Discover the Classic Elegance of Emerald Cut Diamonds
Emerald cut diamonds are a unique and elegant class of diamond cuts. Unlike most other shapes that are brilliant cuts, an emerald cut diamond is actually a step cut. Its faceting is not the traditional kite and star shaped facets of other loose diamonds; rather, emerald cuts have small rectangular facets that resemble stairs or steps.
These step-cut facets most certainly emit sparkle and brilliance, but in a more subdued fashion. Emerald cuts have very high appeal because of their long, elegant body. And you can easily see the attraction of an emerald cut diamond ring: this stone shape tends to look larger than others. That means it's the perfect choice for a show-stopping engagement ring. Although emerald diamonds are most commonly rectangular, they can also be square.
Emerald cut diamonds look best in higher clarities because their large table and lack of brillianteering makes it difficult to mask inclusions. They do, however, handle color better than other fancy shapes. So selecting a lower color emerald diamond is not necessarily a problem. Even better, this combination of attributes can help your budget go further. Although a higher clarity diamond will cost more, you'll save some money (without sacrificing on look) if you go for a lower color with the emerald cut diamond.
Emerald diamond popularity and famous rings
Emerald cut engagement rings have been increasing in popularity the last few years. Emerald cut diamond engagement rings are very sophisticated, and this diamond cut is actually commonly thought to be quite modern. However, emerald cut diamonds have origins that can be traced back to hundreds of years ago. As a matter of fact, this diamond cut is actually one of the oldest diamond shapes. Although their recent popularity could be attributed to this diamond shape's sleek and clean look, celebrity engagement rings featuring this shape probably also have something to do with it.
There are many famous figures who are a fan of emerald cut diamonds:
- Amal Clooney wears a 7 carat emerald cut diamond set in platinum, and the ring has two tapered baguettes on each side of the center stone
- Angelina Jolie has flashed an emerald cut ring with a center stone of approximately 16 carats
- Beyoncé sports a stunning 18 carat emerald diamond engagement ring set in platinum, designed by jeweler Lorraine Schwartz
- Jennier Lopez was just presented a 15 carat emerald cut engagement ring from boyfriend of 2 years, Alex Rodriguez
- Elizabeth Taylor turned heads with a 29.4-carat emerald-cut diamond ring from her third husband, which she referred to as her "ice skaing rink"
- Kate Hudson was given a 9-carat emerald diamond ring set in platinum with a baguette diamond on either side when Matt Bellamy proposed to the actress
- Eva Longoria sported a 4-carat emerald cut three stone ring with emerald cut side stones until her marriage to Tony Parker ended in 2011
- Kim Kardashian wore a 16.5-carat emerald cut diamond (total carat weight of 20.5) during her brief marriage to Kris Humphries
- Ellen Pompeo flashes a three-carat emerald cut halo engagement ring from her music producer husband, Chris Ivery
- Evelyn Lozada from Basketball Wives also wears an emerald cut ring with a halo, with a 10 carat center stone and a pave band
- Avril Lavigne was given a whopping 17 carat emerald cut ring for her first wedding anniversary with Chad Kroeger
- Jodi Sweetin said yes to a gorgeous 4.5-carat emerald cut engagement ring with a double halo and split shank design
- Lisa Vanderpump accepted a 20-carat emerald diamond engageement ring (with a diamond halo) from restauranteur Ken Todd
- Jennifer Lawrence now wears a simple emerald cut solitaire engagement ring that's set with a thin, plain band from Cooke Maroney
- Jasmine Cephas-Jones said yes to Hamilton co-star Anthony Ramos when he presented her with an emerald cut ring with baguette accents
- Kylie Minogue used to show off an emerald cut diamond engagement ring set with a double diamond halo until she split with her ex
- Josephine Skriver, the Victoria's Secret model, got an emerald cut engagement ring with split shank design under the Northern Lights
Overall, emerald cut diamonds are very prevalent in celebrity culture, and they show no signs of losing popularity.
The origin and style of the emerald diamond
The emerald cut has stylistic origins that trace back to the 1500s, to the popular table cut. As time went on, the emerald diamond cut increased in popularity because it reduced the pressure during the cutting process. In turn, this prevented chips in the gems.
The official term “emerald cut” was first used in the 1920s. At this point in time, the emerald cut was extremely popular. With the rise of Art Deco, this cut got even more attention. Clean lines and symmetry were deeply admired, so many people got emerald cut diamond jewelry to go with the trend. Ever since then, emerald cut diamond engagement rings have remained a popular choice for women all over the world.
