Glossary of Engagement Ring Cuts


Picking an engagement ring is nerve-wracking, whether you're planning a surprise proposal and going it all on your own, or you've decided to go to the store as a couple and select one together before getting engaged. There are tons of options out there—so many that it can become overwhelming, and fast. That's why walking into a jewelry store without any background is bound to leave you dazzled and confused. What are all the different shapes and styles? Are there benefits to certain designs? Which one can you truly see yourself (or your partner) committing to wearing forever?

We've given our fair share of advice about choosing an engagement ring, whether you know what the bride-to-be wants or not. But before you even read those tips, you should educate yourself on the different diamond cuts. No matter where you go to look for the piece of jewelry, it's something you're going to be asked about. It's important to get an idea of what the soon-to-be wearer likes so that you can help the jeweler or salesperson help you.

Ahead, a description of the 9 most-common diamond cuts: marquise, cushion, emerald, Asscher, princess, round, heart, pear, and oval. We walk you through the specifics of each, and let you in on what's unique about every style. Browse through and get a sense of your favorites, and consider the bride-to-be's personality if you need help deciding. Popping the question is stressful as it is—make the process a whole lot smoother by nailing the basics.

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Marquise Cut


The marquise is an oval with pointed ends.

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Cushion Cut


The cushion cut is a cross between a rectangle and an oval; it has a pillow shape, and it is also called an "antique cut."

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Emerald Cut


An emerald cut (originally developed for the gem of the same name) is rectangular with cropped corners and long, stair-step-like facets.

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Asscher Cut


An asscher is similar to an emerald cut, but square, so it looks octagonal (the radiant is a popular variation of these but with facets that give it even greater sparkle).

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Princess Cut


A very popular diamond cut, the princess cut is a brilliant square stone.

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Round Cut


One of the most popular cuts for an engagement ring, the round cut is also a classic diamond shape. A round stone with 58 facets, it has the most sparkle.

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Heart Cut


A heart-shaped diamond resembles its name, so the diamond is in the shape of a literal heart.

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Pear Cut


A pear-cut diamond also resembles its name. An added bonus to the pear shape is that if you wear it with the point facing away from your body, it makes your finger look long and slender.

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Oval Cut


The oval shape, which first began appearing in the Sixties, visually elongates the fingers and is completely unique.

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