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What is an Oval Cut Diamond?

by Willyou.net * Apr 19, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • The Oval is one of the most popular shapes out there.
  • It’s cheaper than the Round Brilliant, which is a major plus if you want to get the highest carat weight possible at your price point. It doesn’t offer the same amount of brilliance and fire, but it does appear larger.
  • Like other elongated shapes, it can be vulnerable to featuring an area of reduced light at its center – known as the ‘bow tie’ effect – but your jeweler will be able to help you avoid any major bow ties.
  •  The Oval is versatile, timeless, and consistently popular among engagement ring shoppers.
oval cut diamond

The Oval is one of those evergreen cuts that needs no real introduction. Like the Round, it’s capable of doing all the talking for itself – and convincing many shoppers that it’s the perfect choice for them. But, unlike the round, it’s a great shape to consider if you’re looking to stray from ‘the norm’ without going too far in the opposite direction.

For this reason, the Oval is a sort of ‘have your cake and eat it too’ kind of a shape, since you get the versatility and timelessness of the Round Brilliant, but a slightly more unique shape (it is, after all, a lot less popular), and one that looks significantly bigger face-up than the Round.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to know about the Oval cut than that – but extolling the virtues of this classic cut is certainly a great place to start…

What Does an Oval Diamond Cut Look Like?

As the name would suggest, an Oval cut diamond features a round, elongated shape with no straight edges or harsh points.

The Oval cut diamond is a modified brilliant cut. It’s a cross between a Round Brilliant and a Pear shaped diamond, but without any asymmetries or pointed corners. For this reason, it is also known as a ‘Modified Round Brilliant’. It contains 58 facets – the same number as a round cut – with the culet included.

Its silhouette is very similar to the Victorian ‘Rose cut’, which, these days, has been pushed far out of the spotlight by the modified brilliant cuts. The cut prevents the diamond from doing any real sparkling and, while charming, can easily disappoint within an engagement ring. These days, shoppers looking to evoke that same Victorian elegance tend to opt for the Oval instead.

As a result of that brilliant facet pattern, an Oval cut diamond has excellent sparkle and fire. It also has a different weight distribution to the Round, which can prove to be a major selling point for many shoppers looking to create the most impressive engagement rings possible – but more on that below.

Oval Diamond History

The modern Oval cut was created by Russian cutter, Lazare Kaplan, in the 1960’s, although ovals were introduced into the diamond industry over 200 years ago. This ‘newest’ version, however, offers a far greater degree of sparkle than the designs that came before it, creating a stone that is far more beautiful and symmetrical.

Inarguably, one of the most well-known diamonds in the world – the Koh-I-Noor, or ‘mountain of light’ – has featured an Oval cut since the mid-nineteenth century. Weighing 105.602 carats, the diamond is now in the position of Queen Elizabeth II, and resides in the Tower of London. Over the years, it has drawn crowds of thousands to come and gaze upon it – and that tremendous sparkle offered by the Oval cut.

In more recent years, Oval cut diamond engagement rings have proven themselves to be incredibly popular with royalty and celebrities, and can be found on the fingers of Princess Kate Middleton, Blake Lively, Serena Williams and Katy Perry, who wears a simple Oval cut diamond on a pavé shank, similar to this Oval Pavé Engagement Ring.

Oval Diamond Engagement Rings

It should come as no surprise that the Oval cut creates plenty of beautiful diamonds, but how do they compare to other, more popular cuts once they have actually been placed within an engagement ring setting? Here’s what you need to know…

Are Oval Diamonds Classic?

Yes, Oval diamonds have been around (in various forms) for centuries, and their shape is simple enough that they will never appear dated or ‘out of fashion’.

Some shapes are capable of looking fresh and modern throughout the decades – or, in the case of the Oval, centuries. There are few shapes as versatile as a well-cut oval, and whether your engagement ring winds up looking vintage or contemporary, flashy, or understated, is entirely down to the ring design you create with your jeweler.

