Most Popular Diamond Shapes for Engagement Rings in 2023
9 Minute Read
What's the Difference Between Diamond Shapes and Diamond Cuts?
Before you start shopping, you must familiarize yourself with the terms jewelers commonly use to describe popular diamond shapes. In particular, you need to know the difference between "diamond shape" and "diamond cut." Although they seem similar, these terms refer to very different technical elements.
When jewelers discuss the shape of a diamond, they're referring to the basic outline of the diamond when seen face up. Typical diamond shapes include classic outlines like rounds, squares, hearts, ovals, and so forth.
On the other hand, diamond cut has a far more specific meaning than diamond shape. A diamond cut describes the actual facet arrangement of an individual stone. Ultimately, this arrangement creates the stone's shape and affects its brilliance or "brightness," scintillation or "sparkle," and dispersion or "fire." Practically speaking, a well-cut diamond will shine brightly and sparkle with both black and white and colorful flashes. On the other hand, a poorly cut diamond will appear darkish and without life.
You can learn more about the importance of the diamond cut from the following articles:
Most shoppers will focus on the shape of their diamond rather than the faceting. You have to get a close look at a stone to notice the faceting, but everyone will notice a diamond's shape right away.
Now that we've covered the terminology, let's examine some of the more popular diamond engagement ring trends from 2022.
We begin with the most classic of all diamond shapes for an engagement ring: the round. More specifically, this means the round, brilliant-cut diamond. Year in , year out, the round remains undeniably the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings. In fact, more than half of all engagement rings sold this year feature round diamonds as the primary stone. Our guide to round diamond engagement rings can help you find the best options for every budget. (Do keep in mind, however, that round diamonds generally command higher price-per-carat values than other cuts).
The square-shaped princess cut diamond comes second in popularity.
Although square-shaped diamonds have roots going back centuries, the princess cut itself is a relative newcomer to the engagement ring market. However, the exact number of facets and their arrangement are not standardized. As a result, these diamonds can truly show a unique character.
The popularity of princess cuts stems partly from their flat sides. This makes setting side stones adjacent to the central diamond easy. They also typically cost less than round brilliants of comparable carat and quality, since diamond cutters can retain a higher percentage of the rough diamond crystal when creating a princess.
Rectangular-shaped stones, such as emerald cuts, are another popular option for diamond engagement rings. Unlike rounds and princess-cut squares, emerald cuts showcase step-cut facets. Although emerald cuts show less sparkle than rounds, these stones have a marked elegance all their own.
However, the emerald cut's reduced sparkle will affect how you shop for this stone. Without the complex scintillation of brilliant cuts, you'll get a much better look into a diamond. This means cutters have fewer ways to hide distracting inclusions. As a result, the clarity grade of the stone becomes much more important. Look for "eye-clean" stones. Try to select emerald-cut diamonds with clarity grades of VS2 or higher.
With their grace and sophistication, emerald-cut diamonds have a versatility jewelers love. From geometric Art Deco styles to charming vintage options, minimalist modern mountings, and even forward-thinking futuristic designs, emerald cuts can fit any aesthetic.
The cushion cut falls somewhere between the square-shaped princess cut and the rectangular-shaped emerald cut. First conceived in the 18th century, long before automated cutting techniques, this shape can feature either square or rectangular outlines.
What separates cushions from squares and rectangles are their soft, rounded corners and often slightly sloped sides. Some aficionados associate the forgiving profile of cushion cuts with the shape of a pillow. Thus, you might see them offered as "pillow cuts." Like other brilliant-cut stones, cushions have lots of sparkle. By design, a well-cut cushion will display a diamond's dispersion or "fire" to maximum effect.
Over the centuries, cushion-cut diamonds have seen waves of popularity. Very popular in the 19th century, they fell out of favor for much of the 20th century. Fortunately, cushions have made a roaring comeback in recent years, becoming a popular and highly affordable option for modern engagement rings. Their soft outlines make them perfect center stones for elegant and understated rings. Jewelers can set them into halo mountings or stand-alone solitaire designs.
If you're looking for a cleaner and more linear version of either squares or rectangles, consider Asscher-cut diamonds. First patented in the early years of the 20th century, Asscher cuts have long, geometric step-cut facets and precisely angled cut corners. This gives them a distinctly tidier, bolder, and more modern look than cushion cuts.
As with other step cuts, like emerald cuts, you'll need to pay close attention to an Asscher's clarity grade. Look for stones with a clarity of VS2 or higher.
The marquise cut is another currently fashionable design that has seen its popularity wax and wane over the years. Created in the mid-18th century, the marquise cut is also called a "navette" or "little boat" because of its shape. It has the outline of a ship with a rounded middle and points fore and aft. Marquise cuts can stand alone in solitaire settings or accompany a variety of side stones of different shapes.
The elongated shape of a marquise cut is very versatile. Wearing a marquise-cut diamond lengthwise will make the finger appear longer and more graceful. On the other hand, wearing a marquise in an East-to-West alignment will create a more modern, bolder look. A marquise cut is also great option for people looking for a diamond that will make a big statement. When compared to diamonds with other cuts, marquises appear very large for their actual carat weight.
Due to their strongly geometric shape, symmetry is very important. Look for marquises with points aligned along a center line and equal curvature along the sides. Avoid poorly proportioned stones with a dark feature called a "bowtie." Bowties look like two dark triangles meeting in the middle of the stone.
When selecting an engagement ring with a marquise center stone, choose a protective setting. Whether that means robust prongs, some type of bezel setting, or a halo, make sure to protect the diamond's vulnerable tips.
Thanks to a few celebrity engagement rings, oval-shaped brilliant cuts are back in vogue. Essentially, ovals have the same profile as marquise-cut stones, just with rounded tips instead of points.
In fact, ovals and marquises have several things in common. First, the elongated outlines of both shapes are very flattering for any finger.
Second, like marquises, ovals are a good buy for people who want a stone with a visually impressive size. When viewed face up, they appear larger than round diamonds of the same carat weight. Finally, symmetry and proportions are also of paramount importance to ovals. Poorly proportioned ovals will also exhibit bowties across their middles. (However, unlike marquises, oval bowties do have enthusiasts who find these features aesthetically pleasing).
When it comes to mounting ovals in engagement rings, ovals can handle a variety of styles. As always, you can easily find beautiful solitaire options. However, individuals who want a ring with more impact might explore some creative options, such as pairing oval center stones with multiple side stones. For a mixed aesthetic, you can combine modern and vintage elements. For example, an oval diamond ring featuring thick bands decorated with bold colored stones would look striking.
In 2022, no list of the most popular diamond shapes for engagement rings would be complete without including pear shapes. Out-of-style and even ridiculed in the 1990s by Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, these stones with a vintage feel are making a comeback.
Sometimes called "tear drops," pears were first cut in the 15th century and are a hybrid shape between marquises and ovals. They feature a point at one end and a rounded curve at the other. A pear has the potential to flatter a finger, like a marquise or oval. However, the asymmetry of one point paired with a curve could instead look odd when worn. To ensure your pear will have a lengthening effect, choose a stone whose outline mimics the shape of your finger. People with slim fingers should look for slimmer pears, while those with thick fingers should look for rounder pears.
You have many mounting options for pear shapes. Traditionally, pears are worn so that the point aims away from the body towards the end of the finger. However, you know what they say about rules… they're meant to be broken! Alternatively, setting pears in an East-West orientation makes an attractive and unexpected option. For an even more unusual look, choose a ring that surrounds a pear in non-traditional halos. For those interested in either a three-stone or five-stone mounting, a central pear can easily be flanked by smaller stones, also with unorthodox shapes. Bold individuals may opt for a pear set at a daring angle.
2022 has brought us many popular diamond shapes. From timeless rounds to the more complicated outlines of fancy cuts, there's a style and shape for everyone.
Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.
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