By Dirk Rendel
The round shape is, as you’ve guessed, the most popular and traditional shape but by no means does that mean that it is the only one. Essentially, a round cut is the standard shape for a diamond and all the other shapes are known as “fancy shapes.” But it is impossible to talk about the round shape without mentioning its soul-mate, the brilliant cut.
For years now, the most popular diamond shape and cut is the “Round Brilliant.” This shape caught on centuries ago when it was revealed that this type of cut made the diamond sparkle far more than any other style. It took years for cutting technology to catch up enough to do the cut justice but today we’re treated to the ultimate representation of the Round Brilliant.
If you look at the top of a Round Brilliant, it looks like a sparkling, shiny snowflake was inlaid on the surface. The side view shows the typical diamond shape we’ve come to know and love: A sort of three dimensional inverted triangle, tapering down to a point. And the popularity of this cut is most apparent in its market domination: More than half of diamonds sold are Round Brilliants, and the trademark of the cut, aside from its incredible sparkle factor, is the 57 facet cut that creates the brilliant effect.
But it isn’t just the Round Brilliant that captures hearts across the world. While it sounds like good advice to tell you that you should know exactly what shape you want before you begin shopping, diamond buying is a bit different than other shopping experiences. You might actually prefer to be open minded and consider a few different cuts. Let’s take a closer look at another popular cut:
The Princess Cut
The Princess cut is, in some circles, second only to the round as the most popular cut. And for good reason, too. The cut is more unique than the Round yet it still retains the same level of brilliance. In fact, it actually equals the round brilliant in terms of facets, meaning that it sparkles almost the same. It is little wonder, then, that this is one of the top choices for engagement rings. After all, doesn’t every woman want to be a princess? We’ve all seen Disney movies!
A Princess cut, when you look from the top, is basically square with nice, pointed corners. Sometimes it veers into a rectangular shape depending on the stone from which it was cut. If you’re considering bringing a Princess home with you, you should spend some time determining which shape you want to stick with. A good rule of thumb is to look at the ratio of the diamond. If you want a square Princess, stick within a length-to-width ratio of 1 to 1.1 and no higher. Once you get higher than this it becomes very rectangular very quickly. And, naturally, if you want to go with a rectangle, don’t veer below a 1.1 ratio.
The Princess is picky indeed, and she requires a four prong setting. But this is great, actually, because it is the four corners on the stone that are the most susceptible to being chipped. And furthermore, this is one of the few posh cuts that you can get smaller carat solitaires. So you can get a smaller stone with a higher grade and still make it look better than a two carat heart shaped stone of middling quality.