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A Beginner's Guide to the Types of Diamond Cuts

23 mins read time
A Beginner's Guide to the Types of Diamond Cuts

If you're new to the world of diamonds, you might find yourself lost in the maze of different jewelry terminology. You can undoubtedly appreciate gorgeous diamond jewelry without knowing every diamond cut in the book, but you may want to gain a better understanding of your favorite diamond cuts. Let's look at the diamond cuts throughout the history of jewelry that have endured into modernity. 

What Were the Earliest Popular Cuts?

In the mid-fourteenth century, the point-cut diamond emerged. If you don’t know much about this kind of diamond cut, don't worry. It's one of the most straightforward diamond cuts, appearing like two pyramids stacked bottom-to-bottom. Let’s take a look at some of the other popular early diamond cuts.

Table-Cut Diamonds

Next, in the 15th century, the table-cut ring started to gain popularity. In fact, it was the first widely recognized diamond cut. 

Heart-Cut Diamonds

Soon after the rise of the table-cut diamond, the heart-cut diamond began to circulate. The romantic shape was especially attractive to the wealthy and royals in the seventeenth century. 

Round-Cut Diamonds

This cut features a timeless shape that has been loved by many for centuries. Originating in the 1700s, round-cut diamonds have proved to provide long-lasting beauty for many.

Pear-Cut Diamonds

Another historical diamond cut is the pear-cut diamond which emerged in the fifteenth century. This fancy-cut stone is a remarkable blend of round diamonds and marquise-cut diamonds. The unique parts of a pear-shaped diamond are the head, shoulder, belly, wing, and point. 

This cut was made possible through the polishing wheel that allowed the diamond cutters to cut facets into diamonds precisely. 

This kind of stone is rounded on one end with a point on the other. While its shape sets it apart, its impressive qualities go beyond that. A pear-shaped diamond features unique characteristics that differ from other diamonds. 

Another part of what makes this cut of diamond "fancy" is its faceted nature. Jewelers expertly cut this stone to deliver the most brilliance and sparkle in its facets. There are many parts within a faceted diamond:

  • Culet: The culet is a tiny facet at the base of the pavilion of a finished gem that supports the fragile tip from chipping and abrasion. Some gemstones do not have this facet, making them "closed culet."
  • Crown: This is the top area of a gem located just above the girdle.
  • Girdle: This characteristic describes a slim band that defines the edge of the plane dividing the crown and pavilion.
  • Pavilion: The pavilion is the area of a polished gem below the girdle. The pavilion’s role is to reflect light toward the crown.
  • Table: A table refers to a prominent facet in the center of the crown.

When looking into pear-shaped diamonds, be sure to consider symmetry, its length-to-width ratio, and its table positioning. 

The table is one of the most prominent features of a pear-shaped diamond. An off-center table may cause your diamond to appear lop-sided and unattractive. The best pear-shaped diamonds will feature symmetrical features and a well-centered table. 

Rose-Cut Diamonds

In the sixteenth century, the rose-cut diamond emerged on the scene. Its cut was intentionally designed to match the appearance of a closed rosebud. After the sixteenth century, it became a favorite diamond cut up until the 1800s. 

A rose cut's main distinguishing feature is that it is flat at the bottom and dome-shaped at the top. The subtle beauty of this cut is that the 24 facets provide a gentle illumination rather than the intense light of a current brilliant cut.

Marquise-Cut Diamonds

The marquise diamond not only has a widely-known reputation for being aesthetically pleasing, but it also has a rich history. This diamond's reputation was highly regarded for centuries among royals; then, it made a grand reappearance in the 1960s and 1970s. 

This ring has deep roots in a historical love story. King Louis XV ruled the French royal court for five years and had the nickname "Louis the Beloved.” He had a love for diamonds, rivaled only by his well-known, beautifully decorated wife, Marie Antoinette.

After King Louis XV met Jean Antoinette Poisson, the King was so taken with her that he appointed her to be his primary mistress, granting her a significant position in his court as the Marquise de Pompadour. 

He remarked that she had the most beautiful lips he had ever seen. The marquise cut was created when the king commissioned a royal jeweler to develop a diamond cut that mirrored the shape of her lips.

