The Ultimate Diamond Shape Guide – Which to Choose and Why

Like many others, if you’re new to the magnificent world of diamonds, you could mistake the diamond shape for the diamond cut. I mean, who could blame you? Everyone else tags the word “cut” as the last name of the shape i.e. round cut, radiant cut, and princess cut.

This term may be fixated in the diamond lingo, but it’s never too late to know the difference!

diamond shapes on finger

The diamond shape refers to the geometrical outline of the gem. While the cut speaks of the proportions of the diamond that make or break its brilliance, fire, and scintillation.

Thus, the cut is what governs the 4Cs! Now that we have settled which is which, it’s high time I introduce you to the different shapes of the diamond. Which one matches your style? What shape brings out the real you?

Diamond Shapes

Diamond shapes have nothing to do with the diamond cut.

And having chosen your desired shape, what do you need to look for if you want to get a diamond with the best possible light performance? This is especially important with fancy shaped diamonds because unlike the round and princess cuts, they don’t receive cut grades.

With that said, I will now be covering the characteristics and pitfalls of each diamond shape. I’ll also be using James Allen diamonds – in these parameters: 0.90-0.91ct G-VS2 Excellent Cut – for reference as their diamond display technology will let you study each shape in super zoom.

Let’s start off with the most beloved shape of all…

Round Shape Diamonds

        • Round Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Excellent
        • Round Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Excellent Ring

The round brilliant shape is the former modern cut that’s developed in the early 1900s. More than 70% of diamonds sold are round cuts! If you don't know yet, it's deemed as the most popular shape, not only because of its timeless form, but mainly for its 58 facets that produce optimal sparkle!

Pros: The round cut diamond is that popular for two particular reasons. It is timeless and neutral. Unlike other diamond shapes, there is hardly anyone out there who would try to argue that round cut diamonds are unattractive. More importantly, round cut diamonds have the best optical light performance compared to every single shape.

Cons: If there’s a downside to its form, it’s only those who are into super edgy and avant-garde that would be affected. But then again, this shape goes beyond all seasons with its classic beauty.

Meaning: Choosing the round cut means you possess honesty, faithfulness, and empathy. The round cut wearer flaunts a classic and simple appeal, not succumbing to mainstream tastes, but nestles in the vintage because old elegance never goes out of style.

Princess Shape Diamonds

        • Princess Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Excellent
        • Princess Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Excellent Ring

The princess cut is the perfect blend of contemporary shape and classic brilliance. Bearing a sleek form doesn’t stop this cut from producing superb sparkle. And that’s what makes it the second most popular diamond shape and a favorite among the younger demographic.

Pros: A princess cut diamond with the same carat weight as a round cut will be much cheaper! The reason for this is that when producing a princess cut diamond, the cutters don’t have to remove as much material from the rough compared to round cuts.

Cons: One thing that concerns buyers from opting for this shape is the tendency to have extremely delicate corners which can be prone to chipping, but only if it’s not securely rooted on a ring setting.

Meaning: If you think the princess shape is the diamond for you, then you can definitely identify with modern tastes. This shape is made for trendsetters who enjoy the avant-garde. It emphasizes the go-getter character traits of the wearer such as boldness, leadership, adaptability, but also an appreciation for tradition.

Emerald Shape Diamonds

        • Emerald Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Excellent
        • Emerald Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Excellent Ring

You might wonder what this shape has to do with the emerald gem. Well, it's actually the inspiration. Its pavilion’s step cuts and large table makes it exceptional. What you’ll find interesting in the emerald shape’s sparkle is it produces a hall-of-mirrors effect exhibiting a fusion of its light and dark planes.

Even though it doesn’t create that much fire like a round cut, the emerald cut’s longer lines and unique play of light gives it a graceful charm and an art deco look.

Pros: Emeralds are seen sported by top celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé. This cut is pretty much adored because it’s 5% greater in diameter than a round cut, making it seem like it’s bigger even with the same carat weight. Meaning, you can have a diamond that seems larger and spend 15-25% less!

