What Shape Diamond Should I Choose?

We often get asked “What Shape Diamond Should I Choose?”, by couples at the first stage of their journey when selecting a diamond engagement ring. Or sometimes the question might be posed by a guy or girl wanting to find out more; looking for advice – and shape is a big deal when choosing any sort of diamond, whether for diamond engagement ring or other type of ring or item of jewellery. And the same goes for all gemstones.


Of course, there’s no right answer – it’s totally down to personal preference – although there are a number of factors which should be considered. Let’s have a closer look at diamond shapes and why you might select one or another.

SHAPE AND THE FOUR ‘C’s:

You may have already heard of the ‘Four ‘C’s? When it comes to diamonds, the Four C’s determine the value of the stone, basically. That’s Carat weight, Colour, Clarity and Cut. Understanding the Four C’s and what they all mean is a really good idea. These aspects will mostly relate to your budget, but they also combine to affect how a diamond looks and behaves.


Shape is a different consideration, and also should not be confused with cut. The cut refers to the stone’s ability to reflect light and therefore to sparkle and dazzle. A diamond’s cut relates to its angles and facets – how many there are, their symmetry and proportions – all of which affects how the stone will reflect light. Cuts are graded. From poor, meaning that the diamond does not reflect as much light, and that the light gets ‘lost’ out of the bottom and the sides of the stone. To excellent, which means that the diamond has been very well cut and reflects a lot of light - importantly - from the top face or ‘table’ of the crystal. Which makes it sparkle with fiery brilliance. Generally speaking, if diamonds are cut too ‘shallow’, they will lose light from the lower parts of the stone. If they are cut too ‘deep’, then light will escape from the sides. The more brilliantly the stone emits light, the more desirable it is and therefore the more valuable the diamond is.

By far the most popular shape and cut is the round brilliant cut diamond. Around three quarters of all diamonds are this form. Traditionally diamonds have been crafted in this shape and cut for practical reasons also. It’s usually the most economical method of fashioning two pieces out of a rough diamond whilst losing the least amount of crystal. Round brilliant diamonds will reflect the most light for their size comparatively, as well. So, you need more diamond to reflect the same amount of light, in a different shape and cut. When diamonds have issues with their formation in terms of symmetry or ‘inclusions’ which are problematically located, then a different sort of cut is needed, and any other cut outside of the round brilliant, is known as a ‘fancy’ cut.


The good news for buyers is that diamonds with an unusual shape are most often less expensive than round diamonds, which require more precision cutting; and the time it takes to achieve that means the labour involved makes round diamonds more costly.


There are many possible diamond shapes, but the ten most popular are:


Round, Princess, Pear, Cushion, Heart, Asscher, Oval, Emerald, Marquise and Radiant.

There are other shapes of which some are not well known at all. Some have patents and can only be made by their owners, for instance the ‘Half Dutch Rose’ which is a hexagon (six sides), the ‘Jupiter’ – a five sided affair; Baroness and Queen shapes have eight sides and there’s the ‘bead’ cut which looks similar to a disco ball! Other fairly obscure diamond shapes are the ‘Boat Shaped Rose’, the ‘Bullet’, the ‘Tulip’, the ‘Fan’ and the ‘Genesistar’.


Obviously different shapes will look different on your hand, and some shapes will actually suit different fingers better than others. So, this is an important consideration. For example, people with larger hands might decide to steer clear of delicate, slender diamond ring settings with narrower shapes, such as the Marquise and the Emerald. Larger fingers tend to look good sporting round and heart shapes, which are not ideal for thin fingers. Square shapes like Princess and Radiant go well on long fingers. Oval, Marquise and Pear tend to suit shorter fingers.


Personal style is of course a major consideration. Round brilliant cut in a solitaire setting is a much more traditional ring, whereas Pear or Marquise is a lot more edgy and zany, perhaps could be said to be more contemporary looking. A Heart shaped diamond ring is obviously going to be quite a romantic option. Shaped diamonds in different colours and with more unusual settings are going to be more unique and for some people, they will enjoy the sense of one-offness and originality.


