The most popular and well-known diamond shapes are the round brilliant, princess, oval, cushion, emerald, Asscher, marquise, radiant, pear, heart, baguette, and trillion cut diamonds. This guide explains the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each of these different diamond shapes.
Read on to learn how to make an informed decision on the best diamond shape for you, whether you’re in the market for an engagement ring, a pair of earrings, or any other type of diamond jewelry.
A Few Need-To-Know Terms
Diamond Shape vs. Diamond Cut
Before we get started, let’s quickly clear up the difference between “diamond shape” and “diamond cut”, as these two terms are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably.
Diamond shape refers to the physical shape of a diamond, attained by a diamond cutter physically cutting and faceting it into that shape.
However, because many diamond shapes have the word “cut” in their names, it’s common for people to say “diamond cuts” when they really mean “diamond shapes”.
Some diamond shape names are simple geometric terms, such as a round diamond, oval diamond, or heart-shaped diamond. Others are less intuitive – for instance, a princess cut diamond is square-shaped, and an emerald cut diamond is rectangular.
Diamond cut refers to how well or how poorly a diamond has been cut and polished. In other words, the quality of the diamond cutter’s work.
A diamond that’s cut with ideal proportions and symmetry looks beautiful and lively as a result of its high quality cut. On the other hand, a diamond with poor proportions and symmetry appears unattractive and dull due to its bad cut.
Brilliant Cut vs. Step Cut Diamonds
The term “diamond cut” is also frequently used to describe a diamond’s cutting style – that is, the style used to cut and facet a particular diamond shape.
There are two major cutting styles:
- Brilliant cuts: Optimized for maximum brilliance and sparkle. Brilliants feature the most individual facets of any cutting style, allowing for superior light performance.
- Step cuts: Emphasize clarity and shine over brilliance, with large facets cut in a step-like pattern. Step cuts are best for diamonds without visible blemishes or inclusions.
Knowing the difference between these cutting styles will come in handy when choosing the diamond shape that’s best suited to your personal style and taste.
On that note, without further ado …
Diamond Shapes in Order of Popularity
The popularity data given for the first seven diamond shapes on this list is referenced from The Knot’s 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study, which surveyed 5,000 recently engaged respondents in the United States on the diamond shape chosen for their engagement ring.
The remaining five shapes lack recent statistics regarding their popularity. We’ve included them because these diamond shapes have stood the test of time and are rightfully recognized as classics.
1. Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds
The round diamond is the standard brilliant cut shape from which all other modern brilliants are derived. It was developed in 1919 by the mathematician and diamond cutter Marcel Tolkowsky.
Featuring 57 to 58 individual facets cut to precise proportions, the round brilliant was engineered to refract and reflect the maximum amount of light possible.
If you’re considering a round brilliant diamond, you should know that cut quality plays the most important role in the stone’s appearance and overall “wow” factor. We strongly recommend reading our guide to diamond cut to learn what grades and proportions you should be looking for in a round brilliant diamond.
Round brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings by a significant margin, with 41% of couples opting for a ring with a round cut diamond center stone.
In fact, round brilliant diamonds are so integral to the diamond industry that they’re considered a distinct category from every other diamond shape. Shapes that aren’t round brilliants are called “fancy shape diamonds”.
No other diamond shape can match the classic round brilliant in terms of light performance. It delivers the best results across the following key criteria which, taken together, are what gives a diamond its unique beauty and sets it apart from other precious stones:
- Brilliance: Reflection of white light.
- Fire: Flashes of rainbow-colored light.
- Scintillation (also known as sparkle): Flashes of contrasting light and dark areas.
What’s more, its round shape is the best at hiding color tints and inclusions within a white diamond, meaning you don’t need to spend as much on higher diamond color and diamond clarity grades.
Round brilliant diamonds are typically more expensive than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight. High consumer demand is one factor in this, but the price premium is mostly because up to 60% of the rough diamond weight is lost when cutting a round diamond.
Compared to other shapes, that’s a huge amount of wasted diamond rough. The princess cut, for example, loses only about 20% of the original stone during the cutting process. Jewelers therefore generally charge more per carat for a round brilliant cuts, in order to cover these higher rough losses.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: The sparkliest diamond shape you can get. Conceals color and flaws very well. Timeless popularity that’s unaffected by trends.
