Shapes and Cuts: An Introduction to Buying Diamonds

Buying an engagement ring can be exhausting, with dozens of factors to keep in mind. You’ll consider craftsmanship and brand, carats and price range, and things like ring size and metal. But even with those factors sorted, choosing the center stone can be overwhelming. With a myriad of different shapes and cuts, it may be hard to know what to choose.

You may find yourself lost in technicalities related to each stone, but don’t lose sight of your goal. At the end of the day, your goal is to find a ring that is beautiful on its own, flattering to your significant other, and will best express her own unique style and personality. You’re looking for the best way to express your love to the one you love most deeply.

What are they?

When speaking of diamonds, you may hear the words shape and cut. Though related, they speak to different aspects of the diamond. A diamond’s shape refers to its physical appearance (round, square, oval, etc.), and its cut refers to its ability to reflect light. In this post, we’ll focus in on the pros and cons of the top three most popular shapes of diamonds.

Round Brilliant

The most popular shape of diamond is the round brilliant cut. Exceptionally bright, classy, and timeless, this gem is used for over half of all engagement rings made today. Some sources estimate that to be as high as three fourths of all engagement rings. A round cut diamond has 58 facets for light to sparkle out of, giving it undeniable glamor and beauty. A drawback for some to this shape can be the expense. In creating it, much raw diamond is cut off and wasted. For its carat size, the round diamond may appear smaller than other diamonds in different cuts. While that comes with the territory, don’t let that deter you from choosing this undeniably beautiful stone as the symbol for your love.


For a classic yet elegant stone, choose a princess cut diamond. Each diamond holds its own special allure, but this diamond shape is certain to draw eyes. In the shape of a square or rectangle from above and an inverted pyramid from the side, the princess cut inhabits crisp lines and angles. Created by Betazel Ambar in 1980, this style of diamond enjoyed peak popularity in the decades to follow. Now, the princess cut makes up about 30% of all engagement rings, just following round cut diamonds in popularity. The square shape of the princess cut emphasizes its size, and it does tend to look bigger than other diamonds of the same carat value. If you are considering this diamond shape, know that it requires additional attention, as its sharp corners are vulnerable to chipping. Talk to your local jeweler to find out tips to keep this diamond in perfect condition. The princess cut embodies a bold and feminine style and is sure to make an impression.


The third most popular shape is the cushion cut, valued for its soft, romantic look. Combining the glamor of a square diamond with the softer edges of a round or oval diamond, a cushion cut diamond may be the best of both worlds. This style has been gaining popularity over the years, surpassing many other classic shapes. A drawback of this cut is that it holds less sparkle than many other gems, as less light is reflected up through the facets. That doesn’t make a cushion shaped diamond less beautiful, though. It remains a brilliantly lovely choice for many engagement rings, whether set by itself or surrounded by smaller diamonds.

The round brilliant, princess, and cushion cut gems are only three of many diamond shapes that exist, yet they make up the vast majority of engagement rings being sold today. On their own, they have unique traits that set them apart. Together, they represent the ways that the same stone can appeal to many different tastes and personalities. Knowing more about each shape can inform your choice, and it can help you choose the perfect look for the one you love.

To figure out which type of diamond is the best fit for you, take this quiz.