Looking for a magical shape that will make any hand look long, slender, and model-like? Well, friends…maybe it’s that favorite makeup line, or maybe it’s Oval Diamonds.
Whether you’re looking for a magical transformation to short hands or simply looking for a diamond that has tons of sparkle and visual surface size, Ovals are for you!
Let’s dive into what makes a gorgeous oval brilliant cut.
Just like all brilliant cut (radiant, princess, round, cushion, etc.) diamonds, oval diamonds have facets that begin at a central point, then “fan out” from there. More akin to a starburst of facets than “steps” of facets (see: asscher cuts, emerald cuts), ovals create flashes and pinpoints of light.
And just like it’s cousin The Round Brilliant Cut, an oval has 57 facets!
The oval diamond began to gain popularity in cutting during the 1700s but gained nomenclature during the 1800s. This romantic shape was often seen in large, prominent diamonds linked to royalty. You might be familiar with the famous Koh-i-Noor, which was gifted to Queen Victoria in 1850 .
At a whopping 105.60 carats, you might need to do some bicep curls before setting this bad boy into an engagement ring.
As of this blog, I find that the oval modified brilliant cut is the second-most popular shape request we have at The Leake Co., behind the classic round brilliant.
There is something inexplicably special about oval. For me, it is the history experienced by the shape and the completely unique appearance. The best part? No two are exactly alike, and there are no “right or wrong” answers!
- Focus on the overall shape you prefer: Long or Short
- View the diamond in a variety of light environments
- Assess the visual symmetry and outline
- Look for Very Good or better symmetry & polish
- Compare a few options to determine your favorite look
- Remember that oval diamonds are not graded for cut quality yet!
Ovals can transform any hand into elegant, elongated, and slender with ease. The elongated shape lends itself to look larger than the carat weight suggests (normally!), which can sometimes add up to 10-15% in visual size over shapes like round, cushion, or princess.
The best part? You won’t have to sacrifice sparkle by choosing a well-proportioned oval. With the right angles and measurements, ovals can go head-to-head with rounds in the sparkle department.
- 01.Elongated, but Not-Too-Elongated: Keep your L/W Ratio between 1.36-1.50
- 02.Watch That Bowtie: Some Ovals develop a bowtie-shaped shadow across their centers.
- 03.Color My World: In my opinion, ovals show a little more color, grade for grade, than other shapes. If you're considering white gold or platinum, try H color or higher.
- 04.Give Me Clarity on The Subject: Ovals are often eye-clean well into the SI1 grade.
- 05.Out of My Depth: Don't let your oval be too shallowly cut or too deeply cut.
Ovals don't receive a lab-assessed ``Cut Grade.``
Whether you love long and lean, or short and rounded, follow this guide as your basic roadmap to your perfect oval.
Let’s just say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” definitely applies here.
The Dreaded Bowtie
- Clarity: FL to SI1
Many ovals are experts at "hiding" inclusions! Save some cash by looking at the VS2-SI1 clarity grades for a seamless and eye-clean look.
- Symmetry/Polish:Very Good or Excellent
To avoid a prominent bowtie shadow, symmetry is extremely important.
- Ratio: 1.36-1.50
Avoid a squat diamond, or a too-elongated diamond. Get that ideal "oval" outline by watching the length-to-width ratio. (Divide length by width to get this number.)
- Depth: 57% - 63%
To avoid lack of sparkle or hidden material (wasted weight), keep that depth percentage right! Depth is measured from the diamond's top to bottom.
- Table:53% - 63%
Avoid a "spready" table or a "tiny" table to ensure max fire from your oval.
- Girdle: Thin to Thick
The "waistband" of your diamond should be wide enough to withstand impact, but not too wide as to "hide" some diamond material in the center.
- Bowtie Check: We're not going to the opera, here.
If an oval's proportions are off, or the L/W ratio is too low or high, an extremely prominent "bowtie" shaped shadow develops across the width of the diamond's center. You'll know it when you see it, even online. We promise.
- Disclaimer All ovals have a bowtie...to an extent.
Any great diamond cutter will tell you that all ovals will have some semblance of a bowtie. Although there are some combinations of proportions to help ameliorate it, a tiny bowtie will always exist. C'est la vie!
Yes and no. Although less rough is lost in the cutting process than rounds, and therefore indicates less per carat price, ovals have enjoyed a major Glow Up in recent years. Demand is currently outpacing supply for really nicely cut ovals.
Well, no. Round diamonds have been perfected for optimal light return over centuries, and we've cracked the code for max fire and brightness. Ovals are still on their way to being perfected, but math tells us that the angles of refraction are simply not the same as their round cousins.
Nope! Although all ovals have extremely similar faceting on top, ovals have (4) available faceting patterns on their undersides. We call this the pavilion. Ovals can be cut with (4) mains, (6) mains, and two arrangements of (8) mains.
Some ovals have (4) mains, (6) mains, or (8) mains on their bottom (pavilions). 4 Mains tends to produce a more "antique" look with broader, chunkier flashes of light. 6 Mains is a more balanced approach to sharp/broad flashes of light. 8 Mains tends to produce a more "sharp" or pinpoint reflection of light. (I prefer 6).
You all know me well enough by now to agree in a resounding "Cut!" Although ovals don't receive a "cut grade" from GIA, AGS, or any reputable grading lab currently, focus on keeping your proportions within the table listed above for max shine, sparkle, and visual size.
Just like all diamonds, I suggest avoiding cavities, knots, etch channels, chips, and bruises. These inclusions often present structural concerns that can transform into worrisome issues down the road with daily wear.
All ring styles show off these slinky curves, no worries! I tend to prefer 4 prongs for ovals, which will securely hold the diamond. However, you might commonly see 6 prongs as well. Or even bezels!