With so many things to consider before a marriage proposal, the shape and cut of the diamond in the engagement ring is often overlooked. Since the bride will want to show it off during the initial stage of her engagement, and she’ll wear it for many years afterward, take some time to decide on the best stone for her.
She may have a preference, so when the first mention of marriage comes up, discuss the ring. Find out if she prefers a solitaire or a cluster of stones. If she likes more than one stone, should they all be diamonds, or does she like the look of other stones mixed in? What shape of diamond does she like best?
Choosing the shape of the diamond may simply be a matter of preference. Also consider that the shape of the stone affects how it looks on the hand and the cost of the setting.
Diamonds come in many shapes:
- Round Brilliant – Popular because of the brilliance from maximum surfaces and may be prong or channel set
- Oval – Oval shaped, often chosen as the center stone in a three-stone ring
- Princess – Square diamond with brilliance from additional cut surfaces, often the center stone in a three-stone setting
- Marquise – Similar to the oval, only tapered on either end, generally runs parallel to the finger
- Heart – Heart shaped, not a common choice
- Trilliant – Triangle shaped, equal sides and 50 facets, expensive and uncommon
- Asscher – Similar to the square shape, but with clipped corners, adding more brilliance do to additional surfaces, uncommon and not easy to find
- Emerald shape – Old fashioned, rectangular silhouette with clipped corners
- Pear shape – Teardrop shape, not often seen on engagement rings, gives fingers a longer, slimmer appearance
- Cushion – May be square or rectangular, pillow shaped, with clipped or rounded corners and 58 facets that give it a high level of brilliance
The diamond cut is what gives the stone its brilliance. Each shape has specific cuts, providing facets for reflective light.
There are three typical depths of cuts:
- Deep which make the stone look larger than its actual size
- Ideal which has the best reflective light
- Shallow which do not reflect light well and may appear dull
The three diamond cut types include:
- Brilliant cuts
- Step cuts
- Mixed cuts
The more facets cut into a diamond, the more brilliant it will be because there are more surfaces to reflect light. However, more cuts mean higher cost. Look for a diamond with more than 50 facets, with 58 being the ideal. Some may be found with as many as 66 facets, but the cost with that many cuts may be prohibitive to most people.
When selecting the shape, also consider the number of carats, color and clarity of the stone, which may affect the decision on the style of the ring.
- Carats – Weight of the stone
- Color – Ranges from colorless to light brown or yellow with everything in between
- Clarity – Free from inclusions or imperfections
Diamonds, the traditional stone for engagement rings, come in a variety of shapes, cuts and sizes. The round diamond, oval shaped diamond and emerald cut diamond are the most popular. Various factors affect the cost of the ring, including number of carats, the color and clarity, so size isn’t always the most important aspect of which stone to choose.