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Diamonds 101: The Oval Cut

The delicate, elongated shape of the oval cut diamond paired with its subtle brilliance and narrowing effect on the finger create a coveted diamond shape made for the one-of-a-kind bride. It is no surprise that the oval cut diamond has captured the spotlight and secured itself as the most popular cut of 2021 and into the foreseeable future.

In this edition of Diamonds 101, we take a look at this popular oval cut. Think of this as your comprehensive “guide” to shopping for the perfect, exceptionally unique oval-cut diamond engagement ring that will have friends and family swooning. 

The Cut

custom oval diamond double edge halo three-row pave band engagement ring

3.00 ct Oval Diamond Two-Tone Halo Ring with a Three-Row Band

Cut is undoubtedly the most important feature to consider when choosing an oval cut diamond. Cut refers to the angles, proportions, depth, and polished appearance of a diamond. 


Oval diamonds do not feature a GIA (Gemological Institute of America, the most respected diamond laboratory in the world) cut grade as a result of this diamond shape’s measurements. As a result, you want to assess an oval cut diamond in-store or on a virtual video of the diamond stone. 


With oval-cut diamonds, you are looking for rounded ends with no sharp points or pointy tips. You also want to avoid an oval-cut diamond that bows out on the sides, which will detract from the perfect oval shape you seek. 


Proportion is an imperative feature to assess with regard to oval diamond cuts. Diamonds with the same carat weight can look vastly different face-up based on their varied proportions. At Lauren B, we strive to carry an assortment of diamonds that are above average in measurement to create the most stunning visual appearance. This means we avoid diamonds that have high depth percentages or diamonds that are too shallow, which can dull sparkle. 


Oval-cut diamonds with a high depth percentage can make the face-up appearance of your diamond seem much smaller than a diamond with a moderate depth percentage. For example, you can have a 2-carat diamond with a measurement of 9.31 x 6.64 x 4.6 that looks like a 1.5-carat diamond or you can have a 2-carat diamond with a measurement of 10.25 x 7.02 x 4.37 that appears larger in surface area. A 0.23mm difference in diamond depth can make a world of a difference.

The Ratio

Traditionally, oval cut diamonds had more width than height sitting wider on the finger. We have noticed a sharp pivot towards oval cut diamonds with a higher length to width ratio making the oval appear narrower on the finger. 


The diamond ratio is calculated by dividing the length of the diamond by the width of the diamond. A lower oval diamond ratio reveals a wider oval while a higher oval diamond ratio reveals a narrower oval shape. Oval cut diamond ratios generally range from 1.35:1 (wide oval) to 1.55:1 (narrow oval). 


The most popular oval cut diamond ratios range from 1.4:1 to 1.55:1. 

The Color

Oval-cut diamonds tend to reveal color more than other diamond shapes. Diamond color grade ranges from D to Z with “D” being colorless and “Z” having light color. 


With oval cut diamonds, we recommend a color grade of “H” or higher, but we realize that diamond color is a personal preference. In some cases, an oval diamond with a lower color grade can look beautiful with rose gold or yellow gold band. 

1 carat oval cut diamond three stone engagement ring solitaire design rose gold metal

1.30 Carat Oval Diamond "Floating" Three-Stone Engagement Ring, F through G Color Grade Options

The Clarity

two oval cut diamonds held by tweezers ladies hand

Clarity is a less prominent feature of the oval cut diamond since this shape does not easily reveal inclusions like the emerald cut diamond or the radiant cut diamond. 


Clarity refers to the lack of inclusions or blemishes in a diamond, which are naturally present in diamonds as a result of the diamond formation process. Clarity grade ranges from VVS1 (very very slight inclusions) to I3 (inclusions). 


With oval cut diamonds, you want the diamond to be eye-clean meaning that you cannot see any inclusions with your naked eye. Oval cut diamonds tend to present best between the VS1 (very slight inclusions) and SI2 (slight inclusions) range, though this is also a matter of personal preference.

The Bow Tie Effect

oval cut diamond engagement ring front view pave diamond band white gold metal

2.51 Carat Oval Diamond Fully Encrusted Basket Engagement Ring


The “bow-tie effect” is a slight shadow effect resembling a bow tie that occurs in elongated diamond shapes including oval and pear. This is a result of stretched facet cuts within the stone that create darker areas under certain light. 


