The fashion industry is notoriously fickle when it comes to longevity. The same is true for almost every other consumer industry you can think of – interior design; children’s toys; digital devices; kitchen appliances; cars; etc, etc. The same is certainly true of the jewellery industry as a whole.
The diamond jewellery sector is slightly different, though. Sure, there are trends, just as in every other industry. For example, in 2019 we saw the rise of the Pear cut, whereas it has declined in popularity in 2020. But when it comes to diamond cuts, most of these trends tend to be minor variations on classic, age-old designs.
The reason these cuts remain so popular as template designs are that they have been tried and tested over decades and centuries, and repeatedly deemed to be the best of all the possible designs out there.
The specific type of cut – or shape – of a diamond will determine its brilliance and scintillation, as well as its overall appearance on your finger. So, it’s really important to be aware of the different types of cuts available to you in the current marketplace.
So, just what are the most popular diamond cuts for 2020?
Note: The term “cut” in this article refers to the final shape of a diamond, rather than the other common-use definition of the term which describes the diamond polishing and shaping process.
The Vintage Asscher Cut
The Asscher cut is named after the Dutch brothers who first designed the original cut in Amsterdam during the early 20th century.
Styled in a typical Art Deco design, the cut became extremely popular for engagement rings during the 1920s, but became a rarity for decades after the style went out of vogue. For a long time, it was only possible to find original-style Asscher cut diamond rings in antique shops or through specialist Art Deco jewellers.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the Asscher cut was redesigned, with extra facets added for a more brilliant shine. This move seems to have paid off, as the cut now seems to be gaining popularity with 21st-century brides-to-be looking for vintage inspiration.
The Asscher cut is similar to the Emerald cut, with its square or rectangular shape, trimmed corners, deep pavilion, high crown, and broad, flat plane. It is sometimes known as a step-cut as, viewed from above, it has a step-like appearance.
The Asscher cut is also known for its “Hall of Mirrors” optical illusion effect, achieved by using diamonds with a high level of clarity to create a prism effect with maximum brilliance and lustre.
The Oval Cut
The Oval cut was an extremely popular choice as a centre stone for engagement rings as recently as 2018, and it now appears to be back in vogue yet again.
Perhaps the reason this cut remains so enduringly popular is that it has the effect of elongating the finger, which can be very flattering for shorter, wider fingers, making them appear more slender. This is due to the Oval’s rounded, symmetrical, taller shape. The Oval cut’s longer shape can also make it seem larger than differently-shaped stones with a similar weight.
Oval shaped diamonds have existed for more than 200 years. However, the first modern Oval cut appeared in the 1960s. This was designed by the Russian diamond cutter, Lazare Kaplan, who was later recognised for his unique cut in the Jewellers International Hall of Fame. Kaplan was known for his ability to split a rough diamond into smaller stones with a single blow – a process known as cleaving.
The Marquise Brilliant Cut
Another cut which has the effect of elongating and flattering the finger is the elegant Marquise Brilliant cut. A popular choice as a central stone, the Marquise is often set with pear-shaped or round side stones.
Similar to the Oval cut, the Marquise is long and oval in shape, but it differs from the Oval in that it tends to be narrower with more pointed tips. These features give the Marquise a similar appearance to the hull of a small boat, which is why its shape is sometimes referred to as a “navette”, meaning “little boat” in French.
The Marquise can sometimes create a “bow-tie” effect, as when light passes through the diamond it can cast a shadow across the surface of the stone, which can diminish its brilliance. This effect can be mitigated by making the pavilion deeper and calibrating the angles of the table and facets. This enables light to be diffused more effectively across the centre of the stone.
The Marquise (meaning “French Royalty title”) first appeared in Paris in 1745 and was designed by King Louis XV’s court jeweller. King Louis apparently commissioned the jeweller to design a diamond in the image of his beautiful mistress’ smile.
The shape of the Marquise cut was modified throughout the 20th century, eventually evolving into the Marquise Brilliant cut we recognise today. It was particularly sought-after during the 1960s and the 1980s, and we are now seeing another resurgence in the popularity of this unusual, striking cut.
The Trillion Cut
Trillion cut diamonds are known for their excellent scintillation and their unique triangular shape. They are often used as side stones to complement larger solitaire stones, but jewellers are currently seeing a spike in demand for solitaire Trillion cut diamond engagement rings. When produced at optimal depth, the Trillion emanates a striking, fiery brilliance.
When selecting a Trillion cut for a solitaire, a curved or convex cut is usually advisable. Alternative variations include round-cornered triangular cuts and triangular step-cuts.
The original “Trillion” was actually known as the “Trilliant” – another cut designed by the famous Asscher brothers – and it first appeared in Amsterdam during the Art Deco era. The name has since evolved, with “Trillion”, “Trielle”, and “Trillian” becoming generic terms for any brilliant, triangular-cut diamond.
The Old European Cut
The Old European – or “Old Euro” cut – was the standard cut for round diamonds produced in Europe between the 1890s and the 1930s. Often sought after by vintage jewellery collectors today, the primary feature of this antique cut is its brilliant white appearance. Modern versions of the Old Euro are produced in the image of the original brilliant cuts.
The Old Euro was the most commonly produced diamond shape during the Art Deco era of the early 20th century, before diamond cutting technology made huge advances during the 1940s.
Nowadays, Old European cut heirloom diamonds are often repurposed and set into modern styles, and this is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those looking for antique engagement rings with a contemporary twist.
Other popular styles for 2020
Two-in-one combinations – How about a pear-shaped halo, or a square-cut diamond with double halo edging? Mix-and-match diamond rings seem to be bang-on-trend in 2020.
Interesting shapes are also becoming increasingly popular for centre stone choices this year. Hexagon and triangular shapes seem to be particularly sought-after.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, this will have provided you with some inspiration if you are planning to purchase a diamond engagement ring in 2020.
Whether you opt for a classic, original, vintage cut or a modern twist on an old-style, your chosen diamond cut is just one of the options you will need to consider when it comes to choosing your perfect diamond ring.
Make sure you brush up on all the diamond terminology you will encounter (and have to make decisions about) when you come to make this once-in-a-lifetime purchase.
Oh, and by the way, congratulations on your engagement!
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