For instance, take a look at this decadent Oval Halo Engagement Ring in Platinum. The combination of the halo and the Oval cut diamond is evocative of an opulent Victorian mirror, but the bright sheen of the platinum brings the ring into the 21st century and keeps it from looking decidedly ‘vintage’.

This Oval Cathedral in Rose Gold creates a sense of modern romance thanks to the combination of blushing rose gold and the classic Oval cut, but with enough subtlety that it will continue to look fresh and elegant as the decades roll by.

So, yes, the Oval is classic – but don’t confuse that with ‘antiquated’ or ‘old fashioned’.

Are Oval Diamonds Popular?

Yes. Offering a modification on the super popular Round Brilliant, the Oval is one of the most popular diamond cuts for engagement rings today.

All of the modified brilliant cuts enjoy their fair share of popularity among couples. Some, like the Pear, tend to drift in and out of fashion as the years (and trends) pass by, but others are capable of standing their ground – of offering something that every new generation of brides- and grooms-to-be find very hard to say ‘no’ to.

Of course, no diamond cut comes anywhere close to rivalling the Round Brilliant in terms of popularity. The Oval is, however, commonly regarded as the second most popular cut out there for engagement rings.

But, like the Round, the Oval is versatile enough that it’s still possible to use it to create a unique engagement ring.

Do Oval Cut Diamonds Sparkle?

Absolutely. Their status as a modified brilliant is a result of their facet structure, which closely resembles that of the Round Brilliant – the most sparkly cut of them all.

The Oval will sparkle a little less than the Round, simply because no other cut is quite capable of rivalling it. But, provided you pick an Oval with a very high quality cut, no visible inclusions, and no major ‘bow ties’ (more on that below), you will be treated to a stunning light performance of fire, brilliance and scintillation.

Remember, however, that the ring setting matters to the amount of sparkle a diamond is able to create. Blocking light using bulky settings, like the bezel, will impair its ability to reflect and refract light – so keep this in mind and, if in doubt, ask your jeweler.

Do Oval Cut Diamonds Look Bigger?

Yes. The Oval is not only elongated – which creates the illusion of a greater size overall – but their proportions mean that much more of their weight is spread across their surface area, rather than hidden within the pavilion (lower portion).

As we mentioned above, this is a selling point for many shoppers who may have originally had their eye on the Round Brilliant. It simply means that you essentially get ‘more’ – or, at least, the illusion of more – for your investment, and that you don’t need to stray into the super-expensive carat weights to get a truly impressive diamond.

oval pave solitaire engagement ring

What is the Most Flattering Diamond Shape?

While this is open to interpretation, the elongated shape of the Oval is highly flattering for all wearers.

Unlike the perfectly square or round shapes, the Oval can be set within the ring to follow the natural line of the finger and create a slimming, lengthening effect.

Obviously, this reason alone is not enough to compel you to pick the Oval, but it’s a great extra detail to know as you weigh up your choices. 

How Big is a 1 Carat Oval Diamond?

The exact measurements of any diamond depend on its proportions, but a well cut Oval will measure approximately 7.7 mm by 5.7 mm.

In our guide to choosing an Oval diamond, we’ll go into a lot more detail about finding the right proportions. For now, however, it’s important to understand that a poorly proportioned diamond could totally ruin your engagement ring, and appear a lot lower in quality – even to an untrained eye.

So, if you find an Oval with a much larger surface measurement, the fact that it looks considerably bigger than other Oval diamonds of the same carat weight shouldn’t be seen as a ‘great find’. In fact, the polar opposite is true.

Why? Because a diamond that looks larger on top will, of course, be lacking a considerable amount of weight in its lower portion – the pavilion. And, while the pavilion is largely obscured by the ring setting, it is vital to ensuring that refracted light takes the right ‘path’ through the diamond.

Without it, the diamond will appear lifeless. It will be dull and lacking in the fire and brilliance that we all want to capture within our engagement rings.

What Does Oval Cut Say About You?

Wearers of the Oval are elegant, classic, and boast excellent attention to detail.

