What is a Diamond/Gemstone Shape?
Well, the term ‘shape’ usually refers to the geometric characteristics of the stone, there are a number of different diamond/gemstone shapes. With diamonds, round cut or brilliant cut tends to be the most popular and traditional. Other popular cuts include princess, oval, cushion, and emerald. Then there are more ‘fancy/unique’ cuts such as pear, heart, and trillion. Each shape has its advantages & disadvantages, from appearance and brilliance to the price you will pay per carat.
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What is shape vs cut?
As you may have noticed I referred to the stone shapes above by cut, not shape. Why? Well, the difference between shape and cut can get confusing as the cut is also used to refer to the shape. The reason for this is simply because each shape has a technical name that has a cut in it, such as ‘round cut’ or ‘pear cut’. But what is cut? The cut of the diamond refers to the facets, symmetry and reflective qualities of the stone, not the actual shape. For instance, a heart-shaped diamond may be cut shallow or deep, dull or brilliant. These factors don’t affect the shape of the diamond – after all, it’s still heart-shaped – but they do affect its cut. The finer the cut of a diamond, the greater the level of brilliance and fire. Lapidary is the technical name for gem/stone cutting, which is when you turn raw crystals into stunning gemstones – a skill that is thousands of years old. It is the art of cutting the gem into a certain shape, to unlock its colour, lustre, and brilliance. Gemstone cutters or Lapidaries generally have two main styles of stone cutting, which are… Faceted, these are gems that are cut with a geometrical shape and have flat polished faces. This is the most commonly used style in jewellery, but it hasn’t always been the case throughout history.
Non-faceted, these are gems that are not geometrically shaped, that have flat polished faces, like cabochons. It is an ancient shaping and polishing technique that is still popular today. In regard to this blog and the different shape stones, I will be referring to Faceted cut stones.
So, let’s get into the different shapes….
Round (brilliant) Cut
This is one of the most common shapes in terms of diamonds, it makes up over two-thirds of diamonds sold. The round shape allows for maximum reflection of light, contributing to its incredible brilliance. It has many pros it provides exceptional brilliance, and a classic/ageless look, which is why it is so popular. Round Brilliant Cut diamonds are stunning choices for engagement rings, necklaces and other fine pieces.
These are traditionally square and are created from the inverted pyramid of the rough diamond stone. They also tend to achieve better brilliance than other similarly shaped diamonds, you can also get rectangular Princess Cuts. A top tip is that princess-cut diamonds need to be set with prongs on all four corners, to avoid any damage to the corner of the stones. One of the major pros is they offer a square outline, but still, maintain nearly the same brilliance as a round diamond.
Emerald cut stones get their name from the technique originally used to cut emeralds. It has a large table surface, which offers abundant reflections through its long, straight lines or ‘steps’. The most prominent cuts are square and rectangular. Due to the magnificently large table, inclusions in emerald cuts might be more noticeable. Emerald cuts are a great choice for anyone who wants to have a larger piece without the big price tag. When designing an emerald cut setting ensure all the corner flat edges are covered by the prong, this will avoid damaging the corners of the stone.
These get their name from having a combination of a square or rectangular shape but with rounded edges, making it look more pillow or cushion-like. A cushion cut stone beams with fire, due to its precise bending and dispersion of light. When designing this setting ensure its set with four claws minimum to ensure it is secure and reduce the likely hood of damaged.
The pear shape gets its name from its rounded sides that narrow into a distinct point. Traditionally the pear shape should have a pointed end, which is worn pointed toward the heart of the wearer. Symmetry is also key to ensuring it shimmers evenly. A Pear-Shaped Diamond makes for an enchanting engagement ring, and will also hide inclusions well. You will need to ensure your pear shape stone has a good size prong covering the point to protect it, and at least two prongs around the back to ensure security.
These are rectangular in shape, with step cutting, long parallel lines and amazing clarity. Making them perfect for eye-catching centrepieces or graceful side stones. As they come available in smaller sizes, they are also perfect as accent stones or sat together to make up an Eternity ring or wedding band. The clearness of baguettes helps ensure the stone has no noticeable inclusions. It is important with baguettes to make sure settings/prongs sit covering each corner to protect them. Baguette’s clarity and appealing symmetry make them classic and timeless.
A really fun fact is that this shape was originally requested by King Louis XIV to mimic the shape of his mistress’ mouth. It has remained one of the most flattering and delightful choices for centuries. It has a narrow body shape with tapered sides, resembling the shape of an elongated eye. Its long shape means that symmetry is so important when selecting a Marquise diamond, you need to ensure the two-pointed ends align almost perfectly with each other. Its elongated shape gives the appearance of a larger stone when compared to other shapes in the same carat. They also shine brightly and are usually noticed for their unique shape. When creating your design ensure the Marquise stone is set with a prong at each point, prevent chipping, and the option of extra prongs on the side of the stone.
As you probably know a heart is a symbol of love, a heart shape stone mimics the shape of a heart to create the ultimate symbol of love within a jewellery piece. A well-cut heart shape stone should be symmetrical, so it appears balanced and full and the point of the diamond should be distinct. In addition to being a sign of romance, the Heart Shaped Diamond requires a premium cut, prolonging and possibly increasing its value over time. As will all previous stones mentioned you need to ensure the prongs cover the point to prevent chipping.
Oval stones are similar to round cuts in the sense of brilliance and fire. It is a great choice for anyone who wishes to wear a unique shape. The elongated silhouette offers a large appearance compared to other shapes of the same carat. Also, its length and round edges make the stone more durable because it carries no pointed edges. A top trick when it comes to settings for larger oval stones as they will require bigger or more claws to keep the stone secure, try a double claw setting to give the illusion of thinner claws.
Trilliant or Trillion stones tend to always make an impression, due to their unique shape. The sharp, unique features create a dashing look, which is maximized by the Trillion’s immense width, because of this Trillions tend to look larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight. They are rich in brilliance and fire, making them a prominent centrepiece of an engagement ring or as complementary side stones. When designing the setting for a Trillion Diamond, like all other stones it is key to ensure the edges are protected with prongs.
* Also, a helpful fact. A diamond’s “fire” refers to the effect produced when white light disperses into rainbow colours when it hits the diamond’s facets.
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