The world of diamonds is one which involves an array of time-honoured skills, artisan craftsmanship, and a thrilling combination of treasured traditions and groundbreaking technology. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of diamond shapes. In this guide, we’re going to be taking a deep dive into how to choose a diamond shape – and considering which one would be sure to sweep you or your partner right off their feet.
How do diamonds get their shape?
As we’ve mentioned in previous diamond articles, every diamond is completely unique; a product of millions of years of seismic pressure and unimaginable natural forces.
The skill of the diamond cutter is to delicately and meticulously bring out the very best in the rough gemstone; exploring different ways to truly encapsulate the beauty of each diamond, and utilising the full range of tools to heighten that sparkle and deepen that sense of wonder.
How to choose a diamond shape?
From the absolute classics to more unusual iterations, and from the breathlessly romantic to the peerlessly sophisticated, there’s a diamond shape to suit every personality.
Choosing a diamond shape is, ultimately, an aesthetic choice: whether you’re seeking diamond earrings as a gift, a sparkling ring for an engagement, or a diamond piece for yourself, you’ll be looking for that gemstone which stands out from the rest, suits the wearer’s sense of style and has something to say about their personality.
The top 10 diamond shapes
There are ten popular diamond shapes, below, which have evolved across the ages and most notably throughout the 20th century, as new fashions arose alongside groundbreaking diamond-cutting technology.
Let’s dive deeply into them, and consider what each one says about the individual who chooses it, or has it chosen on their behalf.
1. Round: Timeless elegance and classic romance
The round cut (sometimes referred to as the ‘brilliant’ or ‘round brilliant cut’) is the most popular diamond shape when it comes to engagement rings, accounting for somewhere in the region of 75% of all diamonds being sold.
This cut was first invented in 1919 by the legendary Marcel Tolkowsy, and involves 58 individual facets, each of which cause light to ‘bounce’ from the base of the diamond back through the uppermost facet, lending that unmistakable sparkle and brilliance.
Generally speaking, round cut diamonds best suit those seeking a timeless romantic look aligned with the classics, and are perfect for wearing with pleasure and pride.
2. Princess: Femininity and fun
Flirty, fun, and effortlessly ladylike, the square princess cut has become a modern classic in the world of diamond shaping.
Invented in 1961 at the height of London’s swinging sixties, the princess cut is a square-shaped diamond boasting a broad array of intricate facets (ranging between 49 on a small diamond to 144 on a larger gemstone), exuding an almost unrivalled sparkle and brilliance.
Usually worn in a solitaire setting for ultimate impact and appreciation, the princess cut is all about enjoying the spotlight and revelling in your charm.
3. Asscher: Vintage vibes
Striking, dramatic, and imbued with a beautiful Art Deco, Roaring Twenties feel, the Asscher cut is an iconic diamond shape with dedicated fans across the globe. Asscher cut diamonds are very rare and pricey – and therefore conjure up a decadent vintage-style image of wealth and luxury.
Their thick, almost oversized profile, clipped corners and elegantly stepped sides make them popular with lovers of vintage fashion and those drawn to antique accessories.
4. Emerald cut: Cool, classic, confident
Similar to the Asscher cut, the emerald cut diamond was invented at the height of the Art Deco period, when elegance and sophistication took on exciting new and angular forms. The name comes from the fact that this cut was a hugely popular shape for emeralds in the 1920s, and it maintains that essence of antiquated glamour in diamond rings today.
This shape features a rectangular form with lean, elongated facets down either side. However, it’s the oversized table on the top of the diamond that highlights the clarity of the gemstone, making this diamond shape the number one choice for lovers of the glamour of yesteryear.
It does not offer the quintessential sparkle that round or princess cut diamonds do – its stunning play of light is unique and mesmerising, with sustained flashes of light, almost as if the diamond was made of liquid inside.
5. Marquise: Dial up the drama!
If you or your partner love the drama, opulence, and decadence associated with regality, then the marquise diamond shape is the one for you. A unique tapered cut, with pointed ends on either side of an oval shape, make this diamond truly distinctive and unforgettable.
Legend says that this cut was first invented back in the 18th century when French king Louis XIV commissioned a diamond like no other for Marquise de Pompadour, a royal mistress and one of the most influential women of her time.
Whether this is true or not has become irrelevant – there’s no getting away from the fact that the marquise shape truly encapsulates the glamour of the Palace of Versaille, and immediately puts one in mind of glittering splendour of that period.
