There is a good reason why diamonds are the undisputed champions in the world of gems and precious stones. Their clarity and shiny allure make them truly mesmerizing and the perfect accessory to any fashion ensemble.

When it comes to diamond aesthetics, one of the most important factors to consider is the cut. The shape might seem inconsequential but it is honestly what carries the gem’s message. It could be a simple round cut pair of earrings portraying elegance and class. Or maybe it is a statement sharp-edged cut on a ring for a sassier and bolder feel.

9 diamond cuts and their aesthetic effect

Below are 9 of the most popular diamond shapes and what each has to offer in terms of aesthetics. That way, whether you are planning to buy an engagement ring for that special someone or a nice bracelet for your jewelry collection you know just what cut to go for.

Round shaped diamonds

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This diamond cut has been popular since the early 20th century. It all started when diamond cutting pioneer Marcel Tolkowsky identified and described the ideal cutting proportions for optimum optics. Since then, this simple cut has been hailed as the best diamond shape when it comes to maximizing the rock’s interaction with light. To put it simply, round cut diamonds have the best light reflection and dispersion properties making them super shiny. It is for this very reason that they are so popular.

As a result of all their visual glory and the subsequent popularity, round cut diamonds are the most expensive per carat. This comes as no surprise given the consumer’s desire for high quality. And in the world of diamonds the clearer and shinier it is the better the quality.

Round shaped diamonds go well with pretty much any form of jewelry. It could be a simple half carat pair of earrings or an elaborate neck pieces with tens of carats. It is simple and elegant making it ideal if you want to make a subtle but clear statement with your jewelry.

Oval shaped diamonds

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The oval diamond shape came up in the 60s as a modification and aesthetic improvement on the circle cut. For the most part, diamond cutters apply the same cutting parameters to the diamond. This results in the same number of facets as you would get in in a round diamond. Consequently, oval diamond cuts more or less have the same level of clarity, reflection power and light dispersion effect.

The cut offers variety in terms of the shape and size of the oval itself. With the same number of carats, you can manipulate the length to width ration to get any number of variations depending on your preferences. However, diamond experts generally agree that a ratio range of 1.35 to 1.5 is ideal to get the most in terms of aesthetics from an oval cut diamond.

This diamond cut is particularly popular for engagement ring or wedding band placements. It has been shown to have a narrowing and very flattering effect on the wearer’s fingers. This application is also one of the best ways to truly appreciate this cut’s unique bow-tie effect. This is a phenomenon where a bow-tie shaped dark shadow is cast across the middle of the diamond where light fails to reflect due to the elongation. It provides beautiful contrast giving the shiny diamond some character.

However, going past the magical length to width ratio will leave you with a distractingly large bow-tie shadow which reduces the quality of the diamond.

Radiant shaped diamonds

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This diamond cut can be traced back to the 80s and is currently one of the most popular shapes for engagement rings. When viewed from the top, the crown has a square or rectangular outline with characteristic trimmed and slanted edges. When in rectangular form, a length to width ratio of 1.2 is ideal to avoid the overpowering effect of bow tie shadows on longer diamonds.

The diamond cut varies in terms of the ideal number of crown facets. Those with more facets tend to have better reflection and light dispersion capabilities making them shinier. However, many consumers prefer radiant cut diamonds with fewer facets for a generally warmer visual effect.

When it comes to setting on engagement rings, this cut is not one to fly solo. It is best flanked by smaller round cuts or long baguettes for the best aesthetic effect.

Emerald shaped diamonds

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This cut was, as the name suggests, initially used for emeralds. However recently it has gained popularity as a diamond shape for everything from rings to brooches. From a top view of the crown, it has a rectangular shape often with trimmed edges. What makes it unique are the step cut facets. These are in the form of long rectangles as opposed to the triangle and kite-shaped facets on brilliant cut diamonds like the circle and oval shapes. For this reason, emerald cut diamonds are not very shiny. They instead produce a beautiful “Hall of Mirrors” effect with alternation between reflection and dark shadows. The step cut is also the reason why emerald shaped diamonds are among the only elongated diamond cuts without the bow tie effect.

As with any other elongated diamond cut, the ratio of length to width is very important to get right. In this case, anywhere between 1.3 and 1.6 should be appropriate. For rings, this has the same flattering effect on fingers as oval cuts.

As far as the application is concerned, the unique contrast provided by the hall of mirrors effect makes it possible to set the rock alone. However, for a bit more bling, baguette cuts or smaller emeralds can be used to flank with the main rock as a way to maintain the subtle beauty and warmth. Small round cuts are best used as flanks when a shinier and cooler lighting effect is desired.

Pear-shaped diamonds

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This diamond shape is also referred to as the teardrop cut. It has one rounded edge with the opposite end narrowing to a pointed finish. What makes this cut a true beauty is the brilliant cut finish on the crown. This gives it triangular shaped facets that complement the narrowing shape for maximum reflection, brilliance and light dispersion.

