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Pros and Cons of Oval Cut Diamonds for Engagement Rings

Oval shape diamond engagement ring in wooden box on sand

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Oval cut diamonds have a classic, elegant look and have lately become one of the most popular diamond cuts for engagement rings. It has the features of an elongated round diamond, with even the same number of facets (58) as the round cut.

Although the oval cut has existed for a long time, the oval cut that we know and love today was created in the 1960s and is known as a modified round brilliant.

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Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this popular diamond cut for engagement rings.

Pros of Oval Cut Diamonds

Oval cut engagement ring in white gold 8 prong setting

Oval cut diamond engagement ring by Blue Nile. Check price here.

There are many advantages of choosing an oval cut diamond, compared to other more popular diamond options like the round or princess cuts. Here are the main benefits:

1- A larger looking diamond

With oval cut diamonds, you get excellent value for your money with a stone that looks larger than it is. This is because we tend to measure an oval cut from the top to the bottom, tracing its longest lines with our eyes. In terms of actual size, an oval diamond is cut shallower than a round diamond, which means that it has more surface area, sometimes up to 10%, than a round diamond.

2- A brilliant cut

Oval cut engagement ring in yellow gold

Oval cut diamonds are brilliant. Check out the 360 degree video to see how this diamdon interacts with light from all angles.

The oval diamond is known for its brilliance and excellent light performance, making it a great option if you’re after a sparkling diamond. The reason for this is the oval cuts faceting structure and alignment, which enhances light interaction. The oval cut has 58 facets, which is the same number as the round brilliant, arranged meticulously around its surface.

3- A unique shape

For those of you who want a classic diamond option with a unique twist, an oval cut has a lot to offer. The oval cut has a traditional roundish look, but its elongated shape is unlike any other.

4- A more affordable option

Because the oval cut is rarer, and the demand for this shape is much lower than that of shapes like princess or round diamond cuts, oval cuts tend to be much less expensive. Oval cuts can be up to 30% less expensive than a round diamond. There are two main reasons that oval cuts are so much more affordable

  • The demand for oval cuts is lower
  • The wastage that occurs during the cutting process is lower for oval cuts and the shape tends to retain most of its rough

5- Elongates your fingers

The oval cut tends to make the wearer’s fingers appear slim and long. This is because of the cut’s longer shape, which creates the illusion of longer fingers. For brides with short or wide fingers, the oval is an excellent option when set vertically.

6- Good at hiding color and flaws

One of the benefits of the oval cut is its ability to hide flaws, thanks to its brilliant facets. This forgiving nature of the oval cut means that you can drop down low on the clarity and color scales more than you would be able to with most other diamond cuts. For clarity, we recommend dropping down to SI1 or SI2 for the best value and for color try dropping down to H or even I. Remember not to go based on grading alone, but check out each diamond individually before you buy.

7- No sharp corners

Complete list of diamond shapes and names side by side

Oval, cushion and round diamonds are the only diamond shapes with no distinct edges

One of the best things about rounded diamond shapes is that they don’t have any sharp corners that can snag on objects or get damaged. Of all diamond shapes, only the oval, cushion and the round fall into this category.

This might seem like a small detail, but it affects the overall durability of the diamond and the setting options to choose from. An oval diamond requires less protection than say, a princess, marquise or a pear, making it easier to care for and maintain.

8- Versatile with many design options

East west oval shape engagement ring worn on finger

East-west oval cut diamond ring by Nature Sparkle. See it here.

The oval diamond comes in a few different options, depending on the length to width ratio that you choose. This gives you more versatility and looks to choose from. While the most popular length to width ratio for oval diamonds is around 1.45, this number can range from 1.33 (a wider oval) to 1.66 (a narrower oval). This range gives you the most traditional looking oval cuts while lower or higher than this will give you squatter and thinner ovals respectively.

Because of the oval shape, you can also choose different orientations, from diagonal to horizontal placement of the diamond. With a round or princess cut, you don’t have these options as these shapes have the same look from all sides.

Cons of Oval Cut Diamonds

Although there are many pros to the oval cut diamond, there are a couple of main flaws to note. These include:

1- The dreaded bow-tie effect

You’ve probably already heard of bowties in relation to oval cut diamonds, because it’s one of the main considerations when picking your oval diamond. Unfortunately, a bowtie isn’t as glamorous as it sounds – rather it’s something to avoid. It refers to a darkened area that lies horizontally across the diamond’s surface resembling the shape of a man’s bowtie.

Oval cut diamond engagement ring with bow tie

The bowtie in this diamond adds definition to the stone’s look. Check it here.

Bowties occur when light doesn’t reflect back from the center of the stone because of the stone’s cut. Often this is due to misaligned facets. Now, a little bit of bow-tie can add beauty and definition to your diamond’s look but you don’t want it to be too severe. All oval cuts have some degree of bowtie, but if it’s the first thing you notice when you look at your diamond, it’s best to opt for a different stone.

oval shape diamond with bow tie

This diamond has a severe horizontal darkened area.

Unfortunately, because diamond grading labs don’t provide a grade for fancy cuts, which includes oval cuts, the only way to check if you’re oval diamond has an acceptable cut is to look at it closely and check how it interacts with light. Grading reports don’t mention the presence of bowties so it’s best to examine each oval diamond on a case by case basis before you pick it.

See more oval cut diamonds here.

2- Symmetry can be off

If the symmetry of the oval cut isn’t perfect, the diamond can look slightly wonky or off-center. Look for identical sides, that mirror each other. If the stone has been cut inexpertly, it’ll show. This is why it’s not easy to find a beautifully cut oval diamond and you’ll have to spend some time searching before you find the right one.

Bride wearing oval shape engagement ring

A Quick Recap

Those are the main pros and cons to consider with an oval diamond. Buy an oval diamond if you want:

  • A diamond that looks large for its price
  • A more affordable diamond
  • A unique and non-traditional cut
  • An elegant shape
  • A highly brilliant diamond
  • A durable stone with no edges

But an oval cut might not be for you if:

  • You’re worried about the bowtie
  • You want a traditional cut