When people speak of the cut of a diamond, they are most likely referring to the diamond shape rather than the actual diamond cut. Typically, the diamond cut refers to the quality of the diamond rather than the actual shape. For example, when people talk about princess cut diamond engagement rings, what they most likely are referring to are engagement rings with a princess shape, rather than a princess cut. Jewelers and gemologists will often put the type of cut in front of the shape. Thus, they may refer to mixed princess cut engagement rings. This means a mixed cut with a princess shape. Those of us who are less familiar with the difference between cut and shape will typically just refer to it as a princess cut however. This is often where the confusion comes in.
More About Diamond Cuts
While diamonds have to be cut to get a shape, the actual cut of a diamond refers instead to its proportions. The depth and width at which a diamond is cut determines its characteristics. Brilliance and radiance are regulated by the cut of the diamond.
Diamonds are typically cut in brilliant cuts and fancy cuts. Brilliant cuts are perhaps the most popular and are often the most saleable. Fancy cuts include modified brilliants, step cuts, mixed cuts and rose cuts. Diamonds with rose cuts are generally only seen in antique jewelry. Rose cushion cut jewelry is steadily making a comeback as an antique appeal is becoming more popular today.
The amount of light and the way it exits a diamond is dependent upon the type of cut and is often referred to as the quality of the cut. If the cut is too shallow compared to the width of the cut for instance, the light will directly exit the diamond with little to no reflective qualities. Thus, the diamond will appear dull and lusterless. Likewise, if the cut of the diamond is too deep, the light will escape from the sides of the diamond rather than through the diamond. This cut will also appear dull. A Signature ideal cut is perhaps the rarest and highest quality cut available. With this cut, the light that enters the diamond is reflected in such a way that it encompasses the entire diamond and allows for maximum brilliance and radiance. The quality of a cut can be Signature ideal, ideal, very good, good, fair or poor.
Princess cut engagement rings seem to be one of the more popular choices among couples. The cushion cut is also becoming increasingly popular as romantic and antique styles are making a steady comeback. However, the brilliant round cut continues to be perhaps the most popular in the world of diamond engagement rings. Following is an explanation and description of the most common diamond shapes:
Diamond Shape: Round
By far the most popular choice among newly engaged couples, the round diamond engagement ring is extremely versatile and can be found in a number of attractive settings. It may or may not include accent stones, as the round diamond can typically stand on its own as an exquisite solitaire.
Diamond Shape: Princess
Square princess cut diamond engagement rings are quickly becoming almost as popular as the round diamond. Most often, princess cut engagement rings are accented with other smaller stones with the diamond at its center.
Diamond Shape: Emerald
The emerald shape is a rectangular stone with rounded corners. The shape of the diamond dictates that it has a lower quality of cut. As such, an emerald shaped diamond will often exhibit more flaws and reflect less light, making the diamond appear dull and lacking in brilliance.
Diamond Shape: Radiant
Radiant shaped diamonds are square diamonds with subtly trimmed edges. Similar to the emerald shape, a radiant diamond typically reflects much more light and exhibits a luster and brilliance similar to a round diamond.
Diamond Shape: Asscher
Asscher shaped diamonds feature a square with edges that are deeply trimmed. They typically exhibit a brilliant luster and radiance. This shape is very rare and highly sought after.
Diamond Shape: Oval
Oval diamond engagement rings generally feature smaller accent stones and a detailed setting. This shape is often a good choice for those with small fingers, as it tends to blend in and won’t overpower a dainty or petite hand.
Diamond Shape: Marquise
Marquise diamonds are sophisticated, elegant and extremely traditional. They feature a slim oval that tapers to a point at each end. Marquise diamond engagement rings are frequently accented with smaller stones on both sides.
Diamond Shape: Heart
This shape is typically more of a novelty ring and is more frequently seen in pendants. Heart shaped engagement rings are not very common and are difficult to cut. As such, the quality and brilliance of a heart shaped diamond engagement ring is not likely to be very good. This shape of diamond will typically exhibit more flaws.
Diamond Shape: Pear
Commonly referred to as a teardrop shape, a pear shaped diamond is also frequently used in earrings and necklaces. The unbalanced shape of this ring makes it difficult to accent it with other stones. Thus, pear shaped engagement rings typically stand alone as solitaires. It is a great choice for those with small or short fingers, as it can produce an elongated effect.
Diamond Shape: Cushion
Reminiscent of antique and vintage designs, the cushion cut diamond is extremely unique. As a result, it is difficult to find. As the romantic appeal of antique jewelry is making a comeback however, cushion cut diamond engagement rings are becoming increasingly sought after. This shape often stands on its own as a beautiful solitaire engagement ring.