Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

Diamond Shape

Diamond shape is all about whether a diamond is round, square, pear shaped and so on...

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Things to Be Careful of With Shapes

Some diamond shapes come with extra considerations. For some shapes (princess, heart) that have sharp corners, if the diamond is a moderate to lower colour grade (say J or below), it may be more obvious than in a round diamond shape. Other shapes such as emerald may make inclusions more obvious than another cut, so you may need to eyeball the diamond yourself before you buy it in these cases.

Here are the main shapes:

Round / Brilliant Cut

Round diamonds are circular in shape when viewed from above. They're probably the most popular and widely bought diamond shape nowadays. These are very common diamonds in solitaire and multi-stone rings.

To view round diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Princess Cut

The princess shape is usually square, although they can be slightly rectangular (but typically one side will not be more than 20% longer than the other side). Some people think that for a given carat weight of diamond, princess shapes don't appear as 'big' visually as a round diamond. These are also very common diamonds used in solitaire and multi-stone rings.

To view princess cut diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Emerald Cut

An emerald cut diamond is rectangular with curved corners and a particular look to how the pavilion (bottom half of the diamond) is cut.

To view emerald cut diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Marquise Cut

The marquise cut diamond is a long slender diamond, with a length that is typically about 2 times the maximum width. If you judge a diamond's size by its longest dimension, than for a given carat weight this shape gives you a lot of bang for buck.

To view marquise cut diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Oval Cut

A variant on the round diamond, the oval shape is typically about 50% longer than it is wide. You can think of it as being halfway between a round diamond and a marquise diamond.

To view oval cut diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Heart Shaped Cut

The heart shape combines the symbolism of a diamond with the symbolism of the heart shape. They reflect a fair amount of light and are sometimes quite cheap because the unique shape has allowed the diamond cutter to remove an impurity which would otherwise appear if it were a round cut diamond.

To view heart shape diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Pear Shaped Cut

The pear or teardrop diamond shape is rounded at one end and comes to a point at the other end. These are often paired with a single round or princess diamond to form a three stone ring.

To view pear shaped diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Asscher Cut

An asscher cut diamond is created using a step-cut process and is halfway in shape between a round and a princess cut diamond. Because of the design, they are very clear and 'transparent', meaning it's especially important to make sure inclusions aren't visible.

To view asscher cut diamonds of various sizes, click here.

Cushion Cut

A cushion cut diamond is a throwback to popular diamond cuts back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They have an 'antique' look to them which is appealing to some people. It's definitely a very different cut to the standard round or princess cuts.

To view cushion cut diamonds of various sizes, click here.