Gemstone Industry

The Ultimate Guide to Different Diamond Shapes

Shreya Matta

Shreya Matta

December 12, 2022

Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect rock or just looking for inspiration, the diamond shape of her engagement ring is very important. With ten unique diamond shapes to choose from, your options are unlimited and can be overwhelming. Only you know her best, so take your time when ring shopping.

You may have heard that fancy shape diamonds are less expensive than rounds but by how much? If you’re considering different diamond cuts, understanding how diamond shapes impact price and face-up size may be an important consideration. Here is a list of average costs and sizes for different diamond shapes at different carat weights. Deep dive into how the different fancy cuts compare, and the pros and cons of different diamond cuts.

How Should We Compare Different Diamond Cuts?

There’s a lot to take into consideration when comparing different diamond shapes. For this article, we focus on quantitative measures (cost, carat, face-up size) and practical considerations (color and clarity recommendations, potential for chipping).

However, the most important quality for you is whether the shape fits your style! Ultimately, the least expensive cut or the largest face-up area won’t make you happy if you’d prefer a different diamond shape!

Below are the most common 10 different types of Diamond shapes, their pros and cons, tips to buy them, and prices.

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10 Types of Diamond Shapes

1. Round

Also known as “Brilliant Cut,” round diamonds are one of the most popular shapes. Timeless and classic, this shape maximizes the light return from the top of the stone. Round diamonds are perfect for wide and thin hands. If she has shorter fingers, consider a small round diamond instead.

Perfect for classic looks, the round brilliant diamond cut has been carefully engineered to produce the most sparkle. With a well-cut round diamond, the brilliance and dispersion will impress in any engagement ring. Better yet, even though this diamond shape won’t have the largest face-up area, its intense sparkle will make it appear bigger!

Since rounds are the most popular diamond cuts, they’re also the most expensive. This is especially noticeable at the popular 1.0-ct mark!

2. Princess

Princess diamonds are another popular shape with maximum brilliance. They have a unique square silhouette perfect for short, wide, and thin hands.

The princess cut is one of the most brilliant diamond shapes and, compared to a round, comes at a 25-35% discount. Although princess cuts have a slightly smaller face-up size, their long diagonal measurement makes them seem larger. The most popular of the fancy shapes, princess cuts look great in any setting!

The sharp corners of a princess cut are prone to snag and chip. These should be protected by prongs. Furthermore, when buying a princess-cut diamond, make sure it has no inclusions near the edges. This can make them more vulnerable.

3. Cushion

A cushion shape is a combination of a rounded square that has a romantic appeal. Its antique cut is flattering on thin hands with oval-shaped palms and narrow fingers.

Cushion-cut diamonds show excellent fire! The angles in this cut are made for those flashes of colored light. Although one of the oldest diamond cuts, the cushion cut has seen a recent resurgence in popularity. Still, these diamonds are 25-42% cheaper than equivalent rounds!

Cushion-cut diamonds face up about 8% smaller than equivalent rounds.

4. Oval

This distinctive, elongated shape can give the appearance of slimmer fingers for short and wide hands. Its lengthened shape can also create an illusion of a bigger diamond.

Oval-cut diamonds still have most of the brilliance of rounds, but their elongated shape has a lengthening effect on the finger. They’re also a popular choice for East-West settings. Better yet, they’re 10-30% cheaper than rounds, with about 8% larger face-up area!

Any oval-cut gem will exhibit a bowtie pattern in the middle. Some are more prominent, and some less. If you’re picky about finding an oval-cut diamond without a noticeable bowtie, you may have to do some searching.

5. Pear

A combination of round and marquise water drop’ shapes makes pear diamonds special. This rare shape represents tradition, and brilliance, and looks stunning on all hand shapes.

Not only do pear-shaped diamonds have a unique and beautiful shape, their prices are also quite attractive! They face up 8% larger than rounds and cost 10-30% less. Their elongated shape also makes them a great choice for trendy East-West engagement rings.

