There is one magical diamond shape than can make even the most shovel-like hands look like those of a professional pianist, and that shape is oval. Not only are they complimentary to even the most wretched of fingers, these ‘modified brilliant’ cut diamonds give off an almost unparalleled level of fire and brilliance. Ovals also tend to be priced a little cheaper than their round counterparts, which is another big plus.
The problems with ovals is that it is extremely difficult to find a stone with the sweet spot of just enough depth…but not too much. You see, almost all oval cut diamonds are plagued with the dreaded bow-tie effect.
Oval Diamond Bow Tie Effect
When an oval is cut too shallow (under 57%) these ghastly bow ties (dark triangular shadows) can sometimes appear and ruin everyone’s lives. Not even a clever ring setting can disguise these menaces. To counteract this dreadful bow-tie drama, diamond cutters will attempt to cut the diamond a little deeper in the hope of diminishing the bow-tie effect as much as possible.
The problem with this is, when the oval diamond is cut too deep you just end up getting a really rubbish diamond that is dull and lifeless (kind of like Pam in accounting). It truly is a tight line between bow-tie hell and dull-diamond disaster, and that tight line is usually a depth of between 57%-63%. Here you will most likely find those diamonds that have managed to avoid those pitfalls. Our recommended table size for ovals is 53%-63%.
Length to Width Ratios for Oval Shape Diamonds
Another way to avoid the whole ‘ugly bow-tie-shadow ruining my diamond’ situation, is to make sure your stone has the appropriate length-to-width ratio. A perfectly symmetrical oval cut diamond should have a L/W ratio of 1.30, while anything higher than 1.50 and you are basically just going out and buying a bow-tie. This being said, it is almost impossible to avoid a tiny hint of bow-tie all together. They will usually be lurking in the shadows in every diamond, so it really is a case of finding a stone that minimizes the effect rather than eliminates it. Sorry!
Ovals and Color
When it comes to color grades in ovals, I think it’s unfair to suggest that you need to be up in the ‘D-G’ color range. Many people will say that to go below a ‘G’ is looking for trouble, but I personally think that you can get a stunning ‘H’ or even ‘I’ if you don’t mind having a tiny lick of color in the stone.
The ‘I’ colored stones are certainly warmer, but the ‘H’ looks beautiful. Furthermore, if you flanked that ‘H’ in a setting with two side stones of ‘I’ color for example, it will make the center stone look even whiter (#diamondtip)!
Ovals and Clarity
With clarity, feel free to pop down to the ‘VS2-SI1’ range, as ovals (just like our radiants and cushions) are very good at hiding small imperfections. As usual though, you need to be careful about the positioning of these inclusions, as a dirty black mark sitting smack bag right in the center of your table could really burst your bubble.
Pay attention to our tips, so you don’t get stuck with a diamond resembling this monstrosity.