Complete Portrait Cut Diamonds Guide

    Welcome to our unabashed ode to portrait cut diamonds - the modern minimalist's diamond dream. Totally transparent with artful angles, the portrait cut is sleek, striking, and is so not your neighbour's diamond.

    Keep reading for:

    • What are portrait cut diamonds?

    • Why we love portrait cut diamonds

    • How to choose a portrait cut - the 4Cs

    • Our favorite portrait cut rings

    What are portrait cut diamonds?

    Portrait cut diamonds are ultra-thin diamonds that resemble a perfectly clear pane of glass. With a completely open table and faceting only on the outer edges of the diamond, portrait cuts are made to to be totally transparent with light-catching sparkle along the edges.

    Also known as lasque diamonds, portrait cuts are the jewelry world's latest obsession, yet are actually one of the oldest diamond cuts - invented in the early 1900s.

    Why we love portrait cut diamonds

    Unique and lesser chosen

    Here's the thing: at some point, society makes decisions about what's beautiful. Completely subjective, but as a whole, we agree that thiskind of diamond (or brow shape or heel height) is the most aesthetic and we stick with that. Hence why round brilliant cut diamonds still make up 80% of all engagement ring stones - despite the infinite array of options available.

    hexagon portrait cut diamond

    While we love a sparkling round brilliant, we're forever fascinated by the lesser-known and lesser-chosen cuts like portrait cuts. Unlike the disco ball sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond, portrait cuts are prized for their ethereal glow and that incredible glass-like transparency. They're stunning in their simplicity and perfect in their precision.

    And to us, distinctive, rare, uncommon is beautiful. No matter the shape or cut, your diamond should feel like you, and there's only one of you!

    shield portrait cut diamond

    Seriously striking

    Unlike brilliant cuts which were made to sparkle, portrait cuts are striking in their sleek subtlety. With clean, refined lines, it's a contemporary, ultra-chic cool girl cut that's as ancient as it is modern. Like a teeny tiny art installation, you notice the unique sophistication right away.

    Ancient in the best way

    Throughout history, portrait cut diamonds were used to encase, protect, and frame tiny portraits and paintings. The art would lay behind the diamond, which you could see perfectly thanks to the glass-like totally transparent surface of the diamond. Portrait cuts were a favorite of Emperor Shah Jahan (the original owner of the Taj Mahal). He loved his jewels and would have portrait cut diamonds placed in front of tiny wearable hand-painted portraits.

    Why not use glass instead? Well, besides the obvious appeal of a diamond, glass could shatter with the smallest impact, whereas a portrait cut diamond is almost unbreakable, preserving the portrait beneath forever.

    Serious skill needed

    Portrait cut diamonds require an expert diamond cutter to create their signature precision cut. And because the goal is full transparency, you need to start with an extremely high quality, high clarity stone for that uninterrupted view through. Rarity all around.

    Infinite shapes available

    Portrait cut diamonds are striking in every shape - from round to hexagon, shield to kite, and literally every other shape and style in between. No matter the shape, they give off a floating diamond vibe, seemingly suspended in mid air.

    Portrait Cut Diamond vs Brilliant Cut Diamond

    How to choose a portrait cut diamond

    Portrait Cut Diamond Color

    Being totally transparent, portrait cuts hide nothing and show color difference more than any other diamond cut. So, if you're searching for a clear, icy white diamond, you'll want to opt for a higher color grade than with other diamond cuts.

    Since you can see right through the diamond, your setting color will also show. So, if you're looking for a cool-toned, white-as-snow aesthetic, opt for a white gold or platinum setting. If you love a little golden warmth or are choosing a lower color grade, yellow gold, rose gold, and our signature Peach Gold are your friends.

    For more on diamond color, read our Comprehensive Guide to Diamond Color.

    Portrait Cut Diamond Clarity

    Crafted to resemble a spotless pane of glass, portrait cut diamonds prize clarity the most. With their fully open table, inclusions will be glaringly obvious and will interrupt that completely clear surface. You'll want to choose the highest clarity grade of any diamond shape to maintain that stillwater energy.

    As with all diamonds however, the goal is an eye-clean diamond - meaning no inclusions visible to the naked eye. We're not here to pay for stats we can't see. So, look for the lowest clarity grade that still maintains an eye-clean look.

    Read our Diamond Clarity Guide for more!

    Portrait Cut Diamond Cut

    Like all fancy cut diamonds, the GIA doesn't give an overarching cut grade like they do for round brilliant cut stones. And for portrait cuts, they grade even fewer factors than most fancy cuts. The main measures to look out for are symmetry and polish - look for 'very good' or better for the most aesthetic, symmetrical stone.

    Portrait Cut Diamond Carat

    Carat is all about your preferences and budget. Thanks to their rarity, portrait cut diamonds are around the same price as comparable brilliant cut stones, however they look much bigger per carat thanks to their slim outline. While most diamonds hide a lot of their carat weight on the bottom beneath the setting, portrait cut diamonds display it all on top. That means a bigger diamond for your budget and who doesn't love that?

    Our favorite portrait cut diamond rings

    yellow portrait cut diamond ring
    oval portrait cut diamond ring
    portrait cut diamond engagement ring
    Portrait Cut Diamond Ring
    Light Champagne Cushion Portrait Cut Diamond Bezel Set Ring
    portrait cut hexagon diamond wedding band

    Shop all our in-stock and made to order portrait cut rings here or book a free consult to chat about creating your own custom portrait cut engagement ring design!

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