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Diamond Shape - Education & Buying Guide

Diamonds are available in nearly a dozen different shapes. The round diamond is considered to be the only traditional shape; everything else is a "fancy shape." Each diamond shape is distinct and they all have their own particular qualities which set them apart from one another. When shopping for fancy color diamonds, you will notice that they frequently come in fancy shapes. Fancy shapes, especially squarish ones, do a much better job of emphasizing the natural color of fancy color diamonds.

Diamond shape and diamond cut have two distinct meanings. It is very common for customers, jewellers and other industry professionals to use the terms interchangeably. A diamond's shape is the physical outline that forms the diamond and the cut of a diamond refers to the facets, proportions, dimensions and overall reflective qualities that make a diamond sparkle. There are a preexisting number of diamond shapes available. Cut should never be confused with shape since shape has no bearing on the brilliance of a diamond and how well-cut it is.

The most important factors in choosing a diamond stone is deciding on the shape that perfectly matches your style and looks beautiful on you. Your style may guide you to more traditional shapes such as the classic round, emerald or asscher cuts or fancy shapes such as the marquise, heart or pear.

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 table-surface size may be an important consideration.

Below is information on average costs and sizes for different diamond shapes at different carat weights. Learn how the different fancy cuts compare, and the pros and cons of different diamond cuts.

There's a lot to take into consideration when comparing different diamond shapes. We will focus here on quantitative measures like cost, carat and table-surface size and also practical considerations like 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 table-surface area won't make you happy if you'd prefer a different diamond shape!

Price & Shape - How They Relate

Below is an illustration of the differences in pricing, holding all other factors and diamond attributes constant among GIA certified stones. In the chart below, we've examined the average diamond prices of the 10 popular shapes and of carat - 1.00 ct & 2.00 ct, cut - Excellent, color - G, clarity - VS2:


Diamond Cut
(Select image shape to see Buying Guide)
Price
For 1 ct For 2 ct
Round Cut Diamond Shape Round Buying Guide $7291 $26683
Princess Cut Diamond Shape Princess Buying Guide $4799 $20450
Oval Cut Diamond Shape Oval Buying Guide $5362 $23861
Cushion Cut Diamond Shape Cushion Buying Guide $4229 $19746
Pear Cut Diamond Shape Pear Buying Guide $5802 $19016
Radiant Cut Diamond Shape Radiant Buying Guide $4443 $21709
Emerald Cut Diamond Shape Emerald Buying Guide $4476 $23513
Asscher Cut Diamond Shape Asscher Buying Guide $4137 $21516
Marquise Cut Diamond Shape Marquise Buying Guide $5596 $24133
Heart Cut Diamond Shape Heart Buying Guide $5536 $19613

Price & shape: how they relate.

As you can see, fancy shapes can save 10-43% in some instances against round diamond shapes of the same carat weight and quality. Shapes such as marquise and pear can also in fact look larger than round diamonds due to the shallow depth and elongated shape. Almost 40% of all engagement rings now have a non round diamond in the center as the main stone. The most popular shape is round, followed by princess and cushion.

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!

There's no overarching pattern to the discount, however. The most expensive and least expensive fancy cuts change based on the carat weight that you're looking for!

The bump in price for round cut diamonds start at the 1.00 ct mark. While other shapes rise in value more steadily from 0.70 to 1.20 ct, round diamonds jump at 1.00 ct and have a less steep increase in pricing to 1.20 ct. This means that the discount for fancy diamond cuts at the 1.00 ct mark is larger.

We can look at this another way. For a diamond budget of about $7,000, what size (G color, VS2) diamond could you get? The round diamond would be about 1.00 ct, but you could get a fancy shape closer to 1.20 ct, or maybe even larger!

How Diamond Shapes Affect Table-Surface 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 table-surface area (within ~5%) as those in the chart below. However, elongated shapes have greater variability.