- Cons: The most expensive diamond shape by carat weight.
2. Oval Diamonds
An oval diamond is what’s called a modified brilliant cut, meaning its cutting style was adapted from the original round brilliant. It was invented in the early 1960s and is considered a particularly romantic and feminine shape.
Engagement rings with an oval cut diamond shape are favored by 19% of couples. This represents a sharp rise from just 2% in 2015, meaning oval shape diamonds are definitely experiencing a moment in the sun right now.
The trend in recent years of celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Kourtney Kardashian, and Serena Williams wearing oval diamond engagement rings has helped to boost this diamond shape’s mainstream prominence and popularity.
As a brilliant style cut, the oval is one of the sparklier diamond shapes (though no shape can compare to the original round brilliant for light performance). Oval diamonds also hide inclusions reasonably well.
Since oval shape diamonds lose less rough in the cutting process than round diamonds, they tend to be less costly per carat than their round counterparts.
Another advantage of an oval diamond is that its elongated shape creates the illusion of the stone being larger than it is. This can also make the fingers of the wearer seem longer and more slender.
Oval diamonds tend to exhibit more color than rounds, especially at the top and bottom of the stone. Meaning that you might need to go higher up the diamond color scale to achieve a uniform white appearance.
All oval diamonds display a bow tie effect – a shadowy, bow tie-shaped area across the stone’s center. Prominent bow ties diminish a diamond’s beauty, so when choosing an oval stone, you should ensure that this optical effect is barely noticeable.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: Elongated shape gives the impression of larger stone. More affordable than round brilliants. Can make the wearer’s fingers appear more slender. Romantic aesthetic.
- Cons: Can show off-white color, particularly at its vertices. Bow tie effect can be detrimental.
3. Princess Cut Diamonds
The princess cut diamond is a modified brilliant cut that was developed in the 1960s and rose to prominence in the 1980s. It most often has a square face-up shape, but is occasionally rectangular. The princess cut is known for its straight edges and sharp corners.
Princess cut diamonds have long been a favorite with those who prefer fancy diamond shapes. Before the rise of the oval diamond trend, princess cut diamonds were the second most popular diamond shape after round. They’re currently in third place, with 11% of engaged couples opting for a princess cut.
Princess cut diamonds retain about 80% of the diamond rough during cutting. This excellent yield rate puts them among the most affordable diamond shapes on a per carat basis.
The striking geometric appearance of the princess shape appears clean and modern, while simultaneously evoking a vintage Art Deco aesthetic.
Combined with its strong light performance, this makes a princess cut diamond an attractive option for those in search of a head-turning engagement ring.
In terms of diamond carat size, princess cut diamonds appear smaller face-up than rounds. A 1 carat round diamond measures about 6.4mm across its diameter, while a 1 carat square princess cut diamond measures only about 5.5mm.
Princess cuts aren’t quite as good at hiding color tints as round diamonds. They’re also prone to having inclusions, especially in the corners – however, these can usually be covered up by a prong ring setting.
Their pointed corners are also weak points that make princess diamonds more liable to fractures and chips. While a princess cut’s corners can be protected by a prong or bezel ring setting, this is still a diamond shape you’ll need to be careful of while wearing.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: One of the most affordable and most popular diamond shapes. Elegant and eye-catching.
- Cons: Appears small for its carat weight. Shows color and inclusions more readily than round diamonds. Not suitable for active lifestyles due to higher risk of damage.
4. Cushion Cut Diamonds
The cushion cut diamond is a brilliant modified cut developed from from the Old Mine cut that was popular in the 18th century. The name derives from the rounded edges and curves that give a cushion cut diamond its soft, “pillowy” appearance.
While cushion cut diamonds have a squarish or semi-rectangular shape, some are so curved that they appear closer to round or oval. Cushion diamonds are not all created from the same cutting pattern, so they can display significant variability in their shape and characteristics.
