Diana engagement ring shape

The Most Popular Gemstone Shapes And Trending Cuts Of 2022

Are you customising your own engagement ring or commissioning heirloom pieces? Catch up on the best cuts and gemstone shapes of the season:

  • Introduction: The emerging gemstone shapes and trends, in the post-pandemic market and engagement circuit
  • Why sapphire engagement rings are so popular this year, especially the classical cuts
  • The shapes of 2022: What matters more, size, clarity or carat?
  • The different gemstone shapes to consider this year
  • Hexagonal gemstones: Why they offer optimal light performance and their spiritual significance
  • Kite-shaped gemstones: The new kid on the block; why its geometric ratios are getting eyeballs and why coloured, kite-shaped gems are most coveted
  • Emerald-cut gems: Classic and trusted by most A-listers and royals like Meghan Markle. Why it’s ideal for sapphire, topaz, tourmaline and non-diamond engagement rings
  • Pear-shaped gemstones: Why it helps save weight and the kind of variants you should go for
  • Round cuts: Classic, popular and perfect for flashy sapphire engagement rings, especially vis-a-vis light return
  • Why hexagons and kite shapes are the winning trends of this year
  • Emerging gemstone trends: Asscher cut and trillion cut
  • Conclusion: What should you really choose — angular and sleek shapes or curved and well-rounded options?

When it comes to everyday jewellery, gemstone shapes matter more than you think. While oval, marquise or pear-cut stones can elongate shorter fingers, round gemstones, especially round, brilliant-cut shapes are most popular as engagement rings, owing to the many kite-shaped facets that offer an incredible light performance; they reflect light through their many surfaces which maximizes the sparkle.

In the engagement ring market and in the luxury sector, coloured gemstones are gaining ground over diamonds. The Gem Society explains that wearability, clarity and optical performance are of utmost importance when it comes to zeroing in on a coloured gemstone for bespoke jewellery. When it comes to sapphires, tourmalines, rubies or emeralds, it’s important to consider what the cut does for the colour of the gemstone.

Diana engagement ring shape

Princess Diana’s famous Ceylon sapphire engagement ring, for instance, was designed to boost its colour and clarity. The brilliant-cut crown and a step-cut pavilion (bottom part) made sure no part of the big oval sapphire was wasted.

Emma Clarkson Webb, a certified GIA gemologist and bespoke jeweller, points out that post the pandemic, buyers are steering towards impactful gemstone cuts which set their jewellery apart from the herd. So, while trendy shapes are winning big in bespoke jewellery or custom purchases, in engagement rings one-of-a-kind shapes and cuts are popular, which would explain why sapphires or bi-coloured gemstones are doing well commercially since they offer more range vis-a-vis gradient and also offer optimal clarity while being cheaper than diamonds.

 

 

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“Sapphire rings have always been extremely popular but they seem to have come full circle, thanks to the renewed focus on Princess Diana’s ring. The variation in tones and shades that blue sapphires come in makes them appealing to a wide audience; they’re also very hard-wearing and don’t come with quite the same price tag as a diamond, which definitely adds to their popularity,” Webb says.

The shapes of 2022

Modern buyers are aiming towards aspirational carat sizes; so bigger but wearable gemstones are in demand. Angular, contemporary gemstone shapes and lean silhouettes are the winning trends of the year because they offer the illusion of above-average carat size. So, octagonal, baguette shapes and sharp briolettes are sought-after, even by A-listers. Megan Fox, for instance, sports a double pear-cut ring featuring an oval-cut diamond and an untreated Colombian emerald, carved into an angular teardrop.

