HomeBlogShapesOval vs round diamond

Oval vs Round Diamond

by Willyou.net * Mar 26, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • The Round Brilliant is, undeniably, the true classic of engagement ring design. While no other shape comes close to it in terms of popularity, the Oval is inarguably the second most popular option.
  • As of 2022, the classic Oval solitaire is an incredibly popular choice for engagement rings.
  • In terms of light performance alone, the Round Brilliant is the obvious choice. Producing the best sparkle of any shape out there, it’s a no-brainer if brilliance and fire are your priority.
  • The Oval is, however, a close contender – one of the best ‘alternatives’ to the level of sparkle offered by the Round Brilliant.
  • The Oval also tends to look a little bigger than the Round Brilliant, which may push you in favor of it.
  • Both shapes are classic, and don’t go in and out of style like, say, the Pear or Heart. They are also highly versatile.
round pave diamond ring - Oval vs Round Diamond

Of all the diamond shapes out there, the Oval and the Round are two of the most classic, and the most influential for bridal jewelry. Perfected in the early 1920s, the Round Brilliant is pretty much the MVP of the diamond world. It’s bright, brilliant, and a symbol of the romance of a proposal, recognized across the globe.

The Oval cut is much newer. Created in 1957, the Oval is lacking some of the brilliance of the Round cut, but none of the elegance or versatility. It is particularly popular right now, with the simple Oval gold solitaire representing one of the biggest engagement ring trends of the 2020s so far.

But, unless you go for a two or three stone design, you’ve got to find a way to pick just one. Here’s our blow-by-blow comparison of the Oval and the Round Brilliant.

Light Performance

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few decades, you’ll know that one of the most important features any diamond has is its light performance – that eye-capturing combination of brilliance (white flashes) and fire (multicolored flashes), that makes a diamond stand out from any other gemstone.

One of the first things any shopper learns is that, while the ability to sparkle is an innate characteristic of diamond, it takes a great cut to capture it, and bring it out for the eye to see. Each cut manages this differently – and some better than others.

Do oval diamonds sparkle as much as round?

Put simply, no. A well cut Oval will not sparkle as much as an equally well cut Round Brilliant diamond.

Obviously, if you’re comparing a poorly cut Round Brilliant with an impeccably cut Oval, then the Oval will be much more sparkly and impressive. But, in a like-for-like comparison, the Round Brilliant will be the one to catch your eye – even if you prefer the shape of the Oval.

Why? Because Round Brilliant diamonds are the product of mathematical perfection. The cut was intentionally designed to refract as much light as possible, and to offer a stronger light performance than any other shape. The Oval (as well as the Cushion, Marquise, Princess, Radiant, or any other shape you can think of) simply can’t compete with the Round Brilliant.

The Oval shares a lot of similarities with the Round Brilliant, which makes it a very bright, brilliant choice, but it’s an elongated shape. This means that areas of reduced light are almost inevitable – something that can easily lead to the bow tie effect.

The Oval is part of a group of diamond shapes known as the ‘modified brilliants’, while the Round Brilliant is, as the name suggests, the ‘original’ brilliant shape. There’s nothing wrong or ‘second best’ about going for a modified brilliant, but don’t go into it believing they’re all equal in terms of sparkle.

Face-Up Appearance

Sparkle means a lot to a diamond’s beauty, but it isn’t everything. A diamond’s face-up appearance comprises the crown and table – everything you will see when the diamond has been set within your ring, and placed on the wearer’s finger. Different cuts distribute weight differently, meaning some shapes look a lot larger and more impressive than other shapes of the exact same weight.

Does round or oval look bigger?

Oval diamonds look a little larger than Round diamonds, as a result of their elongated shape and larger surface area.

Not only do Oval cut diamonds feature a larger table, but they are also cut a little shallower (meaning that more weight is distributed across the upper portion of the diamond. The difference isn’t massive, but it is definitely noticeable.

This can be a major selling point for many shoppers – the ability to essentially ‘get more bang for your buck’ in terms of carat weight, and investment. Speaking of which…

Cost

Not all diamond shapes were created equal in terms of sparkle or size, but the same goes for cost. Some shapes are significantly harder to cut, rarer, or more popular (or a combination of all three), making them a lot more valuable at the jewelry store.

Are oval diamonds more expensive than round ones?

No. Round Brilliant diamonds have a reputation for being the most expensive shape out there, not just because of their popularity, but because of the difficulties cutters face when creating them.

One of the major downsides to Round Brilliant diamonds is that they generate a lot of wastage during the cutting process. The shapes diamonds naturally form in don’t make it easy for cutters working on Round Brilliants, while other shapes – like the Princess – are perfect for utilizing almost all the original rough.

The Oval isn’t the most economic shape, but it is more economical than the Round Brilliant. Plus, it’s nowhere near as popular. While it is one of the most sought-after shapes, the Round Brilliant accounts for more than half of all diamond sales each year within the US, meaning no other shape – not even the Oval – comes anywhere close in terms of popularity.

As a result, shoppers can enjoy a more attractive price point for their choice. When you’re already on the fence, and one side is 30% cheaper than the other, it’s not hard to figure out where you’re willing to land. If you’re looking at a 1 carat Round Brilliant priced at $6,000 then, theoretically, you’ll save around $1,500 – $1,800 on an Oval.

Versatility

In terms of creating a beautiful ring, rather than just picking out a great diamond, both the Oval and the Round are highly versatile, and the list of designs jewelers can build around them is pretty much endless.

