One of the next decisions to make is what shape you want the diamond to be. The most popular shapes are:
- Brilliant Cut Round – This shape is considered the standard for all other diamond shapes and accounts for more than 75% of diamonds sold today. Its 58-facet cut, divided among its crown (top), girdle (widest part) and pavilion (base), is calibrated through a precise formula to achieve the maximum in fire and brilliance.
- Oval – An even, perfectly symmetrical design popular among women with small hands or short fingers. Its elongated shape gives a flattering illusion of length to the hand.
- Marquise – An elongated shape with pointed ends. Legend has it that the shape was inspired by the fetching smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by France’s Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match it. It is gorgeous when used as a solitaire or when enhanced by smaller side diamonds.
- Pear – Also known as the teardrop; it is a hybrid cut, combining the best of the oval and the marquise. It is shaped like a sparkling teardrop. It also belongs to that category of diamond whose design most compliments a hand with small or average length fingers.
- Heart – This ultimate symbol of romance is essentially a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top. The skill of the cutter determines the beauty of the cut. Look for a stone with an even shape and a well-defined outline.
- Emerald – A rectangular-shaped stone with round cut corners. It is known as a step cut because of its concentric broad, flat planes resemble stair steps. Since inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in this particular cut, you should take extra steps to select a stone of superior clarity and color.
- Princess – A square or rectangular cut with numerous sparkling facets. It is a relatively new cut and often chosen for a solitaire engagement ring. This shape is flattering for a hand with long fingers. Because of its design, this shape requires more weight to be directed toward the diamond’s depth in order to maximize brilliance.
- Radiant – This square or rectangular cut combines the elegance of the emerald shape diamond with the brilliance of the round and its 70 facets maximize the effect of its color refraction. Due to its design, this shape requires more weight to be directed toward the diamond’s depth in order to maximize brilliance.
- Cushion – An antique style of cut that looks like a cross between an Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut.
The cut of a stone or the number of facets a stone has determines the amount of light that can be reflected by the stone therefore giving the stone its sparkling appearance. A diamond that is cut with a larger table appears larger but it may lose some of its sparkle because the underside is not as faceted and deep. It is important to compare several stones with the same shape to make an informed decision.