If you are ever in a position to compare diamonds, you may very well come against the dilemma of whether to choose a round brilliant diamond, or its equally beautiful but rather less popular cousin, the oval-cut diamond. What is the difference between the two cuts, and which is the best for you? Let us take a look.
The Downside of Oval
Oval diamonds often develop something called a bowtie, an area of dark or black shadowing running in a line down the middle of the stone on the short axis. This is not necessarily due to flaws or problems with the diamond – nor even with the cut. It is just one of those things that happens when light is absorbed into the stone and bounced around with that asymmetrical space – some areas throw out more light and some throw out less, and the bowtie is basically a ‘blind-spot’ within the diamond where the light bounces off other facets instead of escaping through the table. It is this blind spot that causes the bowtie. A very bad bowtie can be unsightly and is considered undesirable, but if it is mild and barely noticeable, it will not have any effect on the value of the stone.
And now onto the positive aspects of oval-cut diamonds.
Bit More Choice
Round stones, proportionally, will always be round, with an equal circumference and symmetrical table. Oval stones, on the other hand, offer a bit more versatility in shape, and can be very nearly round or extremely long and thin. In jewelry, extremes are avoided, and ovals are usually cut on a proportion of 1.30 to 1 as a minimum, or 1.66 to 1 for the longest thinnest ovals. If you are mathematically minded, you will spot that ovals in this pleasing range run from just under one-and-one-third as long as it is wide, to one-and-two-thirds as long as it is wide. This allows you to choose an oval that best suits your preferences and, perhaps, best suits the piece of jewelry for which you are going to use it.
While round brilliant diamonds look fantastic as solitaire pieces, whether as a ring or a necklace, so do ovals! Ovals have an added advantage in that they are perfectly proportioned to have two smaller side stones mounted next to them, or dramatic shoulders that will follow an elegant curve. Oval stones also look fantastic in a halo setting with a surrounding band of smaller stones that catch the light beautifully, and make the stone look even bigger.
Speaking of Size
Ovals, perhaps rather unfairly, have a bigger surface area than an equal carat-weight round-cut stone, so you appear to get more diamond for your money by opting for an oval stone. Oval stones have something like ten per cent more surface area than round brilliants of the same weight. This can diffuse the sparkle slightly, giving round brilliants a more intense sparkle, while ovals are slightly more subdued, but still beautiful and possessed of that inner rainbow fire that makes diamonds so popular. Oval stones also tend to be cheaper on a carat for carat basis than round stones, making an oval diamond an economical choice for the budget conscious.
Oval stones are unusual and yet traditional, and they actively enhance the look of the hands they are worn on, showcasing long slender fingers and slimming and enhancing short stubby ones. So, if you are on a tight budget and want something a bit unique, why not consider an oval diamond when you compare diamonds?