The world of engagement rings can be a very overwhelming and stressful place! Luckily, we’re here to help you navigate the in’s and out’s of rings -- including diamond shape, settings, and band materials, to help you pick that perfect ring!
You would be surprised at just how many different cuts there are for diamonds! The list goes on and on. However, the top 10 cuts are: round, princess, oval, marquise, pear, cushion, emerald, asscher, radiant, and heart. While each diamond is unique, each of these cuts carries the same characteristics.
This tends to be the most popular style, with 75% of all diamonds being cut round. Due to demand, this tends to be the most expensive cut. That being said, its brilliant cut leaves it with 58 facets, making it beautifully bright and reflective. This shape is very versatile in terms of what settings it will work well with. In love with the round but it’s slightly out of your budget? Try going to with a smaller stone and adding a halo, which is even smaller stones surrounding the center round cut stone.
The princess cut tends to be the most popular of the “fancy” shapes. A great bonus is that they tend to be slightly cheaper than the round cut, as they’re square and create less waste. This square or slightly rectangular cut also give the illusion of a larger stone than a same weight round diamond. This cut is also very versatile in what settings it works with! One thing to note about setting a princess diamond: due to its rectangular nature, it is extremely important that it is placed in a four-prong setting where each corner of the stone is protected from chipping or other damage.
An oval shape is similar to the round in that it is a modified brilliant cut, meaning it is gorgeously bright and reflective. An oval diamond is perfect for someone who likes the round cut, but wants something a little different and more unique. This cut also gives off the illusion of a larger diamond in addition to making one’s fingers to longer and more slender.
This football shaped diamond also falls in the modified brilliant cut group. Similar to the oval cut but with pointed ends, the marquise diamond also offers the benefit of making the fingers look longer and more slender. It boasts the largest crown of all cuts, therefore giving the best illusion for a larger diamond. It’s important to note that this cut must be set in a two-prong setting to protect the ends from chipping.
The pear shape is a combination of a round and marquise. It is rounded at one end and tapers to a point at the other. This has the same benefits of the marquise shape but adding a little variety. The point is always worn facing the hand on the wearer. This must be set so that a prong protects the point, as this is where the diamond would be likely to chip.
The cushion cut is a square cut with rounded edges, resembling a pillow or cushion. This cut used to be the most popular before the round style took its place at the top of the list. However, recently the cushion shape has been making a surging comeback and is becoming extremely popular.
This long rectangular diamond achieves its shape with “step cuts” originally created to cut emeralds, hence its name. This elegant shape differs from the brilliant cut of many of the other shapes and offers more of a “hall of mirrors” effect and more sophisticated feel.
The asscher cut reached its popularity in the 1920’s, becoming a rare find only in antique shops over the years. However, it has recently made a comeback and is gaining popularity. This diamond has a similar cut to that of the emerald shape, but instead of being rectangular, it is a square shape.
The radiant cut diamond is a combination of a princess and cushion cuts with its square to rectangular shape and its rounded corners. Its brilliant cut will shine bright in a variety of settings.
A clear image of love, the heart shape diamond is exactly as it sounds. This diamond is also a modified brilliant cut and will light up any room. Be aware, as smaller heart diamonds (under a half carat) are less ideal and can be difficult to really see the shape, especially after being put in a proper setting.
Picking a setting can be a daunting task. The sheer number of options is enough to make anyone’s head spin. The setting is an important decision as it may dictate which cut of diamond you will need to pick. Here are some of the most popular and common settings.
The prong setting is the most common and classic setting. Essentially, the diamond sits in a type of claw that holds it in place. The claw usually has either four or six prongs to secure the diamond. With four prongs, you can see more of the diamond, but with six, your diamond is less likely to shift or fall out of the setting. Overall, there is still a minimal amount of metal visible with either style, centering all attention on the stone!
This setting is the second most popular setting and holds a more modern feel. Instead of prongs, this setting offers a thin metal surround for the entirety of the diamond, offering it even greater protection. Additionally, a bezel setting is less likely to snag on anything like clothing, which may occur with a prong setting.
A pavé setting is one that is “paved” with tiny diamonds all around the band. The stones are placed with minimal metal between them, giving the band a constant sparkle any way you look at it. This setting highlights the main stone. Be cautious when picking a pavé setting and ensure that you have the proper ring size selected, and it’s both difficult and pricey to resize.
In a halo setting, the main stone is encircled in smaller stones. Often selected in an attempt to save some money, this setting gives the illusion of a much larger center stone. Many times, people will combine the halo setting with a pavé setting to really get a sparkle.
While there are other options out there, the most common materials for engagement and wedding bands are Gold and Platinum. Each has its pros and cons, which we’ll outline below!
When you think gold, usually you think of yellow gold… but that’s not all we’re referring to here! Included in the gold family is yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. A classic, versatile option, gold itself is actually too soft on its own to be a band, and is therefore combined with other materials to strengthen it. The most common options you’ll find are 18K (75% gold), 14K (58% gold) and 10K (about 42% gold) gold. Yellow gold has dropped in popularity, with both white gold and now rose gold rising to the top of the charts. Durable and readily available, gold is a classy and budget friendly option for your band.
Unlike white gold, platinum is naturally a white metal. It is also a very durable and more rare option than gold. This is a great option for those who are extremely active. Additionally, platinum is hypoallergenic, so it’s a great option if someone has a metal allergy!
Picking an engagement ring is a huge decision. The key is to take your time doing your research so you can confidently make your decision! For more information on diamonds, check out our post on the 4 C’s