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6 Reasons Not to Choose a Fancy Shape Diamond

By Stephanie Dore

Ok, darling, a fancy shape diamond is so in right now, and we don’t hate it. But what we do hate is to see you choosing a diamond shape for trend instead of because it’s right for you. So we figured we’d fill you in on, well, what not to wear when it comes to choosing a fancy shape diamond. Which, in case you didn’t know, is any shape other than a round diamond. 

oval diamond three stone fancy shaped diamond ring
Pears, ovals, emeralds…. the list goes on! Fancy shape diamonds are certainly not going anywhere, but your shopping considerations may be very different than they would be for say, a classic round brilliant.

They Can’t Cut It

First of all, the biggest warning sign for fancy shaped diamonds is that they don’t come with cut grades. Which we’ve been telling you all along is the most important of the 4Cs. Why? Because cut determines just how well your diamond will sparkle. You know, bling it on and all. But only round diamonds have been studied and perfected enough for GIA (and every other lab out there) to give them an official cut grading system. 

We know, all those other shapes appear to have cut grades listed online. But you’ll see, upon closer inspection, that they don’t appear on the diamond’s grading certificates. See, when retailers list diamonds, they need to have something to help you narrow your search, so they assign a relative cut “grade” to all the shapes, which is really just based on the diamond’s overall proportions (like depth and table percentages). This isn’t lying. It’s just confusing. You can definitely still use these factors to narrow your search, and most labs and retailers have very similar parameters for qualifying well cut fancy shape stones. So, now you know. Onward.

They Fancy Now

Ok, so yes, all the diamonds we’re talking about today are technically fancy shapes, but ovals, pears, and marquises are really dressed to the nines. That’s right, we’re talking bow ties all day every day. What is a diamond bow tie? Well, darling, it’s actually you! We’re not even kidding. Diamonds are cut to refract light, meaning light goes in, hits those pretty little facets, and bounces back out as sparkle. Due to the angles that these shapes are cut with, when your cute lil head is looking at the stone, your head is also blocking light from going in and bouncing back. Which means you’re getting a reflection of your own shadow instead of that bling bling. This is why the bow tie can seem to come and go depending on how the diamond is held and moved.

It literally will appear as a bow-tie shaped dark area horizontally across the center of the diamond. Do all oval, pear, and marquise diamonds have bow ties? Nope. But a lot of them do. They can vary in how obvious they are and diamond cutters are always working on how to improve this. But unfortunately the only way to tell if they’ve got one is to look for it. Thankfully many diamonds come with video and our diamond experts are happy to help you determine which stone fits your needs the best.

2ct oval two tone solitaire 4 prong engagement ring
The list of considerations when shopping for an oval is long, so make sure to do your research before committing!
platinum radiant cut clutch half bezel ring on hand
Radiant cuts may not face up as big as some of their counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get plenty of finger coverage!

Fancy Shape Diamonds Go Deep

What’s great about a radiant cut diamond is they’re super affordable. What’s not so great is that all that carat weight you’re dropping dollars for is lost in the belly of the stone. See, radiant cut diamonds are cut deep, with less visual spread. So they face up looking small for their carat weight. But, like we said, they’re cheaper, so you can go a bit bigger to get the size you want to see without losing your shirt.

The other bummer part of radiant cuts, though, is that they make up such a small percentage of the diamond market that it’s tough to find a truly gorgeous, well-cut radiant diamond. This is where our Diamond Concierge comes to the rescue. Our experts are here to lend a helping hand sourcing you the most beautiful diamond for your budget!

The Cushion Crush

They don’t call cushion cut diamonds “crushed ice” for no reason, baby. These sparklers are in a league of their own when it comes to being daringly different. So different, in fact, that no two cushion cut diamonds will ever look alike. Which makes them incredibly hard to shop for. Sure, they’re all soft curves and versatility, but cushion cuts come with so many faceting variations it’s hard to know where to start. 

And one of those major variations? Yep, the crushed ice effect. This is when a cushion’s brilliant pavilion facets have been cut into even smaller facets, breaking up the strong, distinct pattern into a gazillion little sparkles. It gives the effect of “crushed ice” and many people are super into this. But some aren’t, as it gives a more muddled effect instead of clear, individual facets. If you look at a brilliant cushion vs. a modified (crushed ice) cushion, you’ll see what we’re talking about. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s something to be aware of so you can choose which look you prefer.

2 ct cushion solitaire ring square band
Cushion diamonds have so many variables (length, refraction style, etc), so it’s important to shop based on the look vs. specs on paper!
emerald bezel 5 stone with traps and bullets
Cons aside, there are some irreplaceable pros of step cut diamonds, like their unbeatable clean lines and symmetry.

Fancy Shape Diamonds Let it All Hang Out

When it comes to showing off their stuff (and not necessarily in a good way), emerald and Asscher cuts take it to the max. These are the two major step cut diamonds. What’s a step cut? Well, instead of a brilliant faceting pattern, which is kind of like spokes of wheel radiating outward from a centerpoint, step cut facets are concentric squares or rectangles that appear to sort of stack inside each other. They’re super Art Deco in style, but their elongated, open nature means step cut diamonds basically have big ol’ windows into their guts. 

And what’s inside a diamond? Well, clarity characteristics, my dear. Clarity. That’s right, step cut facets show off every little thing inside that diamond, instead of disguising it like brilliant facets tend to. This means that if you don’t want to see anything in your stone, you’ll need to pay for a higher diamond clarity grade. Trust us, though, it’s 100% worth the cost to have an eye-clean diamond if you just have to have one of these shapes.

They Make Too Many Points

Look, darling, diamonds are super hard. But they’re not indestructible. Even a little ding in the wrong direction can mean your diamond is done for. Now, we’re not trying to scare you, but one of those wrong directions is everywhere you look when you’re looking at a princess cut diamond. Its points. And the princess cut has more of ‘em than any other shape out there. With four very sharp corners (instead of cut or clipped corners like an Asscher or radiant cut has), a princess cut literally screams “danger”. 

Corners or points are the most delicate part of a diamond, in any shape, and for obvious reasons they have a tendency to be the first place a diamond takes a hit or snags on the nearest sweater. If you’re shopping for princess cuts, make sure you look at super supportive settings that really cover those points with a solid prong, v-prong, or even a bezel! We LOVE a bezel. And no doubt, the princess cut diamond ring will look perfect with your beautiful wedding dress, however you set it. When it comes to princesses, it’s all about protection.

princess cut claw prong solitaire with cathedral shoulders platinum engagement ring
The signature square of the princess cut is not for everyone, but there is something uniquely satisfying about those perfect points.

Still Here?

Look, if all those reasons haven’t convinced you to steer clear of fancy shaped diamonds, then by all means, check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds and don’t forget to zoom out (because size can be deceiving), or book a virtual or offline appointment at our New York salon to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person. 

If you find one you like, make sure to scoop it up, because in all likelihood, you won’t find one similar again. Not finding what you want? Email us with what you’re looking for at We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.

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