Step-by-Step Guide: How to Choose Your Perfect Diamond

Purchasing a quality diamond and setting to commemorate an event or express your love for another (or to reward yourself) can be a meaningful investment. At East Towne Jewelers, we look forward to delighting you with a custom setting for your diamond, but we also believe that an informed customer is our best customer. Since the purchase of the diamond itself is the foundation of your new jewelry piece, we suggest that selecting the right diamond is the best place to start.

If you want to buy diamonds for yourself or your loved ones, you probably realize how many aspects of your diamond you need to consider. This process is so complex that even most jewelry experts can become easily overwhelmed. At East Towne Jewelers, we have the selection and expertise to help you choose the highest quality diamond for your budget. While it is best to come into our store in Mequon to get the personal attention you deserve, first take a look at our diamond-buying guide to get started.

Choose the Right Diamond Shape

Choosing the Right DiamondFor example, discovering the perfect engagement ring involves finding your preferred diamond shape. The shape plays a significant role in defining the diamond’s character, making it crucial to distinguish between various options like asschers, cushions, ovals, pears, and more.

The diamond shape is the actual physical form of the stone, and there are most likely many shapes you have never heard of before. The term “diamond shape” refers to the geometric characteristics of a diamond. There are two major groups for diamond shapes: round diamonds and fancy shapes diamonds. Round shape, or round brilliant cut, is the most popular and traditional cut by a considerable margin. That is why round shapes have always been their own category.

Here we have created a comprehensive guide to the most popular diamond shapes. The ten most common diamond shapes include:


Round diamonds are the classic choice for engagement rings, symbolizing commitment and timeless elegance. With their symmetrical shape and 58 facets, these diamonds offer a brilliant cut that enhances their natural beauty. Unlike other fancy shapes, the faceting of a round brilliant diamond minimizes the appearance of color and inclusions (irregularities), making them highly desirable for many people.

In fact, round diamonds are so beloved that they account for over 50% of all diamond purchases. It’s hard to look around without spotting a round diamond engagement ring or stud earrings.

If you choose a round shape, we recommend selecting a round stone with the highest cut grades, preferably ideal or very good. Look for ideal, excellent, or very good grades for symmetry and polish.


Emerald cut diamonds are captivating for those seeking a distinctive and commanding aesthetic. With its elongated rectangular shape and cut-off corners, this diamond boasts 57 facets, creating a mesmerizing effect known as the “Hall of Mirrors.” Unlike round or cushion diamonds, the emerald cut showcases dazzling flashes of light through its linear and straight facets. Its elongated shape effortlessly accentuates your finger’s natural lines and curves, providing a flattering and elegant look.

When it comes to engagement ring design, emerald cut diamonds offer limitless possibilities. Explore the option of organic-inspired designs to seamlessly blend the soft curves with the clean and geometric lines of the emerald cut, or embrace the structured aesthetic with Art Deco-inspired designs that perfectly complement the diamond’s linear structure.


Cushion cut diamonds make a classic, distinct, and stunning choice for a diamond ring. With their softened rectangular or square shape and breathtaking brilliance, these diamonds offer a traditional look with a touch of old-world charm. It’s no wonder that cushions are rapidly gaining popularity.

Derived from the old mine faceted diamond pattern and modern round brilliant cut, the cushion cut diamond is a gemstone that combines timeless elegance with contemporary style. Its soft rectangular or square shape is complemented by rounded edges, giving it a pillow-like appearance—hence the name “cushion cut.”

One of the remarkable qualities of cushion cut diamonds is their ability to conceal imperfections, making them appear clean to the naked eye. This is due to the diamond’s brightness and scintillation, enhanced by brilliant cuts. However, it is essential to visually inspect the stone, as larger diamonds may reveal more inclusions.

Unlike other diamond shapes, cushion cut diamonds excel at retaining color. Opt for a color grade of H or higher to ensure maximum vibrancy. While it retains color exceptionally well, cushion diamonds graded at higher levels may exhibit a slight yellow tint.


Oval-shaped diamonds are another captivating and dignified choice for diamond engagement rings or other types of jewelry. Unlike traditional round-cut diamonds, oval cuts offer a distinctive and unforgettable allure.

As its name implies, an oval-cut diamond is a symmetrical and elongated diamond with a rounded shape. This popular shape optimizes carat weight, resulting in a larger appearance than round diamonds of the same carat weight. Not only does this make oval cuts an impressive choice, but it also offers excellent value for those seeking a larger diamond who want to save money. Beyond its visual impact, the sleek shape can also create a flattering illusion of longer and slimmer fingers for the wearer.


The timeless elegance of the princess cut diamond makes it the top choice for engagement rings. With its versatility and stunning beauty, it’s no wonder this fancy cut is so beloved.

The princess shape offers a wide range of styles for your ring and comes slightly lower price-per-carat than round-cut diamonds. This is due to its unique pyramid shape, which allows for maximum efficiency in cutting. You get more diamond for your dollar without sacrificing quality.

The princess-cut diamond may appear smaller in crown surface area than a round diamond of the same carat weight. However, its corner-to-corner measure is typically 15% greater, creating the illusion of a larger stone. It’s all about finding the visual impact that suits your personal taste.

While traditionally a square cut, this diamond’s shape is slightly rectangular. The more rectangular the diamond, the more affordable it tends to be. However, the difference is often hard to detect, so it’s all about finding what looks best to you.


These entrancing diamonds have the elegance of emerald cut diamonds with added sparkle. Plus, they come at a great price compared to traditional round diamonds.

Radiant cut diamonds are renowned for their incredible sparkle. Invented in 1977, this modern diamond shape combines classic charm with a unique look to make your engagement ring stand out. The beveled corners of this square and rectangular cut make it more resistant to chipping, making it a highly durable option. Its exceptional brilliance, fire, and sparkle outshine other diamond cuts, second only to the round brilliant cut.

This shape is less common despite its affordability. For those who adore the clean, geometric appeal of the emerald cut but crave extra sparkle, this cut is perfect. However, remember that the cut style creates depth, resulting in most of the weight being distributed underneath the top surface of the stone. To amplify its brilliance, consider opting for a larger size. Whether you prefer an elongated or square-shaped diamond, a radiant cut stone will make a lasting impression.


With its cropped corners and infinite stack of diamond squares, the Asscher cut has a hypnotic appearance. This unique diamond shape features an X pattern and long facets that draw the eyes in from every angle, creating a mesmerizing hall of mirrors effect.

Additionally, the Asscher cut boasts an extra high crown, giving it a taller and more majestic appearance than other diamond cuts. It’s truly a sight to behold.

What sets the Asscher cut apart even further is its rarity. Accounting for only 2% of all diamonds cut worldwide, it’s a choice that speaks to those who appreciate the extraordinary. While it has been around for over a century, it still remains an unexpected and distinctive choice.

Unlike brilliant cut diamonds that constantly sparkle, the Asscher cut offers flashes of bright light and a softer shine. It’s a diamond that knows how to surprise and enthrall.

It is also extremely durable. Unlike other square diamonds with sharp corners that can be damaged, the Asscher cut features beveled corners, making it far more damage-resistant. Its subtle shine and crystal clear surface are the epitome of beauty, making it a true treasure for generations to come.


Marquise cut diamonds are the epitome of classic charm. These stones are truly captivating with sleek curves that combine the best of round and oval cuts. Like round-shaped diamonds, the marquise diamond has 58 facets, offering the same brilliance as round and cushion cuts.

While often described as “football-shaped,” the marquise cut offers a fashionable appearance that defies expectations. The broad crown surface of this cut creates the illusion of a larger stone, enhancing its eye-catching appeal when set in a ring.

As with any gemstone, there are pros and cons to consider. Marquise diamonds are unfortunately prone to chipping due to their distinct shape. To protect against this, setting the stone with prongs is highly recommended.

Another challenge specific to this cut is the dreaded “bowtie effect,” where a dark bowtie shape appears in the center of the stone from certain angles. However, expert cutting can easily avoid this, preserving the diamond’s breathtaking delicacy. Despite these challenges, marquise diamonds remain one of the most exquisite and refined choices. Their expansive crown surface area appeals to those seeking a larger stone with a smaller budget.


Imagine a diamond that combines the simple beauty of a classic round brilliant cut with the opulence of a marquise cut, resulting in a breathtaking teardrop shape. That’s what a pear-shaped diamond is all about.

With 58 facets, this cut is nothing short of “brilliant.” In fact, it’s considered the ideal number of facets to maximize the sparkle of your diamond. But here’s the exciting part—due to its unique cut and larger surface area, a pear-shaped diamond can appear larger than its round brilliant counterpart.

Beyond its beauty, the pear-shaped cut symbolizes individuality and strength. Its tear-drop shape is even said to represent tears of joy, making it perfect for a proposal. If your partner appreciates something a bit different without straying too far from their sense of style, the pear-shaped diamond is ideal. It’s not too unconventional but interesting enough to stand out in a crowd.


There’s no better way to express your love than with a heart-shaped diamond ring. This magnificent shape is perfect for engagement rings, pendants, and any diamond jewelry. Discover the timeless symbol of love and affection, one of the most popular diamond shapes.

Heart-shaped diamonds are as rare as they are lovely. With their scarcity, they become a unique choice that will truly make a statement.

Even celebrities are captivated by the allure of a heart diamond. From Nick Minaj to Lady Gaga, these stars embrace the stunning beauty of this special diamond shape.

Though unique in shape, a heart diamond is based on the classic round brilliant diamonds. Its cut, with 56 to 58 facets and 6 to 8 facets in the pavilion, adds to its allure.

Choose the Right Carat Weight

A “carat” is a metric unit of weight, where a one-carat diamond weighs 200 milligrams. Interestingly, each carat is further divided into 100 ‘points,’ allowing for super precise measurements. A jeweler can even describe a diamond that weighs less than one carat solely by its’ points.’ For example, a diamond weighing 0.25 carats can be called a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ On the other hand, diamonds weighing over one carat are measured in carats and decimals. A 1.05 carat diamond would be called ‘one point oh five carats.’

The price of a diamond increases as carat weight increases, this is because larger diamonds are harder to come by and, therefore, more coveted. However, it’s important to note that two diamonds with the same carat weight can have vastly different values and prices. This depends on three other crucial factors known as the 4Cs: Color, Clarity, and Cut (and Carat). So, it’s not just about the weight but the overall quality and characteristics of the diamond.

Size doesn’t always matter regarding carat weight and diamond prices. Don’t overlook the beauty of smaller diamonds; they can still shine and stun. Plus, the right ring setting can make them appear larger than they actually are. Finally, don’t forget carats measure weight, not size. But, for some shapes such as a round brilliant cut diamond, the carat weight can give you an idea of its size.

Choose the Right Cut

In the world of diamonds, cut is the key factor that sets them apart. It refers to the proportions and technical specifications that determine their brilliance. The better the cut, the more impressive the diamond’s fire and sparkle.

It’s important to note that diamond cut and shape are often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings. Cut refers to the quality, while shape refers to the pattern or arrangement of the diamond.

What makes a good quality diamond cut? It all comes down to specific proportions and angles that optimize its inner brilliance. Before the cutting process, natural diamonds resemble two square pyramids arranged octahedrally. While still beautiful, these diamonds don’t maximize light’s effects.

Three crucial proportion factors impact a diamond’s ability to reflect light perfectly: table size, width, and depth. The size of the table and the depth relative to the diameter significantly affect light return. Meanwhile, the proper width ensures that light hits the crucial refraction angle.

A well-cut diamond design ensures that most of the light entering the gem exits back through the top of the stone, achieving a perfect balance of white light and flashes of colorful fire.

On the flip side, even a slightly imperfect cut can direct light out of the bottom of the diamond instead of redirecting it upward, resulting in light leakage. This leads to dull brilliance, poor light performance, and a dark center that obscures its natural sparkle.