The tip of a tear-drop diamond is prone to snag and chip and must be carefully protected with prongs. Check the laboratory report to make sure the tip contains no inclusions, as this can weaken the gem. In addition, pear-cut diamonds exhibit a bowtie. It may take some searching to find a pear cut with a minimal bowtie.

6. Marquise

Known for its ‘football’ or boat-shaped, a marquise diamond creates the illusion of an extensive silhouette. A marquise has a long and narrow shape for engagement rings that looks substantial on shorter fingers.

The elongated shape of a marquise cut makes the diamond look huge and your finger appear slimmer, too! Marquises have the largest face-up area of all diamond cuts — 15% larger than rounds. They also cost 10-25% less than round diamonds of the same carat, and look great set in East-West style engagement rings.

The tapered points of a marquise-cut diamond need to be protected by prongs to prevent chipping and snagging. Make sure these vulnerable tips have no inclusions. In addition, marquise-cut diamonds exhibit a bowtie. Searching for a diamond with minimal bowtie may take some time. Although symmetry is very important in a marquise-cut diamond, it may be difficult to judge. Look at the shape closely and ensure that it appears symmetrical.

7. Heart

A symbol of love is definitely a heart-shaped diamond. Vibrant and rare, a heart shape diamond features a distinctive cleft at the top for superior brilliance. Avoid this shape on short and thin hands which can look “bulky” on these finger shapes. Heart-shaped diamonds are romantic symbols and cost 13-26% less than rounds!

On the other hand, heart-cut diamonds have a face-up area about 7% smaller than rounds. The tip of the heart is prone to snags and chips and should be protected by prongs. Evaluating the shape of hearts in smaller sizes is difficult, so it’s best to stick to 1 ct and above.

8. Emerald

Derived from its name, emerald shapes were originally used on emerald stones. If she’s edgy and sophisticated, an emerald shape is absolutely lovely. Its long lines give this shape elegance and lots of sparkles.

Instead of the usual brilliance and fire, emerald cuts are step cuts with a different kind of sparkle. These diamonds reflect light in a beautiful and subtle “hall of mirrors” effect. Although they’re one of the rarer diamond shapes, emerald-cut diamonds can be 12-42% cheaper than rounds of the same carat weight.

Because of their elongated shape, emerald-cut diamonds have a slimming effect on the finger. They’re also a great choice for an understated East-West ring.

Because an emerald cut isn’t a brilliant cut, you can easily see inclusions in emerald-cut diamonds. In addition, they have a face-up size about 5% smaller than rounds. They may appear even smaller because of their lack of brilliance.

9. Asscher

Part of the square-cut family, Asscher gives a vintage appeal with lots of shine and clarity. This shape features non-traditional cropped corners giving brilliance and character. Asscher looks magnificent on short fingers.

The mesmerizing windmill pattern of an asscher-cut diamond is great for a vintage, Art Deco look. With their octagonal outlines, they’re perfect for geometrical styles. They also cost 19-43% less than equivalent rounds!

With 13% less face-up area than a round, an asscher-cut diamond shows the smallest face-up area of the fancy cuts. In addition, this step cut doesn’t hide inclusions like a brilliant cut would.

10. Radiant

As a non-traditional shape, a radiant diamond has amazing brilliance (hence the name). Featuring rounded, cropped corners, consider radiant a cross between princess and cushion. Radiant diamonds are absolutely flattering on wide fingers.

Radiant cuts are one of the most brilliant cuts a diamond can have. This cut provides tons of sparkle, and the truncated corners make it more durable than a princess cut. Better yet, they can cost 20-39% less than round diamonds! If you go with an elongated radiant cut, it may also appear larger than a round.

But radiant-cut diamonds have a relatively small face-up size, about 4% smaller than rounds.

Which Diamond Shape is Best?

