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Oval vs Emerald Cut Diamonds: Which Is Better? (2024 Comparison)

Looking to know which is better between Oval vs Emerald Cut Diamonds?

You’re at the right place!

This is our comparison of the Oval vs Emerald Cut Diamonds.

In this article, I have reviewed both diamond cuts in-depth and will fully explain to you which one is better.

Let’s get started with an in-depth look at what sets these diamond cuts apart.

Let’s get started!

What’s The Difference Between Oval vs Emerald Cut Diamonds

Oval Cut Diamond

The oval cut diamond is a fusion of the pear and round cuts, characterized by rounded edges without sharp points. It shares similarities with the round cut, making it easily mistaken for one at a glance. To achieve a balanced appearance, oval cuts are typically designed with a length to width ratio of 1.30-1.45, distinguishing them from round cuts without being excessively shallow.

Most oval cut diamonds feature 57 or 58 facets, contributing to their brilliance and sparkle. The origin of this modern cut can be traced back to Lazare Kaplan, a Russian diamond cutter who introduced it in the mid-1990s. Kaplan began with a damaged rough gemstone intended for smaller diamonds, and through the cutting process, he discovered the sleek oval cut.

Oval cuts are commonly used as the central diamond in engagement rings, but they also serve as side stones that surround the main stone. However, it is less common to find oval cuts used as accent diamonds on the shank of the ring. Jewelers typically opt for round, princess, or baguette diamonds for these positions.

Emerald Cut Diamond

Emerald cut diamonds are characterized by their rectangular shape and parallel facets that extend across the table of the diamond. Typically, these diamonds have 57 step-cut facets, resembling a set of stairs that start from the middle and extend to the edges. When viewed from the top-down, this arrangement creates a captivating “hall of mirrors” effect.

Another distinguishing feature of emerald cut diamonds is the presence of four beveled corners. With straight edges, the diamond has a total of eight sides, with four sides being of the same length and the remaining four mirroring each other.

The optimal length to width ratio for emerald cuts is around 1.4. Most emerald cuts on the market fall within the range of 1.3 to 1.5, and none of these measurements result in a square appearance. However, if you come across an emerald cut with a ratio between 1 and 1.05, it will resemble a square shape.

Emerald cuts are often compared to baguette diamonds due to their rectangular shape. The key distinction is that baguette diamonds have squared-off corners, resulting in a total of four sides.

How are Oval and Emerald Cut Diamonds Different?

1. Brilliance, Fire, and Scintillation: Oval vs. Emerald Cut Diamonds

Oval cut diamonds outshine emerald cuts in terms of sparkle due to their well-designed facets. These facets, resembling triangular or kite shapes found in round cuts, are specifically designed to capture and bounce light within the diamond, maximizing its return to the viewer. As a result, oval cuts minimize light leakage through the bottom of the diamond.

The image highlights the small triangular facets present in an oval cut diamond. Even in high-resolution images, it can be challenging to differentiate between them due to their size. While oval cuts may not match the brilliance, fire, and scintillation of round cuts, they still offer considerable sparkle without sacrificing too much luminosity.

In contrast, emerald cuts possess step-cut facets that prioritize a subtle, warm glow, producing slower flashes of light. Brilliance is not the primary focus in emerald cuts, unlike in oval cuts.

To optimize light return for both oval and emerald cuts, selecting a quality cut is crucial. It is recommended to choose diamonds with an excellent or ideal cut, as it has the most significant impact on the diamond’s sparkle, surpassing even its clarity and color grade. Investing in a premium cut is worth considering.

2. Impact of Cut on Diamond Pricing

Cut plays a significant role in determining the price of a diamond. Round cuts tend to be the most expensive due to higher demand and greater wastage of the original rough diamond during the cutting process.

On the other hand, cushion cuts are often more affordable, while oval and radiant cuts fall somewhere in between in terms of price.

To illustrate the price comparison between oval and emerald cut diamonds, let’s consider data from James Allen, an online jewelry vendor. We will focus on diamonds with the following specifications:

  • Carat weight: 1.00
  • Clarity: VS
  • Color: I

For emerald cut diamonds meeting these criteria, the average price was found to be $3,832, with a range of $2,170 to $4,610. In comparison, oval cut diamonds with the same specifications had an average price of $4,581, ranging from $3,370 to $5,050.

This data reveals that oval cuts come at a premium of approximately 20% compared to emerald cuts in this specific price range.

By opting for an emerald cut, one could potentially allocate the cost savings towards a larger carat weight or improved color, clarity, or cut grades.

3. Clarity Considerations

The clarity grade of a diamond refers to the presence of inclusions and how they affect the diamond’s durability, visible appearance, and light performance. While more inclusions generally lower a diamond’s quality, the impact depends on the type, size, and location of the inclusions.

Oval cuts have an advantage over emerald cuts when it comes to concealing inclusions. This is due to two main factors. Firstly, the brilliant-cut facets of oval cuts reflect more white light, effectively hiding minor flaws such as naturals, twinning wisps, and feathers. Secondly, the larger facets of emerald cuts leave inclusions more exposed, making it easier to spot blemishes when looking inside the diamond.

For an oval cut diamond under one-and-a-half carats, a good starting point is an SI clarity grade, which may have inclusions that are not readily visible to the naked eye. However, it is always recommended to view the diamond in person or through high-quality images to assess the visibility of inclusions.

