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Cuts of Diamonds

June 07, 2022

Cuts of Diamonds

Shopping for a diamond ring can be quite exciting–especially if you’re looking for high-quality diamond engagement rings and spending all day looking at dozens of rings all shining brilliantly in ornate glass cases. Diamonds and gems of every conceivable size, colour, shape, and arrangement are available in the jewellery market. 

Everyone has seen these radiant diamonds in person, on tv, in movies, and in advertisements, but have you ever thought about the work that goes into making not just the whole ring, but the individual diamond itself? In this article, we’ll examine some of the most popular cuts available and explore why particular shapes are chosen, as they often affect the clarity of the diamonds.

Pre-Modern Cuts

Before the invention of precise and fine tools, diamonds were often simply left in their natural state, known as the Octahedral diamond. Diamonds naturally form this shape as a result of crystallisation, appearing similarly to two pyramids attached to each other at their base with eight sides. Not all diamonds are extracted looking like this, but this initial shape spurred the initial interest in diamonds as something ornate to be used in jewellery. 

Octahedral diamonds were simply cut and polished slightly so as to sharpen their edges and make the sides look uniform, which noticeably enhanced the scintillation of the diamond (scintillation is how a diamond shines as it is exposed to light at different angles). Soon after this basic octahedron shape gained popularity, diamond cuts began to take on more complex shapes as the quality of fine tools increased.

We began to see what is known as the rose-cut emerge, as well as various other rounded cuts of diamonds. These were designed to maximise the weight of the diamond, although jewellers had not yet begun to maximise scintillation, and thus the true radiance of the diamond had not yet been realised. 

Modern Cuts

The mid-1600s is when we start to see what we might recognize as modern-cut diamonds today. Techniques using fine tools as well as the polishing of the stones became much more precise, raising the demand for these diamonds by the noble classes. This increased the number of craftsmen who traded secrets and tips on how to maximise the brilliance and scintillation of the stones, eventually creating the first truly brilliant-cut diamond, known as the Old European Cut. This is what might come to mind when you think of the classic cone-shaped base with many facets around the circularised top, creating a vivid scintillation that you may find in some large single diamond engagement rings today. 

Here are the seven most commonly recognized diamond cuts of the modern era:

The Round Cut 

Also known as the Round Brilliant Cut, this diamond is a more modernised take on the Old European Cut. It has the same basic cone shape with many facets carved into its round top. As the saying goes, classics never go out of style, and the round cut certainly demonstrates this by continuing to comprise over 75% of all diamond sales in the world today.

The Princess Cut

First introduced in the 1980’s, this very popular cut has square rather than rounded edges, allowing the diamond to maintain as much weight as possible while maximising the number of facets for its shape. Due to less time spent cutting and polishing to round off the edges, the Princess Cut is typically less costly than the more popular Round Cut.

The Pear Cut

The Pear Cut is easily distinguished when looking at it from above. Its shape is rounded on one side, and pointed on the other, looking somewhat like a pear or teardrop shape. This popular cut of diamond has long been a favourite of brides all around the world.

The Emerald Cut 

While at the height of its popularity during the roaring 1920’s, the Emerald Cut maintains a place on ring fingers today. Owing to its minimalist rectangular shape–although less scintillating than its brilliant cousins–this cut manages to maintain a refined elegance to the diamond while not appearing overly flashy.

The Radiant Cut

The Radiant Cut is the more scintillating cousin of the Emerald Cut. It maintains the rectangular shape while maximising the number of facets so that it sparkles significantly while easily catching the light.

The Oval Cut

The Oval Cut has an oval shape when viewed from above, and maintains the beauty of the Pear Cut while rounding both ends rather than keeping one pointed end.

The Marquis Cut

The Marquis Cut is the opposite of the Oval Cut–when viewed from above, its sides are rounded, whereas both its top and bottom have been cut and polished to a point. Its brilliance will leave many astonished with its beauty.


There is no wrong answer when it comes to choosing a cut for a diamond, as various cuts come in and out of popularity while still always maintaining a classic timelessness to last a lifetime.

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