Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but what really adds to their allure? Jewellers talk of the “four Cs” used to describe a stone, but the colour, carat and clarity are out of our hands, determined by the natural world. That leaves the cut, to really make it sparkle, and that’s all about precision, geometry and artistry, requiring huge expertise and an innate understanding of the diamond. Luxury maisons create their masterpieces using a mix of diamond cuts , from traditional favourites to daring new ways to articulate their vision. Often, people confuse the cut with the shape (the stone’s face-up outline: round, oval, heart, pear). A diamond’s cut refers to the arrangement of its facets and how they interact with light. But first, let’s dive into the major cuts used in high jewellery. Brilliant The beloved round brilliant-cut diamond has a timeless elegance and unmistakable brilliance that remains hugely popular, often featuring in engagement rings as well in high jewellery pieces. It was the Belgian-born gemmologist and mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky who determined that 58 facets was the standard for cutting diamonds to achieve maximum brilliancy. The Met Gala 2022’s best and worst dressed stars, from Kim K to SJP Princess The princess cut created in 1981 by Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itskowitz holds great appeal, especially when set in engagement rings. It is a squarer version of the round brilliant, with modified facet arrangements that create a dizzying sparkle. They can also be rectangular, tapered with sharp corners and even shaped like an upside-down pyramid. Cushion One of the old-world favourites, the cushion cut was arguably the third most popular cut back in the day. This cut takes inspiration from the early brilliant cut (or “old mine cut”) that dates back to the 1700s and remained in vogue till nearly the end of 19th century. With a distinct “pillow” shape, the modern-day cushion brilliant cuts are square or rectangular with curved sides and either rounded or pointed corners. Radiant A radiant cut is square or rectangular and typically has an eight-sided outline with cropped corners and brilliant-cut facets. The style was patented by Henry Grossbard in the late 1970s – and is hence a relative newbie in the world of fancy shapes. The angular shape and facets make a radiant cut super sparkly. Vintage and Royal Asscher A variant of the square-shaped diamond is the vintage Asscher cut with 58 facets created in 1902 by Joseph Asscher. The long step-cut facets create an optical illusion, drawing you in as though into a hallway mirrored on all walls. The Royal Asscher cut – with an additional 16 facets – is an updated version produced by Joseph’s descendants to recall the cut of the Cullinan diamonds used in the British Crown Jewels. The 5 best nature-inspired jewellery pieces for spring Emerald The traditional outlines and understated elegance of an emerald-cut diamond makes it a great choice for unconventional designs. The cut’s four longer sides have bevelled corners and concentric rows of facets. Set at angles, instead of the regular vertical or horizontal styles, emerald-cut diamonds and coloured gems are often used to create a cluster design in high jewellery. Marquise The marquise cut, with elongated curved sides and pointed ends, owes its existence to the whims of King Louis XV, who reportedly wanted a diamond shaped like the lips of his lover. A marquise cut also makes a stone look larger than a round stone of the same weight. Oval The oval cut is another fancy shape and when faceted in the brilliant style, its fire – as seen in Chanel’s L’Esprit Du Lion earrings, for example – can rival that of even a round brilliant. Pear and heart Pear-cut diamonds have a tapered outline, bringing together the best of the round and marquise cuts, while heart cuts work well with larger carat diamonds and gems. Unsurprisingly, the heart cut is widely used in rings. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .