Diamond Guide

Choose Your Diamond Shape

Since all diamond shapes are very different, unique characteristics determine quality for each shape. Select your shape below to learn how to recognize the most beautiful diamond. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact one of our Diamond and Jewelry Consultants who can help you find the diamond that's perfect for you.


The round brilliant cut diamond is by far the most popular and most researched diamond shape available today. In addition, a round diamond will typically give you more flexibility in terms of balancing cut, color, and clarity grades while still getting the fire and brilliance you want. To maximize the brilliance of a traditional round diamond, select one in the two highest cut grades, ideal or very good, and choose ideal, excellent, or very good polish and symmetry grades.


This is our most popular non-round diamond. Its beautiful brilliance and unique cut makes it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape.


What makes this shape different is its pavilion, which is cut with rectangular facets to create a unique optical appearance. Due to its larger, open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond. For the classic emerald-cut shape, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.30 and 1.40. For the highest standard of craftsmanship available in an emerald-cut diamond.


This beautifully unique shape is nearly identical to the emerald-cut, except that it is square. Also, this shape has a pavilion that is cut with rectangular facets in the same style as the emerald-cut.


The shape of a marquise diamond can maximize carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. This brilliant-cut diamond looks beautiful set with round or pear-shaped side stones, and the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender.


An oval diamond has beautiful brilliance that's similar to a round diamond. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers.


Trimmed corners are the signature of this diamond, and they help make the radiant-cut a popular and versatile choice for jewelry. A radiant-cut looks equally beautiful set with either baguette or round side-diamonds.


This brilliant-cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end. The unique look of the pear shape helps make it a popular choice for a variety of diamond jewelry.


The heart is the ultimate symbol of love. The unique look of the heart-shaped diamond helps make it a distinctive choice for a variety of diamond jewelry.


This unique shape has been popular for more than a century. Cushion-cut diamonds (also known as "pillow-cut" diamonds) have rounded corners and larger facets to increase their brilliance.


1. Cut

How a diamond has been cut, polished, and to what proportions and symmetry, are of utmost importance as these factors determine the life, brilliance and dispersion of the diamond. If these cutting factors fall below standard, the appearance of the diamond will be adversely affected



When a ray of light touches the surface of a diamond, part of the ray is reflected back. This is external reflection.


The rest of the ray penetrates the stone and is then reflected toward the center of the diamond. This is known as refraction.


The ray of light is reflected to the surface, where it is observed as the colors of the spectrum. This is known as dispersion. Execution of the design, the precision of the cutting details and the quality of the polish are collectively called the finish.

2. Color

Most fine diamonds vary in shade from colorless to yellow, brown, or gray. To determine the color grade, all submitted diamonds are compared to an internationally accepted master set of diamonds, the color of which ranges from D, or colorless (the most sought-after) to Z, (the least desirable). Deeply saturated colors occur in diamonds such as yellow, brown, orange, pink, blue, green, purple, red, etc. The most intense of these shades are graded as "Fancy" colors and labeled as such on the IGI Diamond Report.

Diamond color

3. Clarity

In order to grade the clarity of a diamond, it is necessary to observe the size, number, position, nature, color, and relief of the various clarity characteristics. This analysis is carried out using a microscope and a 10x loupe under the experienced eyes of graduate gemologists.



Free of blemishes and inclusions when examined under 10x magnification.



Internally Flawless(IF)

Free of inclusions. Only insignificant blemishes visible under 10x magnification.



Very Very Slightly Included(VVS1 - 2)

Minute inclusions that are very difficult to locate under 10x magnification.



Very Slightly Included(VS1 - 2)

Minute inclusions that are difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification.



Slightly Included(SI1 - 2)

Noticeable inclusions those are easy to see under 10x magnification.



Included(I1 - 2)

Inclusions that are obvious to a trained grader under 10x magnification and can be easily seen face-up with the unaided eye.


4. Carat Weight

A carat is a weight-measuring unit equal to 0.2 grams. It is the internationally used unit to measure the weight of diamonds. Within the diamond trade, fractions of a carat are referred to as "points" or simply as fractions. A 50-point diamond weighs 0.5 carats or 1/2 a carat. A 1-carat diamond weighs 100 points. A 1/3 is also 0.3 carats or 30 points.

As nature would have it, rough diamonds come in all shapes and sizes, as well as colors and purities. The larger, whiter and cleaner the diamond, the more rare it is. Accordingly, the cost per carat of a larger diamond of the same color, clarity and cut will be higher than a smaller diamond. The price per carat of diamonds rises proportionately with size. Keep in mind that the per carat price gets multiplied by the carat weight.

More weight equals more money so, many diamond cutters sacrifice brilliance to maximize carat weight and profit. It is important to realize that weight does not always equal size or beauty. Poorly cut diamonds intended to maximize size can be dull and lifeless. Some experienced cutters sacrifice weight and focus on cut to obtain the most beautiful and brilliant Hearts and Arrows diamonds on the market today. On the average, cutting a Hearts and Arrows Ideal Cut Diamond requires a 15% greater waste of the original material. The added beauty one obtains from a Hearts and Arrows diamond is well worth the sacrifice. Diamond Ideals specializes in sourcing these cutters and bringing the most beautiful diamonds to you.