Oval Cut Diamonds – The Graceful Sister of Rounds

Likened to a squashed round diamond, oval cuts reshape traditional standards depicted by the usual round. Since classic shapes dominate the market, oval cut diamonds are well-received by women looking for something out of the ordinary.

Oval Cut Diamonds on finger

With a soft outline, ovals maintain a touch of elegance while steering away from the conventional. And with its elongated shape, it creates the illusion of greater size and makes the finger appear longer and slimmer than it is!

There’s a lot to love about oval cut diamonds, but there are also cuts that give them a bad name. Let me show you what looks good, what doesn’t, and what factors to compromise so you can save money!

A Little Backstory on Oval Cut Diamonds

Lazare Kaplan Oval Cut Diamonds

Lazare Kaplan, born in Russia in 1883, is a third-generation jeweler who grew up in Belgium and made a name in Antwerp as an expert cleaver specializing in complex odd-shaped diamonds.

His family’s visit to America became permanent when World War I broke out and his business in Belgium collapsed. He built his business from scratch and was recognized once again when Harry Winston commissioned him to cut the 726-carat Jonker diamond in 1936 – which he cut perfectly!

Oval Cut Diamonds

Kaplan created the oval cut in the 50’s and it had been celebrated ever since as it’s said to appear larger than a round cut with the same carat weight. It also displayed more brilliance than other fancy shapes.

He also patented the laser inscription process and was honored in the Jewelers International Hall of Fame as one of the most important cutters in history. The cut master passed away at 102 but left a world-renowned line of diamonds under his name.

Famous Oval Cut Diamonds

Blake Lively Oval Cut Engagement Ring

Kaplan had set the legacy of oval cut diamonds in stone as it’s seen worn by top celebrities today. Blake Lively sports a gold oval cut engagement ring by Lorraine Schwartz given by her now-husband Ryan Reynolds.

Although Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are separated, her engagement ring is known as one of the most stunning oval cuts. The 5-carat beauty by Fred Leighton is amplified by six more carats in the halo and band. And despite not having a pavilion, Jennifer Aniston’s 8-carat oval given by her fiancé Justin Theroux is definitely worth being mentioned!

How Diamond Cut Affects Brilliance

Oval Cut Diamonds

Like the round cut, ovals are modified brilliant cuts that consist of 56 facets. Since GIA doesn’t provide a cut grade for oval cut diamonds, we don’t have standard cut parameters to refer to. Given their unique structure, the depth to diameter ratio varies from one diamond to another depending on how the cutter decides to design the rough.

What I can assure you is that oval cut diamonds with the depth below 60% bear low pavilion angles that can cause a striking bowtie effect. And if it’s cut more than 68%, you won’t be seeing any bowtie, but the fire and brilliance are affected in return.

It’s really up to you to judge what looks good. Although if you want to get technical, here are cut proportions I’ve gathered that you may use as a guide:


Your Diamond Teacher Recommended Proportions

Most Affordable Proportions

Table % 54% – 58% 52% – 60%
Depth % 62% – 66% 60% – 68%
Girdle Thin – Slightly Thick Thin – Slightly Thick
Culet None Very Small
Polish/Symmetry Excellent Very Good

The Ideal Length to Width Ratio

Oval Cut Diamonds Length to Width Ratio

Ovals come in different shapes; some like a thinner oval, while others prefer a rounder outline. The length to width ratio indicates how proportioned the diamond is. By dividing the length of the diamond by its width, we get the l/w ratio.

You may choose what form appeals to you the most as it all boils down to personal style. But you might want to know that the most symmetrical and popular ratio is at 1.30 to 1.50. It will look bigger with a halo, and if you’re planning to add side stones, you may opt for a slightly slimmer oval.

Different Shapes and Outlines

This is what I meant by certain proportions and effects giving oval cut diamonds a bad rep. The examples below still seem like a squashed round cut, but they’re definitely not a classic oval. These diamonds are poorly cut, asymmetrical, and plainly unappealing.