The chart below gives table-surface size recommendations for different diamond shapes:


Diamond Cut
(Select image shape to see Buying Guide)
Table Surface Size
For 1 ct For 2 ct
Round Cut Diamond Shape Round Buying Guide 6.5 x 6.5mm 8.19 x 8.19mm
Princess Cut Diamond Shape Princess Buying Guide 5.51 x 5.51mm 6.94 x 6.94mm
Emerald Cut Diamond Shape Emerald Buying Guide 6.68 x 4.95mm 8.42 x 6.24mm
Asscher Cut Diamond Shape Asscher Buying Guide 5.61 x 5.61mm 7.07 x 7.07mm
Radiant Cut Diamond Shape Radiant Buying Guide 5.78 x 5.78mm 7.28 x 7.28mm
Cushion Cut Diamond Shape Cushion Buying Guide 5.83 x 5.83mm 7.34 x 7.34mm
Oval Cut Diamond Shape Oval Buying Guide 8.12 x 5.41mm 10.23 x 6.82mm
Pear Cut Diamond Shape Pear Buying Guide 9.05 x 5.45mm 11.4 x 6.87mm
Heart Cut Diamond Shape Heart Buying Guide 6.56 x 6.56mm 8.27 x 8.27mm
Marquise Cut Diamond Shape Marquise Buying Guide 10.38 x 5.19mm 13.08 x 6.54mm

Table-surface size recommendations for different diamond shapes.

The chart below gives you table-surface area for different diamond shapes, sorted largest to smallest:


Diamond Cut
(Select image shape to see Buying Guide)
Table Surface Area
For 1 ct For 2 ct
Marquise Cut Diamond Shape Marquise Buying Guide 38.25mm2 60.74mm2
Oval Cut Diamond Shape Oval Buying Guide 36.02mm2 57.21mm2
Pear Cut Diamond Shape Pear Buying Guide 36.01mm2 57.17mm2
Round Cut Diamond Shape Round Buying Guide 33.17mm2 52.78mm2
Radiant Cut Diamond Shape Radiant Buying Guide 31.74mm2 50.35mm2
Emerald Cut Diamond Shape Emerald Buying Guide 31.41mm2 49.91mm2
Heart Cut Diamond Shape Heart Buying Guide 30.98mm2 49.24mm2
Cushion Cut Diamond Shape Cushion Buying Guide 30.59mm2 48.49mm2
Princess Cut Diamond Shape Princess Buying Guide 30.36mm2 48.16mm2
Asscher Cut Diamond Shape Asscher Buying Guide 28.95mm2 45.99mm2

Table-surface area for different diamond shapes, sorted largest to smallest.

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

Different Diamond Shapes Explained

Select Diamond Shape

Round Radiant Pear Emerald Marquise Heart Oval Princess Cushion Asscher


Round Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Round

Round Shape Diamond - Round Brilliant Cut Diamond

The classic and most popular shape is the Round Brilliant cut diamond. Its 57 facets bring out the most brilliance, fire and sparkle of all the shapes. The round brilliant cut is undoubtedly the crowd favorite and offers the most viable options when aiming for an optimum combination of cut, color and clarity grades, as well as brilliance and sparkle. While the round is the most popular shape for colorless diamonds, when it comes to fancy color diamonds, it is much less common. This is because the round cut does not maximize the depth and richness of color in fancy color diamonds. The best fancy color diamonds are usually found in fancy shapes, such as cushion and radiant, which do a fantastic job of accentuating their color.

What does the round shape diamond say about you? - Tradtional, classic & timeless.


Pros

  • 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 table-surface area, its intense sparkle will make it appear bigger!

Cons

  • Since rounds are the most popular diamond cuts, they're also the most expensive. This is especially noticeable at the popular weight of 1.00 ct.

Diamond Shape Round

Round cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Considered to be of ideal proportions to maximise brilliance and fire
Facets
58 (57 if culet pointed)
L/W Ratio
1.00 - 1.02
Origin
17th Century Mazarin
Expert Tip
Most brilliant and popular of all shapes; versatile and classic

    Round Cut Diamond Features

    Round cut diamond features.




