A Guide to the Different Diamond Shapes

The features that define different diamond shapes are somewhat intuitive. The round-shaped diamond follows the geometry in its name, and the oval-shaped is, you guessed it, oval. However, when we’re highlighting the differences between a princess- and radiant-shaped diamond, or an asscher and emerald, the explanation becomes a bit more complicated. 

Whether you are looking to buy a diamond engagement ring or simply want to add to your diamond jewelry collection, with every type of diamond shape, there are different factors to consider that make each piece uniquely desirable. Today, we’ll delve into various diamond shapes and their characteristics. 

After you’re through, it might be clear which diamond variety pulls at your heartstrings. 

Bring out the Brilliance 

As you begin to dissect different diamond shapes and their characteristics, it’s important to note that the most sought-after diamonds are described as brilliant with fire. In contrast, a cloudy diamond is one with milky attributes from inclusions within the diamond that leaves it looking dull. To that end, consider: 

  • That brilliance is the term used to describe the overall shine of a diamond.
  • And Fire is a descriptor of the dispersion of white light by the diamond, giving it a vibrant multicolored reflection. 

When jewelers determine which diamond is the most brilliant or of the highest quality, they’re assessed by the 4 Cs of diamonds:

  • Cut
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Carat 

Each characteristic contributes to a diamond’s brilliance profile, shaping its worth. 

Round Diamond

With the brightest and most remarkable brilliance, the round brilliant diamond is considered to be an extremely popular shape. For this diamond, the cut has 58 facets—or the individual planes on a diamond’s surface—which is the most of any shape. With this volume of facets, the brilliance of the gemstone does not require any additional support from color, clarity, or carat. 

Round diamond style choice: A round brilliant cut diamond is a timeless choice often realized in wedding rings. 

Princess Diamond

There may be many fancy diamond shapes out there but of the square shape diamond variety, this princess cut diamond is the most brilliant. This shape yields an almost identical brilliance to the round diamond, but the price per carat is typically lower. It’s created from the rough diamond gemstone’s inverted pyramid. You’ll most often witness this diamond’s setting between four prongs to prevent corner damage. 

Princess diamond style choice: A princess shape is a sleek choice best suited for ornate vintage styles.

Oval Diamond 

Similar in brilliance, the oval hides inclusions—perceived imperfections that form when small crystals become trapped inside the stone during its formation—but its unique shape invites other considerations when choosing an elegant design. For instance, if the oval cut diamond has a larger surface area, it’s likelier to have a bowtie, or a spot where the diamond reflects a bowtie-like pattern onto itself, than the same-shaped diamond of a smaller size. 

Oval diamonds are thought to bear a dashing, oblong elegance. 

Oval diamond style choice: Popular in the 1960s, oval diamonds are often used in bold, chunky geometric designs.  

Cushion Diamond

Having recently gained popularity—the cushion—named for its pillow-like aesthetic, has rounded corners between each of its four sides. Along with an excellent color grade, the rounded corners this shape is known for contribute to the diamond’s elegant fire. 

Once the fire of the diamond bursts, it masks the gem’s imperfections. This means that a lower-quality clarity doesn’t compromise the integrity of the cushion diamond’s design. 

Cushion diamond style choice: A popular wedding ring choice amongst celebrities, the cushion diamond is a delicate but bold ode to the past. 

Pear Diamond

It blends in the characteristics of a round cut and a marquis cut, creating a teardrop silhouette. The Pear Diamond features a beautiful symmetry. Due to its elongated shape, this cut looks much larger than its actual carat weight. It usually has 56 facets although this may vary. It is also great at hiding diamond inclusions.

Pear shape diamond style choice: Created by Lodewyk Van Berquem way back 1458, the pear shaped diamond is commonly worn with its tip facing towards the fingernails. If you are looking to enhance the symmetry of your look, a pear shaped diamond ring is a great choice.

Emerald Diamond

The emerald shape diamond, while elegant in its own right, is not designed for its brilliance. The rectangular shapes, driven by the emerald cut, lend itself more to a hall of mirrors than a traditional diamond. For the emerald cut diamond, simplicity is elegance. In which case, these diamonds typically require higher-quality clarity and color to take their most unique form. 

Emerald diamond style choice: An elegant and understated stone, the emerald diamond elicits a subtle sparkle to vintage-style engagement rings.

Asscher Diamond

Similar to the emerald, asscher has step cuts that require higher-quality clarity and color. However, the asscher can achieve a bit of brilliance if the depth of the diamond remains shallow. It’s unique and vintage, made sparkly. The asscher cut diamond is considered to be both functional and fashionable. 

Asscher diamond style choice: An elegant adornment from the Art Deco period, the asscher diamond proposes a twist on the traditional wedding gemstone.

Radiant Diamond

The radiant cut diamond is a smidge more rectangular than the asscher. While it’s shaped like its counterpart, its brilliance runs parallel to the rounded diamond. Given that the radiant diamond is capable of hiding certain imperfections, a lower-quality clarity won’t distract the gemstone’s elegance. 

Radiant diamond style choice: With its fiery disposition, a radiant diamond is a dignified choice for those looking to upgrade their vintage jewelry.

Marquise Diamond 

The marquise cut diamond has an oblong shape with points on either end. When deciding on a setting, the primary focus is to protect these points, seeing as they’re quite vulnerable. 

The shape, as a whole, is quite similar to the oval. For its brilliance to elevate, it needs low-quality clarity, high-quality color grade, and a large enough surface area to produce the bowtie effect. A benefactor of the marquise diamond is that its cut manipulates its visual size—it appears to be higher carat because it looks as if it has more surface area. 

Marquise diamond style choice: Intricately brilliant and immensely striking, the marquise diamond is as eye-catching as it is delicate.

The Best Types of Diamond Shapes are a Reflection of Individuality 

When it comes to diamond shapes, the perfect design always boils down to preference. Ultimately, choosing a diamond is an intimate experience. It’s a reflection of your personality, or your love for another individual. Make sure you know how to clean diamonds so that when you find that perfect piece of jewelry, you keep it looking brilliant and beautiful.

Here at CJ Charles Jewelers, a luxury jewelry store in San Diego, we understand this relationship intuitively. With various diamond shapes, characteristics, and trademarks, the type you choose takes careful consideration. 

And for that, there’s us. 

If you’re looking to find your perfect diamond shape, reach out to one of our jewelers today. 


  1. International Gem Society. Different Diamond Shapes: Ultimate Guide With Size and Price Chart. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/diamond-shapes-price-size/ 
  2. The Diamond Pro. Diamond Shapes vs. Cut Guide: Popular Diamond Shapes. https://www.diamonds.pro/education/shapes/ 

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