Shape is often mistaken with the technical term "cut." The precision of a diamond's cut determines its beauty, brilliance and fire. The shape of a diamond is a matter of personal style and is limited only by the skill and imagination of the craftsmen. The beauty and brilliance of any shape is determined by the precision of the cutting and polishing process.
Although the round diamond is the most popular and brilliant diamond shape, several other diamond shapes have gained in popularity over the past decade, including princess cut, cushion cut and emerald cut. There are beautiful shapes for diamonds that give each its own unique characteristics.
The 4 C'S of Diamonds
Cut refers to the proportions and finish created when transforming a rough diamond into a polished diamond. Of the four C's, cut has the most influence on a diamond's brilliance, radiance and beauty. Round is the most brilliant shape, and also has the most demanding cutting standards. When a diamond has been cut to ideal proportions by a master cutter, it will refract light internally from one facet to another and release the light through the top.
While many diamonds are incredibly beautiful, no two are alike. Most diamonds have flaws, called inclusions, which are unique to each diamond. Inclusions can be crystals, feathers and lines generally not seen unless magnified. Clarity is determined by the absence of inclusions - the fewer the inclusions, the more rare and more valuable the diamond. Clarity grades are determined by the number, size, color and location of inclusions. The smaller and less visible the inclusions, the higher the diamond's grade.
To the untrained eye, most gem-quality diamonds appear colorless. But actually, there are miniscule differences in shade - the result of trace elements combining with carbon over the diamond's million-year formation. Truly colorless diamonds are the most rare and exquisite of them all.
The most obvious factor of a diamond's value is its size. However, two diamonds of equal size can have completely different values because of the other C's (listed above). As with all precious gems, the weight or size of a diamond in measured in carats. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. When weighing diamonds, a 1.00 carat is divided into 100 points; therefore, a diamond of 25 points is also described as 0.25 carats or a quarter of a carat. As a diamond increases in size, its rarity increases, which also increases the price-per-carat exponentially. Therefore, a two-carat diamond is more than twice as valuable than a one-carat diamond of the same quality and characteristics.
shapes of Diamonds
ROUND BRILLIANT DIAMOND
The round brilliant diamond is by far the most popular diamond shape. Perhaps this is because the round brilliant diamond has the most sparkle of any of the shapes. The round diamond is often perceived to have a 'classic' style that complements almost any style of setting that it accompanies.
The princess diamond, like the round brilliant diamond, is cut with a brilliant facet pattern, maximizing the sparkle in the gemstone. Although the length-to-width ratio can vary, princess diamonds are traditionally square in shape.
The cushion diamond features a square shape with rounded corners. They can vary in the length-to-width ratio with some being more elongated than others. The cushion diamond has experienced several refinements since its creation some 200 years ago, leading to a recent resurgence in popularity.
The emerald diamond, unlike the brilliant cuts mentioned above, is characterized by a step cut facet pattern. While emerald diamonds do not give off the same 'fiery' reflections as some of its counterparts, the step cut creates a mirror effect that reflects light in a dramatic way. Emerald diamonds are traditionally more elongated, but can also be cut to more of a square shape.
The radiant diamond can range in its length-to-width ratios with some being more square in shape and others being more elongated. With cropped corners and its brilliant facet pattern, the radiant diamond has characteristics similar to both the princess and cushion diamonds.
The Asscher diamond was first developed in 1902 by the Asscher family from Holland and experienced its peak popularity in the 1920's. For this reason, it is often perceived to have a 'vintage' style. With its square shape, cropped corners and more extreme step cut (than its emerald diamond cousin), the Asscher diamond has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
The oval diamond is a modified round brilliant cut that offers a similar fire and brilliance as its more popular round diamond counterpart. For this reason, the oval diamond is a great option for those who are attracted to the round diamond's features but is looking for something a little more unique.
The pear diamond is another modified brilliant cut that combines the looks of a round diamond and a marquise diamond. As its name suggests, the pear diamond features a round shape on one end and tapers to a point on the opposite end.
The marquise diamond is a modified brilliant cut with an oblong shape featuring two points on either end. With its long and narrow shape, the marquise diamond can make the wearer's finger appear longer and slimmer.
The heart diamond is a modified brilliant cut that is obviously derived from the universal symbol of love. Symmetry is perhaps the most important quality to look for in a heart shaped diamond.