The techniques used to create diamond shapes are divided into two main types; the round brilliant cut and fancy cuts. Here’s a primer on the main cuts you’re likely to come across – and some tips to help you make the right choice.
Make sure your Asscher cut diamond has the best luminescence possible. The diamond should have the minimum colour of H and a clarity of VS2. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, a minimum I colour grade and SI1 clarity will still look incredible if the natural inclusions are cleverly placed.
One major benefit of the cushion cut shape is that so much light streams in that any natural characteristics or inclusions within the diamond are flushed out by the clean white brilliance it emits. You can inspect this first-hand looking at loose, un-set diamonds in our workshop. It’s also versatile and suits any setting whether you prefer a solitaire, halo or bezel.
Emerald CutAn impeccably clean-lined oblong made using step cuts and rounded corners, with a long uninterrupted flat plane at the top which makes a diamond look bigger than it truly is. As the name suggests, it comes from emerald-cutting techniques and has between 50 and 58 facets, which refract light in a way that creates distinct dark and light inner planes. This means that the sparkle of an emerald-cut diamond isn’t non-stop but more sporadic. It jumps out a little less often, but is much brighter when it does and emits an elegant flourish.
You’ll need a diamond with a strong rectangular shape and high colour and clarity grade to get the most out of an emerald cut. The flat tablet-shaped surface is like a window to any organic inclusions that could create uneven sparkles, and the cut’s ‘hall of mirrors’ effect is best shown off with icy, colourless diamonds. Choose a gem with a minimum colour of H, clarity of VS2 and a very good cut to bring out the best of your design.
Heart CutOne of the most expensive and skilfully crafted diamond shapes, this requires a symmetrical cleft to be carefully added into the round head of a pear-cut diamond, which is about as easy as it sounds. A well-cut heart-shaped diamond combines the brilliance – the bright white light which diamonds emit – of a round-cut diamond, with the elegance of a marquise-cut stone (an oval shape with two pointed ends). When choosing a heart-shaped diamond, it’s important to pick one that is properly 3D rather than flat, and has symmetrical rounded sides.
Bigger is usually better when it comes to heart-cut diamonds as it is tricky to detect the shape in stones under 0.5 carats, and it needs to be truly 3D to showcase the stone’s brilliance. We suggest opting for a simple solitaire setting to perfectly complement this shape.
Marquise CutThe marquise is a pointed-end oval shape that has 58 facets, which create a sophisticated, deep lustre rather than the out and out sparkle of, say, a round-cut diamond shape. One huge advantage of this elliptical shape is that its elegant length can make a diamond appear larger than similar stones of the same carat weight.
Symmetry is paramount in a marquise-cut stone to ensure the two pointed ends are perfectly aligned. If it’s off, the cut looks poor and can result in what’s called a bowtie effect. The sharp ends can also be vulnerable to chipping so consider how this cut would figure into your lifestyle. Protective options include: edging it with an angled tip setting, encircling the whole stone with a row of halo accent diamonds or choosing a bezel setting which forms an elevated collar.
In our opinion, you’ll need a diamond with a minimum colour of H, clarity of SI, and a masterful cut to maximise the marquise cut’s brilliance.
Oval CutConsidered one of the brightest shapes of all, an oval-cut diamond has 56 facets giving off excellent brilliance, which is the term for dazzling white light refractions. It’s a real budget optimiser as it can make the stone appear bigger than the carat weight would suggest. Go for a size ratio of 1.5:1 (a length that’s one and a half times the size of the width) this will ensure that your diamond doesn’t give off a shadowy bowtie effect through the centre.
We’d say the max you could go up to and still evade any dark patches is around 1.65:1, while the minimum ratio should be 1.35:1 – any smaller and the diamond can look like a round-cut shape that’s gone wrong. Accentuate the elongated profile of an oval-cut diamond with a halo setting, a row of smaller diamonds encircling it as a focal stone, to create an impressive silhouette.
Overall appearance is what matters most in a pear-cut diamond. The symmetry must be exactly even on each side, reaching from the rounded head through the shoulders and wings to the end point. We recommend a stone with a minimum colour grading of H–I and clarity of SI1 to really maximise this cut’s sparkling scintillation.
The main distinction between a princess and round cut (pointed corners aside) is that it uses around 80% of the rough stone which means that they’re a little more cost effective to produce, so you get the same incredible light-catching sparkle yet it’s so much friendlier to your budget. We say go for a colour of H or I and clarity grading of VS2 or SI1 to get a really great impact from this spectacular cut.
Radiant-cut diamonds hold a lot of their weight in the base, which means that the light has more space to dance around in, then scatter out sparkles from the maximum number of angles. We say go for a minimum colour grade of G or H, and a clarity of VS2 or SI1 to get the optimal brilliance from a radiant-cut diamond.
Round Brilliant Cut
The optimised brilliance of a round cut can enhance a lower colour grade stone in a way that a fancy cut stone might not, so a round-cut diamond can help you create the look of a much more expensive stone. It has 33 facets on the crown (just above the widest point of the diamond) and 25 facets on the conical base so that all the sparkle scatters out from the top. We say go for a minimum colour grade of G or H, a clarity of VS2 or SI1, and a very good cut to create an outstanding sparkle and shine in your round-cut diamond.