Oval diamond engagement rings: Watch out for misproportions and bow-tie effects

Most oval diamond engagement rings are considered to be a variation on the round brilliant cut, whereby they are narrower on one end of the stone and longer on the other. However, because they are never exactly mathematically proportionate, they lose some brilliance and sparkle when compared with a round diamond. If they are poorly proportioned, they may lose quite a bit of brilliance and sparkle compared to their round counterpart. In other words, badly proportioned ovals will look worse than a correspondingly badly proportioned round stone. An advantage of an oval diamond is that is appears to look larger than a round diamond of the same carat weight. Another positive characteristic of an oval stone, is that an oval center diamond typically looks better than a round center stone as part of a three-stone diamond ring.

The ratio of the length to the width of an oval should be about 1.5:1. An oval diamond usually displays 56 facets and an ideal oval diamond should have depth of the cut in lower 60s. Depending on how their cut, personal preference may dictate that some ovals look too wide while others look too thin. The typical reason why many stone cutters will choose an oval over a round shape is to retain the maximum diamond weight.

As with pear and marquis engagement rings diamonds, oval diamond engagement rings often have what's referred to as the "bow-tie" effect. This effect is reduced at all costs, but is typically never completely avoided. Fortunately, the bow tie effect occurs less frequently with oval diamond engagement rings, as with pear and marquise shaped diamond rings. The bow-tie effect refers to one or two dark areas, across the middle of of the diamond which looks just like a black bow tie. Needless to say, when acquiring a oval shape diamond, if you have a choice, try to find one without too much of a bow tie.

Now for the good news: The price per carat of oval diamonds is almost always less than the price for similar quality round brilliant cuts. Even high quality oval diamonds will typically cost 10-20% less than similar round brilliant cuts.

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