Cons: Since the emerald cut has fewer facets and shows more flaws than other cuts, it’s best to find one that has maximum brilliance and opt for a higher color and clarity grade.

Meaning: Loved by women with confidence and a fascination over vintage feel, this diamond shape emphasizes a dramatic, yet straightforward brilliance.

Asscher Shape Diamonds

        • Asscher Diamond Shape 0.91ct G-VS2 Excellent
        • Asscher Diamond Shape 0.91ct G-VS2 Excellent Ring

Dating back from the late 1800s, this shape bears an old Hollywood appeal. The asscher established a towering reputation since it's the first diamond cut to be patented. It continues to be an elite choice for renowned names such as Elizabeth Taylor and Gwyneth Paltrow with its angular corners and one of a kind X shape.

Pros: Asschers are usually compared to the emerald cut, but with a higher crown, a smaller table, and larger step facets, this shape is able to produce more brilliance!

Cons: The thing is, since its table is flat and gives a clearer view of the center, it also allows inclusions to be more visible. Because of this, I would recommended going higher with clarity grade, preferably VS2 or greater!

Meaning: Wearers of the asscher cut exude style and charisma. If you find this shape appealing, then you don’t settle for the ordinary. You want to stand out, yet stay feminine and precise. Made by Joseph Asscher for King Edward VII, it's wearer will emanate extravagance and royalty as well.

Marquise Shape Diamonds

        • Marquise Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2
        • Marquise Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Ring

The marquise cut is a modified brilliant cut that holds a lovely history behind its form. King Louis XIV of France had a diamond shape especially made for Marquise of Pompadour – inspired by her perfectly shaped lips.

Pros: Being long and narrow, marquise has the greatest size per carat weight among all the other shapes. Thus, it will look larger on your ring finger and give the illusion of greater size!

Cons: Because of marquise’s sharp corners, it can be prone to chipping if not tightly secured by prongs. It’s also important for the two ends to align perfectly as the tiniest symmetry flaw can affect the balance of the gem when set on a ring. A bow tie effect may be seen, but if your diamond has excellent proportions, then it will be hidden in the facets’ brilliance.

Meaning: Choosing marquise means you’re captivated by lavishness and sparkle as it displays the most glitter since it’s designed to make the gem appear bigger than it is.

Oval Shape Diamonds

        • Oval Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2
        • Oval Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Ring

Discoverd in the 1960s, the oval cut is seen as a modern spin to the staple round shape. Renowned in the celebrity loop, it was gifted to Rebecca Romijn by her now-husband Jerry O’Connel.

Pros: Since the oval diamond has the same amount of facets as the round, it can also provide superb brilliance. And given its elongated shape, oval gives off an illusion of length.

Cons: But just like marquise, its longer structure can sometimes create a bow tie effect that's usually seen in lengthier ovals. So, it’s best to have the right proportions and to choose a higher color grade since the oval shape is likely to show more color.

Meaning: If you like the traditional round cut, but want a little creativity, the oval shaped diamond is a great compromise between classic form and individuality. Some would interpret the egg shape of the oval as a symbol of fertility. In general, women who choose this bears a sophisticated elegance, but likes to dabble into something unique every now and then.

Radiant Shape Diamonds

        • Radiant Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2
        • Radiant Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Ring

Radiant is a fusion of the faceting of the round brilliant cut and the framing of emerald and princess cuts. This versatility makes the diamond shape a popular choice for different tastes!

Pros: With additional facets, radiants can hide inclusions very well and are able to produce more light which makes this shape one of the most brilliant gems. Its longer shape is also perfect for women who have shorter fingers as it can create the effect of greater height.

Cons: Although, you should take in mind that its large facets would require high color and clarity grading as the radiant cut can easily display imperfections.

