Which Diamond Cut Is Best?

man sliding ring on woman's finger

Like every other trend, diamond shapes tend to explode in popularity. One might fade away, while another becomes the beloved choice of engagement ring shoppers everywhere. So though you might be wondering which diamond cut is the best, it depends on who you ask. If you’re shopping for yourself or that special someone, it comes down to priorities. But if you want to know which diamond shapes are most popular right now, we have you covered. Read on to discover more about each shape and what makes them special.

Which diamond cut is best: Shapes by popularity

At With Clarity, we offer the nine most popular diamond shapes, certified by GIA. While the correct term is diamond shape, it's also referred to as the "cut" of the diamond.

round diamond cut

The most popular diamond shape, the round cut was invented through jewelers’ attempts to create a cut with the most facets and shine. Today, more than 75% of the world's diamonds are cut in the brilliant style. Its 58-facet cut is calibrated according to a precise formula to achieve maximum sparkle. When cutting a rough stone, more is lost in shaping a round diamond, so the cost of each carat retained is higher. Rounds are also the most popular shape for other jewelry like necklaces and earrings.

princess diamond cut

Princess The princess-cut diamond was created after polling women to find out what they wanted. (Imagine!) This cut is renowned for its incredible shine despite the square shape. This cut requires more weight to be directed toward the diamond's depth to maximize brilliance. Depth percentages of 70% to 78% are common, and the ideal square ratio ranges from 1.00 to 1.05. A princess cut should always be set for four prongs to protect its corners from chips. It has 57 or 58 facets and is known as "square modified brilliant" or "rectangular modified brilliant" when the ratio is greater than 1.10.

cushion cut diamond

Similar to the princess cut, the cushion-cut diamond has a relatively square shape. However, it's available in a multitude of ratios, making it either square or rectangular. Cushion cuts blend the energy of a round brilliant with the symmetry of a radiant cut; the corners of the stone are rounded, which is great for a woman with an active lifestyle. Also known as the "pillow cut," the cushion cut has larger faceting, which enhances brilliance. Cushion-cut diamonds have great fire (the light that is reflected out of a diamond in a rainbow of color). Larger facets can show clarity inclusions, so evaluate the location of inclusions by examining the certificate's diamond plot or talking to an expert gemologist.

oval cut diamond

Oval diamonds possess the brilliance of the round cut, but they can draw more attention because of their unique shape. This is a fashionable cut because they can appear larger than a round diamond at the same carat weight. It's also beloved for its ability to flatter the hand. The shape may have been developed to represent the longevity of a relationship, but it's valued because the oval diamond can make one's fingers look longer and thinner. Be careful when selecting a diamond with this style stone — the rounded ends have a tendency to show more color than a round diamond would, so it's wise to go up a color grade to ensure the ends appear colorless.

Emerald cut diamond

One of the first diamond cuts in the world, the emerald cut is perfect for colored gemstones as well as high-quality diamonds. Also known as "step cut" because of the layered faceting, the emerald cut possesses unique appeal with symmetrical sparkle. The faceting is minimal and simple and therefore tends to show inclusions. An open setting can also show the diamond's color, so closed or bezel type settings are recommended with lower colors. If you choose an emerald cut, it's smart not to compromise in diamond quality, because the style emphasizes the color in the stone.

pear shaped diamond

The pear-shaped diamond engagement ring is incredibly unique, which is why many women love it. A pear-shaped diamond is shaped like a teardrop, with a slightly flatter and larger bottom and a skinny point at the opposite end. With 58 facets, light dances through the diamond similar to a round brilliant cut, maximizing sparkle. The shape allows the wearer the option of pointing it up or down. Its faceting often masks inclusions, and those found near the point tend to be less visible. The suggested cut ratio is 1.5 to 1.7. Always set the diamond with a prong covering the point of the stone to prevent chipping.

Marquise cut diamond

The marquise-cut diamond has many nicknames, including the football cut, boat cut, eye cut or navette cut. Its intriguing shape and style allow the bride maximum creativity in her ring choice. A variant of round- and pear-shaped diamonds, the marquise's elongated body can make it seem larger than its actual carat weight. It's an excellent cut to show off long, slender fingers. The suggested cut ratio is 1.75 to 2.25.

Asscher cut diamond

Nearly octagonal in shape because of its curved edges, the Asscher cut has a timeless, understated effect. Step-cut facets create a soft glow emanating from the stone. It's a blend of the princess and emerald cuts, with X-shaped facets from its corners to its center culet. The step cut emphasizes the clarity of the diamond, and it's ideal for showcasing higher clarity diamonds. The faceting can mask certain inclusions and lower color grades. Its suggested cut ratio is 1.00 to 1.05 for square proportions.

radiant cut diamond

A beautifully symmetrical, non-traditional cut, the radiant shape combines the brilliance of a round and the purity of an emerald cut. The radiant is considered one of the shiniest cuts of diamonds because of its 70 facets; it has a fiery look while maintaining soft, cut corners. A rectangular radiant cut is an excellent option for buyers who like the emerald-cut shape but want something with the brilliance of a round. A ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 will create a square shape, and 1.30 to 1.50 will produce a rectangle.

Lab Diamond Popular Shapes

Round Cushion Oval Emerald Princess
$1,800 $1,700 $1,900 $1,700 $1,800

Natural Diamond Popular Shapes

Round Cushion Oval Emerald Princess
$5,800 $3,900 $5,000 $4,500 $4,600

Which diamond cut is the best for me?

If you're concerned about the ring flattering your hand...
Consider elongated shapes, including the oval, emerald, and elongated cushion, which are super-trendy right now. One reason why: They make your hands and fingers look longer. And slimmer. The pear shape is also incredibly flattering and allows for real creativity in positioning and band choice.

If you're concerned about cost...
Avoid the round cut and go for an emerald shape. The round cut is more expensive because more of the rough diamond is lost in the crafting process. Slightly rectangular princess-cut diamonds also tend to be lower in cost and come with an environmental advantage: They use up to 80% of the rough diamond.

What's the best diamond shape, bottom line? There is none! The best diamond shape is the one that you like the best and would delight in wearing every day.

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