Shape is the most distinguishing feature of a diamond; although your partner may not know the exact engagement ring she’d like, she likely has a preference on stone shape. There are countless diamond shapes on the market, but a handful of classics rise above the rest. Here, a breakdown of the most popular:
The most popular shape, round diamonds make up 60 percent of all engagement ring purchases. A well-cut round offers the maximum reflection of light and potential for brilliance and brightness — ideal if you’re looking for the most sparkle in an enduring classic shape.
Following round in popularity, a princess cut diamond’s distinguishing features are clean, rigid lines and sharp right angles. It offers the brilliance of a round but with a square shape.
Emerald cut diamonds are well proportioned to bring out the brilliance in the stone; since the style emphasizes color, you don’t want to compromise on that feature. The shape is typically cut in a rectangle, but can also be square.
Increasingly popular in recent years, oval diamonds are simply elongated rounds; they offer the brilliance of a round in a more unique shape that gives the appearance of longer, slender fingers. The shape has a tendency to show more color than a round diamond; it’s recommended to select a color grade up (see below) to ensure the ends appear colorless.
Radiant cut diamonds are most identifiable by their square or rectangular shape and block-cut corners and is considered one of the shiniest shape.
Understated and vintage, the Asscher cut has an art deco vibe. The tiered step cut offers a balanced visual appeal, but can reflect clarity inclusions and color, so higher grades in both categories are recommended (see below).
Considered the most feminine shape, pear is defined by its teardrop shape: a rounded bottom that tapers to a point at the opposite end. The more elongated the pear, the more slender fingers appear.
Square or rectangular cushion cut is an antique shape with rounded corners, ideal for women with an active lifestyle. Cushion cut diamonds have great fire, the rainbow-like light that is reflected out of a diamond.
Marquise cut diamonds are identified by their elongated shape that tapers on either end. Though the style is more rare, it is an elegant and creative shape for an engagement ring.
Carat weight is used to describe the size of a diamond. It is the most emphasized diamond feature of the 4 Cs (carat, color, cut, clarity). On the metric scale, one carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams — in natural diamond creation, it takes roughly 250 tons of rock mining to produce a single carat.
Many buyers looking for an engagement ring tend to put the most emphasis on carat weight, as it is the most visual element — and they’re looking for the largest diamonds for their budgets. But take heed: Diamond pricing increases exponentially from 1 carat upward, and as carat weight increases, you may have to compromise on the other Cs, which affect sparkle and fire. A balance of all four Cs is optimal for engagement ring diamonds.
Check out the comparison of carat weights below, and get a feel for the physical size using our Home Try-On service.
While many buyers put the most emphasis on carat weight, it is actually a diamond’s cut that has the greatest influence on its appearance and price, as this is the element that affects its sparkle.
Not to be confused with shape, a diamond’s cut refers to its symmetry, proportions, polish and the way it interacts with light. The cut creates captivating visual effects:
- Brightness: The internal and external “white light” that reflects from a diamond
- Fire: The dispersion of white light into the colors of the rainbow
- Scintillation: Also known as sparkle, the pattern of light and dark achieved by reflections within the diamond
Diamond Cut Types
The grading scale can vary from source to source — making it confusing for consumers — but HauteCarat uses the industry’s most standardized scale when pricing its products:
Excellent: The highest grade representing the top diamonds in the world, this is a rare and desirable cut that reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond.
Very good: This cut grade reflects most of the light that enters the diamond. It is considered highly desirable and near perfect.
Good: Good cut diamonds have some light leakage, but overall shine bright and can have noticeably larger or even smaller measurements than perfectly cut diamonds of the same shape. HautCarat does not carry any diamonds of this grade.
Fair/Poor: These diamonds are typically cut deep and narrow or shallow and wide, causing them to lose most of the light out the sides and bottom and making them less visually appealing. HauteCarat does not carry any diamonds of this grade.