Avoid these outlines when shopping for oval cut diamonds:




Too Long – 0.71 Carat F-VS1 Oval Cut

Color Recommendation for Oval Cut Diamonds

Oval Cut Diamonds Color

Looking back at the celebrity oval cut diamonds above, you’ll see that each stone bears the iciest of white. The highest color grade is the most in-demand as it enhances the light dance in a diamond. Those who have unique tastes opt for a slightly yellow shade for a sepia feel. But the majority of buyers aim for the colorless range.

It’s difficult to see the difference between two color grades. What’s more apparent is the price jump! So, if you’re not too keen on having the highest grade, the 2nd or 3rd best will look real close, and it’s going to be less expensive. A J or K color won’t seem too warm amidst a yellow or rose gold setting.

But if you’re eyeing a white gold or platinum, please take note of the recommendations below:

Carat Size

Your Diamond Teacher Recommended Proportions

Most Affordable Proportions

.50 or less D – G H – I
.51 – 1 D – F G
1 – 2 D – F D – F
2 or more D – F D – F
Fluorescence None Faint

Clarity Recommendation for Oval Cut Diamonds

Oval Cut Diamonds Clarity

If you’ve been reading my articles for quite some time now, you’ll notice some golden rules, and one of the constants is: look for eye clean diamonds. This automatically puts you in the sweet spot – VS2 Clarity. Today, you’re in for a treat as you can go for as low as SI2 when it comes to oval cut diamonds. Given their shape, flaws can be well hidden especially in the rounded ends.

You may go higher if you will, but I doubt if you’d see a difference; like paying for an invisible feature!

Here are my recommended clarity grades for oval cut diamonds:

Carat Size

Your Diamond Teacher Recommended Proportions

Most Affordable Proportions

.50 or less FL – SI1 SI2
.51 – 1 FL – SI1 SI2
1 – 2 FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2
2 or more FL – VS2 SI1 – SI2

The Infamous Bowtie Effect

This mark is no stranger to other fancy shapes. Although it sounds classy, we don’t like seeing it on a diamond as it looks unappealing. Plus it obstructs the light that makes the diamond brilliant! So, when you see a bowtie on the diamond you’re looking at, know that it shouldn’t be there.


Just take a look at the examples below:


With Bowtie – 0.71 Carat E-SI1

Without Bowtie 0.71 CARAT E SI1 OVAL CUT DIAMOND

Without – 0.71 Carat E-SI1

The good thing about the bowtie is if it’s unnoticeable, it can actually play to your advantage. A faint bowtie can help add contrast in the diamond and thus, contribute to the brilliance and scintillation. You don’t want big blotches of dark inclusions or anything that looks like a striking bowtie.

Now you see how critical real images are? The diamond’s grading report won’t tell you everything you need to know. And the visual factors I mentioned above are best inspected via high-tech imagery.

Viewing Oval Cut Diamonds in 360° HD

James Allen Zoom

Who said traditional romance and technology won’t mesh well? It may sound strange at first, but buying an engagement ring online is now preferred than in a brick and mortar store. Aside from saving money, you’ll be able to see diamonds on a deeper level as physical shops only offer a 10x loupe.

The current number 1 in diamond technology is James Allen, and they provide high-quality photos that can be magnified up to 40x, as well as 360° HD videos.

James Allen Oval Cut Diamonds

This tool becomes particularly important when filtering thousands of oval cut diamonds without bowties. It will also let you see how the color grade you’ve chosen will look in a ring setting and more!

Final Thoughts

Oval cut diamonds are the most brilliant of all fancy shapes, and they’re good at hiding imperfections. If that’s not enough, ovals are also durable making them the perfect engagement ring for feminine ladies that are always on the go. Does the description speak to you?

Browse Through More Than 5,000 Oval Cut Diamonds – All Viewable in 360° HD

Should you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please write them down below.

Or email me! My advice is free. 🙂