Meaning: This choice speaks of your trend-setting tastes in fashion. Similar to the princess cut, women who would pick this diamond shape emanates the sparkle of the gem. As a cross between the brilliant and step-cuts, the radiant cut is for those who want the best of both worlds.

Pear Shape Diamonds

        • Pear Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2
        • Pear Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Ring

The pear or teardrop shaped diamond is a hybrid of the round and marquise. Its unique form gives the wearer two style choices for different moods. With the round cut’s brilliance and the edgy outline of the marquise, the pear shape is loved by fashion trailblazers worldwide.

Pros: It’s a unique shape that can make a wide finger look slimmer. Pear shapes add a touch of class and elegance to modern ring designs.

Cons: Take note that color becomes more evident at the tip of the pear cut, so I would recommend picking an H color grade or higher to make sure your diamond will have a balanced tone.

Meaning: The pear cut is a serious eye-catcher! Women who wear this diamond are showered with second-looks. If you’re into this cut, you’re adaptable, but also intro traditional romance. The shape itself is said to represent tears of sorrow or joy. But if you’re getting married with this piece, then the latter meaning would be more fitting, right?

Heart Shape Diamonds

        • Heart Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2
        • Heart Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Ring

This iconic symbol requires perfect symmetry, so it can create optimum sparkle! A heart shaped diamond should have a well-proportioned curves and finish. Plus, the point between the two lobes should be defined and the sides would have to be a little rounded going down to the tip of the shape.

Pros: For centuries, we’ve celebrated the heart shape as an emblem of affection. It’s now making waves in pop culture as a bold statement that connotes hopeless romanticism and universal love.

Cons: With its shape comes a bow tie effect, but it can be reduced if the cutter can change the depth of the pavilion and alter the angles of the facets, so it can disperse more light.

Meaning: Picking a heart shaped diamond says a lot about your stance in romance. You are dreamy and sensitive. And you always try to see the world in a positive light – like how it is in fairytales.

Cushion Shape Diamonds

        • Cushion Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2
        • Cushion Diamond Shape 0.9ct G-VS2 Ring

Created in the 18th century, the pillow shape of the cushion cut is a merge between the old mine cut and the oval shape. Different variations of this cut are created such as the modified brilliant that possesses an extra row of facets in the pavilion giving it a “crushed ice” effect.

Pros: Remember Daisy’s engagement ring in ‘The Great Gatsby’? You're right, it’s a cushion cut diamond! Its vintage design is reminiscent of the grandeur of the 20s. Like the radiant cut, cushion’s extra facets allow it to disperse more light and conceal more inclusions. Sometimes, it even exhibits a subtle medley of colors, same as the kaleidoscope's!

Cons: This effect is best viewed under candlelight flames, so in normal lighting conditions, it’s not going to be as sparkly as the other cuts. Although newer variations are made to achieve superb brilliance, the cushion shape is still incomparable to the round cut’s ideal sparkle.

Meaning: If you think the cushion cut diamond is for you, then you must be a romantic radiating elegance, but at times daring and adventurous!

Where to Find Exquisite Diamonds in Different Shapes

Woman Online Shopping

Have you picked a diamond shape yet? Which one speaks to you the most? It sure is convenient knowing of these capsule introductions. But nothing compares to seeing the diamond in HD!

Since some shapes are more prone to clarity issues, online diamond shops like James Allen make it easier for shoppers to really see what a grading certificate cannot reveal. If you’re ready to find the gem in your preferred shape, why don't you have a look at their collection?

Click Here To Check out James Allen Now

If you have any queries about a specific diamond shape, hit me up in the comments section below or write to me! I usually answer within 24 hours. 🙂



Sebastian Naturski loves to write about diamonds and share his knowledge with his readers.
When he is not working on his website he is studying law at Humboldt University of Berlin.
He has taken part in several international law competitions and likes to broaden his horizons.
His other big passion are languages. He is fluent in German, English, Polish and Japanese and got basic skills in French and Spanish as well.

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