What is Diamond Cut? | Popular Diamond Shapes

What is Diamond Cut? | Popular Diamond Shapes

What is Diamond Cut? | Popular Diamond Shapes

Posted by Asad L on 22nd Aug 2018

The diamond cut is often acknowledged as the most important aspect when buying a diamond and hence should not be confused with the shape of the diamond. The cut refers to the brilliance of the diamond. In simple terms, the way the diamond is cut will determine how the light is reflected through the stone.

A good cut will allow the light to travel through the stone and reflect from side to side. The light then reflects out of the stone, and this sparkle is what you see with your eye. In diamond terminology, this sparkle is called the "brilliance." A diamond is an extremely precious gem that has taken many years to form. It is also one of the hardest materials known in the natural world. Because of its property of hardness. One of the ways to judge the quality of a diamond as jewelry is through its cut. There are four Cs in judging a diamond which is Color, Carat, Clarity, and Cut.

Cutting diamonds to become jewelry is a delicate and highly regarded craft. It is both science and art - science in that certain angles must have to be precisely followed an art in that the final shape must have to exude high-class beauty. A diamond cut should not be confused with its shape which refers to the general outward appearance of a diamond.

The Cut of a Diamond is Important:

Diamond cut is perhaps the most important factor in assessing the overall brilliance and fire of a diamond. Because it is the only C that is not a natural element and is a human factor, it can be manipulated to save more rough while cutting a diamond. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a developed a comprehensive system for assigning cut grades to round brilliant cut diamonds, but it has yet not finalized it for fancy shape diamonds such as a cushion or asscher cut diamond. The cut range is from Ideal/Excellent to Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Since non-round shape diamonds do not have a cut grade in a GIA report, we recommend that you follow our guidelines for each diamond to determine how well the diamond is cut, for example, follow this guide for an  oval cut diamond. The most important factors to consider while assessing the cut of a diamond include the depth, table, girdle, crown angle, pavilion angle, and culet. You should especially pay attention to depth as it can be very large at times which can make a 1 carat diamond look like a 0.7ct. in person. Please follow our  diamond proportions guidelines for precise information on each shape.

James Allen

More about Diamond Cuts

Diamonds have to be cut to get a shape, the actual cut of a diamond refers instead to its proportions. The depth and width at which a diamond is cut determine its characteristics. The cut of the diamond regulates brilliance and radiance. Diamonds are typically cut in brilliant cuts and fancy cuts. Brilliant cuts are perhaps the most popular and are often the most saleable. Fancy cuts include modified brilliants, step cuts, mixed cuts and rose cuts. Diamonds with rose cuts are generally only seen in antique jewelry. Rose cushion cut jewelry is steadily making a comeback as an antique appeal is becoming more popular today.

The amount of light and the way it exits a diamond is dependent upon the type of cut and is often referred to as the quality of the cut. If the cut is too shallow compared to the width of the cut, for instance, the light will directly exit the diamond with little to no reflective qualities. Thus, the diamond will appear dull and lusterless. Likewise, if the cut of the diamond is too deep, the light will escape from the sides of the diamond rather than through the diamond. This cut will also appear dull. A Signature ideal cut is perhaps the rarest and highest quality cut available. With this cut, the light that enters the diamond is reflected in such a way that it encompasses the entire diamond and allows for maximum brilliance and radiance. The quality of a cut can be Signature ideal, ideal, very good, good, fair or poor.

Diamonds are cut from stones in a wide variety of shapes known as cuts. While most stones can be cut into any of these shapes, for best effect the natural shape and qualities of the diamond itself will determine which shape is chosen. If you are custom designing your diamond jewelry or if you are shopping for an already designed piece, it is always helpful to have an understanding of the terminology used to describe the different cuts used for diamonds. The name of the cut refers to the shape of the diamond when viewed from above.

The cut of the diamond is one of the most important aspects to attributing a value to a diamond and can sometimes account for up to one third or more of the diamonds appraisal. Most commonly the reason for this is because certain cuts waste more of the raw diamond in the cutting process. Thus, the diamonds that waste more cost more.

In addition to the shape, different cuts will affect in different ways how the light passes through the diamond. In this way, how a diamond is cut will also determine its brilliance and sparkle.


1. ROUND Cut Diamond: One of the most common shapes for a diamond used on rings, pendants, bracelets or earrings is the round shape. The sides of the diamond are faceted to allow the light to reflect across the centre of the diamond, creating the fire and sparkle that is the hallmark of beautiful stone. Round diamond cuts are very popular for solitaire style rings and are ideal for stud type earrings.

2. PRINCESS Cut Diamond: Another very common diamond cut for the large or centre stone or in a solitaire style setting is the princess cut. This cut is the square to rectangular cut that is seen in many of the antique as well as modern settings. Diamonds used for the princess cut have to be superior in clarity to prevent the color from showing at the points or corners of the cut.

3. Cushion Cut Diamonds: A unique diamond shape that is makes for a very interesting alternative to the princess or oval cut diamonds. It has rounded corners, and larger facets that help bring out its brilliance. The cushion diamond is a beautiful combination of round and square and makes quite a statement in a solitaire engagement ring setting.

4. EMERALD Cut Diamond: The emerald cut is a rounded rectangle with a pavilion or faceted side, typical of what you would see in a well-cut emerald gem. Like the princess cut, the emerald shape requires a very clear diamond of high quality to preserve the clarity of the stone.

