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a round cut brilliant diamond
By Meghan O'Neal 04/17/2019

Everyone knows that the draw of a diamond is its unwavering sparkle. Even in dim light, a quality diamond should shimmer and shine. However, not many know how this sparkle is accomplished.

The cut of the diamond is the most important factor in achieving the ultimate sparkle. A diamond that’s cut too shallowly, for example, will leak light instead of allowing the light to bounce around and reflect off the facets.

Besides the cut, the shape of the diamond can also contribute to its sparkle. For instance, the radiant cut diamond is shaped to pull off a dazzling sparkle while the emerald cut is meant to showcase the clarity of the diamond.

When trying to decide the type of diamond you want for your body piercing, it’s important to think about the type of cut, the quality of the cut, and the shape of the diamond. Not only is it critical for aesthetics, but it could also mean the difference between a gemstone that’s lifeless and one that offers a brilliant glow that refuses to be ignored.

Buying high-quality jewelry is an investment, and with any investment, it’s important to do your research before pulling out your wallet. Here’s a quick guide to diamond shapes and cuts to help you become an informed buyer.

What’s the difference between the diamond cut and the diamond shape?

Often, the terms cut and shape are incorrectly used interchangeably. Although they sound similar, they are actually quite different concepts.

The shape of the diamond refers to its overall aesthetic. Each diamond shape offers its own unique look, and choosing the right shape for you is simply a matter of deciding your personal preference.

The cut is a little more complicated. It refers to the proportions and symmetry of the multiple facets of the diamond. It is the most important thing to consider for the sparkliness of the diamond. Typically, diamond shapes are paired with certain cuts in order to achieve a specific aesthetic.

The diamond sparkles because of the way the light bounces off of the different facets of the diamond. The cut is important, therefore, because it takes an expert hand to know how to properly align the facets to attain the best sparkle. A good cut relies solely on the expertise of the jeweler.

Here’s a quick guide to diamond cuts and shapes for the diamond beginner.

A quick note on the images: The featured shapes and cuts can be seen on gemstones other than diamonds. The images below don’t all feature diamonds, but they do feature the correct diamond shapes.

What are the diamond shapes?

Although there are many different ways to cut a diamond, there are 8 shapes that show up in the most jewelry styles. Please note that even though many of the shape names include the term “cut,” the shape of the diamond is different than the cut.

Round cut

The round cut diamond is, well, round. The most popular shape by far, the round cut diamond is probably the shape that you picture when you think of a diamond. Round cut diamonds lose more of their carat weight during processing, which is why it tends to be more expensive than other cuts. The round cut diamond is wildly popular in nostril piercings for a diamond nose ring that pops.

Princess cut

The princess cut diamond is shaped like a square. First appearing in 1980, the princess cut exudes a contemporary vibe. When viewed from the side, a princess cut diamond looks more like a pyramid; the triangular shape below combined with the square top offers an intricate sparkle, which might be why it’s a popular cut for engagement rings.

Marquise cut

The marquise cut is shaped a little bit like a football. With almost 60 facets, it can achieve a fantastic sparkle. Marquise cut diamonds are more popular in cocktail rings and vintage-style jewelry. With its unique shape, this cut can add an interesting aesthetic to your body jewelry look.

Cushion cut

The cushion cut gets its name because it looks a little like a pillow. It rounds the corners of a square diamond, softening the look and combining the round cut and princess cut aesthetics. Since the cushion cut saw its popularity prior to the 20th century, this cut is great for those looking for a truly classic style.

Emerald cut

The emerald cut diamond is rectangular in shape, which makes it look larger than other diamond cuts. This cut features a flat top acting like a window to the rest of the diamond. Because of this, the emerald cut is ideal for diamonds of high clarity.

Radiant cut

Similar to the princess cut, a radiant cut diamond is square in shape. Unlike the princess cut, the radiant cut clips the corners, creating a softer square shape. The facets of this diamond type are designed to achieve the most sparkle of any other cut.

Pear-shaped cut

Pear-shaped diamonds look a little like teardrops. In rings, the pointed end is always worn toward the wearer, which helps to make the finger appear more slender. Depending on personal preference, the pear-shaped cut can be wider or more slender. This look is fantastic for cartilage piercings.

Oval cut

This cut is incredibly similar to the round cut. The main difference is its elongated shape. If you love the look of a round cut diamond, but you want something more unique, then you should check out the oval cut.

What are the diamond cuts?

Brilliant cut

The brilliant cut features tons of facets in a cone shape. It’s typically seen in more circular diamond shapes like round and oval cuts. As you may be able to surmise by the name, the brilliant cut is designed to take advantage of the facets for a fantastic sparkle.

Step cut

The step cut is usually seen in diamonds that are square in shape, like the emerald cut. It features a cut that looks like steps. While the brilliant cut seeks to achieve sparkle, the step cut showcases diamond clarity.

Mixed cut

The mixed cut is a combination of the brilliant and step cuts. When cut correctly, the mixed cut brings the dazzle of the brilliant cut with the modern sleek styling of the step cut. Created in the 1960s, the mixed cut presents a more contemporary style. It’s seen in fancier shapes, like the radiant cut.

Knowing the correct vocabulary around diamond shapes and cuts is only one tiny aspect of choosing the right diamond for you, but it’s a great start. After all, the key to good research is knowing what questions you should ask.

Shop diamond body jewelry

Take a look at some of FreshTrends’ diamond body jewelry to see these shapes in action and choose your favorite diamond style.

Meghan O'Neal

2 Replies to “Diamond Cuts and Shapes: A Brief Guide to Diamonds”

Jack Hamilton, 22 Nov 2019

Nice Post!!

Jessica Karam, 25 Nov 2019

Thank you. Hope it was helpful.

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