For thousands of years, uncut gems have been fashioned into specific shapes to display the play of light across their surfaces and to enhance their color and sparkle. Many jewelers will use the teams "shape" and "cut" interchangeably. However, shape is actually the silhouette of a stone, while cut refers to how the light hits the facets. While new gemstone shapes are always being invented, there are popular shapes that have stood the test of time due to their beauty and ability to showcase the sparkle of a stone. Learn more about the attributes for some of the most popular shapes below.


Round Brilliant

Round brilliant cut diamonds are balanced, versatile, and brilliant, and they are widely known as the most popular diamond shape. The faceting is designed to create maximum sparkle using a cone-shaped underside which allows the light to bounce around inside, giving you the brilliant scintillation that this cut shape is named after. The symmetrical round shape is a great option for those in search of a classic, yet timeless look.

When purchasing a brilliant cut diamond, the cut’s grade is especially important, as this is what determines the amount of sparkle. The difference in brilliance, fire, and scintillation will be very different in a diamond rated “Excellent” versus one rated “Fair.”

Round diamonds are great for those who work with their hands, as the smooth shape is more difficult to chip or catch on things. The versatility of brilliant cut diamonds allows them to dazzle in virtually any setting and style, while bringing the lasting impact of stunning sparkle.

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Oval diamonds are the less-common sister cut of the round shape, although this shape has been gaining popularity in recent years. Both oval and round diamonds are usually brilliant-cut, so oval diamonds have a similar brilliance and sparkle to that of a round diamond. Often having a greater top surface area (known as the “table”), an oval diamond can appear larger than a round diamond of the same carat weight.

Like round brilliant diamonds, and oval brilliant diamond’s cut’s grade is important in determining the fire and scintillation. This grade can also help guide you towards an oval diamond that is likely to have a “bow-tie” shape reflected in the facets, as this is most typical in lower grade oval diamonds.

Oval stones are less common, which makes them a great option for those who love the sparkle of a round stone but are searching for something a bit more unique. Additionally, the elongated shape can create the illusion of longer fingers.

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Emerald cut diamonds feature a rectangular shape that is cut with a step-like facet pattern, characterized by beveled corners with two, three, or four rows of facets lining the outer edges of the top surface. Emerald cut diamonds display a clean, geometric look. When you look closely at an emerald cut diamond, you can see the individual step cuts that create flashes of light on the smooth surface.

The long, rectangular shape of an emerald diamond will help create an illusion of longer fingers when set vertically, while the step-like pattern enhances this shape’s elegance. Clarity is especially important when purchasing an emerald shaped diamond, as this shape doesn’t hide imperfections (or inclusions) as well as other shapes.

The most popular of the step-cut shapes, emerald cut diamonds offer a mirror-like and elegant look designed to make a statement.

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The pear shape is designed to resemble a sparkling teardrop. This shape is a blend of the marquise cut, designed in 18th century France, and the round cut. The pear cut is known for creating the illusion of a larger stone than its actual carat weight, while the round elements add enhanced the sparkle.

Worn with the pointed end toward the tip of the finger, a ring with a pear-shaped diamond creates a uniquely graceful look. When purchasing a pear-shaped diamond, you will notice that proportions can vary, which gives quite a bit of versatility in choosing a more round or slender pear shape. This unique diamond shape is full of character and creates vintage-inspired yet timeless piece.

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There is no mistaking the royal, elegant personality of a marquise diamond. Featuring elongated, curved sides and pointed ends, this shape was supposedly named after a love of King Louis XV, Marquise de Pompadour, for its resemblance to the shape of her mouth. This shape holds a regality that can’t be matched with any other shape.

As with some of the other elongated shapes, marquise-shaped diamonds tend to create the illusion of longer, more slender fingers on the wearer, and it will typically appear larger than a round diamond of the same carat weight. As with the other shapes, symmetry is important, and you will want to pay close attention to the proportions of a marquise diamond when you’re shopping.

The regal marquise shape is bright and elegant, sure to create unmatchable drama (in a good way).

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Princess cut diamonds are characterized by their square shape with clean lines and edges, and feature a brilliant cut that is modified for the square shape to create a facet pattern that enhances moving light and sparkle. The square shape of a princess cut diamond can help those with especially long, slender fingers create the illusion of shorter ones, the opposite of the more elongated shapes.

When shopping for a princess shaped diamond, you may want to consider a higher color grade, as princess shapes can sometimes show color in the corners. It is also important to choose a setting that will protect the corners from chipping.

The princess shape is a geometric take on a brilliant cut, full of sparkle and fire with smooth lines to create a modern, yet timeless statement.

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Cushion cut diamonds feature a rounded square or rectangle shape, mimicking a pillow or cushion. With a similar structure to the round diamond, the sparkle of a cushion diamond is undeniable as the light is made to bounce around inside. That look has helped this shape become increasingly popular.

As with the pear-shaped diamond, proportions can vary greatly among cushion shapes. Some look like rounded squares while others can be much more rectangular. Some cushion-shaped diamonds can take on the brilliance of a round-shaped diamond while others can be subtler, so you’ll want to consider the characteristics you’re looking for in a diamond when shopping for a cushion shape to pick the one that is the right fit for your forever ring.

Especially popular with modern celebrities, the cushion cut is a refined take on a classic shape, and is great for someone looking for an elevated vintage look.

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Asscher diamonds are like a hybrid of the emerald and princess cuts. Combining the brilliance and square shape of the princess cut with the step-like facets and cropped corners of the emerald cut. Created in the early 1900s, this shape became popular in the Art Deco era and has gotten an update in recent decades to create more brilliance. With all these traits coming together, Asscher diamonds bring a uniquely vintage slant alongside a modern look that exudes personality and class.

Asscher diamonds are extremely versatile when it comes to setting and style and are less prone to chipping because of their clipped corners. Although they differ from emerald cuts in their faceting and sparkle, the similarities the Asscher shape shares with emerald increases its tendency to show imperfections, so you will want to look for one with a high clarity grade.

Taking the regal feel of its emerald and princess cut cousins, Asscher-shaped diamonds are dripping with personality with a uniquely versatile vintage vibe.

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For the true romantic, heart-shaped diamonds can be both a tangible and symbolic expression of love. Symmetry is the key aspect of a heart-shaped diamond, as the two halves of the heart must be identical as they come together to create a beautiful whole. Heart-shaped diamonds are faceted to enhance sparkle while also keeping their characteristic shape.

Heart-shaped diamonds can be more difficult to find than some of the other shapes because a larger carat weight is required to achieve this shape. Inclusions or imperfections can be more noticeable in a heart-shaped diamond, so clarity grade will be a priority as you shop.

There’s no second-guessing the significance and meaning of the iconic heart shape with a feminine, flattering, and trendy cut.