 

 

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In coloured gemstones, tablets, emerald cuts, hexagons and geometric shapes are the most coveted this year, since they offer more optical possibilities. A sharp, radiant-cut square sapphire or Asscher-cut sapphire with eight clean facets offer a more discerning dazzle than a regular princess-cut diamond and also comes with a more reasonable price tag. To put it simply, sharp, clarity-boosting gemstone forms with big, clean facets and sculptural edges are the trendiest gemstone shapes of the year. Here are the shapes you should consider if you’re going for custom jewellery:

Hexagons

Modern buyers are consistently looking for unique geometries and one-of-a-kind facet structures, especially when it comes to the shape of coloured gemstones. A hexagonal gemstone offers both. Brilliant-cut hexagonal gemstones have a facet structure that’s similar to round-cut diamonds, thus guaranteeing an exceptional light performance. Step-cut hexagonal gemstones have a facet structure that resembles emerald-cut gems where the clean, open facets yield a certain ‘hall of mirrors’ effect. This boosts the illusion of depth and also draws attention to the centre.

Rooney Mara’s hexagon-shaped portrait engagement stone is flanked by slender tapered baguettes. The stone is almost entirely flat without any facets since it has been designed to be a minimal statement.

rooney mara hexagon engagement ring

The hexagon is also referred to as the sacred shape, in sacred geometry or Flower of Life, which has been significant in ancient architecture around the world. Because of the two interlocking triangles in a hexagon, the shape is said to symbolize harmony and balance, specifically between male and female energies. Naturally, this gemstone shape is a top-seller when it comes to engagement rings, as buyers are leaning towards spiritually-inclined or meaningful jewellery.

For modern buyers, however, the wearability of the hexagon is what draws them towards this shape, since it also accommodates newer setting trends and stylish bands. For instance, if you’re not too keen on a petite solitaire, go for a coloured hexagonal centrepiece, surrounded by a halo of diamonds or a vintage setting with a contoured band that complements its edges.

The hexagon is also referred to as the sacred shape, in sacred geometry or Flower of Life, which has been significant in ancient architecture around the world. Because of the two interlocking triangles in a hexagon, the shape is said to symbolize harmony and balance, specifically between male and female energies. Naturally, this gemstone shape is a top-seller when it comes to engagement rings, as buyers are leaning towards spiritually-inclined or meaningful jewellery.

For modern buyers, however, the wearability of the hexagon is what draws them towards this shape, since it also accommodates newer setting trends and stylish bands. For instance, if you’re not too keen on a petite solitaire, go for a coloured hexagonal centrepiece, surrounded by a halo of diamonds or a vintage setting with a contoured band that complements its edges.

 

 

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Kite shapes

The kite-shaped gemstone has emerged as the most sought-after variant in the past year. Kite shapes, also known as shield shapes, recently took the world by storm, as part of Dior’s floral-themed Dior Rose line. Cartier’s monochromatic high jewellery line also made use of this shape to highlight the graphic detailing in its pieces. The Sixième Sens Coruscant necklace, for instance, plays up the elements of geometry and light, with a three-carat kite-shaped diamond complemented by 1.62-carat octagon-cut and 1.54-carat emerald-cut diamond.

Kite shaped teal sapphire ring

Kite-shape gemstones essentially come in elongated silhouettes, or squat forms and the large, horizontal facet at the centre of a stone makes the gemstone look larger than it is, and yet the sleek shape is a lot more wearable. The pointed edges are a lot more visually striking than the soft finish of a pear-cut or a classic cushion-cut and it also enhances the colour blocking, especially in engagement rings featuring coloured stones.

Sarah Dickinson, Director of Ecommerce at Brooklyn-based jewellery label Mociun reveals that when it comes to non-diamond engagement rings, shape or cut matters more than carat or density. She points out that a diamond is less dense than sapphires — which means a 1-carat diamond will be larger than a 1 carat sapphire of the exact same cut. However, it will also cost more. Hence when it comes to non-diamond categories, angular shapes like the kite are in high demand, since they’ll most likely be more economical than diamonds but also offer a size-enhancing feature.

 

 

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However, it’s quite difficult to source a kite-shaped sapphire off-the-rack or from mainstream retailers. Customising a centre stone or tracing a wholesaler is one of the easiest ways to get your hands on a kite-shaped sapphire. Navneet Gems offers a range of unheated, natural flat, tablet sapphires with eclectic cuts of bicoloured gems like teal and parti sapphires. The flat layout of the stone highlights the zoning in each stone making each option stand out.

