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What is the Best Diamond Cut? — A Guide to Diamond Shapes

When most people ask what is the best diamond cut, what they’re usually asking is, which is the best diamond shape? 

First things first, there’s no such thing as the best diamond cut. While cut is one of the four C’s of diamond quality, and cut grades are assigned by the GIA, that’s a whole other topic that’s worth getting into when you’re ready. What we’re talking about here is the shape of the diamond — round, oval, heart, etc. When most people ask what is the best diamond cut, what they’re usually asking is, which is the best diamond shape? 

The word “best” is definitive, but the appeal of each diamond shape is highly subjective. But, personal taste aside, each diamond shape is uniquely good for certain things, so we’re going to focus on the more objective considerations here.

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR SPARKLE

Winner: The Round Brilliant

This one’s a no-brainer. The round brilliant has reigned supreme for nearly a century for one very important reason – it’s the most sparkly. Think the round brilliant is basic? Think again. The shape has been engineered, fine-tuned, and perfected to return as much light as possible. They are simply the best we humans have done so far at creating a sparkly diamond. In fact, their sparkle is so predictable, it’s been possible for the GIA to grade their cut on a purely objective basis. Rounds are the only shape that receives a cut grade from the GIA, because the process is more scientific than the appeal of other shapes. So if you’re looking for sparkle above all else, the round brilliant is the diamond for you. When it comes to the cut grade of a round brilliant, excellent or ideal cut options will maximize your scintillation. Also read our guide on how to choose a diamond that sparkles. 

Celebs wearing a round brilliant

Emily Blunt is one of many celebrities wearing an oh-so-sparkly round brilliant as her engagement ring, set in platinum, and flanked with baguettes.

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Get the look with these ultra-sparkly styles that you can try at home for free.

A round brilliant diamond set in a platinum bezel setting. The best diamond shape for sparkle.
Parker No. 7
A round diamond set in a platinum halo
Harper No. 6 Pavé
A round solitaire diamond set on a platinum band.
Harper No. 1
A three stone diamond featuring a round brilliant center stone flanked by two round brilliants and set in yellow gold
Harper No. 5 Pavé

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR VALUE

Winner: The Oval Cut

Ovals are nearly as sparkly as a round brilliant, but they’ve got a more modern, elongated shape that many prefer. They’re also much more shallow than rounds. This means all that carat weight tends to spread out more, contributing to a larger look. Ovals appear almost 1.5x the size of the equivalent round brilliant, which means you can get a bigger look without going up in carat weight. Carat for cart, ovals are also less expensive than rounds. Sound too good to be true? It can be. Pay attention to the center of the oval and look for the bow tie effect, two dark triangles that are unattractive, and a tell tale sign of a poorly cut oval. 

Celebs wearing an oval cut

While it’s hard to be exact, the first celebrity oval to spark the recent craze might have been Blake Lively’s large light pink oval, seen here on her ring finger.

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Get the look with these sparkly oval styles that you can try at home for free.

An oval diamond set on a platinum band adorned with pave
Harper No. 4
An oval diamond set in a halo setting with a pave band
Harper No.3 Pavé

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR SIZE

The Marquise Cut

Marquises are shallow and narrow. Because of their slender and elongated shape, they look large on the finger. Marquise diamonds punch seriously above their weight class, and look even larger than ovals. These elongated, lip-shaped diamonds appear almost twice the size of a comparable round brilliant. Want to see for yourself? Check out our guide to carat weight

A marquise diamond set east west on a rose gold band in a cathedral setting. The best diamond cut for size.
Mason No. 3

Get this vintage look with these sparkly styles that you can try at home for free.

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR AN ART DECO LOOK

The Asscher Cut

here’s no question that Asscher diamonds have the quintessential art deco look. They surged in popularity during the 1920s often flanked by trapezoids or tapered baguettes for a bold, clean, and geometric look —generally set in white gold. If you or your partner love the art deco look, the Asscher is a sure-fire way to pay homage to the greatest era in jewelry design. They can be a fussy diamond, be sure to read our definitive guide to the Asscher diamond to learn how to pick one that’s right for you.

Celebs wearing an Asscher cut

Celebrities love the Asscher for engagement rings.  Pippa Middleton is just one of a long list of celebs to choose this stunning square cut.

Pippa Middelton wearing an Asscher halo ring. The best diamond cut for art deco lovers.

Get the look with these sparkly styles that you can try at home for free.

An Asscher diamond set on a yellow gold band.
Parker No. 3
An Asscher diamond bezel set on a yellow gold band. The best diamond cut for art deco rings.
Parker No. 1

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR A MODERN LOOK

The Emerald Cut

Emerald diamonds are decidedly modern. Their clean elongated form and thin, vertical facets show bold flashes of light. Eye-catching and clean, this bold and sophisticated cut holds its own in a prong setting, bezel, or three-stone design. Read our definitive guide to the emerald cut to learn how to pick one that’s right for you.

Celebs Wearing an Emerald Cut

Mariah Careys emerald cut engagement ring is now gathering dust in a drawer after her marriage with James Packer was called off. Still, we can admire this $10 million dollar beauty.

CREDIT: SPLASH

Get the look with these sparkly styles that you can try at home for free.

An east west bezel setting in yellow gold featuring an emerald lab grown diamond
Parker No. 6
A north south emerald diamond in a yellow gold bezel setting
Parker No. 5
A north south emerald diamond prong set on a yellow gold band. The best diamond cut for modern settings.
Harper No. 2 Pavé

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR ROMANTICS

The Cushion Cut

Originally designed to be seen and admired by candlelight, the cushion cut is the round brilliant’s softer and more demure cousin. It’s equally sparkle, with gentle sloping corners that give this cut its name. The cushion cut is the second most popular diamond shape for a reason, but not all cushions are cut the same way. This shape is so old that there are a dizzying amount of facet designs to choose from, each with a unique look. Read our guide to the cushion cut diamond to learn how to choose one, or dig into the different kinds of cushion-cut diamonds and how to pick one that’s right for you.

Celebs Wearing Cushion Cuts

Meghan Markle is the most high profile recent celeb to opt for a refined three stone elongated cushion cut.

Meghan Markles three stone ring featuring a cushion cut diamond - the best diamond cut for romantics.
CREDIT: ALAMY STOCK PHOTOS

Get the look with these sparkly styles that you can try at home for free.

A custom cut three stone ring. The best diamond cut for romantics.
Sidney No. 1

THE BEST DIAMOND CUT FOR PEOPLE WHO WEAR GLOVES AT WORK

The Rose Cut

The rose cut is unique in that it lacks a pavilion – the conical underside of the diamond. It looks more like a geodesic dome than a diamond cut. The mostly flat shape makes the rose cut an excellent choice for anyone who needs an extremely low profile setting or wears gloves at work. The rose cut has more shimmer than sparkle and is notable for its dazzling luster.

A low profile yellow gold bezel setting featuring a rose cut diamond. The best diamond cut for low profile rings.
Billie No. 5

READY TO GET STARTED?

Every great ring starts with a great setting, but picking a setting out online is hard — or at least it used to be. At Frank Darling, all our engagement ring settings are available to try at home for free. It’s like the internet, but in real life.

Get started by selecting your favorite four rings. We’ll send you sterling silver size seven replicas set with one carat cubic zirconia stones.

Each try at home kit comes with a pre-paid return label, ring sizer, and The Handbook. A practical guide that contains all the information you’ll need to select a diamond. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.