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Oval cut diamonds are simply an elongated round brilliant cut, but the appeal of these loose diamonds goes much deeper. Oval cuts have the brilliance of the round diamond, but a more unique shape. They are a fashionable and trendy diamond cut that, when cut well, can look larger than a round diamond. But many people love this diamond shape for another of its benefits: Oval diamonds can make one’s fingers look thinner and longer, and it compliments a wide range of hand shapes and sizes.
Although this shape is a more recent cut, invented in the mid 1900s, it has already proven to be a lasting and beloved style. This cut is intended to represent the longevity of your relationship, which might explain the popularity of oval cut diamond rings. But though you might love its symbolic meaning, it requires certain considerations when you're selecting a loose diamond.
Jewel crafters have cut diamonds into oval-type shapes for centuries, as variations of the classic round brilliant cut. However, the oval diamond as we know it today was not purposely developed until the late 1950s. Lazare Kaplan, a diamond cutter from Russia, quickly earned a reputation for being able to turn the most useless and flawed diamonds into beautiful works of art. He cut down the damaged gemstones, chipped away the blemished parts, and created smaller, workable diamonds. He seemed to truly believe in the saying “diamond in the rough,” and it was he who created the oval-cut diamond from some of the “deformed” diamond pieces with which he so expertly worked. Some famous people who favor oval cut diamond jewelry include Princess Kate, Katie Holmes, and Selma Hayek.
There's no question of this ring style's popularity given its romantic symbolism. And since the oval diamond looks larger than a round at the same carat weight, it's a shape that lends itself well to smaller but elegant rings, like a 1 carat oval diamond ring. Oval cut solitaire engagement rings have perennial popularity thanks to their elegance and the romantic curves of the center stone. These diamonds don't need many frills to turn heads, though oval diamond rings with accent stones and halos are have an undeniable appeal. Just ask celebrities. There's no shortage of oval diamond engagement rings in Hollywood. Here are some of the oval diamond's most famous fans:
Like other fancy shapes, ovals waste less precious rough material and therefore are less premium than round brilliant cuts. However, unlike other fancy shapes, they require less depth, so the diamond looks larger and fuller. This makes them a great value for their cost. Oval cuts can look visually stunning, but in some instances, may exhibit a “bow tie” effect.
The bow tie effect is a visually dull/darker center that resembles a black bow tie. It is an area where light is leaked and not reflected. Diamond brilliance is impacted by the bow tie effect, but this only appears when the oval cut is too shallow or deep. Presence of a bow tie will drive down the price of a loose diamond. (You can learn more about diamond bow ties here.)
One other factor to consider is color. Although a higher color grade will cost more money, it's worth considering if you're set on an oval diamond for your engagement ring. Ovals tend to show more color than rounds, particular near their shallow edges. Therefore, consider a slightly higher color when choosing an oval cut diamond to make sure the edges look clear. Learn more about diamond pricing, including how the diamond shape affects typical prices for a 1 carat stone.
Price is always an important factor when shopping for anything, especially something as permanent as an engagement ring. This one area in which the rarity of the oval cut diamond comes in handy. While it is harder to find than other diamond cuts, it is also not as highly demanded. Therefore, the oval diamond value is typically less than that of other diamond cuts. Many brides-to-be don’t care if their gemstone is tall or short. However, if your betrothed has an eye for the height of her oval cut diamond, keep in mind that the taller, or longer, stones look sharper, while the shorter ones adhere to the rounded oval shape. Oval cut diamonds have a larger surface area than the round brilliant counterparts of the same size. If you are looking for size without spending a lot, an oval cut diamond is a good choice because they always appear larger than the round.
Oval diamonds have an undeniably romantic shape. Like we mentioned, they shine in solitaire settings, so don't feel like you need to go for a setting with more frills. A 1 or 2 carat oval diamond ring is a classic choice, and you can personalize it with some design elements like pave accent diamonds or a split shank. But oval diamond halo engagement rings are also very popular. The delicate diamond halo emphasizes the sleek shape of the center stone and adds up to a half carat of size visually, making it a smart and budget-friendly way to get a bigger ring.
But you can also personalize your oval cut engagement ring by spending time thinking about what metal you'll go with. Oval cut yellow gold engagement rings, for example, can feel vintage even if they're brand new. That's something some brides-to-be adore about this metal choice. But if you want your oval cut gold engagement ring look like it's made up of all diamonds, you'll want to opt for white gold. A white gold band and prongs melds seamlessly with diamonds so your eye is drawn to the stones and not the setting. Or go for a modern-chic look with a rose gold oval cut engagement ring. But make sure you read about all of your metal choices because even within the same type of metal there can be a difference in color between 14 and 18 karat.
The optimal oval ratio of length to width is 1.32 to 1.45. Shorter oval cut diamonds may be deep or look too round. Some people also prefer very long ovals (upwards of 1.50 in ratio). Higher ratios make the diamond look quite large, but its depth becomes shallow. Below, you’ll see the depths, tables and ratios affecting the diamond so you can get familiar with the best cut for an oval diamond.
Depth % for Oval Diamonds
Very Good: 68%-53%
Table % of Oval Diamonds
Very Good: 69%-51%
Length to width Ratio for Oval Diamonds
Oval cut diamonds have approximate millimeter sizes that correspond to certain carat weights. Please see a chart of the popular oval cut diamond sizes and their carat weights. For all sizes and shapes, please visit our diamond size chart page.
View All Oval Diamonds