Yellow Diamonds are cut into every imaginable shape but they are not by any means equal.
The ideal in a yellow diamond (this is also true for any fancy colored diamond) is to achieve the perfect balance between the maximum possible depth and saturation of the color while maximizing the Brilliance, Fire and Scintillation of the diamond to the highest degree possible.
Since the return of white light and the dispersion of light back towards the human eye have a negating effect on how we percieve the body color of the diamond these two goals are in fact opposed and at odds with one another. It is only by the hand and skill of a master diamond cutter that a delicate balance is struck between these opposing forces of optics and that stunning examples of diamonds of every shape and color are created.
Since the different shapes of diamonds have very different faceting systems there are some major differences in the frequency and value of differently shaped yellow diamonds, even when they are the same color grade.
Radiant Cut Yellow Diamonds
The vast majority of yellow diamonds and in fact of all fancy color diamonds are cut to Radiant shape. The Radiant cut faceting maximizes the saturation of color in the diamond (where the value of the diamond comes from) while maintaining the highest levels of Brilliance and Fire possible, the 'Life' of the stone. It is the combination of these two traits that give diamonds their sparkle and combined with the depth and tone of the color, make yellow diamonds visually attractive and valuable. The Radiant cut is available in square to rectangular shape and is a great choice for a yellow diamond.
The Cushion cut is very similar to the Radiant cut in regards to how the faceting system and shape of the stone balance the most vibrant color possible with highest Brilliance achievable. This is why it is the second most popular cut for fancy diamonds.
The main difference visual between the Cushion and the Radiant are the softer, rounded edges of the Cushion shape. There are several variations of the Cushion shape, in most cases Cushion cuts make for stunning yellow diamonds. Cushion cut yellow diamonds can vary from square to rectangular and are a great choice for a yellow diamond.
Emerald cuts employ a step-cut faceting system. This system of long, broad facets maximize the return of white light or Brilliance and deeply interfere with the perception of body color in a diamond. For that reason Emerald cut yellow diamonds are infrequent at best. When a yellow diamond is cut to Emerald shape the diamond will often command a large premium over similar Radiant or Cushion shapes.
The Asscher cut is very similar to the Emerald cut and while it is not the ideal shape for a yellow diamond it can be a stunningly beautiful option. For those that find the repeating pattern of concentric squares created by the Asscher diamond's unique faceting mesmerizing, the Asscher holds it's own in the fancy color diamond shape comparison.
The Oval Brilliant cut yellow diamond can be amazing in terms of their color retention/color display coupled with high levels of Brilliance and Fire but the Oval can also be problematic because of it's oblong and asymmetrical shape.
In many cases the Oval cut will exhibit what we refer to as a 'bow-tie' and while this might sound nice, what it actually describes is a dark/light area in the center of the diamond that is either black or without color, either way an unattractive feature that should be avoided. An Oval must be examined visually to determine the extent of the bow-tie. Extremely well proportioned Ovals can minimize or virtually eliminate the bow-tie.
While the Princess cut can make for an attractive shape in colorless diamonds, it is rare to find a good looking Princess cut in a yellow diamond. The faceting pattern of the Princess negates the color of the stone and the result is often a washed out and unattractive yellow diamond. The sharp pointed edges of the Princess are also very delicate and can present problems when mounting in a ring. If you are interested in a square shaped yellow diamond we recommend that you consider a square Radiant cut instead or if a Princess is a must be prepared tp take your time until you find that one in a million yellow Princess..
The Round Brilliant cut diamond is by far the most Brilliant of all the diamond cuts. For over 100 years diamond cutters have been studying the percision optics involved in maximizing the return of light from this shape diamond. The good news is that they have succeeded. The bad news is that they have succeeded. The Round Brilliant shape is so brilliant that the body color of the diamond is to a large extent negated and more frequently than not Round Brilliant cut yellow diamonds appear washed out and poorly proportioned in a desperate attempt to find the proper balance between color and brilliance.
There are exceptions, some diamonds have such rich body color that they can successfuly be formed to the Round Brilliant shape and appear to hold their body color. These stones are rare indeed and you should expect to pay a very high premium for a Round Brilliant shaped yellow diamond.
Radiant and Cushion cuts are the most common cuts for yellow diamonds. These shapes easily lend themselves to create an optically balanced gemstone that maintains a saturate body color together with high levels of brilliance, fire and scintillation. Radiant and Cushion cut yellow diamonds are available in a variety of shapes that vary from perfect squares to long rectangles.
Oval and Pear Brilliants are also beautiful yellow diamond shapes but special attention must be paid to the proportioning in order to avoid 'bow-ties'.
Emerald and Asscher cuts are far less common than other shapes and will command high premiums.
Round Brilliant and Princess cuts do not easily retain body color. If an attractive diamond is produced in one of these shapes you can expect to pay high premiums for them.