Diamond Cuts and Shapes: Their Differences and Meanings

Many people make the mistake to interchange the two terms when it comes to cuts and shapes of diamonds. Whether you realize it or not, cuts and shapes are two very different things. People add the word cut onto the end of the shape, like when they refer to a marquis cut, but this couldn’t be more wrong.

Diamond Shapes

  • The cut of the diamond is what determines the proportions of the diamond. The cut is going to be the determining factor in the 4 Cs of a particular diamond.
  • The shape is the geometric layout of the stone, round, princess, or marquis, for example.

diamond shapes on finger

Unless you are a diamond aficionado, you likely have no idea that every shape has particular characteristics that a shopper needs to look for in order to get the best one possible with pros and cons. Each shape also has a history in the diamond industry and its’ own specific meaning.
This article is going to discuss those things that make each shape distinctive unto itself.

The Princess Cut

A princess cut diamond is the second most popular shape in the industry and it is a common choice among younger buyers. It is a shape with classic brilliance and a contemporary look.
Meaning- It is a stone of modern buyers that is normally purchased by those who are trendsetters with avant-garde tendencies. Leadership, boldness, adaptability are common characteristics of a princess cut wearer. They are also those who have a respect for tradition.
Pros- A princess cut and a round cut may weigh the same, but the princess will be cheaper. This is because the cutters do not have to remove as much material as they do when they cut a round diamond.
Cons- The princess cut has a tendency to have delicate corners if the diamond is not set properly in the setting. The corners can chip if the setting is not appropriately designed.

Asscher Shape

This is the first diamond cut to be patented and the shape dates back to the late 1800s. It was created by Joseph Asscher for King Edward VII. It is one of those shapes that has an elite distinction as it has been worn by such Hollywood legends as Elizabeth Taylor. It has a distinct X shape with angular corners.
Meaning- It is worn by those who want to stand out in a crowd. These wearers know style and have a charisma all their own, while still maintaining a feminine look. They toe the line between regal and extravagant.
Pros- It is a shape that can create an incredible brilliance. It is commonly mistaken for or compared to the emerald cut, but it has a smaller table, larger facets, and a higher crown. These characteristics are what give it its’ brilliance.
Cons- Due to the shape, it is easier to see the center of the stone. This makes it easier for people to notice the inclusions of the stone much easier.

Oval Shape

If you research this shape, you will come to find that Jerry O’Connell gave his wife, Rebecca Romijn, an oval-shaped diamond. This shape was established in the 1960s and it was created as a variation to the round shape.
Meaning- To many, it reminds them of the shape of an egg and, thus, has come to be a sign of fertility. Because it is a variation on a traditional shape, it gives the wearer that traditional feel with a twist. It is not too far from classic and not too far in the direction of creative. It is a unique shape while maintaining sophistication.
Pros- This shape gives the same brilliance as a round diamond because of the equal number of facets. The oval shape also creates an impression of length.
Cons- It can have an awkward look if the proportions of the oval are not paid close attention to. This shape also shows more color, so it is wise to choose one that has an elevated color grade.

Marquise Shape

This shape has a true history behind it. This shape was inspired by the shape of the lips of Marquise of Pompadour. It was commissioned by King Louis XIV of France. It is a shape that makes a particular stone look bigger than it really is.
Meaning- This is the type of stone that is going to be worn by someone that enjoys the more lavish things and wants the stone to be noticed for its’ sparkle.
Pros- In comparison to all of the other diamond shapes, the marquise has the largest size per carat weight. Because of its’ unique shape, it looks bigger than it really is on the wearer.
Cons- Like the oval shape, it needs to be shaped with great precision or a bow-tie effect can happen. It also needs to be shaped in such a way that the two corners are perfectly aligned, or the balance of the stone will be off in the setting. Lastly, the delicate corners can be prone to chipping if it is not securely set by the prongs.

Pear Shape

Also known as the teardrop, this is a shape that is known to be worn by style trailblazers. It is known to be a hybrid shape and is a combination of the round and the marquise. It is like wearing two different moods at once with the brilliance equal to the round shape and the creativity of the marquise.
Meaning- The teardrop shape is representative of tears of, both, joy and sorrow, but likely joy when it is given as a gift or an engagement ring. It is a shape that attracts attention and that is going to grab the attention of all who see it. It is also seen as a balance of adaptability and romance.
Pros- Pear shape stones have a shape that will make the finger in which it is worn look thinner and longer. It also adds traditional elegance to a modern ring design.
Cons- It is important to pick a high color grade so that the tone is balanced throughout the stone.

