Shopping for a new piece of diamond jewelry? Before you head to your favorite jewelry boutique, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for. Brush up on your diamond know-how, with this basic guide to diamond shapes, diamond shapes 101
What Do We Mean by ‘Diamond Shape’?
While it’s a nice visual, diamonds don’t exactly come from the ground looking all sparkly and gorgeous. Rough diamonds undergo a lot of work to get them into shape for selling. Diamonds must be cut, polished and expertly shaped so that they not only meet the demands of the current market, but also so that they’ll fetch the highest dollar amount based on their shape and size.
While the average jewelry shopper might use the terms “diamond shape” and “diamond cut” interchangeably, though, there’s actually a difference between the two terms. According to the International Gem Society, a diamond shape is a diamond’s general outline. A diamond’s shape usually comes down to one of four categories — round, square, rectangle or oval — though diamonds can also be cut into more specific shapes, such as princess, emerald, asscher, cushion, marquise, radiant, pear or heart (among others).
Cut, on the other hand, refers to how the diamond has been cut to better reflect the light and enhance its appearance. Diamond cut is graded by the International Gem Society on a scale of poor to excellent (you always want to go for excellent when you shop). Diamonds are typically cut in one of three styles: brilliant, step or mixed.
So, what do you need to know about the different diamond shapes? Here’s what each “shape” means.
Round diamonds are just what they sound like. They’re also the most popular diamond shape on the market, particularly round brilliant diamonds. A round-shaped, brilliant-cut diamond with an excellent rating from the International Gem Society will be a particularly flashy, sparkly, clear diamond, where the imperfections are well-hidden. Round diamonds are often used for engagement rings.
Oval diamonds are preferred for their elongated shape. For those with shorter or thicker fingers, this shape can provide a slimming, lengthening effect. Oval diamonds typically have a high clarity, but they can show a little more warmth in terms of color. Oval diamonds are also generally considered a little more unique than a plain, round diamond.
You typically won’t find a diamond advertised as being “rectangle.” Instead, rectangle diamonds are usually further shaped into either emerald cuts or radiant shapes. Much like the oval diamonds, these rectangular shapes can help to provide a lengthening effect. Likewise, because of the two-step cut that’s used for emerald diamonds, the diamond often appears larger on the finger than it actually is. The radiant diamond differs from the emerald shape, due to its brilliant-cut faceting (note that it is possible to purchase both elongated, rectangular radiant diamonds, as well as square radiants, though the elongated radiants are in more demand).
Your most common square-shaped diamond is going to be a princess. Popular for engagement rings, princess-shaped diamonds are designed to look like an inverted pyramid from the side, with sharp corners and a prong setting that helps to protect those sharp corners from damage.
So What About Cuts?
But when shopping for a diamond, you’re not only going to look at the shape. You also need to look at the cut, as that will impact appearance as well. As mentioned, diamonds are usually cut in one of three styles: brilliant, step or mixed.
Brilliant cuts feature triangular or kite-shaped facets leading outward from the stone’s center. Brilliant cuts are typically used for round, princess or oval shapes. If you’re looking for a particularly sparkly diamond, a brilliant cut is what you need to go for.
Step cuts, meanwhile, use parallel facets on each side of the diamond to create a flat surface on top and the illusion of steps leading off from each side. This creates a sleek, almost reflective look, but you won’t get the same shine and glimmer that you will from a brilliant-cut diamond. Step cuts are popular for emerald-shaped diamonds, as well as asschers and baguettes.
Mixed cutting combines brilliant cuts and step cuts for a sparkly, yet elongated or squared style. Radiant diamonds are typically mixed cut
How Does the International Gem Society
Grade Diamond Cut?
So how does the International Gem Society decide whether a diamond cut is poor or excellent? It all comes down to reflection. If a diamond is cut well, it will reflect a large amount of light, creating an overall more brilliant effect. If the diamond is cut poorly, it will reflect less light and may even have dark patches. Ideally, a diamond will reflect nearly 100% of the light which passes through it, for the highest possible shine, resulting in an excellent rating from the International Gem Society.
However, a few other factors can impact how well the diamond reflects right. If a diamond is polished, it will naturally reflect more light from each facet. Additionally, if the diamond’s facets are symmetrical, they’ll likewise reflect more light.
If a diamond is found to have a high-quality cut, to be polished and to be symmetrical, it will receive a Triple Excellent, or Triple X, rating from the International Gem Society. Demand for these types of diamonds is high, but they’re also widely available.
Where Do You Find All This Information?
We know — it’s a lot of new information to take in if you’re not already familiar with this terminology. But where do you find all of this info if you have your eye on a particular diamond or piece of diamond jewelry?
Typically, the seller should be able to provide you with all of the above information, as well as a diamond grading report, which will give you verified information from a trusted third-party source.
However, be careful. Untrustworthy sellers will use terminology unlike that mentioned above, and may even make up their own terms to describe their diamonds and pull the wool over the eyes of gullible shoppers. As such, documentation — no matter how authentic it may look — is never a replacement for having a trusted gemologist on your side — and that’s where Yamron can help.
Get Peace of Mind While Shopping
for Your Next Piece
Whether you’re just casually browsing or actively looking for a particular type of diamond jewelry to add to your collection, the experienced gemologists and jewelers at Yamron can help. Our team can assist you in purchasing the perfect diamond for your collection, no matter the shape or cut your heart desires. They can likewise guide you through the diamond shopping process, so that you’re more familiar with what to look for in a potential diamond purchase, as well as the red flags to spot when it comes to unscrupulous sellers.
Ready to see what spectacular diamonds are waiting for you? You can find Yamron Jewelers located at 5555 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 11, in Naples, Florida. You can also give us a call at 239-592-7707 or an email at [email protected]. We can’t wait to hear from you!