Know Your Stones – Diamond Shapes

  • Birth Stones
  • Engagement
  • Lifestyle
  • Weddings
  • You and Your Jewellery
  • Diamond cut stone shapes

    You don’t have to be a diamond expert to select the perfect stone, but understanding the distinct features of each shape will help to ensure a smart purchase.

    A diamond’s shape refers to the general silhouette of the stone and is not to be confused with cut, or the stone’s facet arrangement. More information on how to differentiate between cut and shape will come up in future blog posts. But here we look closely at the more popular diamond shape.

    Cushion Cut – The shape of the Cushion cut is characterised by soft edges and round corners, resembling a cushion or pillow. This type of diamond cut has been popular since the first diamond cuts were developed. Cushion cut diamonds range from a more square shape to rectangular.

    Oval Cut – An oval diamond is an elongated version of the round brilliant. If well proportioned, this beautiful cut gives great brilliance, fire and scintillation and are generally polished with 56 facets. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers. The Oval shape has a larger surface area, than a round brilliant of the same carat weight, and is an excellent choice for those more concerned with size, as it often has the added benefit of appearing larger because of their elongated shape. When selecting an oval diamond, look for even, well-rounded shoulders.

    Round/Brilliant Cut – Round brilliant cut diamonds offer timeless beauty. Polished with 57 facets and to ideal proportion and symmetry, round brilliant cut diamonds radiate with brilliance and sparkle. For over a century, diamond cutters and master craftsmen have perfected the round cut using advanced theories of light behaviour, optic dispersion and geometry. When purchasing a round brilliant cut diamond, look for a cut grade of excellent or very good as a measure of its brilliance.


    Marquise Cut – The Marquise has a slender shape characterised by two sharp points on either end. Like the Oval, the Marquise accentuates long, slender fingers and has a large surface area. The standard number of facets on a Marquise cut is 58. The Marquise Cut was inspired by the fetching smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by King Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match the smile. When selecting a Marquise cut stone  check that each half is a mirror image of the other, and that the two points align.

    Pear Cut – The pear shape is a unique hybrid cut, shaped like a tear drop and combining the best of the marquise and round brilliant cut. Well proportioned, it gives a depth of scintillation to the point of the diamond. Pear shapes are extremely popular in rings, earrings and pendants. Pear shapes are typically polished with 58 facets. Examine the point for inclusions and colour concentration. The wings on each side of the point should be symmetrical. The rounded end should appear like a semi-circle. As with the oval and marquise, the pear brilliant may show a “bow tie.”

    Princess Cut – Square in shape and with pointed corners, the princess cut diamond is the most popular shape of the fancy cut diamonds. Its beautiful brilliance and square shape makes it a favourite for engagement rings. Technically known as a ‘Square Modified Brilliant Cut’, the princess cut is a square version of the round brilliant cut with numerous sparkling facets.

    Emerald Cut – The emerald cut is an elegant diamond shape with step-like facets that is rectangular in shape with trimmed corners. Due to its larger, open table, this shape is often reserved for top colour and clarity diamonds. The Emerald cut is typically polished with 44 facets. When selecting this cut, avoid uneven, narrow or no corners and sides that are not parallel.