Almost all oval-cut diamonds will have a slight bow-tie effect, and some stones will have a more significant bow tie than others. Deeply cut oval diamonds have less bow tie, but as we discussed in the cut section, a deep stone will result in a smaller surface area, which makes your diamond appear smaller.

The Oval Cut Diamond vs. Other Fancy Shapes

When searching for the perfect diamond cut for your engagement ring, we find it helpful to compare diamond cuts and shapes to identify the key features that matter most to you. 


The Oval vs. The Pear

loose pear shape diamonds and engagement rings laid on ladies hand top view

The oval cut diamond and the pear shape diamond are widely popular due to their elongated shape and surface coverage. 


The pear-shaped diamond is rounded on one end and pointed at the opposite end creating a teardrop effect whereas the oval cut diamond is rounded on both ends. The ratio is also a key differentiation between these two fancy diamond shapes. As we mentioned, oval cut diamond ratios range from 1.35:1 to 1.55:1 giving them an elongated appearance. The pear-shaped diamond takes this feature a slight step further with ratios ranging from 1.5:1 to 1.65:1. As a result, the pear-shaped diamond is slightly longer in appearance than the oval cut diamond.

The Oval vs. The Round

loose round diamonds and engagement rings laid out on ladies hand

The original round cut diamond serves as a benchmark from which to compare all other fancy shape diamonds. We know that the round cut diamond is the most brilliant diamond cut with unmatched fire aside from the cushion cut and the princess cut. 


The round-cut diamond has more brilliance than the oval cut due to perfectly symmetrical facets. However, the oval cut does cover a larger surface area on the finger than the round cut diamond despite the exact carat size; this is due to differences in ratio. 


The Oval vs. The Cushion

oval cut diamond and cushion fancy yellow diamond duo style ring yellow gold metal

The biggest difference between the oval cut and the cushion cut diamond is surface area. The oval cut diamond covers a larger surface area on a slender finger and appears much larger than the cushion cut diamond when compared side-by-side, which is largely due to the cut ratio. Cushion cut diamond ratios are generally 1:1 compared to the oval cut diamond ratio, which is generally 1.45:1.  


While the surface area of the cushion cut diamond is visually less dramatic than the oval cut diamond, cushion cuts do appear fuller than ovals and offer a softer, pillowy effect. 

Diamond Ovals vs. Moissanite Ovals

oval diamond engagement rings and moissanite rings worn on ladies hand

There is a distinct difference between the moissanite oval cut and the diamond oval cut. In particular, moissanite has more sparkle and fire than a traditional diamond and it will always have an eye clean level of clarity. It is also important to note that diamonds score a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale while moissanite scores a 9.25.  


Harro Gem moissanite is most similar to diamonds in appearance with muted fire and similar cut ratios while Charles & Colvard moissanite tends to have a wider cut ratio and striking fire. 

Is the Oval Cut Diamond Your Forever Diamond? 

With an elongated shape, generous finger coverage, subtle brilliance and fire, and a slimming or narrowing effect on the wearer’s finger, the oval cut diamond is an alluring fancy cut diamond. 


The most important question: is the oval cut diamond your forever diamond? 


Whether your answer is a resounding “yes!” or an unsure “maybe” we can help you find or create the perfect engagement ring for you or your partner. Our sales associates are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and passion necessary to serve as your “diamond guides” through this thrilling, yet often overwhelming, experience. 


If you have any questions about our diamond offerings, our custom design options, or a general question about any diamond shape or cut, please email [email protected]


Let the diamond-paved journey begin.

double halo oval cut diamond engagement ring

1.25 ct Oval Diamond Engagement Ring


1.9 carat oval cut diamond engagement ring wide split band white gold

1.91 Carat Oval Diamond Invisible Gallery™ Engagement Ring With Wide Split


oval cut diamond engagement baguette diamond side stones white gold

1.70 ct Oval Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring


3 carat oval cut diamond narrow split band yellow gold engagement ring

3.00 ct Oval Diamond Yellow Gold Split Band Solitaire Ring


oval diamond three stone engagement ring rose gold solitaire style

1.20 Carat Oval Diamond Invisible Gallery™ Three-Stone Ring


oval cut fancy yellow diamond three stone halo engagement ring white gold

1.11 ct Fancy Yellow Oval Shape Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring