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Shape Guides

The Emerald Cut



·6 min read

I want them all. Give them to me. Those beveled corners and step facets just float my boat. With one of those on your finger you are going to look fancy.

Word of warning though, if you are looking for an emerald diamond to be all sorts of sparkly, it’s the wrong stone for you. What it will give you however, is a timeless and elegant vibe. And you know what they say, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, it’s good enough for me.

Let’s go through some of the pros and cons of emerald cut diamonds, so you are fully prepared going into battle...

The Pros

The main plus when it comes to emerald cut stones is that you can definitely get more bling for your buck if you play your cards right. The secret is all in the way the cut and the depth work together, you see. In round stones (and any brilliant cut diamond in fact), the ‘brilliance’ comes from the light bouncing around within. Now, in order to get that bounce, the stone needs to have a certain depth and because of this, most brilliant cut diamonds hold a lot of their weight underneath the table where – let’s face it – it is completely wasted. In the immortal words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Emerald cuts rise above all of that nonsense with their ‘step’ cut. The step cut provides a double whammy of awesomeness, because not only does it give your diamond some insane flashes of light (known as the hall of mirrors effect), it also eliminates the need for excessive depth in the stone. What does this mean for you, savvy buyer extraordinaire? It means that most of that gorgeous carat weight will be sitting pretty right up top where people can see it.

So, the shallower the emerald cut is kids, the bigger the diamond will appear. POW! Keep that depth percentage as low as you can (under 67% is awesome), and you’ve got yourself a formidable rock.

Ideal emerald.webp

Color, Clarity, and Words of Caution

Now for the cautionary tales. Unfortunately, emerald cut diamonds (like my first boyfriend) are not very forgiving. Unlike the brilliant cuts which can hide a multitude of sins, emerald cut stones are like that Aunt who will gleefully point out your flaws for the world to see...

This means that you need to be extra picky about color and clarity if you want to that stone to be ‘on fleek’.

color comp emerald .webp

Don’t go below ‘H’ color if you want to avoid any warm tones in the stone. There’s no need to go up to ‘D’ of course, floating around the ‘F-G’ area should be perfectly fine. Clarity is an even bigger issue though. Inclusions that would be hidden with a brilliant cut will be easily identifiable in an emerald cut.

Personally, if you are going below VS2 in clarity I think you are asking for trouble. Now that is not to say that there have not been instances of SI1 clarity emeralds seen in the wild, but they are few and far between. I say VS2 is the way to go, howeeeeever make sure you see a picture of the diamond (and a diamond plot) to see where exactly those inclusions are sitting. Also, speak with a gemologist about it - they will help you determine if the stone is eye clean. This background check will help you avoid any nasty surprises further on down the road...

eye clean vs not emerald .webp

Proportions and Polish

In terms of length-width, most people agree that the best ratio for emeralds is 1.40 - 1.50.

l_w emerald .webp

Like all non-rounds, there are no overall ‘cut’ grades given for emeralds by GIA – just polish and symmetry. So set that filter to Rare Carat Ideal - it'll set the polish, symmetry and proportions to the ideal ranges we suggest. And remember, you can also enter your GIA number into our free review service and an unbiased gemologist can take a look at the cut and proportions and what have you.

Still Not Sure the Emerald Cut is Right For You?

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EMERALD CUT DIAMONDS FAQ

Are emerald cut diamonds more expensive?

Emerald cut diamonds are not the most expensive cut stone, however being that you need a higher clarity in order for it to be eye clean it can be more expensive than some other options. However with the quality being equal an emerald cut will be less expensive than a round, and about the same as the other fancy shapes.

What is an emerald cut diamond?

An emerald cut diamond is a rectangular step cut stone. This is very different from the brilliant cut shapes like a round, oval, etc. A step cut has long thin linear facets that are arranged parallel down the stone. This gives large flashes of light giving the diamond a mirror like appearance. If you are looking for lots of sparkle this is not the shape for you! An emerald cut gives a classy and elegant look that is more understated than brilliant cuts.

Do emerald cut diamonds sparkle?

Emerald cuts do have brilliance but they do not have the traditional sparkle that other brilliant cuts have. They will reflect larger flashes of light in a long linear pattern giving broader flashes of light and a mirror like appearance. This is a timeless and elegant look! If you want to add a bit more sparkle you can set in a pave setting or a halo as the smaller round stones add a lot of extra sparkle.

What clarity do I need for an emerald cut to be eye clean?

Emerald cuts are more sensitive to having visible inclusions because of the way they are faceted. You can see right into the diamond where brilliant cuts hide the inclusions more. With this in mind it's recommended to get a VS1 or higher as even a VS2 will most likely have some degree of a visible inclusion.
Dr. Rian Mulcahy
Rian is officially a Diamond PhD - just ping us if you’d like to read her fascinating 200-page thesis, titled Facets of Value: An Investigation into the Formation of Worth in the Diamond Market. She has consulted various firms all along the pipeline, from the rough diamond market to the recycled diamond industry. She holds an MA in Globalisation and Development from University College Cork and a PhD in the Sociology of Diamond Valuation from the London School of Economics.