Round Brilliant Diamonds
Of all diamonds shapes, the most popular by far is the round diamond, representing approximately 75% of all diamonds sold. Due to the mechanics of its shape, the round diamond is generally superior to fancy diamond shapes at the proper reflection of light, maximizing potential brightness. Virtually all round diamonds are brilliant-cut, meaning they have 58 facets (57 when there is no culet). Round diamonds cost more on a per carat basis than fancy shapes for two reasons; the demand for round diamonds is very high, and the yield is relatively low. Because more of the rough stone is lost in the cutting of a round diamond, the cost of each carat retained is higher.
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The Asscher cut is a stepped square cut, often called the “square emerald cut” usually with larger step facets, a higher crown, and a smaller table. This combination often produces more brilliance than the emerald cut. A well cut Asscher will appear to have concentric squares as you look down through the table, the result of proper positioning of the pavilion facets underneath. The Asscher cut has cropped corners; however, because an Asscher is square, the cropped corners give the Asscher cut a somewhat octagonal shape.
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Marquise diamonds are a modified brilliant-cut that have an elongated shape with pointed ends supposedly inspired by the perfectly shaped mouth of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by France’s Louis XIV. It is often used as a solitaire or enhanced by smaller diamonds. Because marquise diamonds are long and narrow, they can also create the illusion of greater size. The marquise diamond has one of the largest crown surface areas of any diamond shape, making it a good choice when trying to maximize the perceived size of a diamond. Like the oval diamond, the marquise’s elongated shape can make the finger of the wearer appear longer and slimmer.
A hybrid cut, combining the best of the oval and the marquise, it is shaped most like a sparkling teardrop. It also belongs to that category of diamond whose design most complements a hand with small or average-length fingers. The Pear shape diamond is shaped in a tear drop shape and has fairly good proportions to refract light well.
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Princess cut diamonds are perhaps the most popular of the fancy shaped diamonds. Princess cut diamonds are relatively new with a shape that is oblong, usually square or almost square, but with a modified brilliant cut arrangement of facets instead of a step cut. Most square or rectangular cuts just don’t live up to the round brilliant for sparkle, but princess cut diamonds are designed for getting maximum brilliance from a square cut.
Emerald cut diamonds have a rectangular shape with cut corners. It is known as a “step cut” because its broad, flat planes resemble steps on a staircase. Emerald-cut diamonds typically have 50 to 58 facets. Inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in emerald cut diamonds, so pay close attention to clarity and color grading.
The cushion cut diamond is an antique style of cut. Sometimes referred to as a “pillow cut”, the cushion cut has an open culet (the bottom of the diamond) and a rectangular to square shape with rounded corners. The beauty of a cushion cut is the depth of the diamond. In the past most quality cushion cut diamonds were found only on the antique and estate market, today cutters are once again cutting these stones.
The Oval Diamond is similar to a round except that it is elliptical in shape. The Oval Diamond usually has 56 facets. Oval diamonds give an even, perfectly symmetrical design popular among women with small hands or short fingers. Oval diamonds have an elongated shape which can make a woman’s finger appear longer.
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Radiant cut diamonds have a square or rectangular cut that combines the elegance of the emerald cut diamond with the brilliance of the round. Radiant cut diamonds have 70 facets to maximize the effect of its color refraction. Radiants look great accented with baguettes or round side stones.
Heart shaped diamonds are basically a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top. The modified brilliant-cut diamond is a unique and unmistakable symbol of love. When choosing a heart, symmetry is a very important characteristic, since it is critical that the two halves of the heart are identical. The cleft should be sharp and distinct, and the wings (the sides as they curve down to the point) should have a very slightly rounded shape.
Trilliant diamonds are a wedge of brittle fire. The exact design can vary depending on a particular diamond’s natural characteristics and the cutter’s personal preferences. It may be a traditional triangular shape with pointed corners or a more rounded triangular shape with 25 facets on the crown, 19 facets on the pavilion, and a polished girdle.
The long, rectangular baguette-cut diamond has octagonal corners. Baguette diamonds have step cuts, which are facets that look like steps rather than corners or triangles. They traditionally have 14 facets, giving the diamond a high level of luster, but less brilliance than the more common round- brilliant cut. Baguette-cut diamonds are typically small and are commonly used as accent stones in diamond rings and other diamond jewelry.