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Square Shaped Diamond Cuts Explained

Square shape diamond engagement ring on girl's finger

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Although round diamonds are the most popular of all diamond cuts, square shaped cuts also have their allure and beauty. In fact, of the 10 commonly found diamond shapes, 5 are square or rectangular.

The princess cut is the most famous of the square shapes (and the second most popular of all the cuts). But there are several other square shaped diamond cuts that are just as beautiful, and each comes with its own pros and cons.

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If you’re in the market for a diamond for your engagement ring, here’s everything you need to know about the most popular square shaped diamonds.

Square or Round?

First things first, when choosing your diamond, decide whether you want a stone with angles or curves.

There’s a reason the round brilliant is the most popular cut and that’s because it tends to be more brilliant and versatile than other cuts. It’s also the most traditional cut, with variations dating back several hundred years. Over 75% of all diamonds are cut into this shape. If you like a classic look, then a round diamond is probably for you.

However, square diamonds tend to give a non-conventional, modern look to your ring and are ideal for brides who want something a little bit different.

Types of Square Cut Diamonds

Here are the 5 most popular square diamond cuts. Note that some of these are traditionally rectangular in shape but can be cut into squarer shapes too.

1- The Princess Cut

Princess cut engagement ring on girl's finger

Celebrity Engagement Rings: Hilary Duff, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kate Bosworth

Associated With: risk-taking, modernity, independence, fun and creativity 

You can’t talk about a square shaped diamond and not mention the princess cut. While it’s typically square, you can find elongated versions which are more rectangular. It’s perfect for a woman who likes clean, angular lines and a brilliant sparkle.

The main benefits of the princess cut are that it’s less expensive than a round while often appearing larger. It also tends to hide imperfections in the diamond due to its brilliance and the large number of facets that cover its surface. It’s highly versatile and can easily suit any ring style or setting.

One thing to take care of with the princess cut is its four sharp corners, which can be vulnerable to impact and chipping. Some jewelers set the stone with prongs at these corners to provide protection to the diamond.

See more princess cut diamond rings here.

2- The Cushion Cut

Cushion cut engagement ring on bride's finger

Celebrity Engagement Rings: Meghan Markle, Priyanka Chopra, Karlie Kloss

Associated With: tradition, history, romance, realism, adventure  

One of the top trending shapes of recent years, the cushion cut has been around for centuries. The cushion cut is the perfect example of how an old style can be repurposed to suit modern times. There are a couple of variations to this shape, which mostly relate to the type and number of facets. For a modern take, look for a modified brilliant cushion cut while for a traditional look, pick an antique cushion cut. You can also find rectangular cushions which have a more elongated shape to them.

The new cushion cut is highly brilliant and rivals the princess cut in terms of sparkle and beauty. It’s also more affordable than round diamonds and hide inclusions and flaws well. Because cushion cuts have sloping, gently curving edges, they don’t snag or catch on objects like princess cuts can. However, cushion cuts can show color and if they have large facets, they can show inclusions as well.

See more cushion cut diamond rings here.

3- The Radiant Cut

Simple radiant shape engagement ring in white gold

Celebrity Engagement Rings: Lea Michele, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore

Associated With: trendiness, modernity, glamor, confidence, limelight    

The radiant cut is a square shaped cut with the brilliance of a princess cut and the softer edges of a cushion. It might look like it’s only got 4 sides but look closely and you’ll see that it’s actually got 8 edges. Because there aren’t any sharp corners, the chances of chipping or damage is lower, and the cut doesn’t snag on everyday objects. Radiant cuts are also very brilliant, but they tend to hide inclusions and color tints well.

Not many people immediately think of the radiant cut when it comes to their jewelry, especially engagement rings. This makes it a unique and rarer choice, ideal if you want something a little different while still looking classic.

One thing to note is that the radiant cut is quite a deep cut, and this means that like an iceberg, a lot of the weight is underneath. So you might have a diamond that’s a little smaller than what it should be. Also, radiant cuts are typically rectangular in shape but also come in perfect squares.

See more cushion cut diamond rings here.

4- The Asscher Cut

Asscher-shaped diamond ring

Celebrity Engagement Rings: Gwyneth Paltrow, Pippa Middleton, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson

Associated With: vintage, drama, confidence, style, femininity, modernity    

Asscher cuts have become very popular of late because of their unique style. They’re not a brilliant cut but is what’s known as a step-cut. It features long facets that are cut to resemble steps along the surface of the diamond, similar to an emerald cut. But the Asscher tends to sparkle more than the emerald cut and is typically square.

The Asscher cut is very Art Deco in look, featuring the geometric shape and lines that the period is famous for. It was created in that era, in the 1920s, and is a perfect example of the diamonds of the time.

Asscher diamonds are versatile and look great in a range of settings. They’re perfect for vintage Art Deco rings but look stunning in modern styles too. Like the radiant, it has 8 corners and doesn’t snag on objects. It’s more durable than the princess because of its blunt corners. It’s also a deep cut like the radiant and because of its large, open facets, you have to purchase a good quality diamond to avoid flaws and color easily showing through.

See more amazing Asscher diamond rings here.

5- The Emereld Cut

Emerald cut diamond engagement ring

Celebrity Engagement Rings: Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Amal Clooney, Grace Kelly

Associated With: simplicity, honesty, regal style, sophistication, elegance, confidence and warm-heartedness   

Emerald cuts are known for their rectangular, elongated shape, but they can also come in squarer shapes. People often confuse the Asscher with the emerald cut and think that the Asscher is simply a square emerald but this isn’t correct. The emerald cut has several characteristics that make it very different to the Asscher. While initially created as a cut for emerald gemstones, today it’s very popular for diamonds too.

The emerald cut is a step-cut and has long facets that create a hall of mirrors effect when touched by light. It’s got contrasting areas of dark and light which create an intriguing look. This cut is ideal to show off the clarity of the diamond. The cut also makes diamonds look larger as it’s not a very deep cut. Emerald cuts are also very affordable compared to other popular diamond cuts.

One thing to note is that the emerald cut isn’t very brilliant or flashy. It gives off a calmer, elegant and serene look. The emerald cut is for the woman who wants something different yet traditional and who isn’t afraid to be different.

See more emerald cut diamond rings here.

Hopefully this gives you an idea as to which square shape to go with. The associations of each diamond shape refers to the image and style that the cut evokes but these are only guidelines. Choose a shape that resonates with you and complements your personal style.