This week's obsession: modern diamond cuts

This week's obsession: modern diamond cuts
Diamonds have been around for billions of years, but only a few hundred years ago did man discover that an uncut diamond can be transformed into a faceted gem, and by doing so more light and beauty could be unleashed. This discovery leads to more diamond cuts and shapes. The most famous diamond cut and shape is the Round Brilliant. It contains 57 facets. During the 20th century new cuts were added as cutting technology innovations came to the fore.  Find out which cut is the one you would love to Covett. 

Other popular diamond shapes are the Princess Cut diamonds which are square-shaped diamonds mainly cut and polished from a crystal shape rough diamond. Another popular diamond shape is the Cushion Cut diamond. In the past, it was polished with fewer facets due to limited technology and a limited understanding of optics. Today, the Cushion Cut shape diamond is more brilliant and with more facets making the diamond a popular choice.

For those who like more of a clean look and feel diamond there is the Emerald Cut diamond and the Assher Cut also known as the Square Emerald Cut. The shape of a diamond refers to the outer lines where the cut of the diamond refers to the arrangement of the facets for the specific cut. With the high cost of uncut diamonds, diamond cutters and polishers are always on the lookout to have better recovery from the uncut diamond while maximizing the light performance of the diamond cut. This gave birth to new diamond cuts and shapes like Pear Shape diamonds, Marquise Shape diamonds, Heart Shape diamonds, and others that become popular diamond shapes over the years.

Every year we see diamond houses come up with their own branded cuts and shapes but let's work our way up from the most known and basic to the up and coming.

Here is a list of the most popular; but don't be shy and ask your favourite jeweller if they have their own diamond cut.

Recently with advancements in technology, a few new diamonds made their way to the market offering unique diamonds shapes and cuts. The My Girl Diamond, the first South African diamond patented cut and shape. The My Girl Diamond is the only diamond in the world to achieve the perfect balance of fire and brilliance.


The My Girl diamond is the essence of romance and beauty. It’s a symbol of undying love and devotion. This original, eight-sided, square-cut diamond was developed by Yair Shimansky after more than three years of research and carries an international patent for its cut and design. The essence of the My Girl diamond is its ability to reflect light from any angle, unlike most diamond cuts that only reflect light from the top.

A diamond is one of the rarest gems, and what makes the My Girl unique is that it can only be polished from a ‘crystal’ shaped rough diamond, which in its natural form resembles two joined pyramids. Catching the light with every movement the My Girl has a diamond-shaped table facet that reflects brilliance from every angle, delivering the perfect balance of brilliance, fire, and scintillation. The My Girl diamond, exclusive to Shimansky, inspires a feeling of everlasting love.


Taking three times longer to polish, and shaped by only one in a thousand diamond polishers, the Shimansky Eight Hearts diamond displays a perfect eight heart pattern when viewed from the bottom and a perfect eight arrow star when viewed from the top. The attention to detail and superior craftsmanship that this diamond cut demands results in perfect proportion and symmetry that reflects fire, brilliance, and scintillation at their best.

The Eight Hearts diamond, has three distinguishing factors: perfection in polish, symmetry, and proportion, which according to a GIA study of over 60,000 diamonds, less than 3% could satisfy ideal proportions. This Super Ideal Cut Diamond is designed to maximise the potential of the rough diamond. The Eight Hearts diamond is exclusive to Shimansky.


Born from a dream to create the world’s most brilliant diamond cut, the Brilliant 10 features 71 facets precisely aligned for the ultimate display of fire, brilliance and scintillation. Cascading light with an intensity second to none, each facet is shaped in a precise and calculated technique to reveal a perfect ten hearts pattern when viewed from below and a perfect ten arrows pattern when viewed from above through the Ideal Scope. This is your ultimate guarantee that the Brilliant 10 diamond has been cut for perfect symmetry and proportion; visible evidence that it is in a class of its own.

In the constant pursuit for perfection, the Brilliant 10 diamond cut is the result of years of research into the exact science of light behaviour and optic dispersion and was developed by Yair Shimansky. Tested in leading international gemological laboratories, the Brilliant 10 scored up to 25% more brilliance when compared to a round brilliant cut diamond. Taking up to three times longer to cut, and polished only by a handful of skilled master diamond polishers, the essence of this patented cut is its ability to reflect light that enters the diamond through the table with little to no light leakage – a world first in the diamond industry.

