Diamond Shape and Cuts: Newbie Comprehensive Guide

Author picture

Have a question? Not sure which one is the right diamond?

contact us

My blog is reader-supported; when you purchase through links on my site, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. This enables me to provide you with free content.

Some retailers understand that the diamond buying process can be overwhelming. For that reason they are willing to share a portion of their profits with me if I can make this experience more simple for you.

In this partnership, you benefit from complimentary content and personalized consultations. If all sides are happy and you decide to buy, the retailer (and not you) compensates me.

While many diamond retailers have approached me, I hold the highest standards, choosing to collaborate only with those whose services and pricing I can confidently endorse. Your satisfaction and access to quality service are my top priorities. Therefore, you can trust that I maintain an unbiased perspective, without compromising the integrity of this blog.

Diamond Shape and Cuts featured image

My Bottom Line Recommendation

I strongly recommend reading the full Diamond Shape guide below; however, if you are here for a quick brief, here’s what you must know:

  • Understanding the various diamond shapes and cuts, as well as the differences between round diamonds and fancy shape diamonds is essential to appreciate these gems and decide which one is right for you.

  • The length-to-width ratio of a diamond is important in determining its shape & symmetry, while pricing depends on factors such as precision, waste & popularity.

  • When choosing a diamond for jewelry design consider personal style preferences along with the 4Cs of quality, finger size/shape & budget

  • For utmost brilliance, fire, and sparkle, round diamonds are often the preferred choice.

  • Oval, pear, or princess cut diamonds offer a unique shape while still maintaining strong light performance.

  • Emerald, cushion, and radiant cut diamonds cater to those seeking a vintage aesthetic or mirror-like quality in diamonds.

Test yourself: Is this diamond natural or lab-grown?

Deal Alerts!


25% Off Sitewide + Up to 50% off The Initial Collection at James Allen

Up to 50% OFF Selected Jewelry at Blue Nile

Instant $100 off when signing up + 3% discount on wire transfer at Whiteflash

Table of Contents

When it comes to choosing the perfect diamond, understanding the nuances of diamond shapes and cuts is essential. With so many options available, how do you know which diamond shape is the best fit for your personal style, budget, and desired characteristics? In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the world of diamond shapes, exploring the differences between the most popular choices and providing valuable tips for selecting the perfect stone.

Understanding Diamond Shapes

Diamonds come in various shapes, each with unique characteristics that set them apart. The shape of a diamond not only influences its overall appearance but also plays a significant role in determining its value.

To better understand these dazzling gems, let’s first explore the distinction between diamond shape and diamond cut, as well as the difference between the ever-popular round diamonds and the intriguing world of fancy shape diamonds.

Diamond Shape vs. Diamond Cut

While the terms “diamond shape” and “diamond cut” are often used interchangeably, they refer to different aspects of a diamond’s anatomy. Diamond shape pertains to the general outline of the diamond, such as a round, pear, or heart shape.

On the other hand, diamond cut refers to how well it is cut and polished to enhance its brilliance and sparkle, like a radiant or round brilliant cut diamond. A well-cut diamond will reflect light beautifully, maximizing its sparkle and contributing to its overall appeal.

Round Diamonds vs Fancy Shape Diamonds

Round diamonds are the most widespread and well-known diamond shape, accounting for approximately 75% of all diamonds sold. The round brilliant cut, in particular, is the most renowned due to its exceptional brilliance and sparkle. However, round diamonds are also quite costly, which leads many buyers to consider fancy-shaped diamonds as an alternative.

Fancy shape diamonds, also known as fancy diamond shapes, refer to any diamond shape other than round and include options such as princess cut, emerald cut, cushion cut, oval, and more. These shapes offer an array of distinct designs and are typically and relatively more affordable than round diamonds. When selecting a fancy-cut diamond, it’s essential to observe the color, avoid large inclusions near the center, and assess its performance.


