If you’re a fan of diamonds, you’ve probably heard about the most popular cuts: oval, emerald, round, princess, pear, and more. However, have you ever heard of the portrait cut diamond? This less-common diamond cut is making a comeback in the world of jewelry and fashion.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about portrait-cut diamonds to help you decide whether it’s the best diamond cut for you.
What Is a Portrait Cut Diamond?
A portrait-cut diamond has a flat, elongated shape, and typically sits on a large table. It’s a shallow and step-cut design that has a low profile. A diamond with a portrait cut is thin and delicate, resembling a flat piece of glass.
It’s believed that the portrait cut originated in ancient India. Throughout history, the portrait cut was used to protect miniature paintings and portraits and enhance their visual appeal, which is how it got its name. This unique diamond cut is a combination of the traditional and the modern.
Portrait-cut diamonds are rare compared to other, more popular cuts. The fragile nature of the cut is what makes it so rare, as well as the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to faceting.
Be careful not to confuse the portrait cut with the baguette cut. Even though both of these diamond cuts have elongated, rectangular shapes, the baguette cut has sharp edges. The portrait cut, on the other hand, features polished corners, like the emerald cut. This makes the portrait cut a combination of the baguette cut and the emerald cut.
Portrait Cut Diamond vs. Rose Cut Diamond
The rose cut is another rare diamond cut. Imitating the shape of a rosebud, it features triangular facets. This cut was especially popular during the Victorian and Georgian eras when they were measured and cut by hand. What makes the rose cut special is its faceted top and flat base.
The main difference between the rose cut and the portrait cut is their surface. Portrait-cut diamonds are flat, while rose-cut diamonds have a domed shape. Rose-cut diamonds also have more facets. In fact, they can have up to 24 facets, as opposed to portrait-cut diamonds, which usually have less than 10. Finally, rose-cut diamonds come in various shapes and sizes, while portrait-cut diamonds are usually rectangular.
What these two diamond cuts have in common is their lack of sparkle. Unlike the brilliant cut, which is the ultimate embodiment of the phrase “shine bright like a diamond,” these two cuts produce a soft glow rather than an eye-catching sparkle.
10 Tips for Portrait Cut Diamond Rings
If you’re thinking about buying a portrait-cut diamond, here are 10 tips to help you.
1. Learn How to Style the Diamond
The portrait cut is elegant, unassuming, and minimalistic. If you’re someone who prefers a cluster of shiny diamonds, the portrait cut might not be for you. If you want to add shine to the ring, you can always choose a portrait-cut diamond with stone steps or accent diamonds on each side.
2. Clarity Is Important
When buying a portrait-cut diamond, clarity is one of the most significant factors to take into consideration. Diamonds with a portrait cut are transparent, so any inclusions will be noticeable. The trick is to find a portrait-cut diamond with no visible inclusions.
3. Portrait Cuts Aren’t Sparkly
Diamonds are considered so attractive and desirable because of their ability to sparkle. But what most people don’t know is that a diamond’s sparkle is determined by its cut. Simply put, a diamond can be cut to reflect light or absorb it. The precision of the cut, combined with the number of facets, determines how much a diamond can sparkle.
Portrait cuts aren’t as sparkly as other cuts. Instead, they generate a soft luster and a gentle glow that may not appeal to everyone. Before buying a portrait-cut diamond, ask yourself if you want a diamond that’s not sparkly.
4. Don’t Pay Too Much
Since portrait-cut diamonds are extremely thin, they usually come in a lower-carat weight. Even though they might appear larger than round brilliant-cut or princess-cut diamonds, they actually weigh less. That’s why it’s possible to find portrait-cut diamonds for a budget-friendly price. However, some jewelers will try to sell you a portrait-cut diamond for the same price as an oval or radiant cut, so do exercise caution.
5. Vintage Appeal
Portrait-cut diamonds are unique, and they have a vintage appeal. Even though they have a geometrical shape, they go wonderfully with vintage-style engagement rings. Rectangular jewelry was especially popular in the 1920s.
6. Consider the Shape of Your Hand
Since the portrait cut has an elongated shape, it gives off the illusion of length. That’s why portrait-cut diamond engagement rings are ideal for those who have short fingers. However, if your hands are small, a large portrait-cut diamond might be too much. If you have large hands or long fingers, a portrait-cut diamond engagement ring will also suit you.
7. Silver vs. Gold Ring
Diamonds complement both silver and gold rings, so deciding between the two is all about personal preference. Gold comes in various colors, from traditional yellow gold to more fashionable rose gold, but it’s more expensive. Diamond and silver are a beautiful and elegant combination. Platinum is another great choice for diamond engagement rings.
8. Think About the Color
A diamond’s color is graded based on GIA’s color-grading scale, and the most valuable diamonds exhibit no color at all. They’re called flawless diamonds. Colorless diamonds are also more expensive than diamonds with a yellow tint.
9. Three-Stone Settings
If a portrait-cut diamond is too plain for you, but you like its geometrical shape, you can always choose a three-stone setting.
10. Take Care of Your Portrait-Cut Diamond
Lastly, just like all wide, flat diamonds, portrait-cut diamonds are more exposed, which makes them more fragile. While diamonds are extremely hard and durable, they can still be scratched and damaged. If you decide to get a portrait cut, make sure to take proper care of it.
Talk to an Expert
Portrait-cut diamonds are coming back into style. More and more brides-to-be are choosing minimalistic, elegant diamond cuts instead of over-the-top, extravagant shapes. If you want to know more about portrait-cut diamonds, feel free to fill out the form below. I’d be happy to answer all your questions about this stunning diamond cut.