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Diamond Shapes and Cut

There are many ways to describe the beauty and quality of a diamond, and the one that you ultimately fall in love with, will have a unique combination of 3 elements that give the diamond its individual character.

These 3 elements are known as Fire, Life and Brilliance. ‘Fire', is a term which describes the rainbow of light that is achieved through the optimum cut of the diamond, whilst 'life' describes the diamond’s scintillation and sparkle, and finally ‘brilliance’, which is the natural transculency of the raw material, that once cut will reflect light and come to life.

The classic image of a diamond is that of a sparkling, round white stone, but in reality there are a number of stunning diamond shapes to choose from. Diamonds are natural crystals of varying size and shape formed in the earth over millions of years. The traditional round brilliant diamond, though the most popular diamond shape of all, is hardly the whole story.

By the diamond cutter's art these crystals are carved into gems of spectacular beauty. A cutter's skill will produce a diamond of the greatest size with the fewest flaws and the most brilliance. The shape of a diamond is not to be confused with its cut, which is the single most important factor in determining the sparkle of a finished gem. The shape of a diamond generally refers to its overall appearance, and describes its proportions.


 The round brilliant cut diamond is by far the most popular choice of diamond. Over the years this shape has been optimized to make sure it takes the maximum amount of light giving it a fantastic fire and sparkle. This classic shape is perfect for a diamond engagement ring, diamond trilogy ring all the way through to a diamond tennis bracelet.


The princess cut diamond is fast becoming one of the most popular fancy shaped diamonds today. It's unique square shape and pointed corners set it apart from the other shapes of diamond available. In a diamond engagement ring it has a stunning sparkle and fire that cannot be beaten.


With its large pavilion the emerald cut shaped diamond has its own individual style. Due to the large table it highlights the clarity of the diamond and in SI clarity inclusions can be visible. The straight rectangular cuts make this modern shaped diamond a fantastic choice for any diamond engagement ring.


The marquise cut is a traditional shaped diamond which depending on the cut can get longer or wider as the carat weight increases. The brilliance of this stone is that it looks stunning in a diamond engagement ring or with other shaped stones such as round or princess diamond in a trilogy ring or pendant.


An oval cut diamond is very similar to a round brilliant cut diamond in its appearance. However it is a fraction longer with curved corners and straighter sides. For someone who has longer, slender fingers this shape of diamond is perfect in an engagement ring.


The pear shaped diamond is a traditional style and is also known as a tear drop shape. As the diamond increases in carat weight the stone becomes wider as opposed to longer. Fantastic choice for longer, slender fingers. Used in a large amount of diamond pendants and diamond earrings.


A heart shaped diamond is one of the more romantic shaped diamonds. With the sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond but with characteristics of both pear/marquise style stones this stone truly is the symbol of everlasting love. Why not take a look at our heart diamond engagement rings via the link below?


The Asscher cut diamond is a 'stepped' square cut diamond originally developed in 1902. Asscher cut diamonds draw your eye into its art deco appearance.


A radiant cut diamond is a similar shape to the emerald cut diamond but sparkles like a round brilliant cut. It has around 75 facets making it ideal for any style of ring or jewellery. A relative newcomer compared to round and princess the radiant cut diamond will take her breath away.


The cushion cut is an antique cut that most often resembles a cross between the Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. This shape is also sometimes referred to as the pillow-cut or the candlelight diamond (a reference to cuts designed prior to electric lights, when diamonds sparkled in the light provided by candles).

The graphic and supporting text below explain the various "parts" of a diamond.

diamond sections

  • Diameter 
    The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.
  • Table 
    This is the large, flat top facet of a diamond.
  • Crown 
    The upper portion of a cut gemstone, above the girdle.
  • Girdle 
    The narrow rim of a diamond that separates the crown from the pavilion. It is the largest diameter to any part of the stone.
  • Pavilion 
    The lower portion of the diamond, below the girdle. It is sometimes referred to as the base.
  • Culet 
    The tiny facet on the pointed bottom of the pavilion, which is the portion of a cut gem below the girdle.
  • Depth 
    The height of a gemstone, from the culet to the table.