To put it simply, a marquise diamond is a diamond with two long rounded sides that lead to two points. For reference, a canoe is similar in shape to this cut. The marquise diamond has also been referred to as "the navette cut," which means "little boat." There are many reasons to love this diamond that go beyond what meets the eye. 

One fantastic aspect of the marquise diamond's design is the element of illusion. Brides choose this historied style more and more because it looks like a larger carat size than other diamonds of the same carat weight. The marquise diamond's more prominent appearance makes it an attractive choice for those looking for unique wedding jewelry. It's a style that stuns for a reasonable price. 

Later Popular Diamond Cuts​ 

In the Victorian Era, diamond cutting made incredible progress through the invention of the bruting machine. This machine made more precise and beautiful cuts possible. 

Cushion-Cut Diamonds

Where did the cushion-cut diamond originate? Some experts say this cut is a revival of the historic mine-cut diamond—a shape that enjoyed fame from the 1700s well into the 19th century. 

There are several distinguishing qualities of an old mine cut diamond: a square form, high crown, small table, deep pavilion, and big culet. This cut was one of the most efficient for maintaining a rough diamond's weight within its historical setting. Remarkably, it's an excellent, romantic shape that has stood the test of time.

Asscher-Cut Diamonds

Another famous cut that has withstood the test of time is the Asscher-cut diamond. This style was one of the first patented cuts of diamond in the world. Classic Asscher cut diamonds are square in shape and resemble rectangular emerald cuts. 

Baguette-Cut Diamonds

Next, we'll look at the baguette-cut diamond. This diamond did not become fashionable until 1912 when Cartier reintroduced it to the modern world. Its extended, table-cut, rectangular design was popular during the geometric frenzy of the Art Deco period.

This shape of diamond offers geometric excellence. It has gained historical reverence for its hall-of-mirrors effect, and it is a stand-out choice for those who love nostalgic diamond cuts.

Modern Popular Diamond Cuts

While history inspired several gorgeous diamond cuts, the more recent history of diamond cuts has produced some incredible shapes. Let's look at some of the best diamond cuts of recent times.

Emerald-Cut Diamonds

While point-cut and table-cut diamonds were first to display faceted diamond cuts, the emerald-cut diamond was not far behind. This cut, which provides a stunning hall of mirrors appearance, became popular in the 1940s. 

An emerald-cut diamond is entirely unique in the way it reflects light. It has been called a "hall of mirrors" for the way its cuts produce a light and dark effect throughout the stone. It creates this alternating light and dark pattern through a series of "step cuts," which are straight cuts made parallel to the stone's girdle.

Most diamond cuts result in a fiery, brilliant cut that reflects light vibrantly. By contrast, emerald-cut diamonds are cleaner in their cut than others. What this cut may lack in fire and sparkle, it makes up in elegance and precision. 

You may be wondering how expensive this kind of diamond jewelry can be. Its precise step cutting yields an elegant result that's objectively stunning. You may think this would result in a higher price tag for this kind of diamond. Surprisingly, emerald-cut diamonds are no less affordable than their round-cut counterparts. When you choose a Noémie Emerald Cut Diamond ring, you can be assured that you're receiving the best quality diamond for a fair price. 

How Can I Determine If an Emerald Cut Diamond Is Valuable?

Emerald-cut diamonds have the largest table, making them more susceptible to visible inclusions. Because of this, you may have to be more careful to select an emerald-cut diamond with a high clarity level. Here are a few more things to keep in mind when choosing a high-quality emerald cut diamond:

Shape:  When considering an emerald cut diamond's shape, you may want to pay attention to its length-to-width ratio. This ratio can affect your stone's appearance. It's ultimately up to your preference, but this factor influences the way your diamond looks in its setting. You'll also want to pay attention to a diamond's windowing and extinction. These phenomena occur when a diamond's proportions are off, creating large clear or dark portions within a stone. 

Quality: Another way to ensure your emerald cut diamond is high-quality is by paying attention to its affordability compared to the materials used. A low-quality diamond ring will feature an imperfect stone set in an inferior-quality metal base. When you choose Noémie Diamond Jewelry, you can be confident your VS clarity diamond is set in high-quality 18 karat gold. 