Choose the Right Color

Contrary to popular belief, diamonds are rarely colorless. From hints of grey to shades of yellow, pink, green, and brown, the color of a diamond greatly impacts its value. Understanding this crucial aspect is key to selecting the perfect diamond for your needs.

Industry-leading experts use the Gemological Institute of America’s renowned diamond color grading system. Established in the 1950s, this system sets the standard for describing the presence or absence of color in a diamond. Trusted gemological laboratories worldwide follow these guidelines, ensuring consistency and accuracy in assessing diamond color.

Diamonds span a spectrum from colorless to light yellow or brown. The diamond color grading scale assigns a letter grade, with D representing colorless and Z indicating light yellow or brown. Diamond colors are typically categorized into five groups: colorless (D-F), near-colorless (G-J), faint yellow (K-M), very light yellow (N-R), and light yellow (S-Z).

Don’t feel overwhelmed when it comes to diamond color. It’s challenging to detect color differences without specialized tools and training. However, the variation in color significantly impacts a diamond’s price. Follow this quick guide to make an informed choice.

For rings, pendants, or earrings made with Yellow or Rose gold, the color grade of the diamond becomes less significant. A J-K colored diamond would be practically invisible in these settings. Opt for a more affordable diamond color when paired with a Yellow or Rose Gold band.

If your band is crafted from White Gold or Platinum, the diamond’s color becomes more noticeable. Choose a diamond at the colorless end of the spectrum to ensure a whiter or colorless appearance.

When selecting side stones, aim for the same or lower color grade than the center diamond. This ensures the center diamond appears as white or colorless as possible. Avoid side diamonds with significantly higher color grades, as they can make the center diamond appear more yellow.

diamond color scaleConsider a G or H-colored diamond with better clarity for the best value. This combination balances color and transparency, offering optimal value for your investment. Unless you plan to sell your diamond jewelry in the future, grades from G to H are nearly colorless to the naked eye and are more affordable than completely colorless diamonds.

A completely colorless diamond is the most valuable for those seeking the perfect investment diamond—grades D, E, and F reign supreme in the colorless category. Determining the nuances between these grades is exceptionally challenging even for experienced diamond graders, so our team at East Towne Jewelers can aid you in understanding and selecting your perfect diamond color.

Choose the Right Clarity

Diamond clarity is the pinnacle of purity and rarity, defining the flawlessness of these precious stones. Clarity is an essential pillar of overall diamond quality.

The clarity grade ascends as imperfections diminish, bringing the diamond’s aesthetic appearance to new heights. While no diamond is entirely pure, the closer it gets to perfection, the clearer and more sought-after it becomes.

The size, location, and visibility of inclusions all contribute to the overall clarity of these gems. Although most imperfections remain hidden to the naked eye, their presence significantly impacts the diamond’s value.

Evaluating diamond clarity encompasses a comprehensive examination of microscopic characteristics’ quantity, size, relief, type, and location. You can compare the transformation as the diamond’s brilliance intensifies with fewer inclusions. Remember, clarity also interacts with other factors, such as shape and size, enhancing the allure of these dazzling creations.

Choose the Right Setting

Custom Diamond Ring Made with Stones from Old Mounting East Towne Jewelers Mequon WIThe center stone may catch your eye, but don’t overlook the importance of the entire setting. Not only does it secure the ring, but it also impacts the diamond’s appearance in surprising ways. You can personalize your ring even more by choosing a unique engagement ring setting style.

A setting is how the diamond is secured onto the metal band of an engagement ring. It protects and holds the diamond while contributing to the ring’s look and feel. Your setting ensures the security of your center stone. Picking the right diamond ring setting depends on your center stone and your style. Most traditional diamond engagement ring settings have at least four prongs to hold the stone in place. However, you might want to opt for more than four prongs for a larger diamond or a fancy cut shape.