6. Cushion: Impactful romance
If you’re looking for a diamond shape that really captures the essence of romance, while providing an impact that simply cannot be missed, then the cushion shape is the perfect choice.
Ideal for women and men who never settle for second best, the cushion shaped diamond harks back to the romance and sophistication of the silver screen, making it ideal for those who love a bit of vintage glamour and take inspiration from the starlets of Hollywood’s golden age.
Also known as the pillow cut, cushion cut diamonds have a rectangular shape with rounded corners, and feature enlarged facets to dial up their brilliance. Designed for diamonds with high levels of clarity, they’re an impressive choice because of their incredible fire and sparkle.
7. Oval: Elegance defined
Oval diamonds possess a truly remarkable brilliance, and an innate elegance as a result of their slightly elongated shape.
Distinctive, suave, and effortlessly sophisticated, they’re a popular choice with women and men on the lookout for something a little alternative from the more popular round diamonds.
Oval shaped diamonds are often recommended for wearers with smaller hands or shorter fingers – the elongation of the gemstone has the effect of making the hand look more slender.
8. Pear: For haute-couture lovers
The beautiful pear cut diamond is something of a hybrid, taking elements from the classic oval and marquise cuts, and bringing them together to form a diamond which resembles a perfect, twinkling, eye-catching teardrop; a tear of joy, frozen for eternity.
Unique and completely unmissable, this diamond shape is popular with those who love haute-couture fashion and one-of-a-kind statements.
9. Baguette: A retro statement
Sharing a name with the famous French bread, baguette actually means “long rod”. This is a perfect description for this long, rectangular diamond cut with octagonal corners. It offers a unique play of light: it doesn’t sparkle as such, but gives more long, sustained flashes of light, very similar to emerald cut diamonds.
In engagement rings, baguette diamonds are not usually the main diamond, but can be used to create lavish Art Deco style diamond cluster designs.
In eternity and wedding rings, however, baguette diamonds can be the only diamond shape used to create a stunning row of rectangular diamonds that glisten with breathtaking play of light.
10. PrinceCut®: For the Divas
If you or your loved one want to feel like a star and have a diamond that very few others possess, then a PrinceCut® diamond may be the perfect choice.
Possibly the least known but most stunning of diamond shapes, this cut marries the elegance of the emerald cut with the undeniable brilliance of a princess cut, resulting in a sparkling rectangular-shaped diamond. Remember: the other rectangular diamonds shapes (emerald and baguette cuts) do not provide fire and sparkle but more of a glistening play of light.
Whereas the unbeatable sparkle of the Prince Cut® diamond is the product of an innovatively-cut 46 facets that boasts maximised refraction and lends this rectangular gemstone an awe-inspiring, sparkling finish.
Try diamond shapes with our diamond widget
If you visit our help page with our Diamond Size And Shape Widget, you can try different diamond shapes and sizes over a hand to see what they would look like in real life.
Learning how to choose a diamond shape is easier with this widget
Choosing a diamond shape is all about matching diamonds with personality
A diamond ring is so much more than an accessory. It’s something to cherish and treasure, a moment of beauty and brilliance which imbues each and every day with wonder, and an item of jewellery which speaks volumes about you as an individual, the nature of your relationships, or your innermost hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
- As such, we should see diamonds as potential extensions to our personalities, and as gemstones which can encapsulate our unique sense of style and outlook on life.
- This is especially relevant if you’re choosing a diamond shape to be fitted in an engagement ring; it’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a deep and profound understanding of your partner’s individuality, and to seek out a diamond which not only reflects their personality, but enhances it to wholly new levels.
- Each of these diamond shapes is unique, and will have been chosen for each diamond in order to enhance its innate beauty and sparkle.
- Some are classic, some are contemporary, and yet all work with the gemstone to accentuate its most beautiful characteristics.
How to choose a diamond shape for ultimate impact
As we’ve seen, with ten basic diamond shapes, there’s a wonderful array of choices awaiting those on the hunt for gemstone perfection. You want your diamond to not only look fantastic, but to say something about the wearer; their approach to style, their attitude towards life, and their hopes, dreams, and wishes for the future.
TheDiamondStore.co.uk helps individuals and couples every day find their ideal diamond, and our dedicated team will be only too happy to assist you in your search for perfection.
Shop Diamond Jewellery
Stunning diamond jewellery in a full array of the shapes and cuts