Diamond Cuts and Shapes Explained

diamond ring

Diamond cuts and shapes are often confused, especially because there are so many variations available to buy. Some cuts are used more often with certain shapes of diamond, which can make differentiating them difficult if you’re not well-versed in the world of diamonds. Here is our guide to diamond cuts and shapes to explain the differences and make choosing your ring as easy as possible.

three stone diamond ring

The Difference Between Cut and Shape

It is the cut that allows a diamond to make the best use of light and determines how sparkly it is. When a diamond is cut to the right proportions, light is refracted internally from one facet to another before being dispersed through the top of the stone. A skilful gem-cutter will choose a cut that best showcases the unique characteristics of the rough diamond, and the accuracy and quality of the cut will determine the beauty and brilliance of the final gem. If the cut is too deep, some light will escape through the opposite side of the pavilion; too shallow and light will escape through the pavilion before it can be refracted. A master gem-cutter ensures full light dispersion, maximising the inherent beauty of the stone. Cutting may reduce the size of the original stone by as much as half, but its market value may increase significantly, depending on the amount of brilliance and sparkle revealed by the gem-cutter.

Diamond Cuts

Brilliant Cut

A brilliant cut is a complex cut that features many facets to create the maximum amount of sparkle. There are many variations of the brilliant cut style that all depend on the shape and size of the original stone in its rough form. The brilliant cut can be adapted depending on what the gem-cutter intends to do with the stone.

Step Cut

A step cut is made by creating horizontal facets like a set of steps. Step cuts are made to show off the colour or clarity of a diamond rather than increasing its brilliance, so it won’t be the most sparkly cut you will find.

Divine Cut

A divine cut stone is a more recent variation of the brilliant cut and designed to enhance the brilliance of a diamond even more. The divine cut has a different shape to the traditional brilliant cut, and some may prefer the look of the older variation in place of extra sparkle.

Ceylon Cut

A Ceylon cut is a duel-cut made up of step cuts ascending to a brilliant cut in the centre of a diamond. Gemstones with a Ceylon cut are usually round and have a vintage look to them.

Barion Cut

A barion cut features both step cuts and brilliant cuts in the diamond. Barion cuts can vary in appearance depending on the shape they are cut to. This can include square, rectangle, triangle, or circular gemstones. The way the facets are cut in a barion gem makes a cross pattern at the centre of the stone.

diamond cut and shape

Diamond Shapes

The shape of a diamond is its outline, as viewed from above, and it’s the shape that often determines the overall style and impact of the finished piece of jewellery. There are several shapes and cut combinations that appear together so often they have been given their own names.


Round shape diamonds are considered a popular and classic choice. Round diamonds are usually paired with a brilliant cut as the combination of shape and cut maximizes the brilliance and sparkle of the stone for maximum effect.


Oval is one of the most common shape for gemstones. An oval shape gemstone retains a larger amount of the carat weight of the gem than other shapes when cut. Oval shapes often come in a brilliant cut to enhance their features. While diamonds aren't usually shaped to an oval, there are plenty of beautiful oval options if you prefer this to a round diamond.


A marquise shape is an oval with pointed ends rather than rounded. It is considered a difficult shape to cut and a marquise diamond is usually more expensive because of the expertise that goes into cutting it. A marquise shape diamond is cut in such a way that makes the size of the diamond face appear bigger than its equivalent carat weight, so a marquise diamond will appear more expensive than it is.


Pear shaped diamonds feature one rounded and one pointed end, like a teardrop. Pear shaped diamonds are considered elegant and feminine, and can be particularly attractive when paired with a brilliant cut. Whilst not considered a traditional choice for an engagement ring, a pear shaped diamond ring can be a stunning alternative.


A princess shape diamond is usually square and paired with a brilliant cut with pointed corners. The square shape often makes the diamond appear bigger and more pronounced, especially on a finger, which makes them popular in engagement rings.


An emerald shaped diamond has a flat rectangular face with edges that are step cut. The face of the stone makes it appear larger than the stone seems and creates the look of many rectangles within the face. Because the face is mainly flat, an emerald shaped diamond doesn’t sparkle as much as multi-faceted diamond, but it can show off the clarity and colour of the stone excellently.

Diamond Rings at Michael Jones Jewellers

If you’re looking for the perfect diamond ring, our collection features a variety of beautiful cuts and shapes to choose from. You can visit any one of our showrooms to browse the many different cuts and shapes of diamond we have available in our jewellery. Our staff are experts in diamond rings, and can help you choose the perfect cut and shape of diamond with our acclaimed five-star service. We have showrooms in both Northampton and Banbury, so if you live locally to those areas, visit us and take a look. Alternatively, you can also browse and shop our Diamond collection online here.

In Northampton, we’re based on Gold Street and in the Grosvenor Centre; in Banbury, we’re on the High Street. To get in touch with us, ring any of our showrooms; for Gold Street it’s 01604 632 548, for Grosvenor Centre it’s 01604 636 633 and for Banbury it’s 01295 263 540. Alternatively, send us a message through the online contact form on our website.