Learn more about the round shape diamond in our round cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Radiant Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Radiant

Radiant Shape Diamond - Radiant Cut Diamond

The Radiant cut is relatively scarce and appeals to those seeking a unique look. This cut combines the geometrical lines of the emerald shape with the sparkling brilliance of the round cut. Its trimmed corners are the signature characteristic and trademark feature of this shape. It is a rectangular shape though its length is variable. Fancy color diamonds frequently appear as radiant cuts as this shape is excellent at accentuating depth of color. A length to width ratio of 1 to 1.05 means you will have a square radiant cut while a ratio over 1.05 will mean the radiant cut falls on the rectangular side of the spectrum.

What does the radiant shape diamond say about you? - Tradtional with a unique twist.


Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Radiant cut diamonds have a relatively small table-surface size, about 4% smaller than rounds.

Diamond Shape Radiant

Radiant cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Signature trimmed edges, brilliant step cut
Facets
Usually 70
L/W Ratio
1.00 - 1.05 (square) > 1.05 - 1.50 (rectangular)
Origin
1977
Expert Tip
Hides inclusions well

    Radiant Cut Diamond Features

    Radiant cut diamond features.




Learn more about the radiant shape diamond in our radiant cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Pear Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Pear

Pear Shape Diamond - Pear Cut Diamond

The Pear cut diamond resembles a glistening teardrop that combines the soft, rounded end of an oval shape with the sharp, tapered point of a marquise cut. An interesting choice for the multi faceted personality. The pear shape diamond looks like its namesake, the pointy tipped, round bottomed fruit. This brilliant cut diamond is also sometimes referred to as a teardrop. Similar to marquise and oval cuts, longer pear shapes can make your fingers look effortlessly thin. Pear shapes are quite common among fancy color diamonds as it maximizes color magnificently. For a classic pear shape, pick a length to width ratio of 1.50 to 1.70.

What does the pear shape diamond say about you? - For those who play by their own set of rules.


Pros

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

Cons

  • 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.

Diamond Shape Pear

Pear cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Unique shape with single point and rounded end
Facets
Usually 56 to 58
L/W Ratio
1.50 - 1.70
Origin
15th Century
Expert Tip
Elongates finger, optimal colors H and above

    Pear Cut Diamond Features

    Pear cut diamond features.




Learn more about the pear shape diamond in our pear cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Emerald Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Emerald

Emerald Shape Diamond - Emerald Cut Diamond

For a timeless, elegant look, consider the Emerald cut diamond with its long, lean lines. The rectangular cut, which has a relatively larger open table (top, flat surface) and fewer facets, highlights the clarity of the diamond more than any other shape. The emerald cut is known for its unique rectangular faceting, giving it a noticeably striking and clear appearance. Unlike other shapes, emerald cuts have a large transparent table that gives you an unobstructed view of their face. As with other square or rectangular diamond shapes, the emerald cut can be found in a range of lengths. You should refer to the length to width ratio of the particular emerald cut you are interested in to make sure it meets your requirements. A length to width ratio of 1.30 to 1.40 will result in the standard emerald cut shape. Anything significantly greater will mean an elongated emerald cut. This cut, also known as a step-cut, was intended strictly for emeralds and is now frequently employed for square and rectangular diamonds as well.

What does the emerald shape diamond say about you? - Confident risk taker with a love for the retro.


Pros

  • 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!

Cons

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

Diamond Shape Emerald

Emerald cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Broad flat pane, truncated corners, step cut
Facets
Usually 57; varies depending on number of rows on crown and pavilion
L/W Ratio
Typically 1.30 - 1.50 (depending on taste)
Origin
Evolved from table cuts 20th Century
Expert Tip
Clarity VS1/VS2 and higher is optimal

    Emerald Cut Diamond Features

    Emerald cut diamond features.




Learn more about the emerald shape diamond in our emerald cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Marquise Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Marquise

Marquise Shape Diamond - Marquise Cut Diamond

The Marquise cut diamond delivers drama with its brilliant cut and tapered points at two ends. This diamond, when worn as a ring, creates an elongated, slender look. Cleverly, it also maximizes carat weight, giving the appearance of a larger diamond than a round diamond of the same carat weight. If you're in the market for a stone that looks large, but isn't necessarily so in carat weight, then a marquise diamond may be just what you're looking for. This eye shaped diamond is a brilliant cut that flatters your fingers, lending them a long and thin appearance. If you want a classic marquise cut diamond, choose a length to width ratio of 1.85 to 2.10.

What does the marquise shape diamond say about you? - Larger than life with a flair for the dramatic.


Pros

  • The elongated shape of a marquise cut makes the diamond look huge and your finger appear slimmer, too! Marquises have the largest table-surface area of all diamond cuts, 15% larger than rounds. They also cost 10-25% less than round diamonds of the same carat.

Cons

  • 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.

Diamond Shape Marquise

Marquise cut diamond Facets.

×

Unique Features
Long "navette" oval shape
Facets
Usually 56 to 58
L/W Ratio
Ideally 1.85 - 2.10
Origin
1745 French Royalty
Expert Tip
Optimises carat weight and elongates finger

    Marquise Cut Diamond Features

    Marquise cut diamond features.




Learn more about the marquise shape diamond in our marquise cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Heart Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Heart

Heart Shape Diamond - Heart Cut Diamond

The fancy shaped Heart cut diamond is for the confident woman who is all heart. While sometimes selected for engagement rings, it makes a beautiful choice for pendants in fancy colors such as yellow, pink or red. No diamond cut is more romantic than the heart shape. This is truly an unconventional but nonetheless gorgeous shape. If you want a classic heart shape, pick a length to width ratio between 0.90 and 1.10.

What does the heart shape diamond say about you? - Confident show stealer.


Pros

  • Heart shaped diamonds are romantic symbols and cost 13-26% less than rounds!

Cons

  • Heart cut diamonds have a table-surface area about 7% smaller than rounds.

  • The tip of the heart is prone to snag and chip and should be protected by prongs.

  • Evaluating the shape of hearts in smaller sizes is difficult, so it's best to stick to 1.00 ct and above.

Diamond Shape Heart

Heart cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Exclusive heart shape design
Facets
56 to 58 facets
L/W Ratio
Typically 0.90 - 1.10
Origin
16th Century
Expert Tip
Good symmetry is essential

    Heart Cut Diamond Features

    Heart cut diamond features.




Learn more about the heart shape diamond in our heart cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Oval Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Oval

Oval Shape Diamond - Oval Cut Diamond

Oval cut diamonds appeal to those who like their classics with a little edge. Similarly to a classic round diamond, oval diamonds deliver a beautiful brilliance. The elongated shape adds an interesting twist to rings and accentuates the hand to create a slender look. The unique and alluring shape of the oval cut complements those with long and lean fingers, much like the marquise cut. The oval cut skillfully magnifies the richness of color in fancy color diamonds. A length to width ratio of 1.33 to 1.66 will give you the classic oval cut shape.

What does the oval shape diamond say about you? - Bold, unique & sophisticated.


Pros

  • Oval cut diamonds still have most of the brilliance of rounds, but their elongated shape has a lengthening effect on the finger. Better yet, they're 10-30% cheaper than rounds, with about 8% larger table-surface area!

Cons

  • 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.

Diamond Shape Oval

Oval cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Symmetrical, elongated rounded shape
Facets
Usually 58
L/W Ratio
Typically 1.33 - 1.66
Origin
19th Century
Expert Tip
Optimises carat weight and elongates finger

    Oval Cut Diamond Features

    Oval cut diamond features.