On the other hand, emerald cuts may require a higher clarity grade, such as VS2, to achieve a similar level of apparent flawlessness. While diamonds with a VS2 clarity grade may have inclusions such as feathers, crystals, clouds, and needles, these are often difficult to identify even with a close-up view.

While opting for a higher clarity grade, such as VS2, for emerald cuts may increase the price, the overall cost is often balanced out by the lower price of emerald cut diamonds compared to oval cuts.

4. Color

The value of a diamond is influenced by its color, with colorless diamonds being more highly valued compared to those that exhibit yellow or brown tints. The color scale used by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) ranges from D (colorless) to S-Z (light yellow or brown).

Oval cut diamonds have an advantage over emerald cuts when it comes to disguising color. The strong brilliance of oval cuts helps overcome light yellow shades, making them appear colorless even at lower color grades. On the other hand, the large, deep facets of emerald cuts tend to retain more color.

When searching for an emerald cut diamond, starting with an H color grade is recommended. This avoids the premium associated with colorless diamonds while still appearing nearly colorless to the naked eye.

For oval cut diamonds, I color grades can effectively mask any yellow tint. For example, an oval cut diamond with an I color grade from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) falls into the “near colorless” category on the GIA scale. However, even in high-resolution images, the yellow color is not visibly noticeable.

As a comparison, an I-color, 0.90-carat emerald cut diamond may start to show yellow around its edges. By moving up one color grade to H, the yellow tint will begin to diminish.

5. Size

The primary measure of a diamond’s size is its weight, which is measured in carats. One carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams. However, the perceived size of a diamond can vary depending on its cut and shape. Certain cuts, such as oval and emerald cuts, may appear larger to the naked eye compared to other shapes like Asscher and radiant cuts.

Oval and emerald cuts create the illusion of a larger size due to their elongated and stretched shapes. If you were to place a one-carat oval or emerald cut diamond next to a round or princess cut diamond of the same carat weight, the former would likely appear heavier.

This optical effect allows you to choose a lower carat weight while still maintaining the perceived size of these other cuts. It can be an effective way to save on the cost of your diamond ring, as there are often disproportionate price increases as you move to higher carat weights.

In summary, while carat weight is a standard measure of a diamond’s size, the actual visual appearance of size can vary based on the cut and shape of the diamond. Oval and emerald cuts tend to look larger compared to other shapes, providing an opportunity to achieve a larger appearance while opting for a lower carat weight.

6. Types of Settings

Oval and emerald cuts offer versatility when it comes to choosing the setting for an engagement ring. While a four-prong solitaire setting is a popular choice for both cuts, I recommend exploring alternative styles to enhance the overall aesthetic of the ring.

For oval cuts, there are several options to consider, such as tension settings, sidestone settings, and halo settings. One example is an oval cut engagement ring placed in a halo setting with diamond accents along the shank. This particular setting creates the illusion of a larger diamond as the halo blends seamlessly with the center stone. Another option is an oval cut engagement ring with a tapered baguette setting, where the baguette diamonds surrounding the oval cut are distinct and provide a contrasting look compared to the main gem.

Similarly, there are numerous options available for emerald cuts, including variations that are unique to this particular shape. These examples showcase the wide range of styles that complement emerald and oval cuts, allowing you to choose something beyond a simple four-prong solitaire setting.

7. Popularity

Both oval and emerald cuts are popular choices for center diamonds in engagement rings, with industry estimates suggesting they account for approximately three percent of diamond sales. One way to gauge the popularity of different diamond cuts is by exploring the inventories of well-known vendors.

For instance, when filtering for oval cuts on James Allen’s website, including all carat weights and color, cut, and clarity grades, there were 30,500 available diamonds. In comparison, their inventory for emerald cuts consisted of 36,000 diamonds. However, when filtering for round cuts, the inventory showcased over 362,000 diamonds.

This indicates that there is greater demand for round cuts compared to emerald or oval cuts. This pattern can be observed not only online but also in brick and mortar jewelry stores like Zales or Jared, where you will typically find a larger selection of round diamonds compared to fancy-shaped diamonds.

Considering an online vendor with a broader selection becomes a favorable option due to the wider range of choices available.

Choosing Between a Emerald and Oval Cuts: Factors to Consider

When deciding between an oval and emerald cut diamond for your engagement ring, it’s important to understand the characteristics that determine their overall performance as center stones. Here are some guidelines to help you make your choice:

If you’re considering an oval cut:

  • Opt for an oval cut if you want a diamond that shares many qualities with round cuts but comes at a lower cost per carat.
  • Choose an oval cut if you’re looking for an alternative to the most popular diamond cuts without compromising on brilliance.
  • The appealing elongated shape of an oval cut can effectively hide small flaws and tints of yellow, making it a suitable choice.

If you’re leaning towards an emerald cut:

  • Select an emerald cut if you’re not primarily concerned with strong light performance but rather appreciate its warm glow.
  • Emerald cuts often have one of the lowest costs per carat, making them an attractive option if you’re looking for value.
  • If you prefer a rectangular diamond with large, distinct facets, an emerald cut can fulfill that aesthetic preference.

By comparing the features of oval and emerald cuts and considering them in conjunction with various setting styles, you can create the perfect diamond ring that suits your preferences.


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