The Brilliance Factor

The brilliance factor is a crucial aspect to consider when choosing a diamond shape. It refers to the amount of light reflected by a diamond, which is influenced by its shape and cut. For example, round diamonds are known to have the greatest degree of sparkle and brilliance, whereas other shapes, such as emerald and radiant, may have a lower degree of sparkle due to fewer facets, resulting in a more “mirror-like” appearance.

The cut of a diamond also plays a significant role in the brilliance factor, as a diamond that has been cut to a high standard will display more sparkle and brilliance than one that has been cut inadequately.

Popular Diamond Shapes for Engagement Rings

Regarding engagement rings, certain diamond shapes have become immensely popular due to their unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal. From the classic round brilliant cut to the modern princess cut, each shape offers something different to suit varying tastes and preferences.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular diamond shapes for engagement rings, delving into their distinct features and allure.

Round diamonds

Round diamonds are a classic, timeless choice for engagement rings, offering unmatched brilliance and sparkle. Their versatile nature allows them to be set in various styles, from solitaire to halo settings. The round brilliant cut is especially renowned for its 58 facets designed to maximize the sparkle and brilliance of the diamond.

With their exceptional beauty and adaptability, it’s no wonder that round diamonds continue to be the most sought-after diamond shape for engagement rings.

Round diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 54-60 for a nice cut, 56-58 for high end

Depth: 59-63 for a nice cut, 60-62 for high end

Crown angle: 32-36 for a nice cut, 33.5-35.5 for high end

Pavilion angle: 40.5-41.4 for a nice cut, 40.6-40.8 for high end

Princess Cut Diamonds

Princess-cut diamonds are a popular choice for those seeking a modern, geometric design. These square-shaped diamonds feature sharp, pointed corners and are known for their exceptional brilliance, making them a stunning choice for engagement rings.

However, it’s important to protect the corners of a princess cut diamond with prongs, as these areas are the most prone to chipping. When selecting a princess cut diamond, it’s also suggested to go for VS2 clarity and H color for a budget-friendly yet beautiful option.

Princes diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 66-73

Depth: 71-74

Crown angle: 8-13

Pavilion angle: 55-61

Emerald Cut Diamonds

Emerald cut diamonds exude elegance and sophistication, featuring step-like facets and an elongated shape. Their subtle sparkle and unique appearance make them a popular choice for those seeking a more understated yet still captivating diamond shape.

The length-to-width ratio for an emerald cut diamond should typically be between 1.35 and 1.65. However, ratios slightly outside of this range can also be considered acceptable, such as 1.25:1 to 1.75:1. With their refined allure, emerald cut diamonds are perfect for those who appreciate a more classic, vintage-style engagement ring.

Emerald diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 57-64.5

Depth: 62-68.4

Crown angle: 11-19

Pavilion angle: 43-52.5

Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cut diamonds, often referred to as “pillow-cut” diamonds, are characterized by their rounded corners and soft, pillow-like shape. These diamonds come in two varieties: Cushion Modified Brilliant, which features an additional row of facets for a crushed ice appearance, and Cushion Brilliant, which has larger, fewer facets and a sparkle similar to a round brilliant. One of the most popular choices for engagement rings, a cushion cut diamond beautifully combines vintage charm with modern brilliance.

Cushion cut diamonds offer a romantic, vintage feel and can vary in levels of fire and brilliance, making them a versatile choice for engagement rings.

Cushion diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 59.5-70

Depth: 65-70

Crown angle: 12-15.5

Pavilion angle: 44-53

Oval-Cut Diamonds

Oval-cut diamonds are a stunning option for those seeking an elongated shape that offers a larger appearance and a slimming effect on the finger. These diamonds possess most of the brilliance of round diamonds and are typically 10-30% more affordable. The ideal ratio range for oval-cut diamonds is 1.35-1.50.

With their unique shape and exceptional sparkle, oval-cut diamonds are a beautiful choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry pieces.

Oval diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 54-60

Depth: 59-63

Crown angle: 13.5-15.5

Pavilion angle: 42-44

Pear Shaped Diamonds

Pear-shaped diamonds, or teardrop diamonds, combine marquise and round brilliant cuts to create a unique and eye-catching shape. These diamonds are a popular choice for those who appreciate a distinctive design and often symbolize love and romance.

Symmetry is paramount in pear-shaped diamonds, as the cleft should be clearly defined, and the wings should have a slightly rounded shape. Pear-shaped diamonds are a captivating option for engagement rings, pendants, and other jewelry pieces.

Pear diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 56-60

Depth: 60-64

Crown angle: 14-16

Pavilion angle: 43.5-44.5

Radiant Cut Diamonds

Radiant cut diamond cuts

Radiant cut diamonds, often considered rough diamond transformations, are known for their brilliant sparkle and excellent value. These diamonds have straight edges and cut corners, offering a unique geometric design. Radiant cuts are one of the most brilliant cuts a diamond can have, providing an abundance of sparkle.

The ideal ratio for a square radiant cut diamond is between 1.11 to 1.5:1. With their exceptional brilliance and unique appearance, radiant cut diamonds are a stunning choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry pieces.

Radiant diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 61-67.5

Depth: 65.3-70.5

Crown angle: 9.5-15

Pavilion angle: 49.5-56

Asscher Cut Diamonds

Asscher cut diamond is a term used to describe square-shaped diamonds with step-like facets and trimmed corners, offering a vintage appeal and geometric design. These diamonds are characterized by large step facets, a higher crown, a smaller table, and cropped corners, providing them with an octagonal shape.

Asscher cut diamonds are a popular choice for those who appreciate a more vintage-inspired engagement ring with a unique and captivating design.

Asscher cut diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 54.5-67.5

Depth: 61.6-68.1

Crown angle: 11.5-15.5

Pavilion angle: 45-51

Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Heart-shaped diamonds are a modified brilliant cut, symbolizing love and romance. These diamonds are a popular choice for those who appreciate a more whimsical and sentimental design.

When selecting a heart-shaped diamond, it’s essential to choose one with a clearly defined cleft and a well-proportioned overall shape. With their unique shape and romantic symbolism, heart-shaped diamonds are a beautiful option for engagement rings and other sentimental jewelry pieces.

Heart-shaped diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 54-60

Depth: 59-63

Crown angle: 14-15.5

Pavilion angle: 40.5-43

Marquise diamonds

Marquise cut diamond cuts

Marquise diamonds have an elongated shape with pointed ends, appearing larger and creating a slimming effect on the finger. The ideal ratio for a marquise diamond is between 1.75 and 1.95.

These diamonds are a popular choice for those seeking a unique shape that offers a larger appearance and a slimming effect on the finger. With their distinctive shape and elegant appearance, marquise diamonds are a stunning choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry pieces.

Marquise diamond cut recommendations:

Table: 57-63.5

Depth: 61.5-66.5

Crown angle: 12.5-16.5

Pavilion angle: 43-45.5

Baguette diamonds

Baguette diamonds are rectangular with step-like facets, often used as side stones or accents in jewelry designs. These diamonds are an excellent choice for those who appreciate a more understated yet still captivating diamond shape.

With their clean lines and elegant appearance, baguette diamonds add a touch of sophistication to any jewelry design.

Trillion diamond

Trillion diamond​

Trillions of diamonds are triangular with unique geometry and sparkle, often used as side stones or in unconventional designs. These diamonds offer a distinctive look that differentiates them from more traditional diamond shapes.

With their remarkable geometry and brilliant sparkle, trillion diamonds are a striking option for those seeking a more modern and unconventional diamond shape.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Diamond Shape

When selecting the perfect diamond shape, consider your personal style, preferences, and desired characteristics. Consider the 4Cs of diamond quality (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight), and choose a shape that complements your finger shape and size.

