Oval Diamond Facts & History
Love oval diamond engagement rings? So do we! This particular shape is one of our favorite “fancy” diamond shapes. What’s a fancy diamond shape? Any diamond shape that isn’t round! Cushion cuts, emerald cuts, princess cuts, marquise cuts, radiant cuts, pear shapes, heart shapes, and – of course – ovals are all fancy shapes!
This particular shape is a classic alternative to the round, with the same softness and brilliant facets, however it stands out in a crowd.
History of the Oval Diamond
In 1957, Russian-born diamond cutter Lazare Kaplan changed the diamond market by inventing the modern oval cut. He’d trained for years in his family business of diamond cutting, working closely with relatives who passed on the time-honored trade secrets of diamond cutting. But unique skill enabled him to perform some of the most impressive diamond cutting, transforming large diamonds considered unusable (or industrial-grade) because of ugly inclusions and flaws.
Kaplan could take these diamonds and cut them into smaller, beautiful stones while maximizing each stone’s beauty. His skills were developed by his work with his uncle, Abraham Tolkowsky, who invented the Ideal Cut diamond (not to mention Marcel Tolkowsky, who invented the modern round brilliant.) It should come as no surprise that the oval diamond’s facet pattern is identical to the round brilliant’s. But using the same facet pattern in a completely new diamond shape was a challenge, and getting the dimensions just right earned Kaplan a spot in the Jewelers International Hall of Fame.
Typical Specs of the Oval Diamond
The oval diamond’s most desirable length to width ratio falls between 1.30 – 1.50, but the exact proportions you find most beautiful vary by personal preference. There are definitely “thin” or “fat” ovals and each can look stunning in the right setting.
What does GIA prefer? An oval that scores an “Excellent” cut grade has the following specs:
- Table: 53-63%
- Depth: 58-62%
- Girdle: Very Thin to Slightly Thick
- Culet: None
- Length to Width Ratio: 1.35 – 1.50
Oval Diamond Tips
Ovals have a lot going for them! Like we mentioned above, they’re just as brilliant as the classic round brilliant, and hide their flaws just as well. They are the perfect choice for a bride who just loves the forgiving, very sparkly nature of round brilliants, but wants something more unique.
- The Bow-Tie effect is real! Remember this from our diamond lingo post?
“ The bow tie effect is a shadowy pattern on most elongated diamond cuts like marquise, oval, pear, and radiant. It shows up as a dark spot in the middle of the diamond shaped like a bow tie. It’s the result of light leakage due to uneven facet patterns. It is usually pretty subtle and doesn’t detract from the beauty of the diamond. Only when it’s the first thing you notice about the diamond is it a problem.”
- Ovals look bigger! Their elongated shape gives them more visual weight, so even if they’re exactly the same carat weight as a round, princess, or square cushion cut, they’re going to look a lot bigger. They also elongate your fingers, so they’re very flattering in engagement rings. Oval diamond studs are distinctive and stunning, and an oval halo pendant is perfect.
- Ovals cost less! Not only do you get more bang for your buck, they really do cost less per carat than their round brilliant and princess cut counterparts. They’re one of the least expensive fancy shapes.
Have any questions about oval cut diamonds? We’re happy to chat!