Different people like different cushion styles, and there’s no one definitive or “correct” standard. If you’re considering buying a cushion diamond, you should inspect a lot of different stones close-up in order to figure out which variations most appeal to you.
The cushion cut diamond ranks as the fourth most popular diamond shape, with 7% of couples opting for a cushion shape engagement ring.
Squarish cushion cuts are much more common and easy to find than rectangular ones. This is largely due to consumer preference, which may itself be influenced by squarish cushions generally having better symmetry and light performance (elongated cushions are more difficult to cut with these traits).
Modified brilliant cushions cut in the “crushed ice” style (with small and irregular star facets providing smaller but more numerous flashes of light) are more prevalent than those cut in the antique or “chunky” style (with larger facets that produce fewer but broader flashes of light).
The greater availability of crushed ice cushions is probably driven by the fact that they retain more diamond rough. Any style of cushion cut is good at retaining rough, however, which brings down their price compared to diamond shapes that lose more weight during cutting.
Cushion cut diamonds offer a distinctive blend of round and square shapes that evoke a romantic old-world charm. If you’re after a vintage aesthetic that still delivers the brightness and sparkle of a brilliant cut, cushions are an appealing option.
Antique style cushions in particular are known to exhibit remarkable fire (the dispersion of light into rainbow colors) due to their larger facets.
Crushed ice style cushions can be adept at hiding inclusions, thanks to their numerous small facets providing a camouflaging effect.
Like princess cuts, squarish cushion cuts have a smaller face-up appearance than round brilliants, with a 1 carat cushion stone measuring at around 5.5mm in diameter vs. around 6.4mm for a round of the same carat weight.
Antique style cushion diamonds are more likely to show color and inclusions than many other brilliant cut diamond shapes. This results from their larger and more “open” facets. While their brilliance can help disguise this, you may still need higher diamond clarity and color grades to achieve an evenly white and flawless appearance.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: One of the more affordable fancy diamond shapes. Displays vintage charm. Antique styles show more fire. Crushed ice styles can hide inclusions.
- Cons: Smaller face-up size. Antique styles can show more color and flaws.
5. Pear-Shaped Diamonds
The pear-shaped (or pear cut) diamond is a unique combination of the round brilliant and marquise cut, featuring rounded edges that taper to a point. Though this asymmetrical diamond shape looks modern, it was first recorded in the mid-15th century.
In The Knot’s 2021 study, 7% of respondents had an engagement ring with a pear shape center stone. This ranks pear cut diamonds equally with cushion cuts in terms of popularity.
Thanks to their attractive teardrop silhouette, pear-shaped diamonds can also often be seen in drop earrings and pendants.
As they have a brilliant style cut, pear-shaped diamonds can achieve impressive brilliance and fire when cut with balanced proportions and symmetry.
Due to their elongated shape, a pear diamond appears larger than a round brilliant of the same weight when viewed face-up, while also being less expensive per carat. When set in a ring, the pear shape can give the impression of a longer, more slender finger.
The unique teardrop shape of pear cut diamonds stands out from traditional round or square cuts, offering an elegant and feminine aesthetic.
Like all brilliant cut diamonds with elongated shapes, pear cuts are prone to showing the bow tie effect. This dark bow tie-shaped band is caused by light casting an internal shadow across the stone’s center. While some bow tie is next to unavoidable in pear-shaped diamonds, it should be minimal in the stone you select.
The pear shape is one of the more difficult shapes to cut, so finding an well-cut pear diamond can be challenging. Its pointed tip is also vulnerable to chipping or breaking if not protected by a prong or bezel setting.
Color and inclusions can be more noticeable at the pointed tip or wider rounded edge of a pear shape, sometimes necessitating higher diamond color and clarity grades.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: Larger appearance and lower price than round brilliants. Elegant, finger-slimming aesthetic.
- Cons: Difficult to find well-cut stones. Pointed tip is susceptible to damage. Exhibits bow tie effect. Can show color and inclusions around its end points.
6. Emerald Cut Diamonds
The emerald cut originated in the 1500s as a method of cutting emeralds (hence the name), and was later adopted for diamonds. It’s the most popular and well-known member of the step cut family.