Round diamonds have the most brilliance and sparkle but come at a premium in price. While fancy cuts are all heavily discounted relative to rounds, none have the same sparkle as a round brilliant. Furthermore, finding a well-cut diamond with a fancy shape can be difficult.

Ultimately, the best diamond shape is the one you want most!

How Diamond Shapes Affect Price?

To look at this, we chose a few benchmark carat sizes: 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.2, 1.5, and 2.0 carats. For each size, we collected average prices for each diamond shape for G color, VS2 diamonds from Blue Nile’s inventory. Round diamond averages are based on “Excellent” cut diamonds.

Round diamonds command premium pricing at all sizes. This is in part because we only considered “Excellent” cuts, while the fancy shape prices average over the entire range of cut quality. Still, the discount is significant. Fancy-cut diamonds have prices 10-43% lower than rounds.

This graph shows another interesting feature of diamond pricing: the bump in price for rounds at the 1.0-ct mark. While other shapes rise in value more steadily from 0.7 to 1.2 ct, round diamonds jump at 1.0 ct and have a less steep increase in pricing to 1.2 ct. This means that the discount for fancy diamond cuts at the 1.0-ct mark is larger.

What Diamond Cut is the Most Expensive?

You may have guessed that, with its popularity, the round brilliant diamond shape is the priciest. Why? There are a couple of explanations for this.

Firstly, the market value for round brilliant diamonds has increased due to them being very popular and in high demand. Secondly, and perhaps more crucially, the round brilliant diamond shape has the highest number of facets and requires more precision and expertise to cut. This shape also produces the most waste, meaning a lot more excess material is cut away from the rough diamond.

Although round-cut diamonds tend to be more expensive, they do offer the most fire and brilliance above any other cut.

The Most Expensive Diamond Cut - Royal Coster Diamonds

What Diamond Cut is the Most Affordable?

The advantage of wanting something different from the norm is that it will also come at a more reasonable price. Although there is a variance between them, all fancy cuts will be a lot more forgiving financially than the ever-popular round brilliant.

The emerald and asscher cuts lead the way in affordability, with their cuts requiring less precision and generating less waste from the rough stone. As mentioned earlier, however, it is worth opting for a higher grade of clarity on these stones as inclusions and imperfections will be easier to spot.

Other fancy diamond cuts are still much cheaper than the round brilliant (up to 25% less), as they waste less of the rough stone. This can enable you to save money or get a larger stone for your budget. You will likely end up with noticeably bigger, or higher quality stone for the same price as the round brilliant.

When it comes down to it, your choice of diamond cut is largely going to depend on the recipient’s taste and style. Remember that above everything else, the perfect engagement ring is one that your loved one will enjoy wearing every day.

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How Diamond Shapes Affect Face-Up Size?

It’s no secret that some fancy-shape diamonds appear larger than rounds. Oval, pear, emerald, and marquise cuts can appear larger because of their elongated shapes. Rectangular cushion, radiant, and princess cuts can have the same effect. Even square radiant, cushion, princess, and asscher cuts can appear larger than a round because their corner-to-corner length is larger than a round’s diameter.

However, that doesn’t mean that a round diamond appears small. Despite their compact nature, well-cut round diamonds appear large because of their intense sparkle — something no fancy diamond cut can match. Well-proportioned diamonds should have similar measurements and face-up area (within ~5%) as those in these tables. However, elongated shapes have greater variability.

For face-up size, marquise diamonds are the clear winner, about 15% larger than rounds! Trillion, oval, and pear shapes also face-up large for their weight. The remaining shapes are smaller, with asscher-cut diamonds having the smallest face-up size.

Final Thoughts

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, each with its own unique characteristics and appeal. From the classic round brilliant to the elegant princess cut, understanding the different diamond shapes is essential when choosing the perfect engagement ring or jewelry piece. Armed with this ultimate guide, you can confidently embark on your diamond quest.

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