History of diamond shapesDiamonds 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.