Diamond education can be confusing and overwhelming. Two terms often trip people up: diamond cut and diamond shape. They sound similar, but their roles in defining a diamond’s beauty are distinct. Typically the first step someone takes in their engagement ring design process is deciding the shape of diamond they want. Cut is one of the four C’s, and in its most basic terms it is the sparkle factor.
Diamond Cut: The Architect of Sparkle
Beyond its beauty lies a crucial factor that determines the brilliance and value of a diamond: the cut. Understanding diamond cuts delves into a fascinating world of geometry, light, and craftsmanship. It’s a man made piece of a diamond, bringing the stone’s luster to life. While clarity, color, and carat weight are often buzzwords associated with diamonds, cut goes beyond the basic outline and is what truly makes them come alive. A well-cut diamond is like a tiny prism, strategically trapping and bouncing light to create the mesmerizing fire, brilliance, and scintillation we adore.
In a well-cut diamond, light enters through the top (or table), and reflects off the angles between the flat places (the facets) on the sides (the crown and the pavilion) and exits back out the top. All of that light bouncing around within the diamond creates its brilliance, fire and scintillation. Brilliance is the brightness created by a combination of white light reflections on and in the diamond and fire are the flashes of color you see within a diamond. Scintillation is the sparkle that happens when a diamond or light source moves. More than anything else, the quality of the cut determines a diamond’s overall beauty and dazzle. Cut is broken down in 3 terms: cut, symmetry & polish.
- Brilliant cut creates a pattern for the maximum light return through the top of the diamond. This usually refers to the classic round diamond shape. The modern brilliant cut has 57 facets.
- Modified brilliant cut refers to other shapes cut in the same pattern as the round brilliant and includes: oval, pear, marquise, and heart. Since they’re all cut in the same pattern as round, they’re very close in brilliance.
- Step cut has “steps” running down the sides and on the top with a large open window on top that’s like peering into a hall of mirrors. This cut includes emerald and asscher.
- Mixed cut usually combines the pattern of a brilliant on top and a step cut on the bottom. Princess, cushion and radiant are mixed cuts.
Diamond Shape: The Canvas of Brilliance
The shape of a diamond refers to its geometric characteristics and general silhouette when viewed face up. Think of shape as the overall outline of your diamond, where geometry meets aesthetics. Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, the most popular being round. There are two major groups of shapes: round and then fancy which includes any shape that isn’t round.
The 12 most popular diamond shapes are:
- Round diamonds exhibit the most brilliance making them the most popular shape
- Princess are shaped like inverted pyramids and are the second most brilliant
- Cushion are square or rectangular with gently rounded corners
- Emerald are rectangular with carefully measured steps cut into their sides
- Marquise its distinctive silhouette is marked by curved sides and pointed ends
- Oval an elongated version of a round diamond
- Radiant mimics an emerald shape with deep-cut facets for extra sparkle
- Pear a tear-drop shape with evenly rounded end that fades into a point
- Asscher distinct step facets and large table deliver classy flashes of light
- Heart diamonds are cut into a heart shape
- Trillion a triangular shape with either rounded or pointed edges and a shallow cut
Diamond shapes are more than just outlines, they’re windows into your personality and style. With a little knowledge and an open mind, you can explore the dazzling diversity and find the shape that speaks to your heart. We would love to set up an appointment with you to find your perfect diamond. Give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment.