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More About Diamond Shapes


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The round cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape, representing approximately 75% of all diamonds sold. Due to the mechanics of its shape, the round diamond is generally superior to fancy diamond shapes at the proper reflection of light, maximizing potential brightness.

Virtually all round diamonds are brilliant-cut, meaning they have 58 facets (57 when there is no culet).

Round diamonds cost more on a per carat basis than fancy shapes for two reasons; the demand for round diamonds is very high, and the yield is relatively low. Because more of the rough stone is lost in the cutting of a round diamond, the cost of each carat retained is higher. A typical round diamond (for example; a 1.00 carat, F-colour, VS2-clarity, Ex cut) may cost 25-35% more than a similar fancy shape.

The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating color in round diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J K – L > L
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H I – J > J
Fluoro None Faint – Med Strong Very Strong

The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in round diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

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The princess cut diamond is the most popular fancy cut diamond, especially for engagement rings. Like round cut diamonds, princess cut diamonds are a good choice for their flexibility in working in almost any style of ring.

Princess cut diamonds also tend to have a slightly lower price-per-carat than round cut diamonds. This is because the four sided pyramid shape of the princess cut diamond is similar to one half of the octahedron rough stone from which a princess diamond is cut. This similarity allows two equally sized princess cut diamonds to be cut from the same rough stone with relatively little waste (roughly 60% of the weight of the original rough stone is retained after cutting). The greater efficiency, or yield, translates to a lower price.

Carat for carat, the crown surface area of a princess cut is about 10% less than a same-weight round diamond. However, the corner to corner measure of a princess cut is typically 15% greater than the diameter of a same-weight round diamond, creating the illusion of greater size.

The princess is traditionally a square cut (four sides of equal length). However, many princess cut diamonds are slightly rectangular, though this is often hard to detect. All other things being equal, the more rectangular a princess cut diamond, the lower the price.Any length to width ratio of 1.05 or less will appear square to the naked eye. If the princess is set with side diamonds, a length to width of 1.05 – 1.08 may still look square, as the side diamonds will create the illusion of greater width in the center stone.

A princess cut diamond should always be set with prongs that protect the four corners (the most likely location for chipping). Because these corners were once near the outer edge of the rough stone, flaws such as naturals, extra facets, and other inclusions may be located here. Since the corners are covered by the prongs, these flaws will be invisible once the diamond is set. The only remaining concern would be if the flaws are significant enough to affect the stability of the diamond (this is extremely rare, however). Most other square cuts (such as emerald, asscher, and radiant) have cropped corners.

Of all of the square cuts, the brilliant-cut princess (along with the radiant cut) comes the closet to achieving the fire and brilliance of a round diamond, making it an ideal combination of unique shape, sparkling appearance, and relative price value.

The color chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in princess cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med Strong Very Strong

Because of its brilliance, a princess cut is more forgiving of inclusions than other square cuts (like Asscher and Emerald), especially when viewed with the naked eye. The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in princess cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

wealthymatters.comOval diamonds are a modified brilliant-cut (like virtually all round cuts). Because the two shapes possess a similar fire and brilliance, the oval is an ideal choice for a person who likes the look of a round diamond, but wants something more unique. Oval diamonds have the added advantage of an elongated shape, which can create the illusion of greater size. The slender shape can also make the finger of the wearer appear longer and slimmer.

Preferences vary on how narrow or fat an oval cut diamond should be, so choose what appeals to you personally (though a length to width ratio of 1.35 – 1.50 is considered the classic oval cut). A slightly thinner cut may look most appealing in a setting where the diamond is flanked by side stones.

Oval cut diamonds posses some degree of bow-tie, varying from near invisible to severe. A bow-tie is a dark area that runs right to left across the center of the diamond in the approximate shape of a man’s bow tie.The visibility of a bow-tie effect can be ascertained only upon visual inspection.If you are wondering if your diamond has a bow tie then it is probably quite light. Also some degree of bow tie can be a positive as it provides contrast in the diamond; only when it begins to become the focal point (the first thing you notice) should you absolutely rule out the diamond.

The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in oval diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med Strong Very Strong

The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in oval diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

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Marquise diamonds are a modified brilliant-cut. The name is derived from the Marquise of Pompadour, for whom King Louis XIV of France allegedly had a stone fashioned to resemble what he considered her perfectly shaped mouth. Because marquise diamonds are long and narrow, they can also create the illusion of greater size. Carat for carat, the marquise diamond has one of the largest crown surface areas of any diamond shape, making it a good choice when trying to maximize the perceived size of a diamond. Like the oval diamond, the marquise cut diamond’s elongated shape can make the finger of the wearer appear longer and slimmer.

Marquise diamonds posses some degree of bow-tie, varying from near invisible to severe.

A length to width ratio of 1.75 -2.15 is considered the classic marquise cut.

Symmetry is very important in marquise cuts. The two end points should align with each other, and the right and left sides should form a near mirror image. Even a slight misalignment in the points can result in an off kilter look in the final setting. For this reason, excellent or very good symmetry is strongly recommended.

A marquise diamond should always be set with prongs to protect the two points (the most likely location for chipping). Because these points were once nearest the outer edge of the rough stone, flaws such as naturals, extra facets, and other inclusions may be located here. Since the points are covered by prongs, these flaws will be invisible once the diamond is set. The only remaining concern would be if the flaws are significant enough to affect the stability of the diamond (this is extremely rare, however).

In larger marquise diamonds (over 1 carat), the colour may appear slightly darker at the points. For this reason, move up one colour grade as compared to other diamond shapes. The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating color in marquise diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med Strong Very Strong

The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in marquise diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

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The modified brilliant-cut pear shaped diamond is a combination of a round and a marquise shape, with a tapered point on one end. The diamond is always worn with the narrow end pointing toward the hand of the wearer. Like marquise and oval cuts, the pear shaped diamond comes in a variety of slim to wide cuts, and has the added benefit of making the wearer’s fingers appear longer and slimmer.

Ideally, a pear shaped diamond should possess excellent or very good symmetry. The point should line up with the apex of the rounded end. The shoulders and wings (the upper and lower curves on the right and left side of the diamond) should form uniform, symmetrical curves, with no straight edges. The rounded top should not appear narrow or squat, but like a semi-circle. In a misguided effort to add weight to a diamond (by incorporating more of the rough stone in the final cut) cutters may give the diamond added girth near the point or top, giving the diamond a squared off or squatty appearance.

The length to width ratio of classic pear shaped diamonds is 1.40-1.70. A narrow pear diamond is ideal for dangle earrings, while a wider shape might be preferred for a solitaire ring.

Pear shaped diamonds posses some degree of bow-tie effect, varying from near invisible to severe. The visibility of a bow-tie effect can only be ascertained by visual inspection.

A pear diamond should always be set with a prong at the point – the most likely location for chipping on a pear cut diamond. Because this point was once nearest the outer edge of the rough stone, flaws such as naturals, extra facets, and other inclusions may be located here. Since the point is covered by a prong, these flaws will be invisible once the diamond is set. The only remaining concern would be if the flaws are significant enough to affect the stability of the diamond (this is extremely rare, however).

In larger pear diamonds (over 1 carat), the colour may appear slightly darker at the point. For this reason, buyers may choose to move up one colour grade as compared to other diamond shapes. The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in pear shaped diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med Strong Very Strong

The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in pear shaped diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

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The cushion cut diamond (once referred to as old mine cut) combines a square cut with rounded corners, much like a pillow (hence the name). This classic cut has been around for almost 200 years, and for the first century of its existence was the most popular diamond shape (similar to round cut today). Until the early 20th century, the cushion cut diamond was the de facto diamond shape.

Traditional cushion cut diamonds return light in a chunkier pattern than modern cuts. Combined with the enlarged culet (which was considered desirable for the pattern created when viewed through the table), this created a distinctive look that is prized today among antique diamond collectors.

While generally less brilliant than round brilliant diamonds, cushion cut diamonds often have better fire(rainbow like colours ), which is part of their appeal.

While the classic cushion cut diamond is a square (with a length to width ratio of 1.00), they are often found in slightly rectangular shapes as well. The most popular shape is a slight rectangle of 1.10-1.20 length to width.

The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in cushion cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med. Strong Very Strong

The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in cushion cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

wealthymatters.comThe unique look of the emerald cut diamond is created by the step cuts of its pavilion and its large, open table. Instead of the sparkle of a brilliant-cut, emerald cut diamonds produce a hall-of-mirrors effect, with the interplay of light and dark planes. While less fiery, the long lines and dramatic flashes of light give the emerald cut an elegant appeal.

Emerald cut diamonds vary from nearly square to a narrow rectangle. The classic emerald cut diamond has a length to width ratio of around 1.50.