It really is difficult to imagine any of the modified brilliants replacing the Oval as the most sophisticated and timeless cut out there. Many jewelers regard it as a near-equal to the Round which, if you’ve done your research, you will know as the most esteemed and beloved cut in the diamond world.

Nevertheless, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the Oval is only suited to one particular type of person, or style. It’s about as versatile as they come, and can be dressed up (or down) using your ring design to suit whoever is intended to wear it.

Oval Diamond Cost

We all know that beauty and precision come at a premium, but there are also plenty of ways to tailor your chosen ring (and cut) to your price point. Here’s what you need to know.

Are Oval Cut Diamonds More Expensive?

While diamond cuts are one of the more expensive shapes, they’re still considerably less expensive than the Round Brilliant – and you don’t need to pay a premium for an excessively good quality stone.

Per carat, you save a considerable amount of money simply by picking an Oval, rather than a Round Brilliant of the same quality. Typically between 25% and 30%.

What this means is that you may be able to aim for a higher carat weight than you otherwise would – but never at the expense of clarity, color or cut.

We’ve hinted that there are ways to save money, and there are. You don’t need to pick out a VVS1 diamond when a VS2 (or even SI1) diamond will do, just as you don’t need an F color diamond (or any of the Colorless grades).

Below, we will provide more a detailed rundown of the Four Cs – and a few other features – with regards to saving money without losing quality.

How Much is a 1 Carat Oval?

Expect to pay upwards of $3,000. Diamonds that cost less are likely to feature visible inclusions, noticeable color (yellow), or a poor cut that impairs sparkle. Or, of course, all of the above.

Remember that the price per carat of a one carat diamond is totally different to the price per carat of a two carat diamond. While it may sound confusing, it’s simply down to the fact that, the larger a diamond gets, the more valuable it is considered.

So, if you can find a truly stunning 1 carat Oval cut diamond for $4,500, don’t jump to the conclusion that you will find a 2 carat diamond of the same quality for $9,000.

It’s all about choosing the right features for the right cost – and understanding which grades are worth sacrificing, and which just aren’t…

Choosing an Oval Cut Diamond

An important factor to keep in mind when choosing an Oval cut diamond is its symmetry. The diamond should have identical sides and neatly rounded edges. Even the slightest amount of disproportion in the oval cut will be easily noticeable.

The classic setting for an Oval cut is the solitaire, but a halo setting adds an additional sparkle that accentuates the diamond. An Oval paired with a vintage setting has a unique style to it. 

One thing you need thttps://willyou.net/blog/shapes/marquise-cut-diamondo watch out for is something commonly known as the ‘bow tie effect’, which can interrupt an otherwise beautiful stone…

What is a Bow Tie in an Oval Diamond?

A bow tie is caused by an issue with the diamond’s facets, which causes an area of reduced light within the center of the diamond.

This can resemble a twisted ribbon, or a ‘bow tie’, and really impact the appearance of the stone. It is an unfortunate phenomenon most commonly found in elongated shapes, such as the Marquise and Pear cuts, and, of course, the Oval.

It is important to be aware of the potential for this phenomenon, but don’t let it put you off the Oval all together. Choosing to buy the diamond from a brick and mortar jewelry store, rather than an online business, gives you the chance to check each diamond over thoroughly before you invest in it.

Also, no reputable jeweler will push you toward a diamond with a significant bow tie – and particularly not without drawing your attention to it – so don’t let this one feature turn you away from the Oval for good.

The following cut, color and clarity guides should be taken into consideration when choosing an Oval cut diamond:

Oval Cut Diamond Cut Guide

The cut attributes of a diamond contribute to its sparkle, brilliance, and bling. Most knowledgeable buyers would choose attributes from the Excellent – Very Good columns.

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
Table %55 – 62.952 – 54.9
or
63 – 65.9
51 – 51.9
or
66 – 68.9
50 – 50.9 or
69 – 70.9
<49.9
or
>71
Depth %58 – 62.956 – 57.9
or
63 – 65.9
53 – 55.9 or
66 – 70.9
50 – 52.9 or
71 – 74.9
<49.9
or
>75
GirdleVery Thin
to Slightly Thick
 Very Thin
or
Thick
Very Thin
or
Very Thick
Extremely Thin
or
Extremely
Thick
CuletNoneVery SmallSmallMedium>Medium

Oval Cut Diamond Length-to-Width Guide

A classic Oval cut has a length-to-width ratio between 1.35 – 1.42. 

