The round-cut diamond is the undisputed master of the diamond world. It’s the most popular diamond shape, thanks to its tightly-packed facets that give the round cut unparalleled sparkle and fire. The round-brilliant cut is the most visually brilliant due to its 360-degree symmetrical shape and facet count (57 facets ordinarily; 58 with a culet). The mathematical principles behind faceting means round-cuts reflect most of the light that goes in from more angles. Round-brilliant diamonds are the only shape to have this ideal proportion defined. Stones in this highest cut grade exhibit a perfect "Hearts & Arrows" pattern.
With other diamond shapes, having lower color grade and clarity usually means giving up some of the beauty of the stone. But because a round-cut diamond gives out higher levels of brilliance and fire, it will offer much of the same pleasant appeal even if it has a lower color, clarity, or cut.
The princess cut is the second most popular shape next to round. This cut is the best option for those who want a square shape diamond while maintaining a comparable brilliance to the round-cut diamond. To protect the 90-degree pointed corners of princess-cut diamonds, V-shaped chevron prongs are used primarily for their settings.
When choosing princess-cut diamonds, you must consider the dimensions of the stone to ensure the outline of the diamond when it is set. Some are perfect 1.00 or 1.10 ratio (length to width). For rectangular-shaped princess-cuts, the ratio would be 1.50 to 2.00. In terms of value, the square dimensions usually command more money than the rectangular princess cut.
Emerald-cut diamonds can be rectangular or square in shape, and they boast beveled corners and step-cut facets. This shape really shows off the clarity of a diamond and because of its length, it will appear larger than a comparable round-cut diamond. One of the most notable traits of emerald-cut diamonds is the incredibly long surface table. This “face” opens up the inside of the diamond to easy inspection. If your stone is flawless, the emerald cut will show off its perfection, but be careful about an included emerald-cut diamond: Those inclusions will be even easier to see.
Invented in the early 1960s, the oval-cut diamond has stunning brilliance, due in large part to its facets, which are similar to those found in a round diamond. As with the emerald-cut diamond, the sheer length of the oval-cut can accentuate long, slender fingers and appear larger than comparably-sized round stones. Oval-cut diamonds may hide imperfections far better than emerald-cuts, but make sure you pick one with proper depth-to-width ratio! The “bow-tie effect” caused by losing internal light is barely noticeable in well-cut oval-cut diamonds, but stones outside the ratio of 1.30 - 1.50 are at risk of having an unsightly black optical effect in the middle.
The marquise-cut diamond is elongated with pointed ends, which gives it the stone’s other popular name: Navette cut (French for “little boat”). This refined design was inspired by the smile of the 18th century courtesan Marquise de Pompadour, whose lover, France's King Louis XIV, wanted a diamond to match it. As with the emerald- and oval-cut diamond, the length of the marquise can also make fingers appear longer and slenderer.
While marquise-cut diamonds have historically been limited to accents and side stones, they’re making a comeback as an elegant, vintage-inspired, one-of-a-kind center stone. But thanks to their sharp points, it’s very easy for them to snag or chip. When choosing a marquise-cut center stone, make sure that you choose a setting that protects them, such as chevron prongs, halos that surround them, bezel settings, or even the hypermodern cool of a tension setting.
The Asscher cut is one of the more vintage styles. Invented in 1902 by diamantaire Joseph Asscher, the eponymous cut has a lot of qualities that set it apart from other cuts on this list. While at first blush, it resembles the emerald-cut diamond thanks to its rectangular shape and cropped octagonal corners, this diamond eschews the fire and sparkle found in other cuts of diamond. In exchange, the Asscher cut has an iconic “hall of mirrors” internal reflectivity that shows off the bright steps cut into the top and rear of the stone. Additioanlly, the reflections and step cutting show off a surprising “windmill” pattern through the very tall crown of the stone.
Extremely popular in the architecturally-inspired Art Deco period of the 1920s, Asscher-cut diamonds are again booming in popularity thanks to their offbeat, vintage-chic look.
Also referred to as the pillow-cut or candlelight diamond, the cushion-cut diamond is another antique cut—though, it’s had a long life thanks to its versatility and the way it can be altered by diamantaires. Cushion-cut diamonds have large facets and rounded corners, which give it a very soft, feminine look and the ability to capture even the barest flickers of light (hence their nickname as the “candlelight diamond”).
As with princess-cut diamonds, a cushion cut hides a lot of inclusions, so there’s more versatility when choosing a diamond to fit your budget. However, their larger facets mean that cushion cuts don’t have the same level of sparkle and fire as a round-cut or princess-cut diamond. And if you’re a lover of color, remember that cushion-cut diamonds are the best choice when you’re selecting a fancy colored diamond. Cushion-cut diamonds retain and show off color better than any other cut, which makes them a natural pairing for a beautiful canary-yellow diamond and beyond.
To find out more about the different cuts of diamond and the selections of loose diamonds available at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, don’t hesitate to contact us at (219)-322-2700, or visit our Merrillville and Schererville, Indiana showrooms today!