Types Of Diamond Cuts: Guide To Shape, Brilliance, & Value


If you close your eyes and imagine an ideal diamond cut then I’m pretty much sure, you might visualize a sparkling, maybe round brilliant ring gently and magically entering your finger and heart.

Which type of diamond cut best suits your needs and budget for you to gift or proudly wear also depends on your intimate knowledge about how these precious gemstones are cut.

An outstanding solitaire diamond ring or whichever diamond shape you prefer ain’t easy to determine, let alone compare, and shop. That’s why I’m here to help with this diamond cut guide. 

Thanks to my experience (five sisters turn some to jewelry experts), interests, and in-depth research on the topic, I hopefully can save you time and money along the way.

A diamond cut is a process of taking a rough diamond crystal formed over a thousand years under pressure and heat. Then turning it, for example, into an oval or square cut with a typically desired result of exposing its maximum brilliance, fire, scintillation appearance, and shape.

How these factors like brilliance, polish, and facet surface affect the cut, shape, and grading of a diamond is paramount in fully understanding what creates the stunning and high value of this precious gemstone.

Diamond Cut Explained

There is a physical, chemical, and optical process going on when a diamond is cut. It’s a delicate process undertaken by experienced master cutters after years of training with the goal to create, enhance, or preserve the three plus one following attributes:

Diamond Cut Attributes Goal
Brilliance Amount of brightness reflected from the external and internal parts of a diamond back to a human eye viewer
Fire Rainbow flash colors visible amount throughout all diamond’s angles
Scintillation Dark to bright shades of light reflected when diamond or person moves
Pattern* e.g., 57-58 facets of a modern round cut
Source:Litawear.com, *not always included

Here are the diamond cuts a master cutter usually considers before cutting. This is while keeping the attributes of stone brilliance, flash-light fire, and scintillation moves (dark to light or vice versa) to create the ideal diamond shape by applying the suitable cut and polish.

On the other hand, we have precious gemstones types characterizations that focus on clarity instead of solely shape or brilliance, like concerning this guide I created on VVS diamond explained.

So know exactly does a diamond cut affect the end product and consumer?

Round Brilliant Cut Explored

No doubt, according to statistics, the brilliant round cut is by far the most popular, but why?

Benefits of Round Brilliant Cut Diamond

  • It is the most asked for and purchased diamond cut by jewelry consumers
  • Most offered by jewelry traders therefore availability at different carats high
  • Maximum symmetry (constant proportions) with as many facets as possible
  • The easiest cut to sell and pawn later on 
  • This circle cut diamond gemstone easier to grade than other cuts

The last bullet point means that, unlike other diamond cuts, the round brilliant has been, after years of research, graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) into five areas of reference.

GIA’s Cut Scale 


As you can see, grading a diamond’s cut is a complex process taking many factors from crown height, depth to bottom size culet, and the opposite star facet atop, including the different facets and diameters and so forth.

Work that is undertaken by master cutters and graders using their experience and modern computer-aided technology (CAD) to best estimate the cut quality of diamonds.

Diamond Cut Scale Explained

Round Cut GradeMeaning
ExcellentBest cut regarding flawless brilliance, fire, scintillation, and patterns
Very GoodBrightness, fire, and dark/light reflections nearly as good as excellent
GoodThough external light is still good, internal light, rainbow colors, internal reflection are satisfactory
FairExternal and internal light entrance and exit from the diamond not as good
PoorLight leakage after entrance prevent leaving little reflection of brilliance, fire, scintillation 
Source:Litawear.com (using GIA’s cut scale as basis)

Note: This 5 step cut scale is only relevant for the round brilliant cut diamond.

Downsides of Round Brilliant Cut

  • May considered boring and old compare to some new developed cuts
  • Since it’s the most common could also mean when selling it may not get exclusive price

Recommending Round Brilliant Diamond Cut

The pros and cons of this precious fine cut stone are recommending the brilliant round diamond cut shape for engagement rings or wedding jewelry since it is the classic and ideal cut couples marry with. 

Though for investment purposes or taste reasons anyone can buy, gift, or wear this type of gemstone.

Oval Cut Explained

The oval cut is a modern cut that suits certain fashion tastes who want to walk away from the traditional round cut, but not too far.

