Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
When it comes to finding the perfect engagement ring, there’s only one place to start: choosing the right stone cut. It may not be an aspect of engagement ring shopping you’ve considered before, but the shape of a ring’s stone can completely change its style. Sure, we all know about popular options like round or princess, but what about less common varieties like marquise or Asscher? Every cut adds its own little burst of character to a ring, so when it comes to making your choice, find the one that speaks to you. Are you a vintage girl? Perhaps you should consider the Art Deco flair of an emerald cut. Are you a more traditional bride? Maybe think about choosing a cushion cut. Don’t be afraid to look outside your comfort zone—you may be surprised by which ring becomes the one.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about each type of engagement ring cut.
Shaped like an oval with pointed edges, the marquis cut is sure to leave an impression. This cut gained popularity in the 18th century within the royal court of Louis XV. When it comes to picking out a marquise stone, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. First, both points at either end of the stone should be perfectly symmetrical. Many marquise rings are vintage pieces, so be sure to check for wear or chipping, particularly around the stone’s edges.
The princess cut is one of the most popular shapes for engagement rings, along with round. Princess-cut stones first appeared in the 1960s, and they have steadily gained in popularity ever since. Princess-style gems are square or rectangular and contain brilliant faceting. Whether presented in a solitaire or a halo, this shape’s remarkable versatility means that it suits numerous designs. For the modern bride who wants to retain a classic look, princess-cut engagement rings are an excellent choice.
Round variants are one of the most popular and enduring types of cut for engagement rings. Round stones contain “brilliant” faceting, meaning that the edges are cut with numerous facets to increase the amount of shine emitted when the light catches the stone. This glittering faceting is an attention grabber, making it a popular choice for solitaire-style rings. Its traditional, classic look makes it incredibly versatile, and although it always serves as the center of attention, round stones look equally remarkable paired with additional gems or a decorated band.
If you’re instantly reminded of the Roaring ’20s when looking at this shaped stone, you have a good reason. Emerald-cut stones began to skyrocket in prominence during the ’20s and feature in many of the era’s jewelry. The rectangular faceting at the edges of the stone, known as step-cutting, gives this variation its unique look. Sleek lines and balanced symmetry make this a cut that’s impossible not to love—after all, Amal Clooney and even Queen Bey herself chose emerald-cut stones for their own engagement rings.
Looking for a more dramatic take on the round cut? Oval-cut stones are for you. Its distinctive, elongated appearance gives this style a subtly vintage charm. The elegant shape also lengthens the look of fingers. If you’re thinking an oval cut is the right choice, you’re in good company. Princess Diana’s famous sapphire ring, the same ring Prince William used to propose to Kate Middleton, is also oval cut. Additionally, celebs like Blake Lively, Heidi Klum, and Salma Hayek all opted for oval-cut engagement rings.
Baguette stones are characterized by their long, slender appearance that is similar to an emerald cut, but elongated. When you hear “baguette cut,” you might think of the types of stones that often flank either side of a center gem, and it’s true that baguettes are an excellent choice to give a vintage flair to a round central stone. However, baguettes alone can make for stunning central pieces on an engagement ring and are certainly a unique choice.
The Asscher cut is one of the few patented stone cuts around, designed by the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in 1902. This style is actually a close cousin to the emerald cut. The main difference between the two is that the Asscher cut forms a shorter, square shape in contrast to the emerald’s rectangular cut. Stepped faceting lends this style a singularly retro appearance, including clipped corners that form an octagonal shape. Elizabeth Taylor’s 33-carat Krupp Diamond, given to her by husband Richard Burton, is a famous example of an Asscher-cut stone.
Not sure whether to go round or square? The cushion cut combines the two with its elegant shape that resembles a pillow. Cushion cuts are one of the oldest and one of the most popular shapes for engagement ring stones. Once referred to as the “old-mine cut,” the cushion cut is equal parts modern and vintage. Kim Kardashian West’s 15-carat engagement ring is a stunning example of this brilliant style.
The pear cut, which is also referred to as a teardrop cut, is for rings that demand to be seen. Similar to round styles, but with a tapered end, pear-shaped engagement rings have an exquisite regality that set them apart. If you decide to choose a pear-shaped stone, have it fixed in a prong setting to reduce the likelihood of it chipping at its point. Like marquise cuts, both chipping and symmetry are vital areas to pay close attention to when choosing your stone. Looking for examples of pear-cut rings? Look no further than Victoria Beckham’s pear-shaped engagement ring.
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