DIAMOND SHAPESWith a huge array of sizes, shapes and qualities, choosing a diamond can be a daunting process. With the right advice and it can be an enjoyable experience narrowing down the perfect diamond engagement ring. DIAMOND CHOICES: THE CUTThe most popular diamond shape is the round brilliant cut which are found in over three-quarters of diamond engagement rings. This is because of the brilliance and intense fire of the cut which maximises the light refraction and reflection. Not only are they the most sparking and dazzling shape, they are also timeless, versatile and flattering. The princess cut is fast becoming one of the most popular cuts as it still holds the sparkle of a round brilliant cut and therefore, a perfect engagement ring centrepiece. The cut is only about 30 years old and is typically cut square rather than rectangle. This 50 facet (surface) shape stone is usually rectangular with bevelled corners. The angles and proportions of the facets of this shame cause it to sparkle the least, however this is not to be looked at negatively as it will appeal to people who want a lower key, sophisticated look in an engagement ring. This cut is often used in Art Deco forms which is increasingly popular for its individuality and creativity. The 4th most popular cut (after brilliant, prince and emerald cut), the marquise cut has had a come back in recent years. A slender, beautiful and interesting shape for an engagement ring, it can be set across or along the finger and in the latter case creates the effect of elongating the apparent length of finger. Rounded at one end and tapered at the other, pear cuts are often referred to as ‘tear-drops’. The shape is elegant and feminine with its blend of round brilliant and marquise. With 56-58 facets it gives off a wonderful sparkle and another cut that makes shorter fingers appear longer. A traditional looking cut with a difference that gives as much sparkle to the brilliant cut. It can be set both across the finger or lengthwise depending on your preference – both has a striking effect. Developed by Joseph Asscher, who was commissioned by the royal family (King Edward VII) to cut the world’s largest diamond in history. He invented the now-famous Asscher cut, which was most popular in the 1920s, and linked to the Art Deco movement. The cut is a modified version of the emerald cut and more brilliant, you can expect to pay a 10-20% premium for Asscher cut for the exquisite beauty of this cut of diamond.