Diamond shapes and cuts: how to identify the perfect diamond
Every natural diamond is unique. These precious gem-stones are cut and shaped in a variety of different ways, giving you endless choices when it comes to selecting the perfect diamond. But have you ever thought about how a diamonds colouring might impact its shape and cut?
Read on for an introduction to diamond shape and cut, including information on how to determine the best combination of size, color, and clarity for your needs.
Colour diamonds vs white diamonds, in cut and shape
Coloured diamonds and white diamonds require starkly different cutting techniques, as these two distinct diamond families are judged differently for quality and brilliance.
White diamonds are graded on their clarity throughout the stone, often judged in profile or a table-down position. By contrast, coloured diamonds are graded face-up, as this is when the intensity of their colour is most enhanced.
As the tones in coloured diamonds can vary throughout each stone, they need to be cut to showcase this dance of color and shine as effectively as possible. The chosen cut also needs to preserve the weight of the diamond, to make its colour appear deeper.
How to cut a coloured diamond?
Decisions about the cut of coloured diamonds are made on a stone-by-stone basis, due to the unique properties of each stone. As a general rule, if the colour tones present are lighter, the stone will usually be cut in a modified cushion or radiant shape to maximise its face-up colour.
Deeper-coloured stones can suit round brilliant, marquise or pear cuts, as the appearance of colour doesn’t need to be deepened by the cut, but can concentrate on the reflection and sparkle of the stone.
How to cut a white diamond?
Classic white diamond cuts
The most popular cuts for white diamonds include:
Round brilliant cut
The round cut is the most popular of all diamond cuts representing approximately 75% of all diamonds sold. Widely accepted as the cut that offers the most brilliance, the diamond is cut into a cone shape with the top rounded off, giving it a chic and timeless appeal. It also has a total of 58 facets cut into it, ensuring it reflects light from all angles. This is why round brilliant cut diamonds are renowned for their intense lustre.
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The emerald cut diamond has an opulent open table in a rectangular shape, with softened corners. It features “step” style facets around the edges, which give the diamond a hall-of-mirrors effect, with the interplay of light and dark planes and adds to the luxurious appearance of the stone. An emerald cut works particularly well on diamonds which have a naturally high clarity.
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Princess cut diamonds are square-shaped with the corners left pointed rather than rounded. The traditional princess cut is amongst the most popular engagement ring cuts, because like round cut diamonds, princess cuts work well in almost any style of ring but have a slightly lower price per carat. Facets are cut into the diamond at different angles, so the light reflects off the stone in varied and unusual ways.
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The baguette cut produces a long, slim, rectangular diamond with the pointed corners intact. A number of facets are cut in “step” shapes on all sides, so the stone reflects light whichever way you move. This is an elegant and highly desirable diamond cut.
Another timeless classic design, oval cut diamonds make truly flattering rings, as they give an elongated appearance to the fingers. The diamond is cut into a perfectly symmetrical oval, with multi-angled facets cut into the sides for increased light reflection and sparkle. This cut is ideal for larger diamonds.
A radiant cut diamond offers ultimate sparkle. The diamond is cut into a square or rectangular shape with the corners rounded. A total of 70 facets are cut into it, resulting in a truly stunning diamond that sends light shooting off at every angle.
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Halfway between a round brilliant cut and a princess cut, the cushion cut diamond features extra-large facets, which give the diamond a spectacular sparkle. This classic soft shape works well in a wide variety of settings.
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Unusual white diamond cuts
While the classic shapes are the most popular with diamond lovers, there are a number of other unusual cuts which also offer timeless elegance and look beautiful in rings and other jewellery settings. These include:
The half-moon cut diamond is usually used as half of a pair of side stones to complement a larger central diamond. It has one straight edge and one curved edge, so it is essentially half of a round or oval cut diamond. Facets can be cut in several different ways to maximise brilliance.
Pointed at the top and rounded at the bottom, the pear cut diamond resembles a teardrop, making it an unusual but elegant shape. With facets cut at numerous angles around all edges, this is a highly lustrous cut which can make a smaller stone appear larger.
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The marquise cut creates an eye-catching oval shape with pointed ends, which can resemble a pair of lips when turned on its side. It features facets cut on regular diagonal angles, creating a star shape on the top of the stone.
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As its name suggests, a heart cut diamond is cut into a heart shape. It is one of the most sparkling, lustrous diamond cuts, as it is created by modifying the shape of a round brilliant cut diamond. The heart cut is an increasingly popular shape for engagement rings.
A trilliant cut is a triangular type of gemstone, with three equal sides that may be curved or uncurved. Their cut is both shallow and wide, which means the stone often looks larger than a round cut diamond of the same carat. Traditionally used as an accent stone, trilliant cuts have recently gained popularity as the main stone in jewellery pieces.
How to choose the right diamond cut?
Ultimately, the right choice of diamond for you always comes down to personal taste, but it always helps to do your research so that you can feel confident in your purchase. Choose a company like Nina’s which only uses natural, ethically-sourced diamonds certified by the GIA, and a certified select Argyle atelier, to ensure that your white or coloured diamond gem-stones are of the highest quality.