Which Diamond Cut Sparkles the Most?

Which diamond shape sparkles best? Here is a listing of the estimated refractive qualities of popular shapes, compared against the industry standard, the round brilliant. (Note that not even the round brilliant cut refracts all of the light it captures. The formula for the Tolkowsky cut, also known as the American ideal cut, of a round brilliant reflects up to 92% of the light that enters the diamond.)

100% Round brilliant cut
90% Marquise cut
90% Oval cut
90% Pear cut
80% Heart cut
70% Princess cut
70% Triangle cut
60% Cushion cut
60% Emerald cut
60% Original Asscher cut (Royal Asscher sparkles more)
60% Radiant cut
45% Baguette cut

If you want a sparkling diamond ring, the smartest choice is a round brilliant cut diamond, in a prong setting, with the highest clarity and cut quality you can afford. The prong setting lifts the diamond away from the metal band, so light can enter the stone from almost every angle. High clarity means nothing inside or on the surface of the diamond should interfere with the light refraction. High cut quality means the jeweler crafted the diamond to specific proportions in order to maximize sparkle.

However, maybe a round brilliant cut doesn’t “cut it” for you. Some people are looking for sparkle plus individuality, and since round brilliants account for 75% of the diamonds in the market, they are the least individualistic of the cuts. Use the above listing as a guideline and inspect several diamonds to see which cuts give the sparkle you desire. While you will easily find many diamonds to inspect at a retail jewelry store, realize the more upscale stores design their lighting to maximize sparkle. Diamonds tested in a variety of everyday lighting situations (outdoors, fluorescents, bare incandescent, etc.) reveal their true sparkle ability.