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Posted by Cayla Capri
The Ring Shaping Things Up
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The engagement is the good part: post joyous shock, pre double-checking, triple-checking mania. And then there’s the ring. For weeks you’ll be holding it up to florescent lights at the supermarket, the glare from your office computer, and the flashlight you use to check out the busted fuse. You’ll be stopping at every store window, hand not so subtly on your chest or brushing back your hair, to admire the new, totally taken you. It’s all part of reveling in the romanticism the ring connotes: a palpable shout out to and showcase of your oh la la love.
Technically, the perfect ring is the one presented by the perfect man, but for a ring that instigates materialistic mirth complete with that triple whammy of unmitigated girlish glee, (we’re talking the screech-clap-hop-up-and-down move) a little research will go a long way.
Once, engagement rings were made of emeralds, sapphires, rubies and other semi precious jewels. Then Marilyn sang Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, and they believed her. She more or less shifted the public’s consciousness into a diamond frenzy, so when we say “shape,” we’re talking diamond’s. And when we’re talking shape, we’re honing in on cut, clarity and color.
the asscher
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An octagon with diagonal cut corners, a high crown, and a deep set pavilion, the Asscher creates a hall-of-mirrors effect and reflects light like it’s going out of style. The shape was developed in 1902 by the Royal Family’s gem cutters, known as the Asschers of Amsterdam. It’s vintage and dazzling. (worn by Ashley Simpson, Elizabeth Hurley)
the cushion
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Originally dubbed the Old Mine Cut, the Cushion cut was a staple of the 1830’s. It’s a square or rectangle with rounded corners resembling those of a plush pillow, hence the name “cushion.” After a temporary moratorium in popularity, this shape was revived recently via reality TV's The Bachelor. (worn by Ashley Judd, Heidi Montag)
the emerald
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During the Art Deco movement of the twenties, stone cutters began shaping diamonds like emeralds, giving them octagonal outlines and a stairway effect known as the “step-cut.” The shape is subtle and accentuates the clarity of the diamond, so even the slightest imperfections are detectable. (worn by Beyonce, Grace Kelly, Sarah Jessica Parker)
the heart
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The quintessential romantic cut; the symbol of love, heart-shaped diamonds are about as rare as a year’s worth of good hair days, maybe even more so. However, there are many significant references to the pretty, painstakingly crafted thing. The Smithsonian’s “Hope Diamond,” Titanic’s “Heart of the Ocean Diamond,” and Taj Mahal muse Mumtaz Mahal’s 17th century yellow heart diamond, just to name a few. (worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins)
the marquise
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Often described as boat-like in shape, the Marquise cut was actually commissioned by France’s King Louis XIV to mimic his mistress’ sultry smile. The result is a narrow, oval ring with tapered, pointed ends and a salacious history. Another bonus: most of the diamond weight is on the surface, giving the illusion of big-time size. (worn by Victoria Beckham, Catherine Zeta-Jones)
the oval
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Developed in the late fifties, the oval is the fashionable offspring of the classic round brilliant. It’s sleek and sophisticated, accentuating the slenderness of the hand. A wider oval cut is also up for grabs, creating a more modern look. (worn by Katie Holmes, Katharine McPhee)
the pear
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The tear drop cut was a bit of a scandal when it first came on the scene in the 1400’s, because a decent chunk of the diamond is lost during the refining process. But this cut really does show off brilliance, and in 1990, Debeers made the world’s only internally and externally flawless diamond into a pear-shape, catapulting it into vogue. (worn by Katherine Heigl, Jada Pinkett Smith)
the princess
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Originating in 1980’s L.A., the princess cut is as dainty as the name would imply. Characterized by a square shape and sharp contours, it’s generally modestly bitsy in size, and delicate in demeanor. The sharp edges are prone to chipping, which is why the setting is usually pronged. (worn by Kate Beckinsale, Star Jones)
the radiant
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Considered the father of branded fancy diamonds, this cut was first perfected in 1977 by Henry Grossbard. His eureka! moment came about after successfully combining the geometry of the emerald cut with the luster of the round. The shape is square or rectanglular with cut corners, attracting maximum light and effecting alluring color. (worn by Heidi Klum)
the rose-cut
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The rose-cut was first developed in the 1500’s when jewelers were experimenting with avant-garde diamond shapes. The domed surface has triangular facets which, together, resemble a rose. Since the focus is the middle, light penetrates the center, generating a focal point of awesomeness. (worn by Melissa Akey)
the round
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The round brilliant cut is probably the most popular and expensive of the lot. It sets the standard for beauty with its top notch, brilliance-enhancing symmetry, and consists of 75% of diamonds sold today. (worn by Queen Elizabeth, Scarlett Johansson)