What is the difference between shape and cut of a diamond?

The terms “shape” and “cut” are often confused when discussing diamonds. The cut of the diamond is the most important characteristic when it comes to a diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. A diamond must be cut to create its shape. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they mean very different things. They do, however, work together to create the overall style and impact of a diamond engagement ring.

The shape is usually the first thing most people think about when choosing a diamond. There are many-shapes, round, princess, cushion, emerald, pear, oval– to name a few. The shape is an aesthetic or style choice. Different shapes appeal to different people and there is no right or wrong. The graphic below illustrates the most popular diamond shapes.

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The cut of a diamond determines the fire and brilliance of a diamond. There are two types of cuts- brilliant and step. A poorly cut diamond will not be beautiful regardless shape, color or clarity.


Brilliant cuts have facets that are mainly triangular and a round diamond is the most brilliant of all brilliant cut diamonds because of the perfect symmetry of the cone shape that generates maximum light return through the top of the diamond.

Step cuts have fewer facets and exude an understated elegance with facets that run straight and parallel. Asscher and emerald cut diamonds are the best examples of step cut and are usually the choice of buyers seeking larger diamonds of 3.00 carats or more.

Whichever cut you choose, Ascot clients take comfort in knowing that our diamond inventory represents only the ‘best of the best’ in each size, shape, cut and grade.

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