People tend to confuse diamond cut and diamond shape. The cut refers to the proportions of the facets that make a stone sparkle, whereas diamond shape refers to the style of a cut stone. Diamond shapes can either be round-cut, or “fancy shape,” which refers to any non-round shape. Fancy-shaped diamonds can be less expensive than round because cutters are often able to retain more weight from the rough diamond.
Aside from emerald cut diamonds (see below), all diamond shapes feature facets that radiate from the bottom for optimal sparkle. Different diamond shapes work better with different settings, and each shape of diamond has its own unique effect:
Round-cut diamonds are the most popular and often the sparkliest of diamond shapes, typically with 58 facets promoting superior brilliance and light performance from within. Because so much of the stone is cut away to get the perfect proportions, the per-carat cost is higher than fancy-shape diamonds, making it a highly valuable diamond shape.
From vintage-style engagement rings to modern classics, square princess-cut diamonds are a popular and versatile fancy-shape diamond, and the second most popular of all diamond shapes. Less of the stone needs to be cut away to create the shape, making princess cut a good value diamond.
Third in popularity are cushion-cut diamonds – rounded edge square shapes that are optimized to emit a deep prismatic “fire.” They have a classic, antique effect about them thanks to their high popularity in jewelry making during the past two centuries.
Marquise-cut diamonds, oval-cut diamonds and pear-cut diamonds lend an elongated effect to the wearer and get noticed for their statement making lines. They are often less expensive than other cuts and lend a larger appearance thanks to greater surface area along the table of the stone.
An elegant option, emerald-cut diamonds are the one shape where clarity is more important, as the edged step cut technique lends more transparency. These stones sparkle in their own unique way, lending bright flashes of light along the flat surface of the stone’s table.
Heart-shaped diamonds have long been the symbol of love and romance. The modified brilliant cut adds luminosity to this unique shape, and is a distinctive choice for a number of different diamond jewelry settings. Keep in mind, symmetry is very important when choosing a heart, as you want the two halves to be identical.