Benefits of Oval Cut Diamonds

  • Shaped like an egg gives it a distinct appearance to fit in more occasions than round brilliant
  • The oval look may be a selling argument beyond the classic cut of circle diamond
  • Still appropriate gemstone cut for proposals, as a wedding ring for modern-classic  couples

Downsides of Oval Cut

  • A little unusual cut, especially if considering as a marriage ring
  • The uncommon cut may not as be well-received by jewelers when trying to sell it
  • Less diamond options to pick from with this cut

Recommending Oval Cut Diamond 

The oval cut diamond gem is best for couples and individuals who like a bit of old mixed with the fresh and new. Furthermore, it is a cut that can stretch a women’s finger or perfectly match her already long hands and fingers.

The Hollywood celebrity couple Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lovely made their knot with a 12-carat oval diamond engagement ring official, and many celebs, as well as the wider public, are choosing this special cut to say I do.

Pear Cut Insights

The pear cut diamond is also known as a teardrop cut goes a little further than the oval diamond by accentuating the length even more.

Benefits of Pear Cut Diamonds

  • Clear stand out from traditional cuts while still resembling the optimum in terms of the essential diamond cut attributes of brightness, fire brilliance, dark – light accentuation 
  • Breaks the pattern and appearance of how diamond cuts supposed to visually be
  • Teardrop look and feel is edgy or fashionable and eye-catching

Downsides of Pear Cuts

  • Distinct cut may not sit well with many women or men you want to gift to
  • The sought-after brilliance may contradict with other attributes like fire or pattern
  • Availability limited compared to, for example, the popular round cut stone

Recommending Pear Cut Diamonds

One of the most interesting shapes to cut while still preserving some ancient cut styles like Old European cut or the famous Mazarin cut. If a silk soft appearance like a swan is something you adore, then the teardrop oval cut is a valid lustrous diamond jewelry option.

Marquise Cut Quick Facts

Stretched to the max, this French-sounding diamond shape truly resembles everything high fashion and exclusivity.

Marquise Cut Benefits

  • Creates the impression of long fingers that many wearers are seeking
  • Appearance and name implies luxury and jewelry perfection while unique looking
  • The length also plays in terms of 4C´s, whereby carat size and value are visualized
  • Near vintage look gives it a Bohemian jewelry style that is “lit” with the young, Gen X

Downside of Marquise Cuts

  • Since the marquise cut is not the newest around the fashion block, may be thought fazed out, aged
  • May be hard to sell or pawn outside of alternative or antique accessory marketplaces

Recommending Marquise Cut Diamonds

Definitely, a special cut that looks like you straight went to Paris, dropped at Cartier or Chanel, and found this remarkable diamond cut of a gem sitting and waiting just for you. In short, it’s for those with exclusive taste, courage, and not too long fingers.

Princess Cut Basics

The princess cut is probably the most beautifully labeled with more than a shape to choose from.

Princess Cut Benefits

  • Exceptional symmetry as it comes rectangular and square shaped
  • Focus on brilliance and scintillation for a round light sensation experience
  • Bling-bling brightness fire effect and value, esp with millennials, but not only
  • Trending cut that might be a worthy jewelry investment too
  • One of the best original rough stone carat weight savers (from dull to faceted stone)

Downsides of Princess Cuts

  • Non-classic circle diamond with those crown, girdle, pavilion, facets like a round brilliant
  • May hide diamond inclusions (flaws) as well as scintillation 
  • Focus mainly on brilliance and fire, instead of also luster

Recommending Princess Cut Diamonds

This is a diamond cut that you either love or hate, period. With a classic setting that enables the ideal light entrance to reflect back. It is a unique square or rectangular diamond cut for those seeking maximum fire and brilliance with a specific shape combined.

It’s a trend diamond cut type, for good or bad, the informed consumer like you decides.

Cushion Cut Fundamentals

Who won’t be comfortable on a cushion, even if it’s diamond-shaped like a soft pillow?

Cushion Cut Benefits

  • Cushion cut diamond stones created for optimal brilliance and fire 
  • Trending shape diamond that fits with different ages and tastes
  • This also labelled as pillow cut gem is affordable (e.g., compared to round brilliant)
  • Like princess cut, comes in square or rectangular cuts which increases facet size

Downsides of Cushion Cuts

  • May be considered a fad, though long enough in jewelry fashion already
  • Pillow cut diamonds may be hiding some flaws inside the stone

Recommending Cushion Cut Diamonds

Though the craftsmanship of cushion shape diamond gemstones is as good as a princess cut the large facets of square cuts may suggest primitiveness with some consumers. This is not true at all. Clarity and brilliance can be observed with joy from all angles, especially for those loving statement jewelry.

Radiant Cut 101

The jack of all trades diamond shape, that is what the radiant cut symbolizes. What else?

Radiant Cut Benefits

  • Resembles a mixture of a square and a round brilliant cut stone at the same time
  • Outstanding brilliance characteristics produced by the cut 
  • Possible diamond inclusions can be “buried” by the cut
  • On average cheaper than a flawless round brilliant, but sparkling nearly the same

Downsides of Radiant Cuts

  • Diamond flaws that are hidden by the radiant’s shape, but are still there
  • Large perceived carat weight that doesn’t translate into more dollar value 

Recommending Radiant Cut Diamonds

A celebrity diamond cut that clearly signals wealth by focusing on the size, brilliance, and sparkling colors on the visible angles of the stone. 

In reality, a radiant cut diamond gemstone is a clever and fashionable shape that may or may not actually be that costly of jewelry because size doesn’t automatically translate into a higher price when it comes to diamond cuts. 

On the other side, the 4C´s of cut, color, clarity, and carat do count when grading the value of a precious diamond. In short, the radiant cut is a voluminous, but not the most expensive cut necessarily as other factors affect the evaluation.

Emerald Cut Essentials

The shape of an emerald cut is designed to play with your eyes, light, and imagination simultaneously.

Emerald Cut Benefits

  • With excellent table, pavilion depth, and girdle attributes to the step cut mirror look much appreciated
  • Elongated form suits diamond buyers who want to wear or gift to accentuate long fingers
  • The emerald cut can also be used for stud earrings or necklace pendants jewelry etc.

Downsides of Emerald Cuts

  • Diamond corners may possess less sparkle than center parts or other cuts
  • The special fancy cut and big proportions diamond size creates an illusion that is not there (for example by light change, angle)
  • Hard sell outside of loose diamond cut lovers in comparison to princess or round cuts

Recommending Emerald Cut Diamonds

Possibly one of the best buys of face-up diamond cuts, due to intelligently cuts that can avoid showcasing inclusions while highlighting the brilliance. This of course may translate into a cheaper diamond purchase, albeit no visible disadvantage.

At least for the untrained jewelry eye that is most of us outside diamond graders with 10 years of cutting or grading different types of diamond cut styles.

What Is The Difference Between Cut and Shape in Diamonds?

A diamond cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polishing of a diamond whereas the shape means a specific, desired appearance, e.g. round brilliant, oval, or princess cut. Furthermore, the cut translates external and internal brilliance, fire, and scintillation light reflection illumination.

What Does Diamond Cut Mean For Colorless vs Fancy Colored Diamonds?

Whereas colorless diamond cuts are highly valued and classified for how fast light travels through a white diamond and reflects the brilliance back (RI Index). Fancy-colored diamonds are primarily graded in accordance with their ability to produce a distinct, natural color, not brightness.

Types of Diamond Cut Summary

These are the popular cuts, though other shapes like rose, trilliant cut, asscher cut, or heart diamond cut, and so forth are also becoming more known.

The perfect stone, also known as a paragon diamond, meaning a flawless gem with no inclusions, fractures, or chip, is nearly impossible to find.

In fact, any cut is designed to either hide, polish, or enhance the diamond’s natural beauty, and therefore the best diamond cut ultimately depends on the desired features and budget.

This diamond cut buying guide is part of understanding the 4 C´s diamond series, which educates you on the best diamond jewelry for consumers. 

The goal is to ideally avoid being ripped off while making yourself or your significant other happy by shopping for remarkable, timeless diamond jewelry of choice and budget.

Bill Dominic

Bill is an art history and business graduate. Moreover, he loves to test, compare, shop jewelry & fashion items for his 5 sisters, girlfriend, nieces when not enjoying a great novel.

Related Posts