Your activity level will also influence the setting you choose. If you are very active or work with your hands, a lower setting may be the best choice in order to avoid the diamond being damaged or falling out. A bezel or a halo setting can also keep your diamond more secure.

Certain types of settings make your diamond look bigger or add extra sparkle. Halo settings or styles with multiple side stones create the illusion of a larger ring. Pavé bands or hidden halo solitaires add extra shine and brilliance.

The last part of the setting is choosing the metal of your band. It is crucial to consider the appearance of the metal and how it will complement the ring’s design, the center and side stones, and the wearer’s lifestyle. Many people select the metal for their ring setting based on their existing jewelry and budget. Those who are drawn to cooler tones and shiny surfaces would prefer white gold or platinum, while those who prefer warmer tones and a softer look would opt for rose or yellow gold. Of course, it is always an option to mix metals. This can involve incorporating both metals into the ring shank or using a touch of white metal around a stone to enhance its size and brilliance.

Choose the Right Jeweler

Discovering the perfect diamond is a significant investment, so you want a trustworthy jewelry store. We understand your desire to find a stunning piece that will be cherished for a lifetime. That’s why we offer a seamless diamond-buying experience. Rest assured, every diamond in our collection is genuine and will be delivered to you with utmost care.

Celebrating over 30 years of excellence, East Towne Jewelers is the go-to destination for diamond buyers in the North Shore of Greater Milwaukee. Our impeccable reputation has been earned through countless satisfying experiences with our valued customers.

Our highly skilled staff goes above and beyond to ensure that your diamond shopping experience is nothing short of delightful. We offer our expertise to instill confidence in your purchase.

At East Towne Jewelers, we take pride in the lasting relationships we establish with our customers. We have countless heartwarming stories to share with you when you stop into our Mequon location!

Lab-grown Diamonds Versus Natural Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds, also called lab-created or man-made diamonds, are created in controlled laboratory environments using advanced technology to replicate the natural conditions under which diamonds form. Lab-grown diamonds exhibit the same physical, chemical, and visual characteristics as natural diamonds, including their fire, scintillation, and sparkle. A man-made diamond closely resembles a natural diamond, so much so that it can only be differentiated through specialized tests. Lab-created diamonds should have a gem certification indicating their origin to ensure authenticity.

You can find a lab-created diamond in various colorless options and rare fancy colors like vivid yellow that are uncommon in nature. These fancy-colored lab-created diamonds are priced more reasonably than their natural counterparts.

The benefits of lab-created diamonds include their superior quality and purity, fewer defects, environmental friendliness, affordability, availability of unique colors, and the ability to source from reputable places. In fact, lab-created diamonds are often of higher quality due to the controlled environment and monitored process. Lab-grown diamonds go through the same grading process for color and clarity as natural diamonds.

Choosing a lab-grown diamond allows you to invest in a better diamond that is also ethical and environmentally friendly. Whether for everyday wear or special occasions, a lab-grown diamond is a wonderful gift for yourself or a loved one.

Let us help you find your perfect diamond today!

At East Towne Jewelers, we’re more than just diamonds. We offer exquisite and timeless jewelry styles of all kinds. Our expert designer will personally consult with you to understand your preferences, crafting a one-of-a-kind piece that perfectly matches your vision. See our article on Custom Design Wedding Rings.

Not only can we create new designs, but we also offer the opportunity to give new life to your old jewelry. If you have beloved jewelry gathering dust, our team can repurpose its stones to create a stunning new ring or earrings that you will cherish. (Read a recent article about Repurposing Jewelry, creating new from old.)

In addition, we specialize in repairs and restorations, reviving worn-out heirloom pieces to their former glory. With meticulous attention to detail and a dedication to excellence, we will breathe new life into your broken or outdated jewelry.

Experience the art of jewelry design and restoration with a personal touch you won’t find anywhere else. Trust us to create, recreate, and revive your precious pieces. Stop into East Towne Jewelers and we’ll help you fall in love with the diamond that’s as beautiful as you!

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East Towne Jewelers

1515 Mequon Road
Mequon, WI 53092


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