The shape of the diamond needs to be in sync with the overall style of the item of jewellery. You can do any shape you like in a solitaire setting of course, and Round, Oval, Princess, Cushion and Marquise shaped diamonds go well as the feature stone in a ring which is multi-stoned. Trilliant, Heart and Pear shaped diamonds really need to be on their own.

THE HISTORY OF DIAMOND SHAPES, THEIR ASSOCIATIONS AND CELEBRITY WEARERS

The Round shape or Round Brilliant Cut is often referred to as the RBC; as mentioned already, it’s the most popular by a country mile. It’s associated with a ‘classic’ look. It was first created to 1919 by a fellow named Marcel Tolkowsky. Round Brilliant Cut diamonds have 58 facets and sparkle the hardest! It’s a timeless classic and is also versatile. Mila Kunis got a classic Round Brilliant Cut Solitaire diamond ring from Ashton Kutcher when he proposed to his old friend and co-star from “That Seventies Show.”


The Princess shape is associated with being ‘ladylike’. Designer Arpad Nagy first crafted a Pear shaped diamond in 1961. There can be 49 through to 144 facets, depending on the size of the diamond. It’s the second most popular shape after the Round, and can often be more affordable than other shapes, as it can be produced using less cuts. Heiress Nicky Hilton sports a princess diamond ring, given to her by husband James Rothschild.


Emerald shaped diamonds are linked with glamour. Emerald shaped gemstones date from the Art Deco era (1920’s) and they show off the clarity factor better than the other shapes. They are elegant and very stylish. George Clooney gave his wife Amal a 7 carat Emerald shaped diamond ring. Beyonce has an enormous 18 carat Emerald shaped sparkler. Major stars in Hollywood’s golden era went for the Emerald shaped diamond ring – such as Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly.


The Asscher shape is for those of you who like a bit of ‘vintage’ action. These were also very popular in the Art Deco period, though were invented earlier – in 1902 in Amsterdam, by the Asscher brothers. It’s a bold and rather dramatic shape, loved by Reese Witherspoon and also Elizabeth Taylor who wore a famous 33 carat ring which was given to her by two-time husband Richard Burton.


The Cushion shape is for the true romantics. Also called the pillow cut, it’s particularly good for people who want to wear a big stone! It’s been around for a long time and was very popular in the early 1900’s. Kim Kardashian has a large Cushion shaped diamond ring, presented to her by hubby Kanye West. Brooke Shields and Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea have cushion shaped diamond rings.


Marquise equals dramatic. It’s said it was first created at the court of the French King Louis XIV - ‘The Sun King’ - around 1700. It’s assumed that it was named after his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour and that the design was inspired by her smile. It is dramatic and it is distinctive. It tends to look larger than it really is, which is nice, and it’s great for making fingers seem slender and long. Dramatic couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones chose a Marquise shaped diamond.


Oval shaped diamonds are ‘innovative’, often appearing flanked by other coloured gemstones, oval is a fresh look and also works beautifully for those wanting to heighten the sense of elegant looking fingers and hands. Hollywood star Sofia Vergara has an oval dazzling diamond ring.


Pear shape is for unique. As well as for rings, this shape is very popular for other diamond jewellery like pendants and earrings. These come in different widths and lengths which will suit different individuals and says, “I’m a one-off original”. Actress Katherine Hiegl wears a Pear shaped diamond ring which is incorporated in a setting along with a stone from her mother’s engagement ring.


Radiant shape has a Diva vibe. It’s glamorous and confident, has a lot of sparkle and demands to be looked at. Jennifer Lopez and Drew Barrymore are radiant shape diamond divas.


Heart shape is of course sentimental. It’s romantic and loving and like love, it takes lot of time and dedication to perfect. Heart lovers include Lady Gaga and Joan Collins.


Do consider the different shapes available. Why not get a bit Fancy?!