Fancy-free fancy cut diamonds...
When a round brilliant just won’t do, you can always choose a fancy cut diamond to liven up your engagement ring! Fancy cut diamonds come in a myriad of shapes with points, curves, and sometimes a little of both.🐶 Whether you want an elongated silhouette or something classic like a square or rectangle, fancy cut shapes have you covered.
We’ve talked about each of these shapes at length before, but what is a fancy shape and how can you find the right one for you? Let’s take a look at 14 popular fancy shapes for both center and side stones and talk more about what makes them fancy shapes and the benefits of choosing one.
With a name like “fancy”, there have to be some complex rules that dictate what counts as a fancy cut diamond and what doesn’t right? Actually, it’s pretty straightforward: a fancy shaped diamond is any silhouette that isn’t a round brilliant. Like we said, pretty simple! Fancy shapes include any shape that doesn’t have the traditional round brilliant cut and silhouette, and these shapes are often the result of gem cutters maximizing the potential yield from an oddly shaped piece of diamond rough.
Since there are no specific criteria for fancy shapes, they come in all shapes and sizes as well as cuts. Brilliant and step cuts are popular for fancy cuts, with princess, marquise, cushion, emerald, oval, and pear being the top choices for center stones among engaged couples. Speaking of engaged couples, they often choose fancy cuts over round brilliants because they want a diamond that has an elongating/slimming effect on wide or short fingers🖐🏻, feel fancy shapes provide a different kind of sparkle and some personalization for their engagement ring, or want to pay a little less for an equally sparkly diamond.
When it comes to price, fancy shapes cost less per carat than round brilliants, which are the most popular diamond cut for engagement rings and still garner the highest prices. According to Blue Nile, you may even pay as much as 25% less for a fancy cut, even when it’s a sought-after silhouette. Fancy cuts can give couples a break from the traditional round brilliant solitaire and offer a more luxe or geometric look depending on their shape.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect diamond, you’ve probably already heard the phrase “cut is king” about a million times. While that’s true, 👉🏻fancy cut diamonds don’t actually receive traditional cut grades from the GIA. Instead, a broad range of proportions and shape appeal dictate how well a fancy shape is cut. For the GIA, this often starts with three major questions:
- Are all corresponding parts proportional?
- How does the cut impact brilliance and fire?
- Does the cut add any weight to the stone that doesn’t contribute to its beauty?
Other things gemologists may look for include deep or shallow pavilions, large or small tables, angles and percentages, girdle thickness, and more. Overall, it’s a very visual examination process that takes a trained eye to understand, but speaking with a jeweler or reading our diamond guides for each shape can really help in figuring out what you’re looking for.
There are several types of fancy cuts on the market today, so we’ll give you a brief rundown of each so you can tell the difference among them. However, we’ll also link to our more in-depth articles so you can read more about your favorite shapes! Here are 9 fancy cut diamonds often used as center stones in engagement rings:
The second most popular diamond shape after the round brilliant, the princess cut is often considered a mixed cut because it combines both step cut and brilliant cut facets to create incredible sparkle. It has 50-58 facets, a square body with pointed corners, and the fractal sparkle of a round brilliant that suits both modern and antique settings.
Arguably the closest in design to a round brilliant, the oval cut looks like a stretched version of this circular cut style with 58 glittering facets. It’s technically considered a combination of the round and pear cut with an elongated silhouette that appears larger than many shapes and can make hands look slimmer and fingers look longer.
Bringing together the best of both pointed and rounded shapes, the prickly pear cut has a pointed tip and a rounded bottom edge that looks sleek in a solitaire setting. One of the oldest diamond shapes available today, it has 58 facets and a length-to-width ratio of around 1.50 to 1.75 for an elongated silhouette with edgy appeal and slimming effects.
The cushion cut is a gorgeous balance between old and new techniques, coming in multiple forms with different facet patterns and square or rectangular silhouettes for varied sparkle. This pillow-like shape has 58 facets and can exhibit either crushed ice sparkle—like that of a brilliant cut—or a subtler chunky sparkle.
The marquise cut has experienced a comeback recently alongside oval and pear cuts, as couples enjoy placing these longer gemstones on simple solitaire bands. A typical marquise diamond will have an elongated silhouette with points at both ends, and while the traditional style has 58 facets this cut can have as many as 71!
Although it’s not as popular as some of the other shapes on this list, the heart cut diamond has captured the “hearts” of creatives and romantics alike for decades, with Lady Gaga among them! A heart-shaped diamond looks exactly like a Valentine’s Day heart, with rounded upper lobes and a pointed bottom edge. It also has 56-60 facets depending on the cut, and symmetry is everything when it comes to this complex design.
Easily the most recognizable step cut, the emerald cut has a rectangular body with truncated corners for eight sides of elegance and beauty. The emerald cut has 57 facets and a longer silhouette that often looks larger on any finger, but it costs 20-30% less than a pricey round brilliant!
Asscher cuts feature that classic step cut appeal with a little twist. They’re 8-sided squares or rectangles (depending on which shape you like!) with an additional x-shaped facet pattern known as the windmill effect.🤠 An antique Asscher cut will usually have 58 facets, but the newer Royal Asscher has a staggering 74 facets for incredible shine.
Radiant cut diamonds are notorious for being, well, radiant! As a mixed cut, they feature a step cut body with the crushed ice sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond, giving wearers the best of both worlds. They can be square or rectangular, but they typically have cut corners for an 8-sided silhouette and 70 precisely cut facets for excellent light play.
Our list wouldn’t be complete without some side stones to go with those 9 popular fancy cuts! So, here’s 4 fancy cut side stone styles to help you create the ring of your dreams:
Also known as “traps”, trapezoid cut side stones are great for elongated silhouettes like the emerald and radiant cut. However, they can be brilliant or step cut to match any diamond shape and look just as lovely next to a princess cut or round brilliant. They have four sides and are shaped just like the trapezoid you might remember from geometry class!
Whether you refer to it as a trilliant or trillion cut, these names both mean the same thing: a triangular diamond silhouette with 31-50 facets that makes for an excellent side stone. They may have pointed or rounded corners depending on your personal taste, and they’re often sold in pairs to make matching side stones or earrings much easier.
One of the most unique and lesser-seen shapes on our list, half moon cuts have two edges: one flat edge and a long, curved edge that meets the flat edge at its ends to create a half moon silhouette. They can be step or brilliant cut, and they’re often paired with princess, emerald, or radiant cut diamonds with the flat side sitting flush against the center stone’s sides.🌙
Cadillac cut diamonds are a variety of trapezoid style cut, but they have a point at the tip that separates the upper edge for a five-sided shape instead of the traditional four sides. The name comes from the shape’s resemblance to the Cadillac logo, signifying elegance and refinement. They’re also the ideal side stones for Asscher, cushion, emerald, and round brilliant cut diamonds.
Before we wrap up, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of choosing a fancy cut diamond:
- Fancy cuts are more affordable than round brilliant diamonds, making them budget-friendly for any ring.🥁
- There are many cuts and even variations among specific shapes from which to choose, meaning your ring can stand out among the crowd.🎸💃🏻
- Fancy shapes offer more opportunities for personalization to make your engagement ring your own.
- Some fancy silhouettes make fingers appear longer or slimmer thanks to their elongated shapes, which is perfect for small hands and fingers
- Some fancy shapes have points/edges that are more susceptible to breakage and may require protective settings like bezels, halos, v-prongs, etc.
- Certain fancy shapes—marquise, oval, and pear—may suffer from the bow-tie effect, which can dampen their overall sparkle if you’re not careful.
- You may need to spend more time finding the right shape for you, as some silhouettes look better on specific hand types than others. Take your time!🛍️
There are so many different styles of fancy cut diamonds to choose from! Are you a fan of those pointed silhouettes like the marquise, pear, and princess? Do you swoon over the classic look of an oval cut diamond, or do the cut corners of the emerald, Asscher, and radiant cuts make you melt? It can be great to have so much variety when it comes to diamond cut/shape, and you’ll be sure to find the right silhouette for you among the many fancy cuts available. And, if you’re still interested in a traditional round brilliant, be sure to read our guide to buying a 1.0-carat round brilliant diamond for your engagement ring.