The Shape of a Diamond: Exploring Different Forms and Their Appeal

Throughout history, diamonds have been crafted into various shapes, each with its unique charm and appeal. While the term “shape” is often confused with “cut,” it’s important to distinguish between the two. The shape of a diamond refers to its physical form, whereas the cut refers to the precision and quality of the facets that influence its fire, brilliance, and overall beauty.

Historical and Popular Diamond Shapes

The shape of a diamond is a reflection of both the skill and imagination of the craftsman as well as the personal taste and preferences of the buyer. Here are some of the most popular diamond shapes, each offering a distinct look and feel:

1. Round Brilliant

  • Description: The most popular diamond shape, known for its exceptional brilliance and fire.
  • History: Perfected in the early 20th century, the round brilliant cut is designed to maximize light return.
  • Suitability: Ideal for any setting, especially solitaire engagement rings.

2. Princess Cut

  • Description: A square or rectangular shape with pointed corners, offering a modern and sophisticated look.
  • History: Developed in the 1960s, the princess cut combines the brilliance of a round cut with a contemporary shape.
  • Suitability: Popular for engagement rings and earrings.

3. Cushion Cut

  • Description: A square or rectangular shape with rounded corners, known for its vintage charm and excellent fire.
  • History: One of the oldest diamond shapes, dating back to the 18th century.
  • Suitability: Ideal for vintage-inspired settings.

4. Emerald Cut

  • Description: A rectangular shape with step cuts, emphasizing clarity and elegance.
  • History: Originated in the 1500s, originally used for emeralds.
  • Suitability: Best for diamonds with high clarity, often used in sophisticated and classic settings.

5. Oval Cut

  • Description: An elongated shape with similar brilliance to the round cut, offering a larger appearance.
  • History: Gained popularity in the 1960s.
  • Suitability: Great for those seeking a unique yet classic look, especially in engagement rings.

6. Marquise Cut

  • Description: An elongated shape with pointed ends, maximizing carat weight and creating a striking appearance.
  • History: Named after the Marquise de Pompadour in the 18th century.
  • Suitability: Ideal for rings and pendants, giving an illusion of longer, slender fingers.

7. Pear Cut

  • Description: A teardrop shape combining the best features of the round and marquise cuts.
  • History: Dates back to the 1400s.
  • Suitability: Perfect for pendants and earrings, as well as engagement rings.

8. Heart Cut

  • Description: A heart-shaped diamond symbolizing love and romance.
  • History: Seen as early as the 1500s, the heart cut is a true romantic symbol.
  • Suitability: Ideal for sentimental jewelry pieces, such as engagement rings and pendants.

9. Radiant Cut

  • Description: A square or rectangular shape with trimmed corners, combining the elegance of the emerald cut with the brilliance of the round cut.
  • History: Created in the 1970s.
  • Suitability: Versatile for all types of jewelry, offering a unique yet brilliant appearance.

Choosing the Right Shape

The choice of diamond shape is a deeply personal decision, influenced by individual taste and the specific occasion for which the diamond is intended. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a diamond shape:

  • Personal Style: Reflect on your style or the recipient’s style. Classic shapes like the round brilliant and oval may suit traditional tastes, while shapes like the princess or marquise may appeal to those with modern preferences.
  • Setting: Some shapes are better suited for specific settings. For instance, the emerald cut looks stunning in a bezel setting, while the round brilliant is versatile for any setting.
  • Finger Shape and Size: Certain shapes can complement the shape and size of the wearer’s fingers. For example, elongated shapes like oval and marquise can make fingers appear longer and slimmer.
  • Symbolism: Shapes like the heart cut carry specific meanings and may be chosen for their symbolic significance.


The shape of a diamond plays a significant role in its overall appeal and how it reflects the wearer’s personality and style. From the classic round brilliant to the romantic heart cut, each shape offers unique characteristics that cater to different tastes and preferences. By understanding the distinctive features and history of each diamond shape, you can make an informed choice that aligns perfectly with your desires and needs. The ultimate decision rests on your personal preference and the skillful execution by a master craftsman, ensuring that your chosen diamond is a timeless treasure.