Since the 15th century, when it was discovered that diamonds could be cut by their own dust, humans have been innovating new shapes, cuts, and techniques to transform these precious earthborn treasures into jewelry. Through the centuries, tastes have changed and evolved but the sentiment remains: diamonds symbolize everlasting love. Although DeBeers is famous for their marketing campaign in the 1940s that effectively made diamonds the default stone of choice for engagement rings, the idea is almost as old as the practice of diamond cutting itself. Although we love breaking the “rules of engagement rings” at Bario Neal, we’re going to keep this post all about diamonds, for simplicity. The world of diamond cuts is vast, so we’ve narrowed it down to our top 11 styles.
Most of these cuts evolved over the centuries with new advances in diamond cutting technology. Whether you’re going for a modern look or want to learn more about the antique cuts that started it all, we recommend you consider the following factors before diving head first into the deep end:
Size - The size of your engagement ring is going to depend mainly on your budget and aesthetic tastes. Some cuts appear larger than others of the same size. A small finger may not look balanced with a huge diamond, or you may work with your hands a lot and want a more low profile option. Read up on the factors that go into diamond grading and pricing by learning about the 4C’s. Your setting choice can also make a diamond appear larger or smaller, like the .50ct round stone in this Custom Bezel Set Diamond Solitaire Ring vs the same sized diamond set with a halo in Senna Diamond Halo Ring with Tomato Red Enamel.
Sparkle - How much sparkle you’ll have in your ring will depend on the cut and setting that you choose. Some settings let more light pass through a diamond than others. A round cut diamond is a classic choice and offers plenty of sparkle, while an emerald cut (aka step cut) is going to show off the color and clarity of your stone with a bit less glitter. Read up on the different cuts to make sure you’re choosing the perfect one for you.
Shape - Just like size, shape is going to depend on what you like and what looks good on your hand. A long, thin stone set vertically will elongate the finger and compliment a number of side stone shapes for a more complex look. Some shapes are more affordable than others, so if you’re working with a tight budget or just want something different, you may want to take a closer look at fancy cut diamonds. Mixing different cuts and shapes is a creative way to add character to a ring, like in this Custom Diamond Cluster Band or Custom Cushion Cut Diamond Cluster Ring.
With all this in mind, let’s review our top 11 cuts and why we love each and every one:
1. Round - There’s a reason why round cut diamonds are the default. Officially known as “round brilliant,” a shape with no sides symbolizes endless love and commitment. It’s the sparkliest of all the cuts and will never go out of style. We love a good round cut in both a solitaire and cluster ring, check out our signature solitaire Lash Diamond Ring 1.0ct and Burst Cluster Diamond Ring .90cts. It is worth noting that, due to their popularity, round cuts are usually the most pricey of all the different cuts.
2. Oval - An oval is an elongated round shape and a great choice for the customer who cares about size, as ovals tend to look bigger per carat than other shapes. With almost as much brilliance as their round counterparts, oval diamonds look fantastic set both vertically and horizontally. An oval wears a halo well too, as seen on our Dasha Diamond Oval Halo Ring 1.0ct and this elegant Custom Champagne Diamond Halo Ring.
3. Emerald - The emerald cut gets its name from, you guessed it, emeralds! This lush, green gemstone looks particularly dreamy when cut in this style. Instead of the brilliance from faceting, an emerald cut diamond will have a “hall of mirrors” effect. This also means that an emerald cut will show imperfections and inclusions more easily, so make sure you’re brushing up on your diamond knowledge. The Ray Diamond Emerald Cut Ring and Myrtle Diamond Emerald Cut Ring both compliment this classic shape with unique, vintage style settings.
4. Radiant - A radiant cut is a perfect compromise for the customer who may love the look of a rectangular stone, but wants more sparkle than an emerald cut can provide. Radiants are one of the sparklier cuts and hide their imperfections and their cut corners mean they don’t have any pointy bits to get snagged on clothing. This Custom Bezel Set 1.71ct Radiant Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring is a favorite custom design of ours while the Avens Diamond Radiant Ring 2.0ct is a classic setting and orientation for this cut.
5. Marquise - The marquise is also known as a “navette” (“little boat” in French) and we love its elongated silhouette. This sharp stone lends itself well to creative clusters or standout solitaires, like this Custom Marquise Cut Diamond Cluster Ring or our beloved bezel set Nikko Diamond Marquise Ring .50ct.
6. Pear - A pear cut diamond, also known as drop cut, is a hybrid of an oval and a marquise. This versatile, unique stone wears its carat weight well and is another shape that we love to set in all orientations. The Nikko Diamond Pear Ring is a playful East/West setting and the Lash Diamond Pear Ring is set in our signature half-bezel half-prong. Pears are also an excellent cut for cluster rings, as seen in our Sway Cluster Diamond Ring.
7. Cushion - Named for its resemblance to a pillow, a cushion cut diamond is a refined evolution of the classic old mine cut. Cushions can look similar to radiant cuts but have an extra row of facets to achieve a “crushed ice” look. We love cushions because of their soft edges and vintage feel. Cushion cuts look sweet in any size, from the modest Avens Asymmetrical Diamond Cushion Ring .50ct to the sized up Avens Asymmetrical Diamond Cushion with Yellow Sapphire Ombré Ring 1.0ct.
8. Princess - Lovers of symmetry will be drawn to this four cornered sparkler. Another popular, modern cut, a princess diamond looks square from the top and inverted pyramids from the bottom. This is a pointy cut, so make sure that your ring’s setting protects those delicate corners if you decide on this one. Our Avens Diamond Princess Ring 1.0ct and this Custom Diamond, Apricot Sapphire, and Emerald Cluster Ring show just how versatile this shape is.
9. Triangle/Trillion - A trillion, or triangular shaped diamond, is one of the rarer cuts. We love them when paired with a pear in our collection rings, the Lash Pear Trillion Diamond Ring and the burnish set Pear Trillion Ring. We sourced an antique trillion cut diamond for this lovely Custom Trillion Cut Diamond and Emerald Cluster Ring and gave the delicate points a protective setting.
10. Rose Cut - Rose cut diamonds come in all shapes and sizes, but a round rose cut white diamond is an excellent choice for the spouse-to-be who likes a low profile ring that still provides plenty of sparkle and charm. Flat on the bottom and domed on the top, rose cuts are the first faceted diamonds and were hand cut to glitter at their best in candlelight. BN’s Radial Cluster Rose Cut Diamond Ring and Sol Rose Cut Diamond Ring pay homage to an era when all diamonds were cut by hand.
11. Raw/Rough - We’ve saved the least obvious cut for last; uncut raw diamonds! These funky, unique, unaltered stones are the perfect engagement ring for the free spirit who is more excited by the distinct character of a raw diamond over a traditional cut and polished stone. Raw diamonds also have a lower environmental impact than their cut and polished counterparts. Our Lash Raw Diamond Ring .75ct and Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond with Champagne Ombré Ring .75ct feature totally one-of-a-kind raw diamonds in the naturally octahedron shape. Raw Diamonds come in fancy shapes too, like the triangular stone (aka macle) in this Custom Macle Diamond Solitaire Ring.
Whether you’re shopping for the perfect ring or have a custom design that you can’t wait to bring to life - when in doubt, consult the experts! Schedule an appointment with us virtually or in person at our Philadelphia or Brooklyn showroom. Check out the engagement ring section of our website where you can filter our collection pieces by cut, gemstone type, and carat weight. If you have your heart set on a specific cut, our team will do our best to source exactly what you’re looking for while adhering to our strict code of ethics.