Engagement Series, Part 3: Stone Shapes

The Princess and the Pear

Feeling overwhelmed with jewelry knowledge yet? Yes? Perfect, here's some more! Now that you know about diamond quality standards, let's talk about the shapes diamonds can take.

Left to right: Cushion, Asscher, Emerald, Radiant, Oval, Marquise, and Pear. Courtesy Lazare Kaplan Diamonds, via GIA

Left to right: Cushion, Asscher, Emerald, Radiant, Oval, Marquise, and Pear.
Courtesy Lazare Kaplan Diamonds, via GIA


Round

Timeless & classic. 

Soooooooo sparkly. 

Soooooooo sparkly. 

A round cut, also known as a brilliant cut, is by far the most popular choice for rings. More than 60% of brides choose this shape, which speaks to its appeal. Most jewelry stores will have the largest selection of round stones to choose from, but remember that the setting can totally change the feeling of the stone. Just because it's a round stone doesn't make it less unique, especially if you're getting a custom ring.

Bro tip: If you have no idea what shape she wants, this is a solid choice. 


Princess

Versatile & contemporary.

Princess cut diamond.

Princess cut diamond.

The second most popular choice, claiming an estimated 30% of the market. Interestingly, this shape for diamonds didn't officially enter the market until the 1970s (seriously, that's not a typo), so the world still has lots of exploring to do in terms of designing for it. This shape is as flexible to design for as a round, so it will look just as well suited in a slick modern piece as an ornate, vintage setting. The picture for the round diamond above will make every subsequent diamond look inferior, but the princess beats the round for their brilliance and fire.

Bro tip: Is she really into sparkle but a little less traditional? This is a good one for her.


Oval

Round, except squished.

The Pink Star exploded auction records when it sold for $71.2 million (!!!) in April 2017. The 59.60 ct (!!!) Internally Flawless (!!!), Fancy Vivid (!!!!!!!) pink diamond is an outrageous, albeit gorgeous, example of an oval shaped diamond. Courtesy: Sotheby’s

The Pink Star exploded auction records when it sold for $71.2 million (!!!) in April 2017. The 59.60 ct (!!!) Internally Flawless (!!!), Fancy Vivid (!!!!!!!) pink diamond is an outrageous, albeit gorgeous, example of an oval shaped diamond. Courtesy: Sotheby’s

Let's be real, there is a 99.99999999999% chance that you can't afford the ring above, but if you can, please shop here. If you are like the rest of us, we can hook you up with this shape. The oval is a great alternative to the classic round, but with the added bonus of magical visual finger elongating effects.

Bro tip: Princess Di had one (a sapphire, but still)! 


Cushion

Old & new.

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This is literally the oldest cut of diamond in the world, dating centuries back. In ye olden times, diamond cutting was extremely challenging because of limitations in tooling, so this shape gave the stones their signature sparkle but with less labor. Granted, the cutting techniques and faceting have been updated extensively since then, but the appeal remains. In recent years, it's become one of the top diamond choices.

Bro tip: With it's surge in popularity recently, we would say this is another safe pick if you're trying to keep it a surprise.


Asscher

It's getting glammy up in here.

8.06 carat vintage Cartier ring with Asscher cut diamond. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com

8.06 carat vintage Cartier ring with Asscher cut diamond. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com

We know, we know, the temptation is strong to make a joke about the name, but this cut has amazing qualities. The shape harkens back to Old Hollywood and Art Deco styling, so if your lady has an attraction to straight up glam, this is a good fit. For this shape, it's important to get a very clear stone because the nature of the cut and limited number of facets will make imperfections obvious.

Bro tip: You probably don't want to get this one unless you're sure she loves it, this cut can be polarizing.


Marquise

Vintage & unusual.

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This stone has a royal and romantic history. Louis XV commissioned a jeweler to make a diamond the shape of his mistress' lips, then it was adopted by the marquise class of French aristocracy to show off their social standing. So really, this cut is more princess-y than a princess cut, right? Not many people choose this stone, so it will definitely make you stand out in a crowd.

Bro tip: If your lady is fashion forward and loves the beauty of antiquity, this is a good choice. 


Emerald

Regal af.

Fit for a queen. 7.71ct emerald cut from Harry Winston. Courtesy of 1stdibs.com

Fit for a queen.
7.71ct emerald cut from Harry Winston. Courtesy of 1stdibs.com

Less than 5% of diamonds cut in the world are emerald shape. As you probably inferred from the name, this shape has its origin in the preferred shape for cutting emeralds. Because of the nature of the faceting, this stone doesn't sparkle the same way a round or princess cut diamond will. That's not to say they can't be spectacular--they will cast flashes of light across the room and a well cut stone will sparkle along the intersections of the facets.

Bro tip: Best for a lady who lives for classic glamour and isn't bothered going against the flow.


Radiant

The beautiful bastard.

Radiant cut. Photo courtesy 1stdibs.com

Radiant cut. Photo courtesy 1stdibs.com

If a round diamond got busy with an emerald cut diamond, this would be their diamond baby. This shape combines the best of both, with its regal shape and structure but with the radiance of a round cut.

Bro tip: Good pick if you know she likes the brilliance and fire of a round stone, but wants something a little off the beaten path.


Pear

No tears here.

You've come so far since 2000. @parishilton Instagram

You've come so far since 2000. @parishilton Instagram

Shaped like a droplet of falling water or, you know, a pear, this shape is another uncommon choice. For us, this cut evokes a certain nostalgia and romanticism. This shape lends itself very well to stacking, and we think it creates a good composition on the hand.

Bro tip: Be sure the pointy end is well protected in the setting, because that area is prone to chipping. 


If that felt overwhelming, just remember to trust your gut in this situation. If you think you love round brilliants but you fall for an Asscher, go for it! Every stone will speak to you differently and no matter how much research and planning you do, life has a way of throwing tiny, shiny wrenches into the works. See you soon!

Kate Cosden