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
Square1.35 – 1.421.30 – 1.34
or
1.43 – 1.46
1.25 – 1.29
or
1.56 – 1.60
1.20 – 1.24
or
1.61 – 1.65
<1.19
or
>1.66

Oval Cut Diamond Symmetry, Polish, Cut and Fluorescence Guide

Our experience suggests that Cut, Symmetry, Polish, and Fluorescence contributes to a diamond’s brilliance so that most buyers will choose Excellent – Very Good and Fluorescence None – Faint.

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
CutExcellentVery GoodGood Fair – Poor
PolishExcellentVery GoodGood Fair – Poor
SymmetryExcellentVery GoodGood Fair – Poor
FluorescenceNoneFaintMedium Strong – Very Strong

Oval Cut Diamond Color Guide

Most buyers prefer size over color hue and will buy a diamond of G color.

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
< 0.50 ctD – G H – IJ – KL – M> N
0.51 – 1.00 ct.D – FG – HI – JK> L
1.00 – 2.00 ct.D – FG – HI – JK> J
> 2.00 ct.D – FG – HI – JK> J

Oval Cut Diamond Clarity Guide

Most buyers prefer size over clarity and will buy a diamond of SI1 Clarity.

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
< 0.50 ctFL – VS2SI1 – SI2 I1 – I2> I2
0.51 – 1.00 ct.FL – VS1VS2 – SI2 I1 – I2> I2
1.00 – 2.00 ct.FL – VS1VS2 – SI1SI2I1> I1
> 2.00 ct.FL – VS1VS2 – SI1SI2I1> I1

Oval Cut Diamonds Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to every diamond shape, Ovals included.

Advantages

The Oval cut tends to elongate fingers, making them appear longer and slenderer. They can also create the illusion of a larger size, due to their elongated shape. Ovals look stunning on any hand and can be set with most styles and settings, due to their versatile and timeless appearance.

While they won’t sparkle as much as the Round Brilliant, Ovals do offer a tremendous amount of fire and brilliance – particularly when they are able to draw in as much light as possible. For this reason, we’d recommend the classic Oval Solitaire.

Disadvantages

A con to the Oval cut is its bowtie effect. This is the dark space that can stretch across a diamond’s center. Sometimes the bowtie effect can be easily visible on the diamond, making it less attractive to the buyer. 

Our Summary: Is the Oval Cut Good?

Yes, the Oval cut is an excellent choice for so many couples, whether you’re on the search for something elegant and understated, or dazzlingly luxurious – or even evocative of a bygone era.

If you’re looking for a versatile diamond shape – one that will, for many decades, continue to look as fresh and beautiful as it does on the day you get down on one knee – then the Oval is one of the most compelling options out there for you. Like the Round, it’s not subjected to the comings and goings of trends, and it’s not tied to any particular part of history like the ‘Art Deco’ Emerald or the 80’s favorite, the Princess.

It looks just as stunning in a pared back solitaire as it does when it is surrounded by a dazzling halo, or a complex arrangement of accent stones, and it’ll flatter the finger of anyone lucky enough to wear it.

There are, as always, a few things to show caution towards as you hunt for the perfect diamond. You’ll want to make cut quality your priority, not only to maximize sparkle but also to ensure strong symmetry, and to keep the risk of an obtrusive bow tie to a minimum. You can, however, set your mind at ease by ensuring that you pick a reputable local jeweler to consult with, and address any possible concerns.

Nevertheless, we consider this a strong choice for any shopper.

You can take a look at our full range of GIA graded Oval Diamonds, and use our substantial network to find a trusted jeweler operating in your area, who can talk you through the specifics of your chosen diamond.

Hand-Selected Oval Cut Diamonds