What is a diamond shape?
Although the terminology of diamond shapes can appear to be interchangeable with diamond cut, they are in fact two different attributes of a diamond. A diamond’s shape refers to the diamond’s silhouette, its overall physical form and its geometric outline, while a diamond cut can be considered a parameter of a grading system to measure a diamond’s appeal, such as its brilliance. Every diamond shape has unique characteristics and cuts requirements, diamonds of the same shape can be further distinguished by their cut grading, which can significantly influence the appearance of the finished stone.
Round diamonds and fancy shape diamonds are the two main categories of diamond shapes. The term fancy cut refers to any diamond that is not round and is referred to as a fancy shape diamond. Most of the fancy cut diamonds owe their origin to Lodewyk van Bercken, a Flemish diamond cutter who invented the scaif, a diamond polishing wheel, in the 15th century.
Thanks to its intense brilliance and fire, the round brilliant cut is one of the most popular diamond shapes. Round brilliant diamonds are cut for maximum brilliance, and usually feature 58 facets, including the culet. A fancy cut diamond may have a bigger face-up value but a round diamond is certainly the winner in terms of sparkles, and it reflects proportionally on the price tag.
The oval shape has a bigger face-up area than its round counterpart, so for the same carat, an oval diamond will appear bigger.
Invented by Lodewyk van Bercken, pear-shaped diamonds are one of the most common shapes which typically feature 58 facets with varying length-to-width ratios.
Also known as navette, French for “little boat”, marquise diamonds have an oval shape with pointed ends, it was believed to originate from a commission work for King Louis XV of France inspired by his mistress Marquise de Pompadour’s lips.
Commonly refers to diamonds with a square or rectangular shape, princess-cut was believed to have evolved from profile cut created by Arpad Nagy, a diamond cutter from the 1960s. Modern princess cut diamonds are modified after the round brilliant cut for maximum brilliance.
The cushion cut is where the old and the new collide, the modern-day version evolves from an older cut from the 1700s called the old mine cut. One of the most famous cushion cut diamonds is the Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat natural blue diamond from the 17th century, which is now housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
The history of the heart-shaped diamond dates back to the 15th century when the heart symbol grew in popularity as a symbol of love and the first mention of a heart-shaped diamond was found. It was from a letter from the Duke of Milan Galeazzo Maria Sforza: “He commands a Titus Livy just as you might a heart-shaped diamond.” The shape was revered by the royals and became a symbol of friendship and goodwill.
One of the most popular shapes today, emerald-cut was first used on emerald stones as early as the 1500s and was given this name until the shape became mainstream thanks to the Art Deco movement in the 1920s.
Asscher Cut Diamond
Created by Joseph Asscher in 1902, Asscher cut is the world’s first patented diamond shape with a shape similar to a square emerald cut. It is known for its “hall of mirrors” effect created by its unique facet arrangement, high crown and depth.
Rose Cut Diamond
Created in the 1500s, rose-cut was the shape that produce most sparkles at the time, other classic shapes available, like point cut and table cut were less faceted. Designed to resemble the shape of a rose petal, rose-cut diamonds are multi-faceted with an easily distinguished flat base like a cabochon.