Color: Since an emerald-cut diamond features a table that makes it quite visible, it's vital to ensure your stone has an excellent color grading. The Gemological Institute of America grades diamonds on a scale of D-Z for their color, with D being colorless. A quality emerald cut diamond will be nearly colorless, with a grade of higher than H. Noémie fine jewelry always uses diamonds with an F/G color grading so that you can be confident in the color of your diamond jewelry. 

Princess-Cut Diamonds

What is a princess-cut diamond? For starters, it's a relatively young shape; its debut was in 1981. 

The shape of a princess-cut stone is similar to an upside-down pyramid, and a majority of its weight rests in the pavilion. The pavilion and crown can feature numerous different facets and faceting arrangements to create a variety in scintillation. This silhouette can be tapered or rectangular. 

Ultimately, this cut is ideal for those who enjoy more geometric classic stones. Its symmetry and mesmerizing light and dark patterns create a stunning diamond shape.

Should I Choose Princess-Cut or Cushion-Cut Diamonds?

As it’s so similar to cushion-cut diamonds, many buyers wonder how to choose between these two beautiful options. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Do you enjoy the historic, romantic feel of cushion-cut diamonds, or do you prefer the masterful symmetry found in princess-cut stones? One of their differences at face value lies in their corners. Princess-cut diamonds tend to be sharp, while cushion-cut ones maintain a rounded edge. 

An additional factor to consider is the table. Princess-cut diamonds usually display a more expansive table in comparison to cushion-cut diamonds.

You should know there is no correct decision. Each of these cuts offers outstanding visual excellence, and the one that suits you is whichever you prefer more. Looking at a few examples might help you to confirm your decision. 

Our Favorite Diamond Cuts 

Dozens of diamond cuts have emerged throughout the history of jewelry. So far, we've listed some of the most prominent cuts that have endured the test of time. Do you want to know how you can try out some of the most distinguished, elegant diamond cuts? 

Let's go through our top seven favorite diamond shapes, a refresher on what each cut looks like, and the jewelry you can wear to show them off.

6. Pear Cut 

As we mentioned above, a pear-cut diamond is a hybrid between a round brilliant diamond and a marquise-cut diamond with a curved and pointed end on either side. This cut displays a glimmering 58 facets, making it a cut that displays luxury like almost no other. It's the most brilliant of all the fancy diamond cuts, meaning it's a terrific choice for a center stone.  

Pear-Cut Jewelry: Our Custom Ring Builder gives you the option to select stunning pear-cut diamonds lining an 18-karat eternity band. Customize the carat weight you desire for a beautiful pear-cut diamond ring that's all yours. 

5. Round Cut 

Round cut diamonds are unique in maximizing the proper light reflection. Brides often choose this diamond cut for solitaire engagement rings because of their minimalist charm.

Round-Cut Jewelry: Are you a lover of timeless styles? You can't go wrong with a sleek, luxurious tennis bracelet. Noémie’s Diamond Tennis Bracelet features gorgeous round-cut diamonds lining the entire bracelet for maximum everyday beauty.

4. Oval Cut 

Simply put, an oval-cut diamond is a stretched variation of a round-cut diamond. This cut can display the same number of facets, meaning it can reflect light just as brightly as a round-cut diamond. This sophisticated shape flatters many brides' hands as it elongates the fingers.

Oval-Cut Jewelry: An eternity ring means eternal love. Whether you want to symbolize love for yourself or another person, our Oval-Cut Diamond Eternity Band is a unique way to say, "I love you." Every sparkling diamond is F/G color-grade and VS clarity, so you can be sure your ring is high-quality. 

3. Princess Cut 

Princess-cut diamonds not only boast a beautiful name but a gorgeous shape as well. It's no wonder that brides have enjoyed choosing this style for decades. This cut features a face-up shape, and it combines geometric style with modern elegance. 

Princess-Cut Jewelry: Looking for a classic piece of jewelry to add to your collection? Our Princess-Cut Eternity Band is exquisite on its own or paired with a princess-cut engagement ring. 

2. Marquise Cut 

The marquise-cut diamond holds a rich history in its shape. Its curvature is similar to a boat, which is why it's also called a "navette cut." King Louis XV had this cut fashioned after his mistress's lips because he thought they were the most perfect lips he'd ever seen.

Marquise-Cut Jewelry: This beautiful diamond style is available in our eclectic Multi-Shape Diamond Ring, which features five kinds of diamond cuts in one ring. Try it out in your preferred metal for a piece you can wear to add uniqueness to your look.

1. Baguette Cut 

Baguette-cut diamonds are exceptional in their geometric excellence. This cut boasts a "hall of mirror" effect that makes this diamond shape all the more enchanting. It's a style that's well-loved for its remarkable clarity and sophistication.

Baguette-Cut Jewelry: Lab-grown diamonds are the always-ethical alternative to earth-mined diamonds. Our Lab-Grown Baguette-Cut Eternity Band is a perfect piece of jewelry that displays high-quality lab-grown diamonds in a stunning baguette cut. 

The Diamond Settings to Match

There's more to love in the world of diamonds. Once you’ve chosen your favorite diamond cut, it’s time to look into settings for your perfect ring. 

Within our collections, we feature several gorgeous diamond settings for you to enjoy in your jewelry. Let's look at a couple of setting styles we adore.

Pavé Diamonds

You may be saying the word "pavé" out loud to yourself right now if you've never heard it before. When pronouncing it, think of the vowel sounds and intonation in the word "parfait." You'll stress both syllables, with the letter a sounding like it would in the word "car" and the letter e sounding like it would in the word "latte."

Now that you've learned how to pronounce the word, you may be wondering more about what a pavé diamond is. The word is French for pavément, which gives you a picture of the functionality of this kind of diamond setting.

In a pavé diamond band, each diamond is paved into the metal band all the way around the ring. It creates an extra-luxurious feel to any ring, which is one reason why this setting style is so classic.

Channel-Set Diamonds

The channel set features two metal strips that form a channel where sparkling diamonds can be set in a row. One piece that features this beautiful setting is our Emerald Cut Eternity Band, which displays emerald cut lab-grown diamonds lined in a channel setting. 

Bezel-Set Diamonds

This setting is unique in its own right. A bezel setting displays a strip of metal, rather than prongs, that completely encircles a diamond that holds onto it. A lovely example of this setting is our Bezel Diamond Ring, which displays a half-carat of beautiful white diamonds that are bezel-set with hand-etched detailing. 

Why Noémie Diamonds Are a Cut Above the Rest

When it comes to quality, we don't compromise. At Noémie jewelry, we're proud to offer you fine handcrafted jewelry that will see you through all life's delightful moments. 

Part of our journey includes creating a jewelry experience for you that removes the middlemen from the buying process. We design, source, create, and sell our jewelry to you directly. This intention allows us to offer you the best quality diamonds at the most affordable price. 

Affordable in no way means sub-par. We're equally committed to high-quality materials. For that reason, we use reclaimed 18-karat rose, yellow, white gold, and platinum. You can also trust that your Noémie diamonds are all conflict-free, so your conscience is free to celebrate your beautiful new diamond jewelry.

All of these factors lead to a singular point: your journey deserves the best quality affordable diamond jewelry that you can love throughout your lifetime and pass on to those who follow you. 

In Conclusion 

Now you know there are many different diamond cuts, all of which are unique and beautiful. You can try out any shape that sticks out to you. Perhaps you'll recall that you'd like to try out a pair of baguette-cut earrings that add a geometric flair to your appearance. When you do, remember that Noémie is happy to offer you stunning fine jewelry at the most affordable prices. 

 

Sources:

The Fascinating History of Diamond Cutting | Cape Town Diamond Museum 

Why the Marquise is the Most Romantic Diamond Cut of All | Town and Country

The Ultimate Guide to Marquise Cut Diamonds | Beyond 4Cs

Cushion Cut Diamond: An Old And New Classic | GIA 4Cs

Pear Cut Diamond Buying Guide | Jewelry Shopping Guide

How to Select a Princess Cut Diamond | GIA 4Cs

Color D-to-Z | GIA 4Cs 

The Complete Emerald Cut Diamonds Guide (With Insider Tips) | Beyond 4Cs

An Introduction to Fancy Gem Cuts | Gem Society