An emerald cut diamond has a distinctive rectangular shape with cropped corners, and features rows of long parallel facets that “step” in toward a large, flat center facet. These step facets reflect and refract light off each other, which (in high quality cuts) can create a flashing optical effect known as a hall of mirrors.
In The Knot study, 5% of respondents had an engagement ring with an emerald cut diamond as the center stone.
Emerald cut diamonds emphasize clarity, shine, and depth, providing less frequent but much larger flashes of light than a brilliant cut diamond. Emeralds are a wonderful diamond shape for those who prefer subtle, understated elegance to intense sparkle.
Emerald cuts appear larger than round diamonds of the same carat weight thanks to their elongated shape. They’re also generally less expensive per carat due to lower consumer demand and retaining more of the rough during cutting.
The bold geometric lines of emerald cut diamonds exude vintage charm and sophistication. The shape had its heyday in the Art Deco period, and continues to be popular today with fans of that era’s aesthetic.
An emerald diamond’s large open facets and lack of flaw-obscuring brilliance makes inclusions much more noticeable. A minimum clarity grade of VS2 is usually required to pull off an attractive emerald cut.
Similarly, color tends to show more in an emerald-shaped diamond. Color is more of a subjective preference as some people don’t mind warm-tinted diamonds, but in general, step cut shapes like the emerald need higher color grades to look white compared to brilliant cuts.
Be careful to avoid stones with optical effects called windowing (the diamond appears glassy and see-through) and extinction (the diamond displays prominent dark areas). These can occur when an emerald diamond is badly cut – and unfortunately, finding well-cut emerald diamonds is often difficult.
- Style: Step cut.
- Pros: Appears larger per carat than round diamonds, and is less expensive. Striking vintage aesthetic. Hall of mirrors effect in well-cut stones.
- Cons: Shows flaws and color very easily. Can display unsightly optical effects. Challenging to find well-cut stones.
7. Marquise Cut Diamonds
The marquise cut diamond, also known as the navette cut, was invented in 18th century France. The story goes that this shape got its name due to its silhouette resembling the lips of the Marquise de Pompadour, a noblewoman and mistress of King Louis XV.
The modern marquise shape is cut in the brilliant style, and is usually said to resemble an eye or a football more than it does a pair of lips. Still, thanks to its memorable origin story and association with royalty, this diamond shape has long been regarded as stately and romantic.
Marquise cut diamonds are less in demand than some other diamond shapes, comprising 2% of center stones for engagement rings.
Of all the well-known diamond shapes, marquise cut diamonds have one of the greatest face-up surface areas relative to their carat weight. A well-cut marquise can appear 15% larger than a round diamond, while being less expensive.
As with other elongated shapes, marquise diamonds can create the impression of longer, more slender fingers when set north-south in an engagement ring.
Finding well-cut marquise shapes can be challenging, as the cut requires a great deal of precision to achieve perfect symmetry and proportions. It also tends to show color and inclusions, particularly at its pointed ends.
Watch out for bow tie effects that can lessen the sparkle and beauty of this regal diamond shape, and be sure to protect its vulnerable tips with a prong or bezel setting.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: Appears large for its carat weight. More affordable than round diamonds. Elegant shape with aristocratic connotations.
- Cons: Prone to asymmetry, showing color and flaws, and visible bow tie effects. Hard to find stones that are well-cut.
8. Asscher Cut Diamonds
Developed in 1902 by the renowned diamond cutter Joseph Asscher, the Asscher cut diamond is another famous step cut shape, identifiable by its squarish outline and deeply cropped corners.
Another visual trademark of the Asscher diamond is the chunky X-shaped pattern visible through its table. This X is sometimes referred to as an Asscher’s “windmill”, due to its resemblance to windmill blades.
As with a well-cut emerald diamond, a well-cut Asscher will display the hall of mirrors effect – an interplay of light that creates the illusion of infinitely repeating reflections, evoking a hall lined with parallel mirrors. Asscher shapes also tend to show more brightness than other step cuts.
With its distinctive shape that stands out from what you usually see in engagement rings, an Asscher diamond holds appeal for those seeking an unconventional yet timeless center stone.
