For most of human history, diamonds were polished and cut by hand. But as technology evolved, so did the way we cut diamonds. The most striking change came in the 1950s, when computer assisted diamond cutting completely transformed the way diamonds are cut. Thanks to computer technology, today’s diamonds feature standardized shapes with highly precise faceting.
Technological advances have also affected which cuts are used today. Over time, different diamond shapes have come in and out of fashion as diamond cutters sought new ways to maximize beauty using the tools available to them. As a result, vintage and antique jewelry can feature a beautiful range of diamond cuts, each of which has its own style and way of reflecting light.
To help you discover all your stunning shape options, we’ve put together this guide to vintage, antique, and modern diamond shapes. We’ll begin by taking a closer look at some of the most notable antique and vintage shapes, then get into the top modern diamond shapes.
We travel thousands of miles to the diamond capital of the world to get the best quality for the best possible price.
Created in the 14th century, the point cut is one of the oldest diamond cuts. This antique cut keeps a diamond very close to its original structure. When diamonds form under the earth’s crust, their carbon atoms typically create an octahedron, which looks like two pyramids connected back to back. When creating a point cut diamond, artisans sought to either enhance this desirable octahedron shape with polishing or create it in natural diamonds with other shapes.
The point cut diamond has a glassy look that is quite different from today’s diamonds. Before diamond cutters discovered they could create brilliance and fire by cutting diamonds in a specific way, they primarily focused on preserving carat weight and enhancing luster.
The table cut is the first major improvement on the point cut. In the 15th century, diamond cutters began slicing or grinding off the top of the rough diamond’s octahedron shape, creating the table cut. Today, the top of a diamond is still referred to as its table.
Any antique diamond with a table can be called a table cut diamond, but certain variations within this category earned their own names. There’s the mirror cut, a shallow table cut diamond with a highly reflective, large table facet. The first step cut diamonds, which feature long parallel facets, are also table cut diamonds. Another notable antique table cut is the French cut diamond, a squared diamond with a distinctive cross pattern.
Briolette cut diamonds are drop-shaped diamonds with triangular facets. Created by the Flemish diamond polisher Louis van Berquem in 1476, the briolette cut diamond is arguably the first diamond cut to feature absolute symmetry. Berquem was able to perfectly place symmetrical facets on his briolette cut diamonds using a scaif, a polishing wheel he invented.
Rose cut diamonds, also called rosette diamonds, have a domed top and triangular facets. The facets on this antique diamond shape are arranged in a pattern that resembles rose petals, hence its name. Rose cut diamonds have a glassy look and can feature any number of facets.
Old European Cut
Old European cut diamonds, also known as Euro cut diamonds, are a variation on old mine cut diamonds. Old European cut diamonds are faceted similarly to old mine cut diamonds, but are round rather than cushion shaped. European cut diamonds are the precursor to today’s most popular diamond shape: the round brilliant cut diamond.
Transition cut diamonds were common in the late 1800s to early 1900s. These round diamonds are a stepping stone between old European cut diamonds and modern round brilliant cut diamonds. They feature proportions and faceting that is similar to modern brilliant cut diamonds, but have more variation because the shape was not standardized until the 1950s.
Emerald cut diamonds are rectangular with cut corners and linear, step cut facets. The emerald cut was first used on emerald gemstones and was later adapted for use on diamonds. This cut dates back to the 1500s, but the name “emerald cut” wasn’t coined until the 1920s when the shape surged in popularity during the Art Deco era.
The asscher cut is a geometric diamond shape invented in 1902 by diamond cutter Joseph Asscher. This vintage shape is square with cut corners and step cut facets, so it looks similar to a square emerald cut diamond. Asscher cut diamonds also feature distinctive faceting that creates an X-shaped pattern when viewed from above.
Modern Diamond Shapes
Round Brilliant Cut
Loved for its incredible sparkle, the round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular modern diamond shape. Year after year, round brilliant cut diamonds are the top diamond shape for diamond engagement rings, diamond studs, and all other diamond jewelry styles.
The round brilliant cut was created in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky, a mathematician who came from a family of diamond cutters. Tolkowsky wanted to create the most brilliant diamond possible. He created a 58 facet round brilliant cut diamond design with precisely sized and placed facets, successfully bringing his vision of the most brilliant possible diamond to light.
The round brilliant cut diamond has been beloved since its debut. It has become the standard by which all other brilliant diamond shapes are judged. Most other diamond shapes now feature a modified version of the round brilliant cut. .
Cushion cut diamonds are a modern version of the old mine cut. Cushion cut diamonds have the same rounded, cushion-like shape, but feature a modern brilliant cut that creates significantly more sparkle.
The cushion cut tends to show off color well, so diamond cutters often choose it for colored diamonds. If you’re looking for a colorless cushion cut diamond, keep this shape’s color-enhancing properties in mind. For colorless cushion cut diamonds, consider choosing a diamond with a higher color grade to avoid having a noticeable yellow tinge.
Shop Lab Grown Diamonds
Oval cut diamonds feature an elongated, oval shape and a brilliant cut. An advantage of the oval cut is that it carries much of its size on its elongated table. As a result, oval cut diamonds look larger per carat compared to deeper cut shapes. An oval-shaped one carat diamond typically looks around 10 percent larger than a round one carat diamond.
Princess cut diamonds have a square shape and a brilliant cut. Invented in the 1960s, princess cut diamonds are one of the newest diamond shapes. Their history and sharp silhouette gives them a contemporary look.
Shop Lab Grown Diamonds
Marquise cut diamonds date back to 18th century France. Legend has it that King Louis XV commissioned a jeweler to create a diamond shape reminiscent of the smile of his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour.
Today’s marquise cut diamonds have the same pointed tips and elliptical shape as the vintage variety. However, they now feature a modern brilliant cut that creates significantly more shimmer.
Baguette cut diamonds are elongated, rectangular diamonds with step cut facets. This shape is as old as the antique table cut diamond, but baguette cut diamonds were not particularly popular until the 20th century.
Baguette cut diamonds became popular during the Art Deco era, when geometric shapes dominated fine jewelry designs. Baguette cut diamonds remain popular today and are commonly used as tiny diamond accents alongside larger stones.
Shop Lab Grown Diamonds
Pear shaped diamonds have a rounded end and a pointed end, and feature a brilliant cut. While pear shaped diamonds were first created in the 1400s, this diamond shape was not popular when it was first introduced. At the time, creating this shape always caused high amounts of rough diamond loss, so few diamond cutters chose it.
Pear shaped diamonds first became popular in the 20th century. Their popularity was greatly helped by Elizabeth Taylor’s famous 69.42 carat pear shaped diamond ring. When her pear shaped diamond was on display at Cartier in New York, up to 6,000 people came to see the diamond each day.
Modern asscher cut diamonds have a perfected version of the vintage asscher cut. They have a square shape, cut corners, and step cut facets, but tend to look more symmetrical thanks to modern diamond cutting technology.
Shop Lab Grown Diamonds
Radiant cut diamonds are rectangular with cut corners and a brilliant cut. They have the same overall shape as emerald cut diamonds, but are much more brilliant due to their faceting. This glamorous diamond shape was invented in the 1970s, making it one of the newest diamond shapes.
Invented in the early 1960s, the trillion cut is another cutting edge diamond shape. The trillion cut has a triangular shape and a brilliant cut. This diamond shape is a less common choice, giving it a striking and unique look.