Diamond Shape – Engagement Choices and Your Hand

Romanced by Your Diamond Shape

Marquise Cut Diamond.
Photos – Images courtesy GIA

You may have asked yourself “what diamond shape should I get?” or “will a particular diamond shape look better on my hand?” There are a lot of shape choices, but you might be interested to know a big reason for different shaped diamonds.

The raw, out of the ground, diamonds lend themselves to a round, brilliant cut because of their shape.  Diamond cutters like to use as much of the rough diamond as possible and the round cut achieves this.

Since diamonds are cut by weight, diamond cutters will try to use the maximum amount of the rough in their cutting of a diamond.

Fancy or Non-Round Cut Diamonds

Pear diamond shapeInclusions that are visible to the eye can occur in a rough diamond that would ruin the beauty of a round brilliant cut diamond. If that same piece of rough was cut as a marquis or a pear shape, the diamond cutter could possibly avoid that annoying big black carbon inclusion.  In this way, the “fancy” cut diamonds were born.

The symmetry and sparkle in a round brilliant cut diamond gives fantastic light return, a measurement used to quantify how sparkly (yeah, that’s a technical term) your diamond is.

Emerald Cut Diamond

In comparison to the round brilliant with its symmetrical facet arrangement, an emerald cut diamond with fewer facets and a shape less helpful to reflecting light, gives a more subtle light return.

The emerald cut shape is very appealing to many people. It has a vintage and old world appeal.



More Square Shapes

In response to the appeal of the emerald cut diamond, but mindful of its poorer light return numbers, diamond cutters came up with alternate cuts with more facets.

These include cushion cuts, square modified brilliants and other square shaped cuts with more facets that gave superior light return.

As diamond lovers are given more choices its good for them to know that with fancy cuts can come caveats.

For example, some marquis cut diamonds can have what is called a bow-tie effect.

This is a black area not unlike the shape of a bow-tie that does not return light, but like tiny black holes just sucks it up and beams it into another dimension.  I learned that on Star Trek.

Diamond Shapes and Your Hand – Three Stories, Kaitlyn, Romana, and Silvana

Oval Diamond shapeI’ve noticed that diamond shapes can make a difference on your hand, and with your chosen design style.

Check out picture examples of how different shaped diamonds work for different hands. See my blog on how different size diamonds look on different hands.




Kaitlyn and Her Short Fingers

One of my clients Kaitlyn had fairly short fingers and a lot of rings seemed to overwhelm her hand.

We finally tried a marquis cut diamond and it made her fingers look longer.  We designed a ring around the marquis and it looked markedly better than round brilliant, cushion or even oval, which was her runner up shape.

Romana and her Baby Hands

Romana had been teased for having “baby hands”.  Her ring finger size was 3.75.  A lot of the rings she tried on made her feel like she was playing dress up in her mom’s jewelry box.

Cushion cut was the style for her.  Somehow the more square proportions gave gravitas (seriousness, adult-y-ness) to her hand.  We scaled the ring for her tiny hands, used the cushion cut center diamond and all anyone said was not “baby hands” but “beautiful”, “congratulations” and “OMG I love your ring”.  We were good with that.

Sylvana and Her Generously Full Hands

Princess diamond shapeSilvana had slightly puffy fingers. We’re all different. She’d tried a lot of rings and diamond shapes and it just clicked when she put on an angular ring with a princess cut diamond on it. The angularity of the diamond was opposite the generous curvy vibe of her hand. It was definitely love. We all agreed that princess cut was her perfect diamond shape.



Last Words

I could go on about all the different shapes that have been perfect for different people, but round brilliant reigns supreme for popularity and availability.  You’ll always have the greatest amount of selection when you choose round brilliant.

Pick the shape that compliments your hand and pick the diamond that sparkles and speaks to you.

Your Personal Jeweler,



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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Marni H.
Marni H.
6 years ago

Thanks for this post, Calla! Your message reinforces why trying on different diamond styles is so important. Recently, I have been helping my friend choose a style for her engagement ring. She was insistent on finding her perfect ring online and sending pictures of her favorite styles to her boyfriend. She never wanted to visit a jeweler or actually try on rings, because she didn’t want to be “too involved” in the process. I showed her this blog post and now she says she is willing to try on some rings before her boyfriend spends a fortune on something she… Read more »

Reuben Kats
Reuben Kats
6 years ago

In my opinion, the Radiant Cut diamond ring provides more glimmer and shine than most cuts. The numerous facets of a radiant cut diamond provide a trademark sparkle that can stay highly visible. The color grade is certainly one advantage and is important to consider when buying a radiant cut diamond ring. Halo settings are also popular for radiant cut diamond rings, also can enhance the brilliance of the center stone.

Taylor Bishop
Taylor Bishop
4 years ago

I wanted to thank you for helping me learn more about diamond shapes. It’s interesting to learn that diamond cutters came up with alternate cuts in response to the emerald cut to make more square shapes. I’m kind of interested to learn as to how these types of diamonds are cut, especially if someone may want a diamond with as many facets as possible.