Body colour is easier to see in an emerald cut diamond (especially over 1.50 carats) because of the large, open facets. The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in emerald cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint Medium Strong – Very Strong

Often, inclusions are easier to see in an emerald cut diamond. While an SI1-clarity might be a great balance of price and appearance in other diamond shapes, in emerald cut a VS2 might be a comparable choice. The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in emerald cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 SI2 I1 > I1
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 VS2 SI1 > SI1

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The asscher cut diamond was first produced in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, famous at the time for cutting the world’s largest rough stone (the Cullinan, at 3,106 carats). Asscher cut diamonds originally peaked in popularity in the 1920’s, and could recently be found only in antique jewelry shops. Around 2002, one hundred years after the first asscher cut diamond was created, the shape began to make a comeback, spurred on by cut modifications that gave the shape more brilliance than traditional asscher cut diamonds.

The modern asscher cut diamond is similar to a square emerald cut, usually with larger step facets, a higher crown, and a smaller table. This combination often produces more brilliance than the emerald cut. A well cut asscher will appear to have concentric squares as you look down through the table, the result of proper positioning of the pavilion facets underneath. Like the emerald cut, the asscher cut has cropped corners; however, because an asscher is square, the cropped corners give the asscher cut a somewhat octagonal shape. Once mounted in a four prong setting, the diamond maintains its unique shape within a square silhouette.

The classic asscher cut diamond is a square (with a length to width ratio of 1.00); however they are often found in slightly rectangular shapes as well. Any ratio of 1.05 or less will appear square to the naked eye.

Often, body colour is easier to see in an asscher cut diamond (especially over 1.50 carats) because of the large, open facets. The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in asscher cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint Medium Strong – Very Strong

Often, inclusions are easier to see in an asscher cut diamond. While an SI1-clarity might be a great balance of price and appearance in other diamond shapes, in asscher cut a VS2 might be a comparable choice. The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in asscher cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 SI2 I1 > I1
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 VS2 SI1 > SI1

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The radiant cut diamond is the first square cut (the second being the princess) to have a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern applied to both the crown and pavilion, creating a vibrant and lively square diamond. First popular in the 1980’s, the cropped corner square shape of the radiant is a nice bridge between a cushion and a princess cut, and for that reason looks beautiful set with both rounded or square cornered diamonds.

In longer (more rectangular) radiant cut diamonds, a bow-tie effect is more likely (although not as common as in oval, marquise, and pear cuts), varying from near invisible to severe.

There are diverse preferences when it comes to shape in radiant cut diamonds, from a perfectly square 1.00 length to width ratio (any ratio of 1.05 or less will appear square to the naked eye), to a more traditional rectangle. The rectangular radiant cut is an excellent option for buyers who like the emerald cut shape, but want something with the brilliance of a round. The square radiant looks very similar to a princess cut, but with cropped corners. Once set, a square radiant and a princess look virtually identical, since the prongs cover the corners.

The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in radiant cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med. Strong Very Strong

Because of its brilliance, a radiant cut is more forgiving of inclusions than other square cuts (like asscher and emerald), especially when viewed with the naked eye.The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in radiant cut diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

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The modified brilliant-cut heart shaped diamonds are very popular in solitaire pendants as well as rings.In case of these diamonds, symmetry is a very important characteristic, since it is critical that the two halves of the heart are identical. The cleft (between the two lobes) should be sharp and distinct, and the wings (the sides as they curve down to the point) should have a very slightly rounded shape.

Heart shaped diamonds of less than .50 carats may not be a good choice, as the heart shape is more difficult to perceive in smaller diamonds, especially after they are set in prongs. For smaller hearts, a bezel or three prong setting (one prong on each lobe, one prong at the point) will better preserve the heart shape outline of the diamond after it is set.

Heart shaped diamonds come in a variety of silhouettes, from narrow to fat. The length to width ratio of a classic heart shaped diamond is approximately 1.00. For hearts that are to be set in pendants, a slightly narrow cut (1.05 – 1.15) and for hearts set in a solitaire ring, a slightly wide cut (.85 – 1.00) may be suitable.

The colour chart below provides a general guide for evaluating colour in heart shaped diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. D – G H – I J – K L – M > M
.51-1.0 ct. D – F G H – I J – K > K
1.0-2.0 ct. D – F G – H I – J > J
> 2.0 ct. D – F G H – I > I
Fluoro None Faint – Med Strong Very Strong

The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in heart shaped diamonds.

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR
< .50 ct. FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 ct. FL – VS1 VS2 – SI1 SI2 I1 – I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 ct. FL – VVS2 VS1 – VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

 

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About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

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