Asscher cut diamonds appear smaller than round diamonds of the same carat weight. A 1 carat Asscher diamond measures about 5.5mm in diameter, against 6.4mm for a round brilliant.
As with all step cuts, Asscher cuts are unforgiving of flaws (though less so than emerald cuts), and most require VS2 clarity at minimum. Likewise, Asscher diamonds tend to hold on to color more than brilliant cut shapes.
Well-cut Asschers are challenging to find. If you like this diamond shape, selecting a stone with ideal proportions and symmetry is critical to good light performance. Avoid stones with unbalanced windmills, as this is a sign of inferior cut.
- Style: Step cut.
- Pros: Good brightness and hall of mirrors effect in stones of high quality cut. Distinctive geometric style.
- Cons: Appears small for its carat weight. Shows flaws and color easily. Well-cut stones are uncommon.
9. Radiant Cut Diamonds
The radiant cut diamond is the most prominent example of what’s called a mixed or hybrid cut, combining elements of both brilliant and step cutting styles. It was introduced in 1977, modifying the classic emerald cut shape for greater sparkle and brilliance.
Radiant cut diamonds traditionally retain the rectangular, cropped-corner outline of the emerald cut, although squarish radiants also exist. They have parallel step cut facets on the crown (upper part of the diamond), while featuring brilliant style faceting on the pavilion (lower part of the diamond).
At first glance, radiant cut diamonds can appear very similar to cushion cuts. The key visual difference is in their shape outline: radiants have straight, sharp edges, while cushions are rounded and soft.
Radiants are also often confused for princess cut diamonds. The easiest way to tell them apart as to look at their corners: princess cuts have pointed corners, and radiant cuts have beveled corners.
The radiant cut is one of the most affordable fancy shape diamonds, as it retains most of the diamond rough during cutting.
With its hybrid cutting style, this unique diamond shape provides the best of both worlds: the long elegant lines of a step cut, and the brightness and scintillation of a brilliant cut – a convenient compromise if you can’t decide which type you like more!
Thanks to their brilliant facets, radiant diamonds are better than step cuts at masking inclusions. However, you’ll still probably need a higher clarity grade than you would for a round brilliant diamond.
Radiant cut diamonds are generally slightly smaller than round brilliants in terms of face-up diameter measurements. Saying that, their elongated shape can create the optical illusion that they’re actually larger.
Radiant diamonds tend to enhance color tints rather than mask them. Expect to need a higher color grade if you’re after an even, icy white appearance.
As is the case with many fancy shapes, well-cut radiant diamonds are scarce. One reason for this is they’re less in demand, meaning radiant diamonds aren’t cut as often as more popular diamond shapes like the round or princess cut. With fewer options available, finding high quality radiant cuts becomes harder.
A dark bow tie effect is one no-no to watch out for with radiant diamonds. Bow ties are hard to avoid entirely, but should appear subtle in the stone you choose.
- Style: Mixed cut.
- Pros: One of the most affordable diamond shapes. Strikes an attractive balance between step and brilliant faceting styles. Hides flaws better than step cuts.
- Cons: Smaller face-up measurements than a round diamond. Can make color appear more prominent. Well-cut stones are rare. Possibility of visible bow tie effect.
10. Heart-Shaped Diamonds
The heart-shaped diamond is exactly what it sounds like – a diamond cut into the shape of a heart. The modern heart is a modification of the pear diamond, with both shapes beginning the cutting process in the same way. To create a heart shape instead of a pear, a cleft is added at the top, and the sides are curved outward.
The heart cut is one of the oldest fancy shape diamonds, having been first recorded in the 15th century, and refined in modern times with brilliant faceting.
Though not as spectacular as round brilliants, well-cut heart-shaped diamonds can display impressive brightness, sparkle, and fire, owing to their brilliant cutting style.
As heart-shaped diamonds are less common than more popular shapes like round diamonds, they make excellent statement pieces. And because they’re the most traditionally romantic diamond shape, proposing with a heart cut diamond can be a powerful declaration of love.
The heart shape is challenging for diamond cutters to pull off, as it requires immense precision to achieve perfect symmetry. As such, the availability of well-cut heart-shaped diamonds is low. And while hearts are generally less expensive than round diamonds, their difficult cut can make them more expensive than many other fancy shapes.
