While round brilliant diamonds have traditionally been the most popular on the market, the oval cut diamond is quickly staking its claim as a cut above the rest with the likes of Kourtney Kardashian to Alia Bhatt opting for oval cut engagement rings— and it’s no surprise. Some of the most famous natural diamonds in the world, like the Kohinoor and the CTF Pink Star, have been oval in shape and have been stealing the spotlight for centuries.
Here are 5 things you need to know about oval cut natural diamonds and why this could be the perfect shape for you…
History of the Oval Cut Diamonds
While the shape has long been considered desirable, both the technology and expertise to produce an oval natural diamond with adequate brilliance did not exist until 1957.
Diamond cutter, Lazare Kaplan, created an oval gemstone shape that could be mass produced as a variation of the round brilliant cut that would become known for its unique shape, exceptional sparkle, and versatility.
Why Oval Cut Diamonds?
The oval’s elongated form sets it apart from other diamond cuts, giving it a larger appearance than its actual carat weight and because of the absence of sharp edges and corners, it makes the natural diamond less prone to chipping compared to other fancy shapes—it’s a cut that’s both stunning and practical.
Oval Cut Diamond Designs.
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the most popular length-to-width ratio for ovals is 1.7:1. However, it is impractical to cut such a long oval diamond from the original rough, so you’ll rarely find one. More typical are ovals with ratios ranging from 1:3:1 to 1.5:1 and predominantly come in two primary cuts: brilliant cuts and rose cuts. But new cuts are slowly infiltrating the market. “I love to see unique oval shapes like movals, step cut modified oval and oval portrait cuts. I know natural diamond oval portrait cuts are pretty rare to come across, so it’s always a delight to see one in person,” says Megan Kothari, Founder of AARYAH Jewelry.
“They can be set in so many ways, three stones, east-west, bezel and more. Each oval cut diamond has its own unique character. Whether it’s dimensions or sparkle or even colour, we like to really study the stone before creating a setting around them. Our most popular viral oval cut ring is the ‘Surya’, it includes three stones: an oval cut with two yellow kites. These side stones were added to emphasise the elongated shape of the particular oval without taking away from the silhouette of the stone. Because of the versatility of an oval cut, most settings work well, but we really love a classic 4 prong setting for this diamond shape.”
These new cuts and settings allow for updated looks on a traditional silhouette, making ovals a perfect choice for modern designs. And that’s a big part of the allure, its ability to tick several boxes.
You get the wow factor of what seems to be a larger carat stone, it closely matches the brilliance, fire, and sparkle of a round brilliant, and it’s able to find a crossover between traditional and modern designs that still maintain a sensibility of timelessness. “Oval cut diamonds exude a decidedly modernist aesthetic,” says designer Rebecca Zeidel-Paz of New York based jewellery line BECK Jewels, “they highly complement new and modern design details, while offering pared-back elegance.”
Engagement Rings and More with Oval Cut Diamonds.
The oval cut’s versatility allows designers more room for play. Digvijay Shekhawat, Design Director at Sunita Shekhawat, Jaipur agrees, “Oval cut natural diamonds are in huge demand in jewellery design these days. They’re unique, versatile, and complement various settings and styles. With visually a bigger surface area and a vintage appeal, it’s no wonder more and more people are incorporating them into their jewellery collections.”
While we’ve been seeing the resurgence in oval cut brilliant diamonds in engagement rings, we’re now witnessing designers experiment more with oval cut diamonds of different cuts and ratios in various jewellery designs. Megan Kothari at AARYAH Jewelry has been observing a similar trend, “Recently we’ve seen ovals used in rivière necklaces, tennis bracelets, and now in men’s bands– which is really fun to see.”
Bowtie Effect in Oval Cut Diamonds.
When it comes to oval cut natural diamonds, it’s important to consider the bow-tie effect which can be caused by uneven light distribution within the stone. This effect appears as a dark, bow-tie-shaped area in the centre of the diamond and can significantly impact its appearance. However, a skilled diamond cutter can minimise the bow-tie effect by carefully arranging the facets to optimise the stone’s light performance.
It’s worth noting that not all bow-ties are deal breakers, and a faint bow-tie can actually enhance the diamond’s scintillation patterning and create contrast within the stone. However, severe bow-ties that remain dark even when the viewing angle changes can create an unbalanced look and reduce the stone’s brightness. Ultimately, the acceptability of a bow-tie is subjective and depends on individual preferences.
While the round brilliant cut remains the most popular diamond shape, the oval brilliant cut offers a unique alternative. Both cuts showcase exceptional sparkle, thanks to their numerous facets, but the oval cut’s elongated shape provides an air of distinction and a larger appearance. Ultimately, whether you choose a round or oval brilliant cut, you’re sure to have a stunning piece of jewellery that turns heads and captures hearts.