An engagement ring is one of the most important items of jewellery a couple will buy. But with so many diamond ring designs to choose from, the process can sometimes seem a little daunting. Here we take a look at the different cuts and shapes of diamonds, their benefits, and the types of hands they suit.
What does ‘diamond cut’ mean?
‘Diamond cut’ can refer to two different things:
Firstly, cut quality refers to how expertly the stone has been carved from the rough and how well it plays reflects light.
Secondly, a diamond’s shape can also be referred to as its ‘cut’. Such as a round cut diamond, princess cut diamond or oval cut diamond.
First, what cut quality should I look for?
Don’t worry too much, as you won’t need to learn all the technicalities of how to assess diamond cut quality yourself. Your jeweller will simply tell you when you ask.
However, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of it, before you make your expensive purchase.
To evaluate a diamond’s cut quality, a diamond expert must assess its facets, symmetry, depth, brilliance and overall sparkle, amongst other things.
The quality of cut is what makes your diamond sparkle
You may have heard the terms ‘brilliance’ and ‘fire’ used when describing diamonds. Diamond brilliance is the light emitted from the stone, whilst fire refers to the flashes of light or sparkle created when you expose the diamond to light. All of this depends on how well it is cut.
As a rule of thumb:
- For maximized fire and brilliance, the diamond proportions must be perfect for that particular shape of diamond.
- If proportions are perfectly cut, then when the diamond catches any light that isn’t reflected, it will go into the stone and bounce off the facets, entering the centre, which creates sparkle.
- If a diamond’s cut is too shallow or too deep, it will loose light from either the bottom or sides of the stone, diminishing its brilliance.
Pro buying tip: When purchasing a solitaire diamond, ask your jeweller for a diamond with a “good”, “very good” or “excellent” cut. Don’t accept anything lower for solitaire’s that weigh 0.50 carats or above.
Secondly, what diamond shape should I look for?
Now that you understand cut quality, it’s time to look at diamond shapes. Different diamond shapes not only offer varying levels of brilliance and fire, but suit different hands and personal styles.
Here are the most popular ones – read the benefits of each one to decide the best option for you.
1. Round cut
The most popular and traditional, the round cut is the sparkliest of all diamond shapes because it has the most facets. Most of the rough diamond is lost when cut, meaning its carat quality is relatively higher. Therefore, round diamonds are slightly more expensive than other diamonds. Due to popularity, over 75% of diamond engagement rings sold are round cuts. Available in many sizes, the round cut is versatile and adaptable to any hand size or shape, as it always looks proportionate and does not overpower the finger.
See a round brilliant cut diamond engagement ring on video:
2. Princess cut
First introduced in the 1970’s, this gorgeous style of diamond is square in shape. Just like the round cut, it has a a large number of facets and offers exceptional sparkle. It’s a modern alternative to the round cut, its square shape easily disguising inclusions – meaning it will look beautiful in all carat sizes. It flatters any hand shape or size and its geometric shape tends to appeal to those who like contemporary jewellery.
See a princess cut diamond engagement ring on video:
3. Emerald cut
Originally used in emeralds, this rectangular cut offers long, sustained flashes of light, as opposed to the overall sparkle we see in round diamonds. It is a step cut, which means that the stone’s outline is rectangular, with facets much larger than those of a princess cut diamond. Made of completely straight lines, these notably create a ‘box of mirrors’ effect when you peer inside the stone. This is a vintage cut, which has become increasingly popular again in recent times. It has a slimming and elongating effect on the fingers, making it a perfect shape for someone with wide, short hands.
See an emerald cut diamond engagement ring on video:
4. Marquise Cut
The marquise cut is a tapered cut, like two half circles joined together. If you’re looking for a sophisticated cut to slim and elongate the finger, the marquise diamond could be for you. Dating back to the 18th century, the name marquise is derived from the title that was above a count; courtiers used to wear marquise cut diamonds as a symbol of their rank. The larger and longer surface area makes the diamond size look much bigger and really maximises the carat weight for a luxurious, superior style.
See a marquise cut diamond engament ring on video:
5. Oval Cut
Much like the round cut, oval cut diamonds offer outstanding brilliance and fire. Although a little less traditional than the round cut, oval cut diamonds look good on all hand shapes. Those who are looking for the incredible sparkle and classic elegance of round diamonds, but want something a little out of the ordinary, should buy the oval cut. It has the large number of facets just like the round diamond, offering the ultimate in brilliance. It also gives the illusion of being larger than it actually is, due to its elongated shape.
See a wedding ring with oval-shaped diamonds on video:
6. Pear shape
A stunning combination of a marquise and oval cut, resembling a tear drop, the pear shaped diamond was created to offer maximum brilliance and fire. Pear shaped diamonds first date back to the 1450’s. Also known as a tear drop, due to its rounded bottom and single point top, the pear cut exudes luxury and glamour. While it suits most hand types, it’s particularly ideal for someone with shorter hands, as it appears to elongate the finger.
See a pear shaped diamond engagement ring on video:
7. Cushion Cut
The cushion cut, or pillow cut as it is sometimes known as, is a square cut with ‘soft’ rounded or cropped corners. Before its successor, the round cut, it was once the most sought-after diamond style up until the beginning of the 20th century. Combining a vintage feel with modern brilliance, cushion cuts look marvellous thanks to their incredible diamond fire and rainbow-like light reflection. This cut is best suited to someone who likes the lavish beauty of vintage style jewellery and is especially flattering on wide fingers.
See a cushion cut diamond engagement ring on video:
In conclusion – Which diamond cut is best for you?
Ultimately, all cuts are unique and beautiful in their own way and it’s all down to personal preference. It’s all about what feels most natural and preferable on hand. This is often why many couples choose to buy the engagement ring together so the bride-to-be can help decide on her dream ring.
If unsure, we would advise you to go for the round brilliant cut diamond (with a minimum cut quality of good or very good). It’s no coincidence that it is the most popular diamond shape, ever. Its superior brilliance, timeless style and classic versatility, that suits virtually any taste, make it a sure-fire choice you cannot go wrong with.
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