Perhaps out of all the gemstones, nothing holds more allure than the diamond. The brains behind its marketing should get the most credit for drilling into everybody’s consciousness that diamonds are the best way to show your significant other’s love. In fact, the phrase “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” is still being used to this day after Carol Channing sang it back in 1949 in the Broadway show, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

On a global scale, more than 140 million carats were produced in 2019 from Russia, Congo, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and Botswana. According to data, 2019 was a rough year for the diamond industry in the United States after sales fell 2% due to geopolitical uncertainties, the threat of recession, and China’s trade war. But if there is one industry you should never bet against, it is the diamond.

What Is a Cut and Shape, and Is There a Difference Between the Two?

The terms cut and shape are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between them. The casual buyer may not care about the term as to the price and form of the stone. But it is essential to make a distinction, so the next time you visit your jeweler, nothing gets lost in the translation.

When you say “cut,” it refers to the shape of the gemstone. Meanwhile, the term “shape,” refers to the diamond’s form.

However, the cut of the diamond will determine the type of sparkle it releases. The gem-cutter will shape the diamond into angles and facets to manipulate how the light will shine through the stone. More than the shape, the cut’s quality would be material to the final price of the finished product. It will impact the diamond’s grade since “cut” is one of the 4Cs, which also includes the carat weight, clarity, and color.

Simply put, jewelers would be more focused on evaluating the diamond’s cut, while the casual buyer would be more interested in the shape.

Different Diamond Shapes

While the cut is crucial to determining the diamond’s grade, most people are more fascinated by the gem’s shape and how it complements the overall aesthetics of the jewelry.  Besides, you don’t compliment a diamond engagement ring and comment about its cut.

Here are ten of the most popular shapes for diamonds:

  1. Round brilliant shape — The design dates back to 1919 when diamond cutter Marcel Tolkowsky invented an algorithm that would optimize the stone’s brilliance. Remember to select a 1.0 to 1.03 in length-to-width ratio to make the most of your budget further.
  2. Oval cut — In terms of size, the oval cut is more prominent than the round shape diamond, so you have an overall impact. As an added advantage, it will make your finger seem thinner and longer. They also have almost the shape as the round brilliant diamond, which means they also achieve the desired brilliance.
  3. Princess cut — Following the round brilliant cut, the princess cut is also the most popular choice for buyers. The traditional shape of this type is square. If you buy a pendant or a ring, make sure to check the presence of four prongs to make it more secure and less likely to sustain damage.
  4. Emerald cut — As the name suggests, the shape takes the form of the emerald gem. It has the largest table surfaces among all the types of cut. The reflections shine through the steps surrounding the untouched surface. The shape can either be square or rectangle.
  5. Radiant cut — Back in the 1980s, the radiant cut was the standard by which all diamond shapes were judged. In terms of brilliance, only the round cut can trump the radiant cut. You can get by with the lower grade in terms of the color because it is harder to distinguish between the different levels.
  6. Marquise cut — For short and stubby fingers, the most flattering shape would be the marquise cut because it helps gives off that illusion of having a more slender finger. The shape was patterned after the mouth of the mistress of King Louis XIV.
  7. Cushion cut — Also dubbed the pillow cut, the cushion cut is often associated with romance due to its rounded and smooth edges. The round and square combination has resulted in its final appearance resembling a cushion pillow, hence, the name. The only drawback is that it does not shine as much as the others, but you can choose a table or depth that is under 70% to mitigate the natural weakness of this cut.
  8. Pear shape — The shape takes on a wider and rounder side that sharply narrows down to a single point on the other side. Make sure that the sharp end of the diamond will point toward the wearer and not outwards.
  9. Heart — A heart-shaped diamond seems redundant if you believe that diamonds are already the ultimate love expression. Nevertheless, it is very popular because of its romantic look, as well as brilliance.
  10. Asscher cut — The name is derived from the Asscher brothers, and the cut itself is mistaken for the emerald because of the rounded square appearance, as well as the different ladder facets.  The brilliance is gleaned from the facets that can be seen beneath the large table.

Which Shape Sparkles the Brightest?

However, out of those different shapes, which one should you choose to give the brightest sparkle?

The round brilliant cut is the most brilliant and sparkliest diamond cut. Round brilliant diamonds should have 58 facets (including the culet) to allow the light to enter the diamond, and thus reflect off every facet to create a beautiful sparkle.

It is no wonder that the round brilliant cut is the most popular option for buyers.

So, if you only have a budget to buy one piece of diamond jewelry, then the safest route is the round brilliant cut. This type of shape features 58 facets, which already count the culet, enabling the light to shine through every angle and surface.