Last updated: April 12, 2023

CRASH COURSE: Diamond Shapes & Cuts

Diamond shapes & cuts for engagement rings

We all know that there are many different diamond shapes that are set in diamond engagement rings – round, cushion, oval, emerald, princess, marquise – but what do they actually look like and which one is best for your perfect diamond engagement ring?



Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds

Round Brilliant Cut diamonds are the most popular diamond shape for diamond engagement rings. They suit nearly every diamond setting style and are the perfect representation of how diamonds sparkle in an engagement ring.

The Round Brilliant Cut diamond is the most popular in every style of diamond jewellery from engagement rings to necklaces and bracelets and accounts for over 75% of diamonds sold around the world. Created in 1750 (yes, it’s over 100 years old!), this cut has 58 facets allowing it to appear very brilliant and full of fire.

Round cut diamond engagement ring 1

The Round Brilliant cut diamond is the most expensive shape of diamond. This is as a result of losing up to 50% of the original rough diamond weight due to cutting and polishing, which is because of the strict measurements required for a round diamond shape. This style of shape also requires an almost perfect octahedron shaped rough diamond, whereas other shapes can be created from more irregularly shaped rough diamonds.


Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cut diamonds can differ greatly in size and shape, but the only thing they all have in common is that the outer edge (the girdle) is a soft square rounded shape. Cushion cut diamond engagement ring 2

Cushion cuts are a rectangle, square diamond shape that suits almost all diamond setting styles.


Princess Cut Diamonds

Princess Cut diamonds are the second most popular shape of diamond due to its contemporary shape and feel. This was proven in Australia’s Biggest Engagement Ring Survey results. The Princess Cut diamond features 76 facets, with a large flat facet on the top of the diamond (known as a table facet).

Princess_cut_diamond_engagement_ring_with_diamond_band. Png

The vertically cut facets on the bottom half of each diamond, allowing for a wonderful display of brilliance and fire in each and every diamond and whilst they are usually cut as a square with sharp corners, the Princess Cut can also be slightly rectangular. We adore Princess Cut diamonds in a solitaire setting as they offer all of the excitement of a brilliant cut diamond, with a more contemporary feel but they can also be channel set for your wedding bands.


Emerald Cut Diamonds

As the name suggests, emerald cut diamonds were originally created to enhance the vivid green of that gorgeous gemstone.  Eventually, it was adopted by diamond cutters and is an elegant rectangular cut characterised by its cropped corners, and long horizontal facets, perfect for an engagement ring. Popular during the Art Deco period, the Emerald Cut Diamond has made a comeback in recent years and is now growing in popularity once more.

Emerald cut diamond engagment ring 4

An Emerald Cut diamond has 58 facets and is the least forgiving cut in terms of clarity. Due to its lack of vertical pavilion facets like the Round Brilliant diamond and Princess Cut diamond, it does not reflect light in the same way, which means the diamond can appear very transparent. We think Emerald Cut diamonds look beautiful paired with a variety of side stones, in any number of shapes and sizes, and it will always look elegant in your engagement ring.


Asscher Cut Diamonds

The Asscher Cut diamond was created in 1902 by Joseph Asscher and caused quite the stir at the time, as it was a sharp deviation from the Round Brilliant cut diamond that was so popular at the time. Since then it has served as the inspiration for a variety of cuts, including the Emerald Cut diamond.

Like its cousin, the Emerald Cut diamond, it is also a step diamond, however, the facets reflect light back and forth like mirrors. The square shape, with dramatically cropped corners, gives it an almost octagonal appearance and the small table facet, combined with a high crown, allows it to have more fire than the Emerald Cut diamond. This does mean, however, that Asscher Cut diamonds will appear slightly smaller in diameter than other diamonds of similar carat weight, but if an Art Deco or contemporary style if what you’re after, the Asscher is a perfect fit.


Radiant Cut Diamonds

One of the newest shapes of diamond, the Radiant Cut diamond is a square or rectangular cut that combines the elegance of the Emerald diamond with the brilliance of the Round Brilliant shaped diamonds. It also has the same cropped corners as the Emerald or Asscher Cut diamond but features a highly faceted pavilion, allowing for an outstanding display of fire and brilliance – hence the name!


It has 70 facets, which maximise the effects of light reflection and refraction and as it has the same pattern of crown and pavilion facets as a round brilliant cut diamond, it is more dazzling than an Emerald Cut diamond engagement ring. Radiant Cuts are perfect for coloured diamonds as the pavilion depth and facet arrangement can enhance the depth of colour in these spectacular gems.


Oval Cut Diamonds

Oval diamonds are a beautiful brilliant cut diamond with a symmetrical elongated shape that gives an illusion of length – perfect for an engagement ring – and was created in the 1960s as an alternative to the Round Brilliant Cut diamond. Like the round diamond, it usually has 58 facets and is a brilliant and fiery diamond that reflects the light beautifully.


We think that Oval Cut diamonds are the perfect option for someone who loves the fire of the round brilliant diamond but wants to have something a little bit different in their engagement ring.


Marquise Cut Diamonds

The Marquise Cut diamond was commissioned by King Louis XIV of France, who was inspired by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour. It is an elongated oval shape with pointed ends, with a facet arrangement in the crown and pavilion that echoes those of the Round diamond.

Marquise cut diamond engagement ring 1

A Marquise Cut diamond typically has 58 facets and like most elongated brilliant type cuts it can have a bow tie effect from the top view. Given its length and brilliant facets, we love using a Marquise Cut diamond for those choosing a more unusual engagement ring.


Pear Cut Diamonds

Whilst this cut may be a hybrid of the Marquise and Oval shaped diamonds, some of the world’s most famous diamonds are Pear Cut – including the De Beers Millennium Star – the world’s only internally and externally flawless diamond in this shape. Cut to demonstrate spectacular fire, the pear shaped diamond has facets that echo both the Oval Cut on its rounded end, and a Marquise Cut on its pointed end which combines to create an elegant, brilliant appearance.


When purchasing a Pear Cut diamond engagement ring, it is important to choose a diamond with the highest cut grade possible, as those that are poorly cut exhibit a bow tie effect – a dark section in the centre of the diamond that can detract from the brilliance of the diamond, regardless of its colour or clarity.


Heart Cut Diamonds

Considered the most romantic of all diamond cuts, the Heart shaped diamond is the ultimate expression of romance when it comes to Engagement Rings. The famous “Heart of Eternity” is a dazzling vivid blue diamond, which served as the inspiration for the diamond pendant in the film, Titanic. A heart-shaped diamond is a modified Brilliant Cut diamond, typically with 59 facets, but like many fancy cuts, this number can vary depending on the shape of the rough diamond. 


Heart shaped diamond engagement rings look best when set in a four claw setting and are a fantastic option for both engagement rings and pendants as the unique look of the diamond makes it a dramatic choice.


Extras: What is a facet?

A facet on a diamond is each ‘flat surface on a diamond’ cut specifically to ensure the end result is the diamond shape of choice. To ensure diamonds have maximum sparkle they’re not cut flat across the top or sides. Each individual surface on a diamond is known as a facet.

So what’s your choice? If you’re unsure, book an appointment with Brisbane’s Engagement Ring Specialist and we’ll walk you through all the options.

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