When it comes heart-shaped diamonds, bigger is better. A heart cut does best when it’s large enough for its unique silhouette to be instantly recognizable. We recommend a 1 carat stone at minimum. If your budget doesn’t stretch to that, it may be better to choose another shape.
The heart cut is another diamond shape that’s prone to the bow tie effect, so keep that in mind when making your selection. Also be careful of the diamond’s tip, which can vulnerable to snagging and chipping if cut to a sharp point (although some hearts have more rounded tips).
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: Less expensive than round brilliants, while retaining impressive brilliance in well-cut stones. Eye-catching and romantic shape.
- Cons: Rare to see well-cut stones. Requires higher carat weight for its shape to appear distinct. Can have noticeable bow tie effect. Tip can be susceptible to damage.
11. Baguette Cut Diamonds
The baguette cut diamond is shaped like an emerald cut, but usually longer and slimmer, and without the cropped corners. Baguettes traditionally have a rectangular shape, though you can also find tapered variants that are thinner at one end, giving them a trapezoidal outline. Predecessors to the baguette shape had been around since the 1500s, with the modern iteration of this step cut diamond becoming prominent in the 1910s.
While very rarely used as engagement ring center stones, baguettes are popular accents in three-stone rings, appearing on either side of the center stone. They’re also sometimes incorporated into wedding bands.
As well as appearing large for its carat size due to its elongation, the baguette cut is the most affordable diamond shape, as it’s a comparatively simple shape to cut.
The baguette’s clean lines and Art Deco chic make it an appealing accent stone for engagement rings, and its versatility lends itself well to wedding bands, earrings, pendants, and other types of jewelry.
Baguette diamonds have only 14 facets, the fewest among all the different diamond shapes (by comparison, the emerald cut typically has 57 facets). As a result, a baguette diamond’s sparkle and brilliance is limited.
All the customary pitfalls of step cut diamonds apply to the baguette: it shows color and inclusions more easily, and it lacks the intense sparkle of brilliant style cuts. Its sharp corners are also points of vulnerability.
- Style: Step cut.
- Pros: Looks large for its carat weight. Least expensive diamond shape. Timeless clean-cut charm. Works very well as an accent stone.
- Cons: Less sparkly due to fewer facets. Not good at concealing color and flaws. Sharp corners are susceptible to damage.
12. Trillion Cut Diamonds
Developed in the 1960s, the trillion cut diamond, also known as the trilliant, is a modified brilliant cut known and named for its distinctive triangular shape. It can have straight sides and sharp corners, or a more convex outline (as seen in the picture above).
Like baguettes, trillion cuts are seldom found as the center stone of an engagement ring, being more likely to be used as accent stones. Saying that, the trillion’s unique shape makes an intriguing statement as a center stone, which could appeal to those who dare to be different.
Trillion cut diamonds generally look larger than round cut diamonds. They’re also more affordable – with all else being equal in terms of the 4Cs of diamonds – because they lose less diamond rough when being cut.
Even for a brilliant cut, trillion diamonds can display impressive brilliance and fire. This helps them to disguise flaws and color tints, meaning you don’t need the higher ranges of clarity and color grades to get a diamond that looks eye-clean and evenly white.
The trillion’s pointed edges are prone to chipping and wearing out. If choosing this diamond shape for an engagement ring, ensure its points are protected with a prong or bezel setting.
Because they’re rarely carried by major jewelry stores, finding trillion diamonds of high cut quality can be a time-consuming process. Avoid stones that are cut too shallow, as this has a detrimental effect on the diamond’s brilliance.
- Style: Brilliant cut.
- Pros: Distinctive and eye-catching shape. Appears larger than round cut diamonds, and is less expensive. Well-cut stones display good brilliance and fire.
- Cons: Points are vulnerable to damage. Well-cut stones are challenging to find.
Thanks for making it to the end! If you’ve decided on a diamond shape and would like to learn how to choose a stone that’s high quality yet affordable, then we recommend reading our guide to the 4Cs of diamonds next.