A measurement of imperfections and blemishes (also known as inclusions), clarity refers to the quality of the diamond. Depending on the size and location, inclusions can reduce sparkle by preventing light from refracting and passing through the diamond; however most imperfections cannot be seen by the naked eye.
HauteCarat does not sell any diamonds under SI2 clarity
Color refers to the whiteness present in the diamond. Diamonds are graded on a scale from D (colorless) to X (light yellow), which determines range of color and measure of how noticeable color is. A diamond rated "colorless" allows the most light to pass through, making it sparkle more and increasing the overall value.
Equally as important as the center diamond is the style and setting for an engagement ring. HauteCarat offers a variety of styles in 18k white gold, 18k yellow gold and 18k rose gold. Here, a few of the most popular:
A single diamond is set in a simple mounting, usually with four or six prongs. This is the most traditional setting for an engagement ring, and can be personalized with diamond bands or a ring guard or wrap to “frame” the larger diamond.
Most frequently used for wedding and anniversary bands, the channel setting features side-by-side stones with no metal separating them and a smooth exterior.
Accent diamonds are set close together, and held in place with small beads of metal, drawing attention to the sparkle rather than the metal. Micro-pavé settings are even smaller and narrower, minimizing the look of the metal.
The setting encircles a center diamond with a collection of round pavé or micro-pavé diamonds that flash with light and focus attention on the center stone. A high-carat center diamond looks much larger in a halo setting and a quarter-, third- or half-carat diamond can look as much as a half carat larger. No matter your budget, a halo setting offers the most bang for your buck.
With the diamond enclosed in a border of precious metal, this is a secure setting with a long-lasting appeal. It shows more metal than other settings and is common for both men’s and women’s rings.
Every ring at HauteCarat is custom made to order in the correct size; unlike other jewelers, we do not re-size pre-made rings. While nothing is more accurate than having your finger measured by a professional, here are a few tips and tools to assist in determining the exact size for your ring purchase. (Request a free plastic ring sizer and we will ship it out to you at no cost!)
Most engagements are a surprise, which can make figuring out the correct ring size a little tricky. Here are a few of our favorite ways to determine the correct size while keeping your plan a secret.
- Borrow one of your partner's rings that she wears on the same finger and use this printable ring sizer to determine its size.
- If she’ll notice the ring is missing, simply trace the inside of it on a piece of paper, and compare that to the printable ring sizer.
- Try one of her rings on your own finger. Push it down as far as it will go and mark the spot with a pen, then have that part of your finger sized.
- Talk to her friends. It's not uncommon for one friend to ask another for her ring size out of curiosity — just remember to pick the best secret-keeping friend!
Ring Size Conversion Chart
|1.890||48.0||4.5||I 1/2||8||47 3/4||15 1/2|
|1.940||49.3||5||J 1/2||9||49||15 3/4|
|1.990||50.6||5.5||K 1/2||10||50 1/4||16 1/4|
|2.041||51.8||6||L 1/2||11||51 1/2||16 1/2|
|2.091||53.1||6.5||M 1/2||13||52 3/4||17|
|2.141||54.4||7||N 1/2||14||54||17 1/4|
|2.192||55.7||7.5||O 1/2||15||55 1/4||17 1/2|
|2.242||56.9||8||P 1/2||16||56 1/2||18|
|2.292||58.2||8.5||Q 1/2||17||57 3/4||18 1/2|
|2.393||60.8||9.5||S 1/2||19||60 1/4||19 1/2|
|2.443||62.1||10||T 1/2||20||61 1/2||20|
|2.493||63.3||10.5||U 1/2||22||62 3/4||20 1/2|
|2.543||64.6||11||V 1/2||23||64||20 3/4|
|2.594||65.9||11.5||W 1/2||24||65 1/4||21|
|2.644||67.2||12||X 1/2||25||66 1/2||21 1/4|
|2.694||68.4||12.5||Z||26||67 3/4||21 3/4|