The 101 on Diamond Shapes

Here on the Bling 101 blog, we tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about all things jewelry and diamonds. When it comes to the latter, one of the most important things to consider is the diamond shape—or cut. Whether you're designing your dream engagement ring or choosing a diamond eternity band to complement it, diamond cuts play an important part in the decision. Choosing the perfect diamond cut for a special piece of jewelry comes down to personal taste, but there are certain pros and cons that come with each cut that may sway your opinion.

Below, we're giving you the 101 on diamond shapes and outlining everything you need to know about each. For starters, everything outside of a round brilliant is called a fancy shape diamond. Fancy shape diamonds only get a polish and symmetry GIA grade as opposed to the round brilliant which gets an official cut grade of cut, polish and symmetry. Every stone on this list has a brilliant cut except for the emerald and the Asscher which are step cuts. Brilliant cut diamonds will catch your eye from across the room while step cuts are understated and do not sparkle, though they are beautiful up close.

Here's everything you need to know about each diamond shape.


The round brilliant is traditionally the most popular diamond on the market. It is the only perfectly symmetrical shape and offers an unmatched brilliance. Rounds are the only shape GIA gives a cut grade. It is important to only purchase Excellent Cut rounds as this is the only characteristic that impacts sparkle and brilliance. Excellent Cut rounds hide color and clarity exceptionally well, allowing you to go up to two grades lower in color and clarity.

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Celebrities with round cut engagement rings: Emily Blunt, Miranda Kerr, Chiara Ferragni, Kate Mara, Taraji P. Hensen, Emmy Rossum, Malin Akerman

Rounds are the most expensive shape per carat because the diamond cutter loses the most rough diamond in the process.


Oval-cut diamonds are amongst our most requested styles because their elongated shape creates the illusion of greater size and also makes the finger of the wearer appear longer and slimmer. Their ratio can vary from a shorter, rounder shape to a thinner, longer shape. Most people prefer to work in the 1.35-1.50 ratio range. Oval-cut diamonds hide clarity very well, but will show warmth in the tips in I and J colors. An oval is an ideal choice for a customer who likes the fire and brilliance of a round diamond but wants something more unique.

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Celebrities with oval engagement rings: Blake Lively, Hailey Bieber, Kourtney Kardashian, Devon Windsor, Felicity Jones, Ashley Greene, Rose Leslie, Caroline Wozniacki

Beware the bow-tie: Most oval-cut diamonds possess some degree of bow-tie, varying from near invisible to severe. The visibility of a bow-tie effect cannot be ascertained by reviewing the diamond certificate or dimensions, but only upon visual inspection.


The unique look of the emerald cut diamond is created by the step cuts of its pavilion and its large, open table. Instead of the sparkle of a brilliant-cut, emerald cut diamonds produce a hall-of-mirrors effect, an elegant appeal. Emerald cuts, like Asschers (below) mask color very well, but not inclusions (VS2 or better is recommended). They are the more popular of the two step cut shapes since their elongation makes them appear larger than Asschers.

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Celebrities with emerald cut engagement rings: Beyoncé, Amal Clooney, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler, Katharine McPhee


Asscher, or square emerald, is a step cut diamond. Because of this, they hide color very well but will show inclusions in SI1 or SI2 clarities. Their large step facets, higher crown, and smaller table allow them to produce more brilliance than their emerald cut counterparts. The cropped corners give the asscher cut a somewhat octagonal shape.

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Celebrities with Asscher engagement rings: Jessica Alba


Also called "teardrop," a pear-cut diamond gets its name because of its single point and rounded end. The unique shape is a way to make a bit more of a statement. Like ovals, pear-cut diamonds have a slimming effect on fingers, especially when they have an elongated length-to-width ratio. More than any other diamond shape, pear-cut diamonds appear the largest for their carat weight. While the length to width ratio of classic pear shaped diamond is 1.40-1.70, a wider shape is preferred for a solitaire ring. Pears mask inclusions very well, but tend to show warmth in their tip in lower colors.

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Celebrities with pear engagement rings: Margot Robbie, Sophie Turner


Old European Cut diamonds are an antique round most well known for their chunkier facets and understated brilliance. OEC diamonds are known for their larger facets, that give it a flower petal-like sparkle, and open culet. Antique cut diamonds face up up to 2 shades whiter than their GIA color grade, making them an excellent value as you can safely go down to a K color and still appear very white.

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Old Mine cut diamonds are antique cushion-cut diamonds with the same type of brilliance and color/clarity-hiding properties as the Old European cut. Developed in 18th century Europe, old mine cushion cuts have a slightly curved edge which forms a soft square. They were made with a variety of facet patterns but always with a small table, high crown, and larger culet. These diamonds were cut by hand and have a more natural, unprocessed look. If you compare one of these stones to a modern brilliant cut, you will notice the pattern reflected has more sculptural triangles rather than slivers of light.

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The Old Mine cut was the earliest form of the brilliant cut, which means that the diamond was cut to allow the stone to sparkle under even the dimmest candlelight of the era.


Radiant-cut diamonds have straight edges and cut corners, just as the Emerald Cut, but feature brilliant faceting. Radiant-cut diamonds hide both color and clarity very well, making them an excellent value. Elongated Radiants appear larger than square Radiants, making them the more sought after ratio.

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Celebrities with radiant engagement rings: Anna Kournikova


The standards for cushion cut vary more than most other shapes. While generally less brilliant than round brilliant diamonds, cushion-cut diamonds often have better fire, which is part of their appeal. The most prevalent modern Cushion is called a Cushion Modified Brilliant and has an extra row of facets, giving it a crushed iced appearance. In contrast, a Cushion Brilliant has larger, fewer facets and sparkles more similarly to a Round Brilliant. The requested shape is elongated, with a 1.10-1.25 length to width, however personal preference will dictate choice. Cushions hide inclusions very well and are known for their soft, pillow like shape.

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Celebrities with cushion cut engagement rings: Karlie Kloss, Leighton Meester, Gabrielle Union, Erin Andrews, Kayla Itsines


Because of their large crown surface, Marquise appear larger than other shapes of the same carat weight making it a good choice when trying to maximize the perceived size of a diamond. Their elongated shape is also flattering on the finger. In order to prevent a Marquise from appearing too narrow on the finger, it’s ideal to find one with a wider “belly”, a length to width ratio of 1.75 -1.95 is ideal. Marquise hides clarity very well but will shows warmth in the tips in I and J colors.

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Celebrities with marquise engagement rings: Victoria Beckham, Portia de Rossi


When choosing a heart, symmetry is a very important characteristic since it is critical that the two halves of the heart are identical. The cleft (between the two lobes) should be sharp and distinct, and the wings (the sides as they curve down to the point) should have a very slightly rounded shape. Heart-shaped diamonds come in a variety of silhouettes, from narrow to fat. The choice of a particular silhouette will be dictated by personal preference, though the length to width ratio of a classic heart shaped diamond is approximately 1.00.

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The princess cut looks like an inverted pyramid from the profile view and has sharp corners. Princess-cut diamonds are extremely brilliant which helps hide inclusions well. A princess-cut diamond should always be set with prongs that protect the four corners (the most likely location for chipping).

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Next up, here are classic engagement ring styles that have stood the test of time.