean, elegant appearance.

Our advice:

We recommend a L:W ratio of 1.50 – 1.75.

The step cut and large table leaves little place for inclusions to hide. A thorough examination of the diamond is necessary to ensure it is eye-clean.

Emerald cuts are great at maximizing carat weight, giving a bigger face-up size than brilliants of equivalent carat weight.

 

4) Asscher Cut

Asscher Diamond Shape

Sometimes considered the Emerald cuts more sparkly sister, the Asscher cut features a smaller table and layered facets for a hypnotic pattern.

Our advice:

For an Asscher shape, a L:W of 1.0-1.05 is optimal.

The Asscher cut is great for showing off clarity but does not conceal color as efficiently as other cuts. Consider diamonds of an H or above.

 

5) Cushion Cut

Cushion Diamond Shape

The cushion cut is a square or rectangular shape with rounded corners, giving the soft, pillowy appearance behind the name. This particular diamond shape can take many forms and present different facet patterns, you may commonly see are “antique”, “modern”, or “crushed ice”. Personal preference will guide which variation of the cushion cut you choose.

Our advice:

Due to the huge variations found in cushion cuts, they should be analysed on a stone to stone basis. This thread covers table and depth percentages for cushion cut diamonds – there are some helpful tips, but experts within the Pricescope community agree that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cushion cut diamonds.

 

6) Marquise Cut

Marquise Diamond Shape

The marquise cut (sometimes referred to as a Navette cut) is a brilliant cut diamond in an elliptical shape. It can be worn vertically on the finger to elongate the finger and the hand, or angled to give a more contemporary look.

Our advice:

Look for a L:W ratio of 1.85 to 2.1.

Marquise cuts sometimes display the bow-tie effect. Viewing the diamond through high res imaging or under a variety of lights will help you to identify this. A large bow tie will create an unsightly, permanent shadow across the diamond – once you have noticed it, it will be hard to see anything else (as seen in this thread!).  

 

7) Oval Cut

Oval Diamond Shape

The oval cut gives fantastic fire and brilliance while offering a silhouette that sets it apart from a round brilliant.

Our advice:

A ratio of 1.30 to 1.50 works beautifully for an oval shape, but this is subject to personal taste.

This is another shape that can have a bow-tie. Assess the severity and decide how much it impacts upon the beauty of the diamond overall.

 

8) Pear Cut

Pear Diamond Shape

The beauty of a pear cut hinges on symmetry. This symmetry ensures an even sparkle across the diamond. Though traditionally worn with the tip pointing at the wearer’s heart, the pear cut is now set and worn in a variety of ways.

Our advice:

Review a variety of ratios to establish your preference – symmetry is essential, but a slim, long pear cut can be just as beautiful as a shorter, wider shape.

Assess the prominence of the bow tie.

 

9) Heart Cut

Heart Diamond Shape

A complex cut, full of sentiment; the beauty of a heart cut diamond is in balance and proportions.

Our advice:

A ratio of 1:1 is the most desirable.

Asses the prominence of the bow tie.

A defined cleft and distinct, pointed lobe will give a cleaner silhouette.

10) Trillion Cut

Trillian Diamond Shape

The trillion cut, also known as the triangular brilliant, trillions and trilliant, is a bright and lively cut. These diamonds work well as side stones to accentuate a variety of diamond shapes, but can also look spectacular as a solitaire.

Our advice:

A trillion shaped diamond is often cut shallow – the perfect proportions will yield a good face-up size while a trillion that has been cut too shallow will lack brilliance.

The corners should be protected by the setting to avoid chipping.

 

 

 

Tips and Tools 

Both the ASET and the Holloway Ideal-Scope can tell you more about the light return in your fancy shaped diamond.

The AGA also provide cut guides for a variety of fancy shapes which make a great starting point.

 

 

 

DIAMOND SHAPES AND PRICES 

A common question amongst first-time buyers is whether the shape of a diamond affects the price. The simple answer is yes – shape does affect the price and round brilliant diamonds are on average, the most expensive shape on the market.

During the cutting and polishing process of a round brilliant, a large percentage of rough is wasted and this, along with the popularity of the shape, is reflected in the price. In cuts where wastage is reduced (such as princess and cushion cut) the price per carat is lower. Diamond cutters determine what shape to cut the diamond based on the shape and size of the rough.

It would be reasonable to assume that a more complex cut would carry a higher price tag, however, this is not always the case. Elongated shapes such as marquise and pear cuts can be difficult to cut due to the bow-tie effect, but lower demand for these shapes keeps the price down. Heart shaped diamonds are considered a complex cut but the price per carat still falls well below a round brilliant.

All of this is relative. While a step cut may have a lower price per carat, they also require a higher clarity grade due to the large table and linear pattern. It is about striking a balance between the Four C’s and each shape has individual properties that need to be accounted for.

 

 * Visit Diamond Prices for the latest retail fancy diamond shape price statistics.

WHAT IS THE BEST DIAMOND SHAPE?

When it comes to choosing the ‘best’ diamond shape, it really is a matter of personal taste. The most popular diamond shape is the round brilliant, accounting for over two-thirds of diamonds sold. However, 2020 sees trends moving towards fancy shapes, specifically elongated shapes such as marquise and oval.

You can use our Pricescope chart to see live diamond data of the most searched for diamond shapes.

If you are not led by trends, perhaps a more practical approach will help you make a decision. The table below covers some of the most commonly asked questions about diamond shapes.

 

 

Which diamond shape looks the biggest?
This is sometimes referred to as ‘face-up’ size – diamonds with a bigger face-up value will have a larger surface area relative to their carat weight. Pear

Oval

Marquise

Emerald

Trillion

Which diamond shapes are the most affordable? 
The most affordable diamond shapes are those which retain a higher percentage of the rough during the cutting and polishing process Radiant

Cushion

Princess

Asscher

Emerald

Which diamond shape gives the best sparkle? 
Sparkle is created by facets reflecting light effectively. A good quality cut will increase sparkle, but by nature, some diamond shapes sparkle more than others. Round Brilliant

Radiant

Cushion

Marquise

 

Which diamond shape is the most vulnerable? 
Certain diamond shapes have vulnerabilities which can affect durability if they are not set correctly. Any shape with exposed points and corners is more vulnerable to chipping. This is easily handled by choosing a suitable setting. Pear

Marquise

Baguette

Princess

Heart

 

 

Pricescope is a community of experts with tangible experience in all things diamond. Now that you’ve covered the basics of diamond shape, use our extensive network to guide you through the process of choosing the perfect diamond.