The Brilliant 10 is the perfect choice for the diamond connoisseur and is exclusive to Shimansky.


The round brilliant cut is conventionally the most popular shape of all diamond cuts and has set the standard. Polished with 57 facets its ideal proportions return a great amount of fire, brilliance, and scintillation. This cut has also been the benchmark for theories of light behavior and precise mathematical calculations, all in the pursuit of perfection.


Square in shape and with pointed corners, the princess cut is the most popular shape of the fancy cut diamonds. Its beautiful brilliance and square shape makes it a favourite for engagement rings. Princess-Cut diamonds are generally polished with either 50 facets or 58 facets, depending on how the pavilion is cut.

The Princess Cut, technically known as a ‘Square Modified Brilliant Cut’, is a square version of the Round Brilliant Cut with numerous sparkling facets. The optimal ratio of length to width is 1:1, although a length-to-width ratio between 1:1 and 1.4:1 is perfectly acceptable.


This square or rectangular cut features trimmed corners and combines the elegance of the emerald shape diamond with the brilliance of the round. Radiant Cut Diamonds have 70 facets in total, and the overall shape can vary in their degree of rectangularity.

A Radiant cut diamond is technically known as a ‘cut-cornered, rectangle (or square) modified brilliant’. Generally, if you are looking for a square cut, a Radiant Shape’s length to width ratio is approximately 1.0 to 1.1:1. For a more rectangular shape, look for a ratio of 1.11 to 1.5:1.


The Emerald cut is an elegant diamond shape characterised by its step-like facets, rectangular shape, and trimmed corners. Due to its larger, open table, this shape is often reserved for top colour and clarity diamonds. The Emerald cut is typically polished with 44 facets.


The Asscher cut is a unique diamond cut, similar to an Emerald Cut diamond with step-like facets with trimmed corners, but square in shape. The Asscher cut was developed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher and was inspired by the table cuts of the Renaissance.

The most famous Asscher cut is the Cullinan diamond. An Asscher cut diamond is technically known as a ‘square emerald cut’. The ideal length to width ratio is between 1.00 and 1.05:1.


An oval diamond is an elongated version of the round brilliant. If well proportioned, this beautiful cut gives great brilliance, fire and scintillation. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers. Oval cut diamonds are generally polished with 56 facets.

The Oval shape has a larger surface area, than a round brilliant of the same carat weight, and is an excellent choice for those more concerned with size.


The Marquise has a slender shape characterised by two sharp points on either end. Like the Oval, the Marquise accentuates long, slender fingers and has a large surface area. The standard number of facets on a Marquise cut is 58.

The Marquise Cut was inspired by the fetching smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by King Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match the smile. The optimal ratio of length-to-width is 2:1, although a range between 1.75 and 2.25:1 is also acceptable.


The Pear shape is a unique hybrid cut, shaped like a teardrop and combining the best of the marquise and round brilliant cut. Well proportioned, it gives a depth of scintillation to the point of the diamond. Pear shapes are extremely popular in rings, earrings, and pendants. Pear shapes are typically polished with 58 facets, and the optimal length-to-width ratio is between 1.50 and 1.75:1.


The shape of the Cushion cut is characterised by soft edges and round corners, resembling a cushion or pillow. This type of cut has been popular since the first diamond cuts were developed. Cushion cut diamonds range from a more square shape to a rectangular.

If you prefer the squarer shape, look for a length-to-width ratio of 1.05 to 1.10:1. For a more rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios of greater than 1.15:1.


The Criss cut is a relatively new diamond shape. Like the Emerald cut, the Criss Cut is elongated in shape with trimmed corners but unique in that the step-like facets cross each other in a criss-cross fashion. Polished with 77 facets, the Criss Cut diamond can either be rectangular or octagonal in shape.


Truly romantic the Heart shape diamond is a modified brilliant cut. It takes skill and expertise to achieve perfect balance in this sentimental cut. The standard number of facets polished in a Heart shape diamond is 59.


The Cape Town Diamond Museum