It goes without saying that the Round Brilliant is the most iconic shape ever created. A simplistic Round Brilliant Solitaire is pretty much the face of the bridal jewelry world, and one that will likely never be replaced by any other diamond shape or ring design. That said, this shape lends itself to plenty more styles – something modern, like the tension ring or the bezel, or something classic, such as the halo or three stone ring design.

For some people, however, the Round Brilliant represents a slightly ‘safer’ choice – and, for that reason, loses some of its versatility. It’s easier to create something totally new and fresh with one of the less popular shapes than it is to reinvent the wheel.

The Oval is a basic enough shape that it’s equally as versatile as the Round Brilliant, and just as open to new (or classic) designs. Its larger face-up appearance means that it can create more impressive solitaires with lighter-weight diamonds, which is a major plus for shoppers on tighter budgets.

Its elongated shape also means that new and unique designs can be created, even with simple solitaires. An Oval diamond can be placed East-West on the shank, or at an angle – something recently popularized by Ariana Grande following her engagement to now-husband Dalton Gomez.

Are oval rings too trendy?

In our opinion, no. Oval engagement rings are all the rage right now, and have been for a couple years already, and there’s a good chance they will be replaced by something else at the very height of popularity. But, even so, they’re a classic and versatile enough shape that they’ll never flop out of style – they might just take a backseat.

As of 2022, Oval solitaires have been trending across Instagram, Pinterest, and every other digital mood board for quite some time. It seems like we can’t get enough of Ovals combined with skinny yellow gold bands, or Ovals combined with a hidden halo.

We are, however, in an age of ‘the classics’.

Think of it this way. Big, bulky halos and dramatic Pear diamonds are two trends that are currently experiencing a lull in popular opinion, despite being at the height of popularity just a few years ago. The Round Brilliant, however, is not at the very top of the pecking order right now, but it’s not experiencing a lull.

The story is the same for the Oval cut, and its ability to withstand the test of time. It will be replaced as flavor as the month, but it won’t ever go out of fashion.

The Round Brilliant – Benefits

  • It’s the most brilliant shape
    If you’re looking to dazzle your partner, and harness the full power of diamond’s light performance within your engagement ring, then the Round Brilliant really is the only shape you should be considering. Plenty of other shapes – the Oval included – offer beautiful, scintillating light performances, but the Round Brilliant goes that bit further than any other shape on the market.
    Everyone goes into the process of finding a diamond with a different list of priorities but, if sparkle is at the very top of yours, then don’t look anywhere else but at the Round Brilliants available to you.
  • It’s the classic
    Beyond the sparkle, there’s no denying the massive influence the Round Brilliant as had on the world of romance. If you’re a romantic at heart – the kind who cuts paper hearts out of craft paper at Valentine’s Day, and is planning a show-stopping, sunset-capturing proposal – then chances are you can’t imagine getting engaged with anything but the Round Brilliant.
    There’s something to love about every engagement ring style and diamond shape, and what we love about the Round Brilliant is its unrivalled impact on brides and grooms across the globe, and generations.
  • It’s great for concealing small inclusions
    One of the secrets to buying a great diamond – whatever the shape – is finding one that looks eye clean, but doesn’t carry the sky-high price of a diamond with a clarity grade of FL or IF (or even VVS1 or VVS2).
    This is possible for any diamond, but the Round Brilliant is one of the most effective shapes for masking the sort of small inclusions you’ll find in VS and SI clarity diamonds, making it easier to save money on a great looking diamond.

The Oval – Benefits

  • It’s got plenty of sparkle to offer
    The Round Brilliant is the leader of the pack when it comes to sparkle, but it’s not like the Oval (or any of the other modified brilliant cuts) can’t offer you anything when the light hits. The Oval still creates a beautiful abundance of fire and brilliance – an incredibly scintillating light performance that lives up to our expectations when we think of diamonds.
    Side-by-side, you’ll notice some difference between the Oval and the Round Brilliant but, provided you pick a great cut with excellent proportions, it’s really not that deep – unless you’re pinning absolutely everything on your diamond’s sparkle. 
  • They look bigger
    Most of us consider size (or carat weight) to be a major concern when we’re shopping for diamonds. Bigger diamonds get more attention; they look more expensive, more impressive, and more exclusive than smaller – or even ‘average sized’ diamonds. This is particularly true if you’re not planning on adding many accents into your ring. Halos and accent stones can make a diamond look bigger, but the traditional solitaire puts all your cards on the table, so to speak.
    Ovals concentrate more of their total weight into the crown and table, rather than the pavilion – a great thing to keep in mind if you’ve got size on your mind.
  • They’ll never go out of style
    It really doesn’t matter if your ring fits with the trends or not, provided you and your partner are in love with it. But, if you’re both pretty conscious of fashion, then it pays to stick to the shapes that don’t get pulled in and out of focus.
    The Pear and Heart are two shapes that travel something of a rocky road. One year they’re in, the next year, they’re out. The Oval is totally different – like the LBD of the diamond world.

So, Are Oval Diamonds Better Than Round?

Both shapes are beautiful, bright, brilliant classics of the diamond world. With the Round Brilliant, you’ll get more sparkle, but the Oval offers savings that a lot of shoppers can’t pass up.

There’s no right or wrong choice. If your partner has their heart set on a Round, then the Oval’s potential savings aren’t worth it. If you’re on the fence, however, then exploring what the Oval can offer your ring design is definitely worth your while.