Round diamonds are the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings. They are perfectly symmetrical and timelessly beautiful, with 58 sparkling facets, making them a brilliant cut. Modern round cut diamonds are based on generations of research intent on creating a shape designed for ultimate brilliance.
What is a Round Cut Diamond?
In 1919 Belgian gemologist and mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky published “Diamond Design: A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in Diamond” where he discussed how to cut a diamond using specific angles and proportions to maximize its brilliance. The design he developed as part of his doctoral thesis at the University of London formed the basis of the modern round brilliant cut that’s wildly popular today. His mathematical formula is still used, with adjustments to account for new technology.
At least six cuts have been devised throughout diamond cutting history, including the old European cut, all working toward modern day brilliant round cuts. Each featured unique benchmarks for crown height, pavilion depth, table diameter, girdle thickness, crown angle and pavilion angle. The old European was cut primarily for color and features facets with triangular blocks, whereas the round brilliant has thinner kite-shaped facets and is cut for brilliance.
Tolkowsky was the first to state that diamonds cut too deep or too shallow would allow light to escape out of the sides or bottom, resulting in a loss of fire and brilliance. The beauty of the round lies in the mathematical precision of cuts, maximizing light and brilliance through its 58 facets. Round diamonds are the only shape the GIA grades for cut, with grades of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Cut is the single most important factor when purchasing a round because it determines how sparkly and bright your stone is.
Why Choose a Round Diamond Engagement Ring
Due to their 58 brilliant facets, round diamonds are the sparkliest and are the most popular diamond shape, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all diamond sales worldwide. Their fire, brilliance and scintillation is simply unattainable by other shapes. Because their brilliance makes them bright, you don’t have to buy a top color grade to get a beautiful diamond, and you’re also less likely to see inclusions because of all the sparkle.
A round cut diamond is very versatile and works with any setting and metal. It could be used as the primary diamond, set inside halos or flanked by additional stones. Because of its stunning brilliance, a round is often featured as a solitaire diamond in a simple setting. If you want to add a little extra sparkle, you could add a few smaller diamonds to the band, and if you want optimum sparkle, you could choose a pavé band, halo, or both!
Round cut diamonds carry the largest premium for two reasons: rough wastage and demand. During the process of cutting a round diamond, much of the rough diamond is lost, making them more expensive than other shapes of the same size. However, because of the way they are cut, round diamonds do have the appearance of being the largest of all shapes with the same carat size. Since they’re the most popular, manufacturers and suppliers tend to hold a premium, but a well cut round will hold its value in addition to its beauty for generations.