Choosing the right cut for a diamond can be a difficult decision. After all, the cut is one of the factors that determines how big the diamond looks compared to the ring, how bright it sparkles, and whether its aesthetic matches your expectations.
Below, we’ll cover the most popular cuts of diamond, as well as our recommendations for size and brilliance, so you can make your own decision.
Popular Diamond Cuts
Without a doubt, the round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular shape for gemstones and jewelry, accounting for almost 75% of all diamonds sold. The cut was first popularized by Marcel Tolkowsky’s thesis “Diamond Design: A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in Diamond”, which described the ideal dimensions for a round cut diamond (53% table, 59.3% depth, 34.50 crown angle, visible culet). Over the past few hundreds of years, diamond cutters have found no better cut than the round brilliant to maximize the diamond gem’s brilliance and fire. Because of this, the round cut is in exceptionally high demand, resulting in higher cost per carat compared to other shapes.
The princess cut diamond, the second most popular cut overall, is the most popular for engagement rings. This cut dates back to 1980, first created by London cutter Arpad Nagy, before becoming popularized by Ygal Perlman, Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz in Israel. The princess cut tends to be more affordable than a round brilliant due to its high yield and little waste. If you’re considering a princess cut diamond, make sure it is set with prongs on each corner, because those areas are particularly prone to wear.
The cushion cut diamond (also called a pillow-cut or old mine cut) is one of the oldest and most well-known cuts, famous for their rounded corners and large facets. In its first century of existence, it was the most popular diamond shape. Many vintage rings still feature the cushion cuts, a signature style of the 19th century. The cushion cut diamond is perfect for individuals who seek the brilliance and sparkle of the round brilliant cut, but prefer a more geometric and square shape.
Oval cut diamonds are modified brilliants, originally popularized back in the 1960s, and remains popular for all kinds of jewelry today. Oval diamonds are longer than round cuts, creating a much larger and more unique shape. There are no standard dimensions for an oval cut, so it’s up to you to decide how long and narrow you would prefer the cut.
Pear cut diamonds are a cross between round brilliants and the marquise cut. One end is longer and narrower and tends to point to the bearer when worn. Pear cut diamonds are also popular on earrings and necklaces for its ability to draw the eye. Its also recommended that a prong is placed on the pear cut diamond’s point to prevent chipping.
Emerald cuts are created with rectangular facets step cut into the diamond’s pavilion. The result is a clear appearance, highlighting the diamond’s clarity and color. As the name implies, emerald cuts were predominantly used for emeralds in the past, but today can be seen on engagement and wedding rings featuring various precious gemstones, such as the diamond. Although it isn’t as fiery as other cuts, the emerald cut’s signature shape still makes for a coveted look.
The radiant cut diamond combines a square shape with a brilliant-cut facet to create a square but rounded-off diamond. The radiant cut first gained prominence in the 1980s, and its appearance tends to resemble a cross between a princess cut and an emerald cut.
A marquise cut diamond, one of the most unique cuts for the diamond, is actually a modified brilliant-cut. According to legend, its name and design come from King Louis XIV, who wore a stone that resembled the mouth of Marquise of Pompadour, which he considered “perfectly shaped”. Marquise cut diamonds are effective at maximizing its size with its long, narrow football-shaped design.
Asscher cut diamonds, also known as square emerald cuts, feature large facets, a high crown, and a smaller table relative to other diamond cuts. The result is a highly brilliant, highly unique diamond look that often has a vintage appeal. First created back in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, the Asscher cut diamond saw a rise in demand in 1902, and just this past decade, saw a resurgence in popularity.
What is the most expensive cut for a diamond?
On the market, price and popularity are related, and since the round brilliant cut is the most requested, it’s also the most expensive. Simply put, buyers demand the most stunning shape for their diamond and are willing to pay extra to get that look. Another reason for the higher price point of the round brilliant cut is the cutting process: round cuts tend to produce a greater loss of the original rough stone than any other shape.
In a similar way, due to its popularity for its modern look, the princess cut diamond is the among the most expensive cuts. For buyers who are looking for the princess cut, the key is to find a diamond that is a perfectly symmetrical square. If it is rectangular, the diamond’s value may decrease. However, in contrast to the round brilliant, the princess cut retains most of its original rough stone weight, making the princess cut comparatively lower in price than its round brilliant counterpart in spite of its high popularity and price.
Which diamond cut has the most sparkle?
Once again, the round brilliant diamond surpasses other cuts when it comes to brilliance and fire. The qualities of the special cut – the round shape, the angled sides, and the numerous facets – all come together to create an unmatched sparkle, explaining the round brilliant diamond’s enduring demand.
However, despite the high sparkle of the round brilliant cut, that’s not to say that other diamonds can’t come close. The oval, marquise and pear cut all demonstrate highly brilliant properties as well since they are modified brilliants.
Which cut of diamond looks the biggest?
In addition to price and sparkle, you may also be wondering which diamond shapes tend to make the gemstone look bigger. For this, you should look at which ones have larger tables and more surface area. Generally speaking, ovals, marquise, pear, and emerald cuts tend to look bigger. Given they are elongated shapes, these cuts usually look larger when compared to a princess or round cut, both of which tend to be bottom heavy.
What is the ideal cut of diamond?
Of all the questions you may have throughout your journey to the perfect diamond, this is the one question we can’t answer for you. That’s because every person is different and has different expectations! Some may want something that sparkles even at night, while others want a gemstone that looks large – it all depends on your priorities and preferences. With that said, this blog post provides a wealth of information about the popularity, history, price point, and appearance of various diamond cuts to help inform your decision. Ultimately, the correct answer to the ideal diamond cut is whatever you or your spouse desires.
Explore our collection of classic engagement rings, featuring round, princess, emerald, cushion and other cuts of gemstone fitted on beautiful bands.
If you still need a little guidance in choosing a cut that matches your taste, schedule a free hour-long consultation with our expert staff. With decades of experience under our belt, we’re uniquely qualified to find just what you need.1