Round Brilliant Diamonds
Of all diamonds shapes, the most popular by far is the round diamond, which takes center stage in the classic engagement ring – a round, solitaire diamond set either in yellow gold or platinum. There are many different round brilliant diamond cuts, from Ideal Diamonds, with 58 facets, to modified cuts with special faceting arrangements and extra facets, like the Opus Masterwork Diamond.
Princess cut diamonds are perhaps the most popular of the fancy shaped diamonds. Princess cut diamonds are relatively new with a shape that is oblong, usually square or almost square, but with a modified brilliant cut arrangement of facets instead of a step cut. Most square or rectangular cuts just don't live up to the round brilliant for sparkle, but princess cut diamonds are designed for getting maximum brilliance from a square cut.
Marquise diamonds have an elongated shape with pointed ends supposedly inspired by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by the Sun King, France's Louis XIV. It is often used as a solitaire or enhanced by smaller diamonds. It’s long, ovate appearance lends a “big look” to a diamond engagement ring.
Radiant cut diamonds have a square or rectangular cut that combines the elegance of the emerald cut diamond with the brilliance of the round. Radiant cut diamonds have 70 facets to maximize the effect of its color refraction. Radiants look great accented with baguettes or round side stones.
The cushion cut diamond is an antique style of cut. Sometimes referred to as a "pillow cut", the cushion cut has an open culet (the bottom of the diamond) and a rectangular to square shape with rounded corners. The beauty of a cushion cut is the depth of the diamond. In the past most quality cushion cut diamonds were found only on the antique and estate market, today cutters are once again cutting these stones.
Emerald cut diamonds have a rectangular shape with cut corners. It is known as a “step cut” because its broad, flat planes resemble steps on a staircase. Inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in emerald cut diamonds, so pay close attention to clarity and color grading.
Asscher cut diamonds were developed in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland. The Asscher cut is a stepped square cut, often called the "square emerald cut" and like an emerald cut, the Asscher cut has cropped corners. Asscher cut diamonds have gained in popularity recently.
Heart shaped diamonds are basically a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top. Heart shaped diamonds are sometimes considered romantic, but they can be difficult to cut. The skill of the cutter greatly determines the beauty of heart shaped diamonds.
Created in the 1960’s, the Oval Diamond is similar to a round except that it is elliptical in shape. The Oval Diamond usually has 56 facets. Oval diamonds give an even, perfectly symmetrical design popular among women with small hands or short fingers. Oval diamonds have an elongated shape which can make a woman's finger appear longer.