CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

Time to Sparkle: Your Guide to Types of Diamond Shapes

 
Diamond Solitaire Ring, 3.20 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
Diamond Solitaire Ring, 3.20 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
Whether set in a dazzling necklace, pair of earrings or a ring, diamonds exude a timeless luxury and refinement in fine jewelry that never goes out of style. Whether you’re interested in the history of a style or a certain cut, every shape and style has its own unique story to tell. When selecting a special bauble for a night out, a classic pair of studs or perhaps, a most-important diamond engagement ring, shape is often the first factor to consider—especially when picking a ring to be worn every single day. Between classic round diamonds, trendy oval-shaped gems and even heart-shaped diamonds, there are many options to choose from. Read on to learn more about the different diamond shapes available and gain some guidance on how to select the right diamond shape for you.
 

History of diamond shapes

Diamonds have been gathered and forged into beautiful shapes and cuts since as early as the fourth century BC. By the 1400s, diamonds were fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. The first guild of diamond cutters and polishers (Diamantaire) was formed in 1375 in Nuremberg, Germany, leading to the development of various types of "cut": meaning both shape and the specific type of cut within the shape. After you finish reading about these popular diamond shapes, be sure to read on about types of diamond cuts, from the brilliant-cut to the step-cut, to become an expert on all things diamond.
 
Oval Shaped Golconda Diamond Ring, 8.18 carats | M.S. Rau
 
Oval Shaped Golconda Diamond Ring, 8.18 carats | M.S. Rau
 

What does diamond shape mean?

When a jeweler or gemologist refers to a diamond’s shape, they are identifying the geometric appearance, or outline shape, of the diamond. Diamond shapes are divided into two distinct groups: round diamonds and fancy shape diamonds. Round diamonds are the most traditional, and in turn the most popular diamond shape. Fancy diamonds take more creative shapes and the various forms ebb and flow in popularity as fashions change over the years. Fancy-shaped diamonds include the marquise, oval, pear, heart and square shape diamonds. Whether selecting the tried and true round brilliant shape or staying on-trend with a unique fancy shape, the classic appeal of diamonds remains eternal.
 

Types of diamond shapes

Round Brilliant Diamond

 
Round-Shaped White Diamond Pendant, 11.52 Carat | M.S. Rau
 
Round-Shaped White Diamond Pendant, 11.52 Carat | M.S. Rau
 

Round diamonds are unequivocally the most popular brilliant-cut diamond shape. The round diamond’s brilliant cut features nearly 60 facets to maximize sparkle. While fully circular shaped diamonds have been in circulation for centuries, Russian mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky is credited with developing the round diamond shape as we know it today in 1919. Over time, Tolkowsky’s formula has been perfected and the cut and shape remain a timeless favorite. Round diamonds have often been used as pendants and are set in many various necklace styles. Round diamonds are also the most frequently chosen shape for engagement rings, as more than 60% of diamond-seeking hopeful fiancees choose round for their engagement ring. Further, the GIA stipulates that 75% of all diamonds sold on the open market are round.

 
Princess Beatrice of York selected the perennial favorite diamond shape for her sparkling engagement ring.
 
Princess Beatrice of York selected the perennial favorite diamond shape for her sparkling engagement ring.
 

Marquise Diamond

 
Marquise-cut Golconda Diamond Ring, 8.03 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
Marquise-cut Golconda Diamond Ring, 8.03 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
Marquise-shaped diamonds are unique and beautiful. Featuring tapered ends with a curved middle, these diamonds maximize perceived size while also providing a flattering elongating effect on the finger. This romantic shape has a compelling origin story. As the legend goes, in the 18th century, King Louis XV of France commissioned a jeweler to cut a diamond in the shape of the lips of his beloved mistress the Marquise de Pompadour, hence the shape’s name. While often remembered for her relationship to a man in power, Madame de Pompadour was actually a shrewd political player and patron of the arts who founded the Sèvres Factory and further cemented her legacy through commissioning several famed portraits and lending her name to a diamond shape that remained fashionable throughout the decades.
 