5. ASSCHER Cut Diamond: A less common cut is the Asscher, which is a square version of the emerald cut. The difference between the Asscher cut diamonds from the emerald cut diamond is that the Asscher is square rather than rectangular. This cut is not a traditionally chosen cut for diamond engagement rings, however, its unique blocked corners make it a great choice in a setting that does not hide this feature.

6. MARQUIS Cut Diamond: The marquise cut is an elongated shape with both the top and bottom ending in a noticeable point. This shape is ideal for enhancing the size of the solitaire diamond as it draws the eye along the cut of the side, giving the appearance of a much larger carat diamond. The marquise cut is seen in both older and more modern settings and can be accentuated with baguette style diamonds or gems.

7. PEAR Cut Diamond: The pear shape is similar to the marquise but with one end rounded and one end pointed. This diamond cut can add slimming and elongating effect to the ring finger and is considered one of the classic diamond shapes. Pear-shaped diamonds are also popular in earrings and necklaces where they give the impression of length.

8. Radiant Cut Diamonds: With its square shape and trimmed corners, the radiant cut diamond is a very versatile diamond that combines the classic emerald shape with the brilliance nearly matching a round cut diamond. It is quite similar to the princess cut but is usually slightly more in the shape of a rectangle, and it has its corners blocked.

9. HEART Cut Diamond: Heart shaped diamonds are considered the ultimate and most romantic of all the diamond shapes. Not only because of its shape but also because of the skill required by the diamond cutter to bring out the natural brilliance of the diamond and create the smooth shape of a heart. With its tapered point and rounded lobes the heart diamond cut makes for an amazing looking engagement ring.

10. PILLOW Cut Diamond: The pillow cut is a combination of the round and princess cut with lots of facets resulting in sparkle and fire. The cushion cut is one of the most common cuts seen on antique diamonds and is very popular in pendants and other large settings.

11. Oval Cut Diamonds: As the name says, the oval cut diamond is oval and the most near to that of the round cut diamond. This particular cut features a flattering, longer outline that combines with the brilliance of a round cut diamond. Additionally, oval cut diamonds are popular engagement ring choices because their length can accent longer, slenderer fingers.


It should be noted that there is no distinct "best" diamond cut available. Take for example Tolkowsky's cut. While this diamond cut can have exclusive parts that make it distinctive from the rest, there are other diamonds that will have some similarities in characteristics as well. Only a few numbers of diamonds will have the perfect Tolkowsky cut and formation. The "perfect" Tolkowsky cut will only be visible on finely and expertly cut diamond stones.

But some diamond craftsmen are using their licenses in creating similar cut diamonds and selling them at cheaper rates. This kind of problem has been mixed with the fact that there isn't any final industry agreement on how diamonds can be called this and that type of cut. Another issue when buying diamonds based on cuts is that each one will be defined with some personal touch in mind. Famous cuts in different regions reflect these kinds of preferences.

  1. Check out the grade of how the diamond was cut. To do this, look at the diamond grade certificate to find even better stones cut at even better forms. Only stick with the "Excellent," "Very Good," and "AGS0" grades, according and trusting the grading company.
  2. After collecting your prospective diamonds, try to examine this short list by putting them under different light conditions. Grading laboratories and companies use fluorescent lights for grading their stones. This unfavorably affects the diamond's appearance. Hence, try viewing the diamond under several fluorescent light, incandescent light, and direct sunlight.
    Doing this will surely help in getting the feel of the personality the diamond gives off. Compare your very own short list to others so that you can distinguish the impact and effect each cut has on the stone's fire and brilliance elements.
  3. Always have the final say when diamond buying. Make your own decision based on what you truly desire. Opt for the diamond that makes you feel "right" and comfortable. Or the one that grabs your attention when you try to move it here and there in.

Generally, the more depth a diamond has, the more brilliance it has. To calculate a diamond's depth percentage, divide depth by width and multiply by 100. Before a diamond is cut, the diamond cutter has to analyse the diamond. Two factors are important. These are maximizing the return on the investment and how fast the diamond can be sold. To maximize the return on a diamond, the cut is important. The cutter has to look at several factors. These factors are weight retention, color retention, the shape of the rough stone, and the location of inclusions and flaws.

Diamond cutting involves four different methods. These methods are cleaving, sawing, bruiting/cutting, and polishing. Cleaving is the first step in diamond cutting. It cuts a rough diamond down to a manageable size using a wax or cement mold, the cutter cleaves the diamond along it's the weakest point called the tetrahedral plane. At other times, a diamond cannot be cleaved when there is no point weakness, and the cutter uses either a phosphor-bronze saw blade or a laser. However, lasers take a long time.

After the diamond is a reasonable size, the cutter uses either bruising or cutting to give them their shape. When diamonds are cut by hand, it is called bruiting while cutting uses a lathe. In either process, one diamond is used to cut another. After the diamonds is cut, the cutter uses a rotating polishing wheel coated with an abrasive powder to finish the diamond. When a diamond is cut, 50% of the stone can be lost. Considering so many qualities of a diamond are dependent upon cut, the cutter's skill is very important.


The cut of the diamond stone should not be your only basis when buying diamond. There are other important factors to consider such as how the price will fit your budget. Before deciding on what kind of diamond cut to go with, consulting with reputable experts in diamond cutting and polishing should be checked with.