The Four "C"s: 5 Popular Diamond Cuts

So, in another post we talked about the four ‘c’s of diamond buying: carat, cut, color, and clarity. In this post, let’s focus more on cut. For diamonds, cut refers both to the shape of the stone and to a set of measurements and percentages that determine how close a particular diamond is to the ideal that has been established over centuries of lapidary innovation. (Lapidary refers to the art of cutting and polishing gemstones.)

loose round diamonds and round diamond engagement ring
loose round diamonds and round diamond engagement ring

The round brilliant cut has reigned supreme as the most popular diamond cut practically since its creation by gemologist Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. With 58 total facets, it is quite simply the best way to maximize the brilliance and fire of a diamond. And there are just so many options in setting a round diamond. Its symmetrical curves allow for the widest variety of options. And its popularity helps keep prices competitive and selection wide.

loose princess diamonds and princess cut engagement ring
loose princess diamonds and princess cut engagement ring

Next most popular is the princess cut. A square diamond with facets that are shaped similarly to the ones on a round brilliant, it still has a lot of sparkle to offer. The crisp lines and sharp corners are also favorable for more modern and contemporary styles. They tend to be priced very comparably to similarly graded round diamonds.

loose emerald cut diamonds and emerald cut engagement ring
loose emerald cut diamonds and emerald cut engagement ring

A very different cut that fluctuates in popularity is the emerald cut. This is called a step cut, as opposed to a brilliant, because its facets are rectangular. When selecting this regal cut, be aware that it will show color and inclusions more visibly than a brilliant cut. This also makes it an excellent cut to highlight a very high-quality stone, though that will of course come with a hefty price tag.

loose oval diamonds and oval cut engagement ring
loose oval diamonds and oval cut engagement ring

The oval diamond is a good choice for those who like the curves of the round yet want something a little different than the typical engagement ring. Look for a flattering ratio of width to height and beware of the potential for a “bow tie effect.” This is a dark area shaped like a bow tie that can be visible in the middle of an oval diamond if it is not cut well. Oval diamonds have the dual benefit of looking larger than rounds for their carat size, and being slightly lower in price per carat. This makes it a good choice for the bargain shopper as well.

loose cushion cut diamonds and cushion cut engagement ring
loose cushion cut diamonds and cushion cut engagement ring

Recently popular again is the cushion cut. Accompanied by a surge in vintage designs, whether true antiques or new pieces made in that fashion, the cushion cut has an old world charm. It is identified by its rounded corners and can be found in square or rectangular varieties. Keep in mind that the cushion tends to have a heavy pavilion, which is the bottom half of the diamond. This makes the cushion appear a bit smaller than a round diamond of the same carat weight. However, since cushion cuts also tend to be less expensive than rounds per carat, you can get a bigger diamond for your money.

pear and asscher engagement rings
pear and asscher engagement rings

Of course, there are many more options out there, and I love a good challenge to design that perfect setting. Shop my collection via the button below or contact me for a free consultation to help you choose your perfect diamond and engagement ring.

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