Francois Boucher, Madame de Pompadour at Her Toilette, 1750, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Charles E. Dunlap.
 
Francois Boucher, Madame de Pompadour at Her Toilette, 1750, Harvard Art Museums
 

The popularity of the Marquise diamond cut has ebbed and flowed over time. While famous fashionable celebrities like Victoria Beckham have worn a Marquise diamond as a center stone for an engagement ring, many designs now incorporate the Marquise shape as a beautiful accent, arranging the stones like the fanning petals of a flower. No matter how you might choose to incorporate this diamond shape into your jewelry collection, its unique and flattering cut will always evoke a royal legacy of refinement and feminine power.

 
Paraiba Tourmaline Ring, 1.00 Carat | M.S. Rau
 
Paraiba Tourmaline Ring, 1.00 Carat | M.S. Rau
 

Oval Diamond

The beautiful Oval diamond shape combines the best features of the popular Round and Marquise shapes. While the Oval shape has grown to become one of the most popular diamond shapes over the years, jewelers have celebrated the shape’s marrying of the brilliant sparkle of the Round cut and the flattering elongated shape of the Marquise cut for decades.

 
Edwardian Diamond Ring, 5.64 Carats | M.S. Rau
 

 

Edwardian Diamond Ring, 5.64 Carats | M.S. Rau
 

The above Oval-shaped diamond ring was crafted at the turn of the century, imbuing the design with Edwardian flair. Edwardian jewelry design emerged on the tail end of La Belle Époque, with designs seeking to epitomize the "beautiful age." The chic elegance of the Oval shape certainly lends itself well to this aesthetic goal.

 

More recently, the design of this flattering diamond shape has piqued the interest of a new generation. The oblong cut not only slims and elongates the finger, but can also create the illusion of a larger size while retaining a dynamic brilliance that reflects multitudes of light. In fact, grown up Teen Heartthrob Justin Bieber selected the shape for his wife, latest fashion “it girl” Hailey Baldwin Beiber, for their 2021 nuptials. With trend-setters like Bieber and other fashionable starlets selecting the Oval shape for their engagement rings, it is highly likely that the Oval shape will remain a popular choice for brides-to-be for years to come.

 
Hailey Baldwin Bieber wears an Oval-Shaped diamond engagement ring, setting the newest trend.
 
Hailey Baldwin Bieber wears an Oval-Shaped diamond engagement ring, setting the newest trend.
 

Pear-shaped Diamond

The Pear shape has been a mainstay in the gemological world for centuries. To achieve this shape, a diamond cutter creates a rounded edge that tapers into a point, creating an elegant and refined tear-drop shape. The Pear shape perfectly compliments the natural brilliance of diamonds and further enhances the dazzling luxury of the stones. Several iconic pieces of fine jewelry incorporate Pear-shaped diamonds.

 
Harry Winston Golconda Diamond Necklace, 38.00 Carats |  M.S. Rau
 
Harry Winston Golconda Diamond Necklace, 38.00 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
One incredible example, the Harry Winston Golconda Diamond necklace currently available at M.S. Rau, has certainly earned a position in the history of necklaces. The beautiful bauble is an impressive piece of rare jewelry with dazzling provenance. The monumental 38.00-carat Golconda diamond at its center is faceted into the eternally brilliant Pear shape. Designed by the iconic Harry Winston firm, this stunning necklace once belonged to the heiress Christina Onassis.
 

Beyond starring in some of the most impressive jewelry pieces throughout history, the Pear shape has remained a popular choice for engagement rings as it exudes an air of luxury and flatters the finger. Famous celebrities throughout the decades, everyone from Mia Farrow to Cardi B, have selected the beautiful Pear shape for their engagement rings.

