Round brilliant diamond engagement rings: unrivalled in popularity and sparkle

A round brilliant diamond engagement ring is the classic sparkler. Find out why this cut defies time with Tiffany & Co., De Beers, Harry Winston and many more.

Tiffany & Co. has perfected the round brilliant cut over the last 125 years and according to the jeweller it is "arguably the quintessential diamond and certainly among the most radiant".

By Åse Anderson in London

Round brilliant diamond engagement rings remain the most popular cut with brides-to-be year after year. Timelessly elegant with an incredible brilliance, a recent trip down Bond Street trying on engagement rings proved that round brilliant cut diamonds continue to entrance with their famous sparkle.

The perfect glittering entrepiece for an engagement ring, the original round brilliant cut was developed by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. Today, the cut consists of 57 or 58 facets, depending on whether or not the culet (point) is included. With a typical ratio between 1.00 and 1.02, the cut follows the shape of the rough diamond crystal in order to maximise shine and sparkle.

In 2005 the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) introduced a cut-grading system for unmodified round brilliant cut diamonds, which is used to measure the proportions that produce the best combination of brightness, fire, scintillation and pattern. Depending on the quality of the cut, a round diamond will be graded as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor - something to bear in mind when you are shopping for a round brilliant engagement ring.

Tiffany & Co. has perfected the round brilliant cut over the last 125 years, which is "arguably the quintessential diamond and certainly among the most radiant", according to this historic jeweller. Created over a century ago, the classic Tiffany Setting round brilliant diamond engagement ring has been called "the ring of rings" and it is still the jeweller's most popular design. The six-prong setting lifts the round brilliant diamond up into the light, intensifying its fire and sparkle.

A round brilliant cut diamond on an otherwise unadorned band will always look fabulous but, if you fancy adding some more design details to your engagement ring, there are plenty of options out there.

In the De Beers Caress Diamond Engagement Ring, the round brilliant diamond is gently cradled by an encircling pavé design to create a contemporary yet graceful style. Other designs such as the De Beers Aura Double Halo Solitaire ring demonstrate just how versatile the round brilliant cut diamond is.

Set with a single round brilliant diamond, David M Robinson's classic engagement ring features a diamond-set band for a glamorous look. On the Harry Winston Classic Winston round brilliant diamond engagement ring, the centre stone is nestled in between two tapered baguette side stones in a platinum setting.

If you're looking for some celebrity inspiration, fans of round brilliant diamond engagement rings include the actresses Natalie Portman - who wears a stunning double halo engagement ring - and Scarlett Johansson, whose engagement ring is a classic round brilliant solitaire set on a diamond-encrusted band.

Round brilliant diamond engagement rings may be the most popular choice, but they are far from boring. Wonderfully versatile, this cut can be incorporated into an endless array of ring designs, from classic solitaires to contemporary and vintage styles. 

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