Finding the right diamond cut for your engagement ring is sort of like being a kid in a candy store: It's impossible to choose, right? Well, it can feel that way. If you're having trouble deciding — or distinguishing — between all the different stone shapes, never fear. Ahead, we've got everything you need to know about these sparkly gems.
One of the first patented cuts, the Asscher cut features 74 facets, which means it plays off light really, really well. The downside is that because of its open, square cut with cropped corners, this engagement ring style doesn't hide diamond imperfections well. The good news is that if you purchase an above-average diamond in terms of color and clarity, this cut will show off your investment in a major way.
Shop This Look: Blue Nile The Gallery Collection Vintage Asscher Halo Trapezoid Diamond Engagement Ring in Platinum, $12,500; bluenile.com
Also called a pillow cut, the cushion cut diamond is most often a square shape with decidedly rounded corners (although sometimes the shape can be slightly more rectangular). Because of the cut style, it shows off clarity very well. The cushion cut is also beautifully enhanced with a halo setting, as seen in the engagement ring below.
Shop This Look: King of Jewelry Cushion Cut Halo Pave Halo Diamond Engagement Ring, $11,990; amazon.com
This timeless cut has long cuts to create a narrow rectangle with cropped corners, similar to the Asscher cut diamond. Many brides love it because of how flattering it can be on the hand, elongating the appearance of the fingers. The emerald cut, while popular, is not as common as other cuts, so you can often find affordable engagement ring options in higher quality than other diamond cuts in your price range.
Shop This Look: Macy's Diamond Halo Engagement Ring (2 ct. t.w.) in 14K White Gold, $8,700; macys.com
Perhaps more so than any other cut, it is important to pay attention to the overall appearance and proportion of a heart shaped diamond engagement ring. Make sure you like how the cleft of the heart is cut, as well as the wideness of the body. Be sure to also note how it's incorporated into the setting: Its shape might require more prongs than you’d like. However, because of the irregular shape of the heart cut diamond, these additional prongs are necessary to protect and reinforce the stone.
Shop This Look: Blue Nile Petite Solitaire Engagement Ring in Platinum, $12,647; bluenile.com
The name of the marquise is a nod to its origins with French royalty. It's essentially a narrow oval with pointed ends. Like the heart cut, the marquise cut diamond needs more prongs and requires that you be more selective on choosing an engagement ring setting that will create a solid foundation for the stone. These diamonds look particularly stunning as a solitaire because of their dramatic shape.
Shop This Look: Blue Nile Classic Six-Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring in Platinum, $5,132; bluenile.com
The oval cut diamond elicits a ton of sparkle, elongates the finger, and hides small flaws well — it's no wonder it's a classic cut. However, you should pay attention to the color in the center of the diamond. If it is decidedly darker, a "bow-tie" illusion might appear when you look straight down into it (this is a sign that the stone is of lesser quality). The oval cut is also flexible with a wide variety of different engagement ring settings and styles.
Shop This Look: Macy's Star Signature Diamond Oval Cut Halo Engagement Ring, $3,000; macys.com
A pear cut diamond is unique and elegant. Look for an even and well-proportioned shape. You can wear the point in either direction, although some believe it is more flattering with the tip pointed up toward your fingernails. Because of the shape, pear diamonds can also appear larger than other diamond cuts of a similar weight.
Shop This Look: Kohl's IGL Certified Diamond Halo Engagement Ring in 14k White Gold, $6,250; kohls.com
When it comes to engagement rings, the second most popular diamond cut in the United States is the princess cut. This cut is a square shape without the cropped corners that you see in Asscher or emerald cut diamonds. Although the appearance of an Asscher cut and a princess cut are very similar when viewed from above, the princess features more facets toward the top, whereas the Asscher has a larger flat surface area.
Shop This Look: Bloomingdale's Diamond Engagement Ring 18K White Gold, $8,750; bloomingdales.com
A radiant cut diamond is designed for lots of sparkle because of its many facets. The most dominant feature of a radiant cut is cropped corners. Some radiants are square, whereas others edge toward rectangular in shape. If you look into a radiant cut from above, you will notice a slightly circular pattern — this is due to the way it is cut. See the differences from the similarly shaped princess cut engagement ring above?
Shop This Look: Blue Nile Petite Micropavé Trio Diamond Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold, $2,968; bluenile.com
The most popular diamond cut for engagement rings, you will have no problem finding an exhaustive selection of different settings, grades, and styles for round diamonds. Because of the way this diamond is cut, you also get plenty of sparkle. The round diamond cut looks equally spectacular alone in a simple solitaire setting, or surrounded by diamonds in different settings.
Shop This Look: Bloomingdale's Certified Diamond Round Brilliant Cut Solitaire Ring in 18K White Gold, $11,875; bloomingdales.com