Emerald-cut

Actor Cressida Bonas (also Prince Harry’s former girlfriend) recently got engaged and now sports a bold octagonal gemstone surrounded by a halo of rubies and another of smaller stones. In sharp pieces, an array of smaller complementing gems can be a great choice. Cressida opted for a bespoke design, and it shows that wearability was a priority for the actor, despite the unusual design elements.

 Actor Cressida Bonas (also Prince Harry’s former girlfriend) recently got engaged and now sports a bold octagonal gemstone surrounded by a halo of rubies and another of smaller stones. In sharp pieces, an array of smaller complementing gems can be a great choice. Cressida opted for a bespoke design, and it shows that wearability was a priority for the actor, despite the unusual design elements.

Octagonal stones are usually cut in steps (also known as a trap cut). The emerald cut is an octagonal step or trap cut. Brittanica confirms that this method of faceting coloured gemstones produces flat stones with steps, or rows, of four-sided facets parallel to the stone’s widest part. This means the facets are long and narrow, except at the corners and this play of angles boosts affect the brilliance of stones such as sapphires, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, and amethysts.

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan Markle also has a rather famous emerald-cut coloured stone among her jewellery collection which was also a commissioned piece, originally created for Princess Diana, by the jeweller Asprey. For her wedding reception, Meghan sported Diana’s iconic emerald-cut aquamarine ring, believed to be just over 30 carats. 

megan markle aquamarine ring

The cool, icy tones of the blue stone are refreshing especially since Diana had chosen an emerald-cut, possibly for its light return. “Fine quality aquamarines, ones with the ocean blue colour, excellent transparency and free of inclusions are valuable. The shade of blue is more refined than blue topaz and, in many ways, more elegant than the electric Windex blue colour of rare Paraíba tourmalines,” said Asprey’s Robert O’Connell.

When it comes to coloured gemstones like sapphires, modestly priced emerald cuts often show inclusions, improving the colour of the sapphire. These fine, rutile needles create nuanced transparency in some sapphires. Since emerald cuts also go well with solitaire or pave settings, a great shape for engagement rings, if someone wants something classic yet flashy.

Pear-shaped gemstones

Pear-shaped gemstone is a classic that’s re-emerging as one of the most popular shapes this year and may even overshadow the heart shape’s popularity in engagement stones. The shape which originated in 15th century France, essentially marries the brilliant-cut round silhouette with that of the marquise cut, so it offers a great length-to-width ratio that optimizes its sparkle.

Victoria beckham pear shaped engagement ring

So people who don’t want the safe and trusty round-cut can opt for something a bit more angular. The pear’s soft edges and rounded bottom narrow upward lending a unique asymmetry to its design. The Gem Society confirms that the pear-shaped was invented by a Flemish (modern-day Belgium) diamond cutter named Lodewyk van Bercken in 1475, who established his pear cut diamond with 58 facets. Classical standards still dictate that pear shapes, much like round brilliant cuts, should have 58 facets, although commissioned pieces and bespoke jewellery and some new-wave silhouettes may take liberties with its cut.

 

 

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If you’re opting for a custom, non-diamond engagement ring and choosing your own pear-shaped coloured stone, be it teal sapphire or something else, make sure flattened areas or bulges aren’t too far out of symmetry, so it has the width of a classic round-cut and also the marquise-like sleek, curved wings which elongate its silhouette.

Round gemstones

Round brilliant-cut pieces are extremely coveted when it comes to coloured gemstones. For people who want the old school or classic element in their wedding jewellery, this shape certainly is the best. A round-cut has been considered the gold standard for gemstones shapes, especially when it comes to coloured gems and post 2020, more and more brides are steering towards round-cut engagement rings in sapphires since they can opt for a large, festive centre stone but for a cheaper price tag than a diamond. 