 
Frank Sinatra only had Ol’ Blue Eyes for Mia Farrow when he proposed to her with a stunning Pear-shaped engagement ring.
 
Frank Sinatra only had Ol’ Blue Eyes for Mia Farrow when he proposed to her with a stunning Pear-shaped engagement ring.
 

Square-shaped Diamonds: Princess, Emerald And Asscher:

Square-shaped diamonds include the Princess-cut, Emerald-cut and Asscher-cut. All have the general four-sided geometric shape of a square with slightly different shapes and cuts to achieve a variety of effects. Princess-shaped diamonds most commonly take the shape of a traditional square and are celebrated for their exceptional sparkling brilliance, which is achieved through over 70 facets. Emerald-cut diamonds elongate the finger through their rectangular shape. The Emerald-shaped diamond utilizes step-cuts to accentuate the clarity of the stone, while the rectangular facets offer subtle reflective shimmer.

 
Hotel Heiress Nikky Hilton opted for a princess-cut sparkler for her wedding to legendary banking heir James Rothschild.
 

 

Hotel Heiress Nikky Hilton opted for a princess-cut sparkler for her wedding to legendary banking heir James Rothschild.
 

Asscher cuts are a celebrated and rare square shape for diamonds. True Asscher-cut diamonds are uniquely difficult to find, as very few stones feature this highly complex step-cut design. Asschers have more facets than any other diamond shape. Finding a diamond that is suited to the cut is also complicated, as a stone must have exceptional symmetry in order for the unique, tapered Asscher pattern to neatly form. The patented 74-facet step cut arrangement results in a distinctive, sparkling effect called “the hall of mirrors” as it absorbs and reflects light from every angle. Asscher cut square diamonds are certainly among the most coveted diamonds, looking gorgeous in rings and also beautiful when set into different types of earrings.

 
Asscher-Cut Diamond Earrings, 9.95 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
Asscher-Cut Diamond Earrings, 9.95 Carats | M.S. Rau
 

Heart-Shaped Diamond

Romantic and whimsical, heart-shaped diamonds are the crowning jewel of fancy-shaped diamonds. These diamond shapes include two symmetrical halves to create their distinctive heart shape. These diamonds are a modification of the pear shape, cut with precise symmetry to showcase the diamond’s sparkle. Jewelers often choose rare fancy colored diamonds to facet into this feminine shape, multiplying their splendor.
 
Faint Blue Diamond Heart Ring, 3.01 Carats | M.S. Rau
 
Faint Blue Diamond Heart Ring, 3.01 Carats | M.S. Rau

 
For example, this coveted heart-shaped 3.01-carat blue diamond captivates the eye. Among the most desired of all the fancy colors, diamonds with blue hues are prized for their rarity and exquisite beauty. Shaping this rare diamond into a heart shape maximizes its unique and romantic appearance, emphasizing its delicate pastel hue.
 

How to pick the right diamond shape for you

When selecting the right diamond shape, it is important to envision what effect you would like the diamond to have in the specific piece of diamond jewelry you are seeking. If selecting a center diamond for a bold pendant, perhaps you might desire a classic shape that reflects the maximum amount of light while exuding luxurious elegance, such as a Round or Pear-shaped diamond. For a pair of earrings, you may want to select a shape that accentuates the sparkle in your eyes, such as a pair of Asscher-cut square studs. Or maybe, you want to elongate the appearance of your neck by wearing dangling Oval-shaped earrings. For an engagement diamond ring shape, you may want to stick to a classic Round or Princess shape, or perhaps you might want to pick a flattering Emerald or Oval Cut style. If you want something that exudes romance and regal refinement, select a Marquise cut or a feminine Heart shape diamond. No matter what you select, the dazzling brilliance of the diamond will always complement any look.
 
Interested in learning about rare jewels and the celebrities who wore them? Check out our new Virtual Exhibition: Storied Histories.

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