Additionally, be mindful of your budget and select a shape that offers the best value for your money while still meeting your desired characteristics. Ultimately, the perfect diamond shape is one that resonates with your personal style and preferences, ensuring a beautiful and meaningful piece of jewelry.

diamond cut anatomy

Length-to-Width Ratio and Its Impact on Diamond Shape

The length-to-width ratio plays a significant role in determining a diamond’s symmetry and appearance. Each diamond shape has an ideal ratio for optimal beauty, with ratios closer to 1 indicating ideal symmetry, while higher or lower ratios imply an elongated or wider diamond, respectively.

When selecting a diamond shape, be sure to consider the length-to-width ratio and its impact on the overall appearance and symmetry of the diamond. Remember that in fancy diamond shapes, there is no particular right or wrong since it’s more a matter of taste. For example, some may look for an elongated emerald cut diamond while others may prefer a more “square” shape.

shallow round diamond cut
ideal cut round diamond
deep round diamond cut

How Diamond Shape Affects Pricing

Diamond shape has a direct bearing on pricing, taking into account factors such as manufacturing precision, waste, and popularity. Round diamonds, for example, are more expensive than fancy-shaped diamonds due to their popularity and the precision required in the manufacturing process.

When selecting a diamond shape, be mindful of your budget and choose a shape that offers the best value for your money while still meeting your desired characteristics.

The Role of Diamond Shape in Jewelry Design

Diamond shape plays a crucial role in jewelry design, shaping the overall aesthetic and style of a piece. Different shapes can symbolize various sentiments and feelings, and the round diamond is notably the most favored for engagement rings due to its radiance.

When selecting a diamond shape, consider the overall style, aesthetics, and symbolism of the piece, ensuring that the chosen shape complements and enhances the jewelry design.

Conclusion - My Personal Experience

Understanding diamond shapes and cuts is essential when selecting the perfect stone for your jewelry piece. From the timeless brilliance of round diamonds to the unique geometry of trillion diamonds, each shape offers something different to suit varying tastes and preferences. By considering factors such as personal style, budget, desired characteristics, and the role of the diamond shape in jewelry design, you can confidently choose the perfect diamond shape that resonates with you and creates a beautiful and meaningful piece of jewelry.

In my experience, individuals seeking maximum brilliance, fire, and sparkle typically gravitate towards round diamonds. For those desiring a unique shape without compromising on strong light performance, I suggest considering oval, pear, or princess cut diamonds. Lastly, if you have a penchant for a more vintage aesthetic or appreciate the mirror-like effect in diamonds, exploring emerald, cushion, and radiant cut diamonds could be beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions

The term ‘diamond’ is commonly used to refer to the geometrical shape formed by four sides of equal length, forming two intersecting diagonals at right angles. This shape is formally known as a rhombus and is also considered to be a parallelogram.

Yes, a diamond is a rhombus. A diamond is a special kind of rhombus because its sides all have the same length and its opposite angles are equal.

The term “diamond” is often used interchangeably with “rhombus” in everyday language.

A square diamond shape is commonly referred to as a princess-cut diamond. This stylish cut offers modern sparkle and has become one of the most popular diamond shapes available. It features sharp points, making it a modified brilliant cut, and provides a timeless look.

Round brilliant cut diamonds are the most expensive diamond shape as they require much precision work to cut and polish. This is because they have the most facets of any shape and more of the rough diamond needs to be discarded in the cutting and polishing process than any other shape.

Additionally, round-cut diamonds are incredibly popular among buyers, meaning retailers can charge a premium for them.

The names of the diamond shapes are oval, cushion, asscher, radiant, princess, pear, emerald, marquise, and heart-shaped diamonds. These fanciful shapes are perfect for anyone wanting a unique and special look.

Looking For a Diamond?

Let me do the hard work for you

Best Place to Buy Natural and Lab-Grown Diamonds

My no-nonsense reviews are based on my personal experiences, knowledge, and high standards. Explore my top-rated critiques of leading diamond sellers, curated to help you make the best choice.

Author: Yaniv Hadar

Looking For a Diamond?

I'm On Your Side.

Find the most valuable diamond within your budget, without risking your money and wasting time on research.





Do you want help picking the best diamond?