Radiant Shape

This is another one of those fusion shapes and this fusion makes this a versatile shape. It is a delicate blend of the brilliant faceting of the round and the outlining of the princess and emerald shapes. This combination makes it a shape that suits a lot of different wearers and a lot of different tastes.
Meaning- This is a shape that gives the wearer the best that this fusion could offer. The best of different cuts combined into one. It is a shape that is trend-setting and complicated. It is worn by those who are fashion forward and progressive.
Pros- This shape looks great on wearers with shorter fingers as it gives the essence of elongated fingers. The multitude of facets hide inclusions and help to make this shape one of the most brilliant. It produces an amazing amount of light because of those facets.
Cons- It can also easily highlight inclusions because of the increase in color and clarity in this shape.

Cushion Shape

This shape originated in the 1700s and it is also a hybrid shape. Combining the old mine and the oval shapes. It has an added number of facets that give the stone itself a “crushed ice” look. There are a number of variations of the cushion shape that have been created.
Meaning- This hybrid has a balance in its’ meaning as it does in the types of shapes it is derived from. It is a hybrid in its’ meaning as it balances adventurousness with romantic elegance.
Pros- Many diamond professionals see this ring as a modern representation of the classic beauty of the 1920s. The added facets hide many of the inclusions within the stone because of the amount of light that it bends. It is also been known to be compared to a kaleidoscope.
Cons- It is best seen in candlelight and, thus, normal light is not going to do to a cushion shape what it would to for other shapes. It is widely believed that nothing sparkles like the round shape.
Heart Shape
This shape requires the cutter to be exact in the forming of this symmetrical shape. It is very important that the point of the heart is in the perfect spot, dead-center of the two lobes of the heart. The heart is a symbol that everyone knows.
Meaning- The meaning of a heart-shaped diamond is pretty self-explanatory. You are a hopeless romantic who has a sensitive soul. It is the long-standing epic symbol of love and positivity.
Pros- This shape is making a name for itself throughout the diamond industry and culture. It is a way of saying “I love you,” without saying anything.
Cons- It must be properly shaped, with the proper depths of the pavilions so that the light can be refracted at optimal angles. The heart shape needs to be cut close to perfection.

Round Shape

Over 70% of diamonds that are sold on the market are round diamonds and it is considered the most popular shape. One of the things that have set this early 1900s shape apart from others is that there are normally around 58 facets that allow for a brilliance, unlike other shapes. It is as a shape that is timeless, and it is never out of favor with buyers.
Meaning- It is a simple and classic shape that exudes the faithfulness, empathy, and honesty of the wearer. It is not a mainstream shape, but a vintage look that has been loved by diamond-wearers for nearly 100 years.
Pros- There are two main positive marks for this shape. One is that the shape is always in style and will always maintain its’ popularity. There is no way to say that one of these diamonds isn’t beautiful. They are also known to be the shape that optimizes the brilliance better than any other shape.
Cons- If you are someone who is looking for creativity and individuality, this is not the edgy shape you are looking for. It is classic and not against the grain.

Emerald Shape

The emerald is the inspiration for this shape and, thus, how it got its’ name. The sparkle of the emerald shape gives off an effect referred to as a “hall-of-mirrors”. It shows off both the dark and light planes of the shape. This is achieved by the large table and the step cuts of the pavilion. It is described as having a natural art-deco look that suits those who love that phase in art and design.
Meaning- It is brilliant, dramatic, and vintage. It is a straight-forward shape that gives off the confidence equivalent to that of the wearer.
Pros- Angelina Jolie and Beyonce are known to wear emerald-shaped diamonds. Enough said right? It is a large cut. Even if the stone is equal in carats to a round cut, it is still a bigger stone. The best part that it is up to 25% cheaper than the brilliant round shape.
Cons- Shop carefully for your emerald-shaped diamond because it has fewer facets than other shapes. This allows for inclusions and flaws to be more easily seen in this shape.

Before you decide on the shape, shop around and figure out which shape speaks to you. The shape of your diamond should be a reflection of you. Also, you should make yourself familiar with the issues that all of the various shapes are prone to so that you know what you don’t want, just as much as you know what you want. Diamonds are something to be patient about so that you can find the right shape, cut, and price.
Lastly, make sure that you are shopping with a dealer who knows their stuff. They should be able to answer all of your questions and are willing to be patient with you. Don’t feel like you have to settle for a stone you don’t want because you are being pressured. If you are being pressured to buy, you are shopping with the wrong diamond specialist.