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DIAMONDS 101: THE BOW-TIE EFFECT

Though the GIA only provides a concrete cut grade for round brilliant cut diamonds, there are some extra facets of diamond quality to keep in mind when opting for a non-round stone. One of these characteristics is the bow-tie effect. In this post we’ll provide some clarity around common questions we receive regarding this non-measurable factor!

WHAT IS THE BOW-TIE EFFECT?

The bow-tie effect in diamonds is a light or dark gray to black area running across the width of the stone. This dark area is created by a reflection of your head and shoulders blocking light from entering the diamond. Because of this, the closer you look at the diamond, the more pronounced the bow-tie will be. You can view an example of a diamond with a bow-tie here:

 

WHAT DIAMOND SHAPES FEATURE A BOW-TIE?

This effect is most common in elongated fancy cut diamonds like oval, marquise, radiant, and hearts. Each of these shapes will typically ALWAYS exhibit the bow-tie effect to some degree, but in well-cut stones it should be minimal and not distracting. 

SHOULDN'T I AVOID DIAMONDS WITH A BOW-TIE?

The assumption is yes, but stones with almost no bow-tie actually tend to look dull and often lack the faceting style people desire in a fancy cut diamond. On the other hand, you also don’t want a diamond with a bow-tie so large that it blacks out a large portion of the stone. The ideal scenario is to have a bow-tie that adds to the diamond’s fire and scintillation and helps create the characteristic facet patterns for its shape. You can view an example of an ideally cut radiant here: 

 

HOW DO I SELECT A DIAMOND THAT CONTAINS A BOW-TIE?

A diamond’s bow-tie is not pictured or stated on it’s grading report. It also is challenging to rely on metrics such as symmetry grade and proportions to judge a diamond's light performance. Therefore, you really need to view the diamond in person or through a high-quality video to determine the impact of the stone’s bow-tie on its appearance.

It’s also important to keep in mind that selecting a diamond comes down to personal preference. What one person finds attractive may not be to another. This is certainly the case when it comes to selecting a diamond with a bow-tie.

You can always email [email protected] to arrange an in-person or remote consultation with one of our diamond experts for additional guidance. We have a large inventory of GIA certified diamonds with a variety of quality and proportions to help you find your ideal stone based on your preferences!

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