Diamonds are one of the Earth’s greatest treasures, but you wouldn’t know that from the raw diamond crystals that miners take from the crust. The true beauty of a diamond comes from the way it’s cut and sculpted into an ideal shape. Once that happens, a woman can admire a diamond for its fire, clarity, and scintillation. However, not all diamond shapes are made equal! Yes, they’re all gorgeous, but each shape has its own story, its own appeal, and its own way of capturing the light. Here at BARONS Jewelers, our long experience with diamonds has given us the ability to explain the unique magic of the popular diamond shapes to our customers so that they can easily pick out the shape that’s right for them!
The round cut is the world’s most popular shape, and it’s not difficult to see why. With its 57 (or 58, if the culet is included) facets, the round cut has the right proportions to transform rays of light into incomparable fire and scintillation. Plus, with their compact shape, round cuts are very good at hiding some less-than-ideal inclusions. However, the popularity of the round cut also drives up their price. If your heart is set on the dazzle of a round cut, you may prefer a princess cut; if you like the shape, you may prefer a pear- or oval-cut diamond!
The second-most popular diamond shape, the princess cut is also a very modern shape, dating back to only the 1970s. Eye-catching thanks to its sharp square shape, princess cuts are also sculpted with the 57 facets that give them a brilliant presentation. It should be noted that square shapes are more efficient to cut from rough stones, which makes them significantly more affordable. However, the sharp corners of the princess cut make it vulnerable to chips and snags. It’s ideal to choose a bezel, channel, or chevron prong setting when selecting this shape.
The second alternative to a round-cut diamond, the oval cut is another modern style. Invented in the 1960s, the oval cut shape blends the sparkle of a round cut with length, making a woman’s finger appear narrower when she wears the stone. Unlike a round cut, however, an oval-cut diamond also has an area inside that cannot easily transmit light known as the “bowtie effect”—which is a natural part of the cut. It can be mitigated by selecting an oval cut that has very good cutting. It may be worthwhile to sacrifice one of the other C’s in order to maximize the cut quality of the stone.
The marquise cut is a bold choice for a modern fiancée. Originally designed in the court of French King Louis XIV to mimic the lips of his courtesan, the Madame de Pompadour, this romantic cut has traditionally been reserved for accent diamonds and side stones. Its shape is like a small canoe, with two rounded sides coming to points. However, this long, striking cut is becoming popular as an alternative to more traditional shapes, and at BARONS Jewelers, we encourage it! But as with the princess cut, the sharp points of the marquise-cut diamond demand special care to protect them from snapping or snagging.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the marquise and round cuts, the pear cut is an ideal choice. An eye-catching hybrid of the two shapes, this “teardrop cut” is round and dainty along its base and a sharp point at the top. It’s a gorgeous style that evokes vintage elegance in a surprising modern way (another blending of features!) depending on the direction of the point. Though, it can be difficult for even reputable laboratories to properly grade their symmetry and cut. It’s important, if your heart is set on a pear cut, to judge the stone with your eye. If it’s not to your liking, it’s better to go with your instinct.
Here at BARONS Jewelers, we have a particular fondness for the cushion cut. It’s an unusual shape because it’s so easy to modify its cut. Some cushion cuts appear almost square. Some are almost an oval. What these cuts have in common is the rounded corners and soft lines. The cushion cut can also appear in “chunky” and “crushed ice” alternatives, which describe the appearance of the facets in the stone. Cushion cuts are also unusually good at showing off a diamond’s color. That’s great if you have a fancy colored diamond; less ideal if you have a white diamond with an unwanted yellow tint.
Asscher-cut and emerald-cut diamonds are two vintage cuts known as “step cuts.” Cut like a row of terraces, the step cut reflects light in an extremely different way than modern shapes. The Asscher cut is a square shape with clipped corners, and the arrangement of its facets creates a “windmill” pattern of black and white inside the stone. The scintillation and fire are minimized here, which may be a deal-breaker for some women, but the vintage style and striking pattern may be perfect for the woman who dreams of owning an antique engagement ring.
Like the Asscher cut, the step-cutting of the emerald-cut diamond minimizes the fire and scintillation of the stone. However, the emerald cut has the longest table (flat top surface) of the common shapes, and it’s an extremely long, rectangular shape, allowing it to narrow a woman’s finger. Unlike the Asscher cut, the step facets of the emerald cut create a “hall of mirrors” effect, which is a bit of vintage excellence. Also, thanks to the long table and lack of scintillation, it’s important to find an emerald cut with high clarity.
If you’re interested in learning more about diamond shapes, particularly those we showcase at BARONS Jewelers, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (925) 278 6971, or visit our Dublin, California showroom today!