Oval Diamonds: Don’t Put a Bowtie On It. Here are 7 Things To Look For.

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Oval Brilliant Cut Diamonds
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.
The Shape
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 History
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!
Why Do We Love Ovals?
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.
Sarah's Gemologist Notes
  • 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.
Want The Perfect Oval?
Ok, let's clear something up:
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.

L/W Ratios

The Dreaded Bowtie

Oval Checklist
  • 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!

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All Things Oval
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