November 06, 2020

How to choose an oval engagement ring?

Blackacre Blue

The Blackacre Blue Oval

Why have oval diamond engagement rings become so popular?

Ovals have seen a popularity surge in the past couple of years, their shape is unique and elegant. Their popularity has risen since becoming a favourite amongst celebrities and Royals, due to their incredible brilliance. The shape of an oval diamond helps to make the wearer's finger look longer and more slender. Ovals fall into the category of “Fancy Cut” diamonds.

How does an oval shape effect diamond clarity?

The placement of the facets on an oval cut diamonds helps to reflect and refract the light entering and exiting the diamond. The small triangular and kite shaped facets help to mask any small clarity characteristics, this means that often, an SI (Slightly Included) clarity is still not visible to the naked eye.

It is important to look at each individual diamond to assess the location of the clarity characteristics, and how much they stand out, known as their relief.

Why is the cut of an oval diamond important?

Ovals, unlike round brilliants, do not have a typical “cut” criteria. Oval brilliant cut diamonds have the same amount of facets as a round brilliant cut diamond (57 or 58 depending whether the stone has a culet) however, oval diamonds have a longer length than width. The shape of an oval cut diamond helps it look larger to the eye than the same carat weight in a round brilliant stone. The most important thing to assess when looking at an oval cut diamond is its symmetry.

Why is the symmetry of an oval cut diamond important?

Typical oval cuts have a ratio between 1:30-1:50. Larger Length:Width ratios create “skinny” ovals, whilst a smaller L:W will create a “chubby” oval. A higher ratio oval cut diamond is a good choice if you are planning to pair it with side stones.

An oval has two lines of symmetry, north-south, and east-west in a + shape. At Blackacre, we compare both sides to make sure the diamond is well proportioned, symmetrical and cut precisely.

When looking at ovals it’s important to judge whether the shape is graceful and pleasing to the eye. The rounded ends of an oval are called the head, with the central area known as the belly, and the curved edges between the two are called the shoulders. The shoulders of an oval can be shallow, or bulging, giving a very different outline to the overall shape.

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Oval Cut Diamond With Shallow Shoulders - Images from GIA

Oval, pear and marquise brilliant cut diamonds all have “the bow-tie effect”, this is a dark patch in the centre of the diamond which takes on the shape of a bow tie, mirroring the shape of the facets. The extent of the bow tie effect depends on how the diamond is cut, whether it has a shallow or very deep pavilion, and it’s Length:Width ratio.

What is the best setting for an oval diamond?

To best show off the elegant curves of an oval, we'd suggest a claw setting. This style of setting helps to get the maximum amount of light into the diamond to enhance its sparkle. We always set our diamonds in platinum to protect the colourless-ness of a white diamond, however if you choose a fancy coloured diamond, we will set it in yellow gold or rose gold depending on the hue of the stone.

It is a good idea to choose a diamond where the clarity characteristics are in a location where a claw or design feature of the ring may be. It's important to assess whether you can see the clarity characteristic face up on the diamond or only in the face down position, if it is only visible from the pavilion (the bottom, pointed section), then it is a good choice.

The History Of the Oval Cut Diamond

The oval brilliant first appeared in literature around the 1800’s, 100 years after the brillianteering faceting style was introduced. It wasn’t until 1957 that the oval shaped diamond became popular, and today is the fourth most popular diamond shape.

It’s said that the personality of an oval diamonds' wearer is creative, fun-loving and faithful.

As every oval is unique, it is highly important that you look at several diamonds before making a decision. At Blackacre, we will provide you with a blind tasting of a selection of diamonds to assess and choose from; ensuring you get the perfect stone for you.

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