History of emerald cut diamonds
Even though many people associate them with the 1920s, emerald cut diamonds have been around since the late Middle Ages. This was before diamonds were even used in jewelry. People began to make “improvements” to nature’s design of the diamonds, which involved a simple polishing process. The octahedral crystal faces were polished to create a more even facet with fewer blemishes. This process was called the point cut, and it lasted until the middle of the 14th century.
By the time the 15th century came around, the point cut had improved immensely. Less than half of the octahedron was sawn off, which created the popular table cut. This was the point when people also began to realize the importance of a culet, which some table-cut diamond stones have.
Shortly after that, four corner facets were created. This process was known as the old eight cut or old single cut. These diamond cuts lacked any brilliance or fire, they were just wanted for their hardness. A table cut diamond would appear black to people, just like they would have been in paintings during this area. That’s why colored gemstones ( sapphire, ruby, etc.), were much more popular during the earlier centuries.
The first brilliant cuts came around during the mid 1700’s. They were known as Mazarins (a collection of 18 diamonds belonging to Cardinal Jules Mazarin). Cushion cuts became common in the 18th century. Finally, the emerald cut became well known and standardized in the 1940s, with the developments of diamond saws and more tools which enabled more cuts. The emerald cut replaced the step cut when jewelers and diamond cutters realized that they had the potential to bring “more fire” to diamonds when they used an emerald cut.
Asscher cut vs emerald cut
Asscher cut and emerald cut diamonds are both well known for having a vintage sparkle, and also for their step-cut faceting. For people who are new to the world of diamonds (or even those we know lots about diamond cuts), it can sometimes be difficult to tell the two shapes apart. Many people assume that an Asscher cut is simply a square emerald cut, which isn't the case.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is by the shape of the loose diamond. Emerald cut diamonds have a long and rectangular shape. Asscher cut diamonds, on the other hand, have more of a square shape. If an Asscher cut has a length to width ratio of 1.00 or even 1.06, it will be perfectly square, or look very close to a square. Emerald cut diamonds have a length to width ratio that is between 1.50 and 1.75, which gives them a thinner and elongated appearance.
These diamonds are also cut differently. Asscher cuts do not have as wide or open of a table as emerald cuts. This wide and open table is what gives emerald cuts their classic, elegant look. On an emerald cut, it will be very easy to see any blemishes and inclusions. Therefore, you are always better off going with a higher clarity grade for emerald cuts. Asscher cuts are known for having more faceting, though they also feature step cuts, and they have an “X” pattern that becomes apparent when you look at them from the top down.
Best settings for emerald cut diamonds
Emerald cut diamonds look great in a variety of settings. However, two of the most popular setting options are simple solitaire settings and glistening halo settings. Emerald cut solitaire engagement rings show off the sophistication of the center stone, but an emerald cut with diamond band can also be a sleek and understated option for the minimalist bride. But even though emerald cut solitaire rings and emerald diamond rings with a halo are common, they're far from the only gorgeous options. Emerald cut three stone engagement rings are beautiful options, and emerald cut engagement rings with baguettes are gaining popularity. The baguette side stones mimic the step cuts of the emerald diamond center, making them a natural pairing.
But even if you choose an emerald cut diamond solitaire ring, there's plenty of ways you can customize it. Metal choice is one of the easiest. Emerald cut gold engagement rings are surging in popularity, but each metal can give your ring a distinct look. White gold is, of course, the most popular. But more brides-to-be are opting for rose gold for its romantic symbolism, and yellow gold lends a vintage feel that some people adore.
Emerald diamond guide
Emerald cuts, like other fancy shapes, do not have a cut grade assigned by GIA. With fancy shapes people have different preference on the shaping and faceting so GIA will only grade their polish and symmetry. Below are recommended ranges for table and depth for the respective cut grades. If you plan on getting an emerald cut engagement ring, get familiar with your personal preferences or ask an expert gemologist, like the ones we have on staff here, to help you understand the pros and cons of all options.
Depth % for Emerald Diamonds
Very Good: 74%-52%
Table % of Emerald Diamonds
Very Good: 77%-55%
Length to width Ratio for Emerald Diamonds
Emerald Diamond Size Chart
Emerald cut diamonds have approximate millimeter sizes that correspond to certain carat weights. Please see a chart of the popular emerald diamond sizes and their carat weights. For all sizes and shapes, please visit our diamond size chart page.
Emerald cut pricing
Like other fancy shapes, emerald cuts are fantastic at consuming much of a rough diamond’s carat weight. They require less manufacturing when being cut, compared to rounds, and waste less of the precious raw material. The trade off though, is that they can hide carat weight in their depth. Therefore, they are always cheaper than round cut diamonds.
But among the fancy shapes, you won't be saving. Emerald cut diamonds more premium than other fancy shapes and they tend to be in line with cushion cut diamond pricing, and only slightly less than the princess. (If you want to see a breakdown of the cost of each style of 1 carat stone, check out our guide to diamond prices by shape.)
Emerald cut diamond price considerations
When selecting an emerald cut diamond, you should consider investing in a higher clarity. As mentioned, inclusions have a tendency to show more under the large table of the diamond. With brilliant cut diamonds, light can often bounce around facets and mask the inclusion. Because emerald cuts have limited facets, they will show the inclusions. Consider emerald cuts with high clarity or inclusions that are off center and closer to the diamond’s girdle. Higher clarity grades will cost you more, but you can often offset this a little with a slightly lower color grade in this shape.
The length to width ratio is also particularly important in emerald cut diamonds. Emerald cuts can be square or rectangular and even then, they can be long or short. The optimal emerald cut ratio for a square is 1.00 to 1.05. There is no optimal rectangular ratio as it is purely preference. The typical ratios though, are approximately 1.35, 1.50 and 1.75. The ratio is determined by dividing length by width. Before you browse loose diamonds, you should know the look you're going for. An expert gemologist can also help narrow your search here at With Clarity if you know what length to width ratio is your ideal in this shape.
Emerald cut diamond rings
For every diamond cut, there’s a jewelry category for which it is best suited. Square cut diamonds make remarkable tennis bracelets. Round brilliant cut gems create lovely solitaire necklaces and diamond studded chains. As for the emerald cut diamonds, they look especially beautiful in rings.
Popular Settings for Emerald Cut Diamonds
Because of the unique shape of the elongated rectangle shape of the emerald cut diamond, it can be difficult to find a ring setting befitting its elegance and sophistication. It takes a little trial and error to find the best setting and stone combinations for this specific diamond cut. One popular choice is the solitaire setting with a plain metal band because there’s no need to worry about which secondary stone cuts or type of metal work pair well with the diamond's characteristics. The only decision you have to make with this setting is what size diamond you would like. However, some people want accent diamonds in the band, so they may choose a solitaire setting with small diamonds encrusting the band.
As a rule, halo type settings are hard to match well with emerald cut diamonds. However, with a very small accent diamonds making up the halo and little beaded metalwork outlining it, an emerald cut diamond ring takes on a lovely, antique appearance. This specific design and style for this setting is among the most popular choices because it looks like an emerald cut vintage diamond ring. Perhaps the most popular setting for emerald cut diamond rings, which is described below, is the tri-stone ring setting.
How to purchase an emerald cut diamond, and their benefits
Quality is extremely important when shopping for an emerald cut diamond engagement ring. One downside to this diamond cut is that emerald diamonds reveal clarity inclusions more than other cuts do. Therefore, imperfections are easier to see. This is due to the long step cuts that an emerald diamond consists of. In order to purchase a quality diamond, aim for a clarity grade of anything above VS2. By doing so, you will ensure that there are no visible imperfections on the diamond.
Emerald cuts look bigger
When you make the decision to purchase an emerald cut diamond engagement ring, it comes with many benefits. One appealing aspect of these rings is that an emerald cut makes the engagement ring look larger. For example, the average 1 carat emerald cut diamond has a 5% greater surface area than a round cut diamond of the same weight. Even though both diamond cuts are 1 carat, the top surface of an emerald cut diamond will look larger. Therefore, you are getting a diamond that looks larger without the larger price tag.
Emerald cuts can make your fingers look slimmer
Another benefit of emerald cut diamond engagement rings is that they make fingers appear more slender. Since the emerald cut is elongated, they draw the eye up and down the finger. This essentially creates an optical illustion that gives off the appearance of longer and leaner fingers. Of course, this isn't appealing to everyone, but some people love this aspect.
Emerald cuts can save you money
Another benefit is that emerald cut diamonds are generally less expensive than round brilliants. Despite their rarity, you can still expect to spend anywhere from 15-25% less on an emerald cut diamond engagement ring than you would on a round one. But because of its rarity, they tend to be a little more expensive than other fancy diamond shapes.
Emerald cuts can make your ring unique
Furthermore, emerald cut diamonds are quite rare, so very few people will have rings even remotely similar to yours. There are plenty of ways to personalize your ring. You can even tap one of our expert gemologists to help if you're looking for something special but haven't quite figured out what you want.
For some people, the fact that emerald cut diamond rings aren’t readily available in every possible setting is a plus because it reduces shopping and researching time. However, it may still take longer to find the perfect ring if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for within the selections offered.