 

 

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Usually, cutters examine each gemstone to determine how best to shape it to retain as much carat weight as possible and also to boost its sparkle. Colour zoning and the lightness and darkness usually helps them determine the type of facets needed in round sapphires. Round brilliant-cut sapphires are the most coveted because they are cut to maximize light reflected from the stone. Round or oval, brilliant-cuts lead to the highest light return in recommend brilliant cuts. They allow the best possible movement of light within the stone to display both hues equally and brightly. A poor cut will darken the stone’s tone and thus lose its lighter hues.

As more and more buyers are steering towards ethically mined gemstones, teal sapphires, which are usually are sourced from mechanically mined sources like Australia and Montana in the USA, or artisanal mines, are quite coveted as engagement stones.

Hexagons and kites: 2022’s winning statements

If you’re on a budget, sharp or semi-sharp curves and unusual geometries can help you get your hands on a truly stunning engagement ring within your price bracket. Hexagonal gemstones are ideal for custom engagement rings or bespoke jewellery because buyers can communicate with the cutter or the wholesale platform about the facet structure they want. Hexagonal gemstones go with almost any setting, from a low-profile bezel setting or a flashier pave setting. 

Not to mention, more and more A-listers are seeking out petite, wearable, hexagonal engagement rings. Much like round cuts, hexagonal gemstones, especially the ones cut as centre stones, have a focus on symmetry and proportions, so cutters are more conscious about weight-saving from the rough. If you’re going for custom designs, the hexagon could be perfect for you.

 

 

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While hexagon is ideal for smaller, sophisticated pieces, the kite-shaped gemstone is the ultimate pick for flashier engagement rings. Keep in mind, that the kite shape is challenging, which makes it so coveted. Designer Ara Vartanian who works directly with specialist cutters to produce kite shapes, especially in Paraiba tourmalines and morganites points out that finishing the kite shape could be a challenge. “You have to cut tips, which can break, and they can’t be too pointy,” she reveals.

If you’re consulting specialists for a bespoke piece, consider going for tablet cabochons or natural tablet sapphires. These kinds of sapphires can be made from roughs from anywhere and a part of the production of rough consists of semi-angular, flat stones that do not have enough mass of volume for adequate depth. Instead of discarding these, they can be carefully crafted to make aesthetically pleasing tablet cuts, which can be used for a custom necklace or a trousseau. 

Conclusion 

More and more people are opting for loose gemstones, to commission their engagement rings or heirloom jewellery. Versatility and utility are quite key for buyers today since no one really wants unwearable pieces that will sit in a safe for years. Linear, geometrical cuts are trending big at the moment.

Carrie bradshaw and nicky hilton's asscher cut

The Asscher cut, for instance, which is also referred to as the square emerald cut is essentially a hybrid of a princess cut and an emerald cut, so it marries the functionalities of both these shapes. Carrie Bradshaw’s engagement ring from Sex and the City was a modernist, sleek Asscher-cut diamond flanked with tapered baguettes which are often seen as side stones in bespoke engagement ring designs featuring angular cuts. Socialite Nicky Hilton Rothschild also has a similar Asscher-cut engagement ring that’s petite and utilitarian.

salma hayek trillion cut engagement ring

Another new-age gemstone shape that is garnering steady traction this year is the trillion cut, which is triangular in shape with slightly rounded edges with triangular step cuts along its three sides. This silhouette works best with side stones which accentuate its contemporary outline and its many facets (usually 30 to 43). If you’re working with a specialist cutter or a jeweller, make sure at least one-third of the diamond’s weight is above the girdle which ensures optimal brilliance. 

But for engagement rings, trillion cuts also make for ideal side stones, since their sharp edges tend to highlight curved silhouettes. Salma Hayek’s oval cut three stone engagement ring, for instance, holds a 5-carat oval cut centre stone with trillion cut side stones set in platinum, so the angular trillion-cut diamonds spotlight the oversized centre stone. In fact, choosing trillion cut or an immaculate rose-cut could be a great way to step out of your comfort zone this year. 

So, be it small, flashy, lean or wide, this year’s gemstone trends have something for everyone. What are you going for?

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