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Selecting a Diamond Shape

Selecting a diamond for an engagement ring is an important decision, especially with so many choices available. You want to pick the ideal diamond, one that will bring overwhelming joy and excitement to your future spouse. When making this decision, there are several things to consider - including the diamond shape.

The diamond shape refers to the external figure or outline of a diamond, while diamond cuts of a polished diamond refers to the proportions of a diamond and how well it reflects light.

A Little History

When a diamond is formed in nature, it  looks like a pyramid on top of another upside-down pyramid. The outline of the crystal is actually square. The original cut diamonds were rounded squares, which were known as, “Old Mine Cut” diamonds. They were deeper and taller than today’s diamonds and usually not well shaped. 

Diamonds cut hundreds of years ago, were cut in the shape of the natural form of the rough diamond crystal, as it came out of the ground. So, if the shape of the crystal was oval, then the finished diamond was also oval. The shape of diamonds that were cut long ago, were cut to preserve as much of the diamond’s weight as possible.

Originally diamonds were "cleaved" - a controlled break using special tools. Today, diamond saws - a bronze-phosphorus disc charged with olive oil and diamond dust, are used for cutting.

Which Diamond Shape to Consider?

If you are ready to buy a diamond or an engagement ring, National Estate Jewelers of East Brunswick can help. Below are various diamond shapes for you to consider:

Round Brilliant: This classic, ageless diamond shape is the most popular, first introduced in 1750. For those looking for sparkle, it offers the ultimate in fire and brilliance with its 58 facets. Round brilliants are by nature the most scintillating and beautiful shape. All diamonds other than a round brilliant are referred to as a fancy cut or fancy shape. Some of the most popular are listed below.

Princess: The princess was created in 1980 by Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz. It is square in shape, however there are variations - including rectangular. Like the brilliant round, the popular princess comes close to providing similar sparkle, but with less waste in the cutting. 

Oval: Created in the 1960s by Lazare Kaplan (as it appears today), the oval is elliptical in shape (with no pointed edges), making it more resilient. This timeless, yet modern shape often appears larger in size and can elongate or slenderize a finger. The oval, as well as the marquise and pear shapes may have a bow-tie effect - a shadow running across the width of the stone. In some cases, this can add to the appeal of the stone.

Marquise: The marquise shape dates back to King Louis XIV, seeking to resemble the smile of his mistress - Marquise of Pompadour. This long and narrow shaped stone (similar to a football or elongated eye) offers a large surface area. When worn, it gives the illusion of being larger in size and often makes the finger appear longer and slender. 

Pear: Pear refers to pear shape in one direction or tear drop turned the other way.

Emerald: The emerald shape has old-world charm. It is usually rectangular in shape with beveled corners. The wider shape often makes the stone appear larger and the finger longer and slender. Emeralds have step facets that create a “hallway of mirrors” effect. 

Radiant: This is a beautiful blend between the cushion and princess. It sparkles in brilliance and became popular in the 1980s.

Cushion (Pillow): The cushion was created in the 1830s. It is square with round corners, resembling a pillow, hence its name.

Trillion or Trillant: (triangular and brilliant) The trillion was created in the 1970’s by the Henry Meyer Diamond Company. It can appear larger than other diamonds of similar weight.


Heart: The diamond starts out as a pear with an inclusion that is removed, creating the heart shape. It is an expensive shape due to the cost lost in cutting and the proficiency needed to accurately cut the diamond.

Asscher: The Asscher was first produced in 1902 by diamond cutter, Joseph Asscher of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. It is a brilliant alternative to the emerald, with a squarer shape. 

Selecting a specific diamond shape may have a symbolic meaning, such as the heart shape, which can symbolize love - perfect for Valentine’s Day. There are many interesting facts and references associated with the shape of a diamond. There are also trends created by celebrities or those in the news. Alex Rodriguez selected an emerald shape for Jennifer Lopez and Prince Harry selected a cushion shape for Meghan Markle.

When you come to National Estate Jewelers, tell us your story and about the person you are buying the diamond for. We will take all the factors into consideration - including budget, to find the ideal diamond and setting. We have private rooms and accept reservations to provide the time and expertise our clients deserve. Together, we can help you purchase the perfect diamond shape.

Some clients have inherited an engagement ring and are now looking to change the setting. Others have decided to invest in a larger diamond. Come in for an evaluation and sell your diamonds to us, and we can help you create the next ring of your dreams.

National Estate Jewelers is conveniently located at 212 NJ-18 in East Brunswick, next to the FedEx office. Stop in or call 732-257-GOLD (4653).

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