Learn more about the oval shape diamond in our oval cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Princess Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Princess

Princess Shape Diamond - Princess Cut Diamond

If you're looking for more contemporary style, consider the Princess cut, the second most popular shape. Princess cut diamonds are square or slightly rectangular in shape with pointed corners and an array of intricate facets that increase the diamond's inherent sparkle. The princess cut is frequently chosen for its abundance of brilliance and singular cut. As mentioned, princess cuts are noted for their sharp corners and square shape. Dimensions may factor into your decision to go with one princess cut over another since this diamond shape can lean either rectangular or square. A length-to-width ratio of 1 to 1.05 will give you a princess cut that falls on the square side while length-to-width ratios above 1.05 will mean such diamonds are longer and, therefore, more rectangular.

What does the princess shape diamond say about you? - Traditional with a modern edge.


Pros

  • 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 table-surface size, their long diagonal measurement makes them seem larger. The most popular of the fancy shapes, princess cuts look great in any setting!

Cons

  • 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.

Diamond Shape Princess

Princess cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Contemporary square cut, most brilliant of all square shapes
Facets
Usually 57 or 76
L/W Ratio
1.00 - 1.05 (square) > 1.05 (rectangular)
Origin
1970's, developed from barion & quadrillion cuts
Expert Tip
Ideal for long fingers and eternity bands

    Princess Cut Diamond Features

    Princess cut diamond features.




Learn more about the princess shape diamond in our princess cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Cushion Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Cushion

Cushion Shape Diamond - Cushion Cut Diamond

As with asscher cut diamonds, the Cushion cut has been popular for more than a century. With a soft and romantic look, the cushion cut (or "pillow cut" as it is often referred to as because of its rounded corners) has rounded corners and larger facets to increase the stone's brilliance. The cushion cut is a token of longevity. It has been the diamond cut of choice for many for over 100 years! The optimized brilliance in cushion cuts is the result of the enlarged size of their facets. Cushion cuts are a very popular shape in fancy color diamonds. The cushion cut is an excellent choice to maximize color and bring out its depth and richness. As with other quadrilateral diamonds, cushion cuts are available in square and rectangular options. A 1.00 to 1.05 length to width ratio means the cushion cut is square while a length to width ratio over 1.10 will mean the cushion cut is more rectangular.

What does the cushion shape diamond say about you? - Feminine & romantic.


Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • Cushion cut diamonds table-surface about 8% smaller than equivalent rounds.

Diamond Shape Cushion

Cushion cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Larger facets, light dispersive
Facets
Usually 58
L/W Ratio
1.00 - 1.05 (square) > 1.10 (rectangular)
Origin
19th Century
Expert Tip
Opt for modified brilliants with "crushed ice effect" if looking for more scintillation

    Cushion Cut Diamond Features

    Cushion cut diamond features.




Learn more about the cushion shape diamond in our cushion cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.

Asscher Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape Asscher

Asscher Shape Diamond - Asscher Cut Diamond

The striking Asscher cut, often described as a square emerald, evokes an art deco feel from the 1920s and '30s. Created at the turn of the 20th century, this shape is now experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The asscher cut can be thought of as the emerald cut's fraternal twin - there are similarities in characteristics that tie the two together but enough of a physical difference exists to make them distinct cuts. As mentioned, asscher cut diamonds are essentially square emerald cuts. Both cuts share the same type of pavilion, which consists of rectangular facets. The large transparent table gives you a clear view of the face. For a perfectly square asscher cut, look for one with a length to width ratio of 1.00 to 1.05.

What does the asscher shape diamond say about you? - Trend-setter with a touch of vintage whimsey.


Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • With 13% less table-surface area than a round, an asscher cut diamond shows the smallest table-surface area of the fancy cuts.

  • In addition, this step cut doesn't hide inclusions like a brilliant cut would.

Diamond Shape Asscher

Asscher cut diamond facets.

×

Unique Features
Larger facets, light dispersive
Facets
Usually 58
L/W Ratio
1.00 - 1.05 (square) > 1.10 (rectangular)
Origin
19th Century
Expert Tip
Opt for modified brilliants with "crushed ice effect" if looking for more scintillation

    Asscher Cut Diamond Features

    Asscher cut diamond features.




Learn more about the asscher shape diamond in our asscher cut diamond guide to help you choose the right diamond for you.