Diamond shapes, diamond shapes, diamond cuts

Diamond shapes

What diamond shapes are there? What are the different diamond cuts? What makes this diamond cut special? What should you look for when buying a diamond? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different diamond cuts? What is the history of Round, Emerald, Marquise, Heart, Drop/Pear, Cushion, Radiant, Oval and Princess cut diamonds?

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Types diamond shapes

Choose Your Style

Which diamond shapes / diamond cuts type am I? Which diamond shape suits you best? What diamond shape should I choose for my girlfriend’s engagement ring? Which diamond cut is the perfect gift? Let the following pictures with wonderful diamond jewelry combined with the Visualization of the symbolism and history of the corresponding diamond shape, diamond cut inspire: Round Brilliant, Oval Diamonds, Cushion Cut, Princess Cut, Radiant Cut, Emerald Cut, Asscher Cut, Pear / Pear / Drop Cut, Heart Diamond, Marquise / Navette Cut.

Green World Diamonds has trained diamond specialists who are happy to help you find the perfect diamond. We are happy to advise you, call us, make an appointment in our showroom in Zurich Switzerland and let us advise you.

What makes the shapes?

Image courtesy of IGI “Courtesy of International Gemological Institute”

Two diamond shapes: Round Diamonds and Fancy Shape Diamonds

Diamond shape refers to the silhouette or geometric appearance of a stone. Diamond shapes are divided into two groups:

  1. Round diamonds = brilliant cut
    IGI & GIA etc. Cut Grade
  2. All other diamond shapes = Fancy Shape
    ✓ GCAL idR. Cut-Grade

IdR. no Cut Grade for “Fancy Shape” from IGI, GIA etc.
GCAL awards idR. Also for Fancy Shapes Cut Grades

Fancy Shape Diamonds = very complex
No “cut grade” from IGI, GIA etc. (no cut grade) because there is such a wide variety of shapes and cutting styles, each with their own length-to-width ratios and standards. Recently, gemological institutes have begun to partially issue cut classifications at Fancy Shape Diamonds.
Personal preferences are also part of this.

What is the difference between a diamond cut and a diamond shape?

It is important to note that diamond cut and diamond shape are not exactly the same. The cut of a diamond determines how its facets interact with light, which depends on its brightness, fire and scintillation… whereas a shape describes the geometric appearance of a diamond. However, the cut of a gemstone determines what the shape of a rough diamond looks like – not the other way around.

What is the best diamond cut?

There is no “best” diamond cut for everyone. Each diamond shape has its own strengths and weaknesses, which means that the best diamond shape for you depends on your personal taste, preferences, expectations, everyday suitability, and budget.

The round brilliant cut offers the highest degree of brilliance and fire, meaning it tends to shine more than other diamond cuts. However, it is also the most expensive diamond shape (price per carat).

From a value for money perspective, oval, pear and marquise diamonds often look larger than they are, meaning they offer a good combination of brilliance and value for money. Shapes like the princess cut are also great value for money if you want to get the most carats for your budget.

There is no “best” cut, meaning it’s best to choose something you think you or the recipient will enjoy and appreciate.

How does the diamond shape affect the sparkle?

Since the cut of the gemstone determines the shape of the diamond, the diamond shape affects the overall sparkle. A diamond develops its sparkle through the number of facets on a diamond and the way light travels through the stone. Facets are the flat surfaces on a stone that look like tiny mirrors. Each facet is proportionally cut to maximize the stone’s ability to gather and reflect light.

Which diamond shapes sparkle the most?
3 diamond cut types: brilliant, mixed and step cut

Each diamond shape has its own unique cut and facet style, which produces varying degrees of brilliance. There are three different diamond cuts used to create each diamond shape:

3 Diamantschliff-Arten

  • Brilliant cut → the most sparkledue to their ideal facet pattern
  • Step cut not as much sparkle, but are appealing because of their style
  • Mixed grinding


The Emerald Cut belongs to the Step Cuts. These are cut shapes characterized by elongated, parallel facets. They got their name because their appearance resembles stair treads.

If you want a “sparkle & brilliance” to go with it
→ ideal to combine: Eternity ring with many small sparkling diamonds to it.

Do sharp corners and edges bother you? If so, we recommend:

  • Round
  • Oval
  • Cushion
  • Radiant
  • Emerald & Asscher (if cool clear icy look desired)

Aside from the round brilliant cut, what shapes/shapes sparkle a lot?

radiant cut

As the name suggests, the radiant cut is extremely brilliant, especially when exposed to light. A radiant cut diamond has 70 facets that allow it to absorb and reflect an incredible amount of light.

Cushion Cut

The Cushion Cut is based on a combination of the round brilliant cut and the classic old mine cut. This gives this shape a lot of brilliance and fire when it is well cut. As an added bonus, a cushion cut diamond is usually less expensive than a round brilliant cut diamond of equivalent cut quality, clarity, color and carat weight.

Oval Cut

Oval diamonds offer similar brilliance and fire as round brilliant diamonds. Because of their shape, diamonds in this cut can also appear larger than others.

Marquise Cut

Marquise cut diamonds have 58 facets that provide great brilliance and fire. Thanks to the unique shape of this cut, it also looks larger than other diamonds with a corresponding carat weight.

Which diamond shapes are the largest (face-up area)?

Typically, elongated shapes appear like a

  • Oval-,
  • Pear, or
  • Emerald cut

on the finger bigger. Some other cuts, however, convince with their sparkle so that the size is less important.

Bowtie effect (black shadow in the middle)

The Bowtie effect is a black “stripe” through the center half of certain diamond cuts = shadow inside the diamond created when light casts a shadow on the central facets. The reason for this is that it’s hard to avoid when cutting elongated shapes – their center sections are too long, and it can be difficult to grind the facets there to properly reflect the light. This black streak is not due to any particular chemical coloring inside the stone, nor is it due to any particular inclusion. It also has nothing to do with “light leakage” through the sides of the stone, which is one of the more common problems with diamonds.

The diamond bowtie effect is not always pitch black. Many loops are just slight shadows in the center of the stone that are barely noticeable. Almost all marquise, oval and pear shape diamonds have at least some loops, but they are often simply seamless and not as obvious. Some square shapes like the beam cut may also show loops.

Certain loops are even considered positive – if the loop effect is not too pronounced, and if the cutter has shaped the stone well around it, the loop can even add a certain sparkle to the stone and enhance its sparkle.

The presence of a “bowtie” is not listed in the report of a diamond. It’s important to note that a diamond bow tie is not necessarily a flaw – many fancy cuts will show some signs of a bow tie due to their complex faceting.

It’s all about your personal taste!

Image courtesy of IGI “Courtesy of International Gemological Institute”