As an elongated cut, the ideal ratio of length to width is between 1.4 and 1.7. The fact that it narrows from one end to another ensures that additional length does not appear awkward or exaggerated. Again like most other long cuts, the pear-shaped diamond shape displays some degrees of the bow tie effect. This is more noticeable with shorter teardrops.

One of the best things about this cut is the versatility in terms of application. The 2 most popular uses of pear-shaped diamonds are in earrings and as necklace pendants. They are simple yet sophisticated with a lot more character than square and round cuts. It is rarely used on rings due to the vulnerability of the pointed tip to imperfections. When used for engagement rings, it is best to have a halo of smaller gems for both aesthetics and protection.

Heart shaped diamonds

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A heart-shaped diamond takes the form of a love heart with two lobes on one end and a single narrowing point on the other. These diamonds have a brilliant cut on the crown maximizing brilliance and dispersion. This puts them in the same league as ovals and round cuts when it comes to cool coloring and shininess.

With this particular cut, there are three extremely important factors to consider. One is the size. The heart shape is very delicate and requires meticulous cutting for perfection. It is difficult to appreciate its full beauty when the rock is small. As a result, when going for this iconic symbol of love, bigger is always better.

The second very important thing to consider is symmetry. This cut is unforgiving to imperfections in symmetry between both halves. If they are not completely identical you will end up with a weird mess that takes away from the glory of the diamond itself.

Finally, take the length to width ratio into consideration. If possible, the heart shape should have the length equal to the width. However, a range of 0.9 to 1.1 is generally accepted. Anything more or less and you lose the beauty of the heart shape.

As earlier stated, heart shaped diamonds are best cut in large pieces. This means that application in rings and earrings might not be the best idea. They do, however, make amazing pendants for necklaces and charm bracelets.

Marquise shaped diamonds

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This brilliant cut diamond shape is in a lot of ways similar to the pear-shaped diamond. The only difference is that Marquise shaped diamonds have both ends pointed with a wide mid-riff. This particular design makes it one of the best diamond cuts for fans of the bowtie effect.

This is one of the most flexible elongated cuts when it comes to length to width ratio. In fact the longer the diamond the better it tends to look. Experts propose a range of 1.5 to 2.5 as the ideal ratio in this case. One advantage of this feature of Marquise diamonds is the fact that it allows you to make a smaller diamond appear larger. This means that with the right measurements you can get a marquise cut to look significantly larger than something like a round or square cut diamond with the same number of carats. Another perk is the flattering narrowing effect it has on fingers when applied on rings.

Like the pear cut, marquise diamonds are multi-functional. They can be applied to various forms of jewelry from female purity rings to bracelets. They are especially popular with flower-inspired brooch designs as their shape resembles both flower petals and leaves.

Princess shaped diamonds

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This is the original square-shaped diamond cut and is considered one of the most popular fancy options on the market. Some jewelers cut theirs with a more rectangular shape in which a length to width ratio range of 1.05 to 1.08 is the most appropriate. Princess shaped diamonds might have a fancy cut but they are among the most affordable on a per carat basis. This is mainly because of the fact that cutting them is relatively easier and causes less wastage than with other shapes.

This diamond shape comes with a brilliant cut finish giving it amazing light reflection properties. For this reason, it is popular as a diamond engagement ring style. In this case, it is usually set with protective prongs at the edges. This is to protect them from getting damaged, injuring the wearer or damaging other items the sharp ends might contact.

Cushion cut diamonds

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A cushion cut diamond has a square outline but with rounded edges. It is the perfect combination of round and square cut diamonds. The rounded edges serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose. In terms of functionality, they eliminate imperfections common in sharp-edged diamond cuts. This increases clarity and overall quality of the diamond. In terms of aesthetics, the rounding complements the brilliant cut facets and unique pavilion patterns for great light dispersion despite the limited brilliance.

The cushion cut is pretty old school with the style being one of the most popular ways before the 20th century where new cuts were introduced. It, therefore, has a unique vintage look and feel which makes it ideal for all forms of jewelry. It is an especially popular cut for intricate mosaics in pieces like brooches and necklaces. It is also commonly used in small cuts as flanks to larger diamonds on wedding rings.

The beauty of loose diamonds

In addition to these 9 very popular cuts, you can have a diamond in basically whatever shape you desire. This is what loose diamonds offer. They are otherwise known as unusual cuts and are ideal if you are looking for a unique one-of-a-kind diamond. The chance to break all the rules and customize your very own design makes it worth the investment. You can have anything from a pointy pyramid to an animal silhouette. One important thing to remember with these is that

as with the heart diamond shape, size is everything. Larger diamonds are truly the best way to appreciate the beauty and glory that is loose diamond cuts.