Ah, the oval.
This exceedingly popular diamond is just one of those love it or hate it situations, and I mean that on a rock-by-rock basis.
Sure, ovals are amazing. Their elongated shape makes fingers look fantastic; they have the same fabulous sparkle and shine of a round brilliant, only they look bigger and cost less. What's not to love?
Well, quite a bit, as it turns out. For one thing, bowties might look cute on babies and Bill Nye, but we're not trying to wear the things on our ring finger. Still oval-curious? Here are several reasons to save yourself the trouble.
Large oval engagement ring. Ovals are totally gorge. They're like a stunning, stretched-out version of a round brilliant, sparkle and all. The added bonus is this longer shape, combined with the shallow nature of the cut, makes the diamond look bigger; no complaints here.
So carat for carat ovals long look makes them appear bigger than a round brilliant. The extra spread also visually elongates shorter fingers. It won't help you learn to play the piano, but it sure does look nice on your hands.
This larger appearance is a total bonus when you consider that ovals are 25% less expensive than their circular sisters. But even tho you're getting more sparkle, more stone, and more savings… Ovals have their own problems.
We all love things wrapped up in bows. However, this isn't exactly the surprise we had in mind.
Bowties are the total bummer of black light that shows up in the middle of your otherwise shiny diamond. This dark area appears as a pair of triangles reflecting shadow rather than light off the stone's pavilion.
How can you beat a bowtie? Well, the short answer is you can't. All fancy shape diamonds–pears, marquises, and radiants too–have a dark little secret. Black windowing just happens. If you want an elongated brilliant cut, you're going to run into bowties.
Another bummer? These bowties can be difficult to see in pictures since it's usually you blocking the light while looking at the ring that casts the shadow.
Fortunately, all bowties aren't so glaringly obvious. Some are darker than others, but in a well-cut stone, you'll hardly be able to notice the effect.
If an oval is too long or too shallow, it's going to have a big 'ole bowtie. If it's both, that goes double; although it will also look huge, so pick your poison. Here's the deal, every oval is going to have a bowtie. It's up to you which type you'd like to embrace.
See, there's the classic black bowtie that some enjoy because of the texture and pattern it lends to the shape. You can also find light bowties that blend in with the brilliance and still, others are only visible from certain angles.
Generally, it's best to look for a sparkle that outshines the bowtie, but it's all about personal preference, much like the shape itself. If you want an oval with a barely visible bowtie, you're going to have to do some looking, but that doesn't mean it can't be found.
Oval engagement stone sparkling.
Round brilliant-cut diamonds are so brilliant that you can hardly see the stone behind its sparkle. As a result, round cuts hide inclusions, tint, and blemishes alike.
Trust me, I know what you're thinking, ovals are super sparkly, just like round brilliants, so they must hide everything too.
Not quite. Ovals have large facets, and so they sparkle a little less. The difference is just enough that you see more clearly into the stone–and all its naked imperfections–better than you would on a round brilliant.
For example, ovals show more yellow tint than a round brilliant. The extra size and elongated facets give you a better view inside the stone, making this coloration visible. The same is true for internal and external flaws. They're just more visible in an oval.
Think of a round brilliant, like looking at the world through a disco ball; its tiny facets create hundreds of bright flashes hiding color and true reflection. In the case of an oval, the mirrors on the ball are just a bit bigger.
Does it still reflect a ton of light? Absolutely. Only you're also getting little glimpses of both the light, the shadows, and the houseplant in the corner. Or, in this case, color, inclusions, and blemishes.
See, with ovals, an "excellent" cut won't compensate for the stone's color, and inclusions anymore than buying a better mirror will hide what's wrong with its reflection. The blemishes will still show up when you're looking through.
Rainbow light off oval diamond.
While ovals have a ton of brilliance and fire, their shape does tend to show off its color a bit more than a round cut. Ovals have a lot of surface area. This can cause them to have darker tips where that color shows through.
Truthfully, the same goes for most larger stones and fancy-shaped diamonds.
So if you want the big O (oval, that is), you're going to have to go with H color or better, depending on your setting. If you're going rose or yellow gold, it might be possible to find something in the I or J range, but it's going to be a quest to find one that works.
Okay, so here's the thing. Not all ovals are, well, oval. To make matters worse, there's no ideal ratio info that makes picking one any easier.
Some ovals have a wonderfully elongated shape, while others are more circular. And while some say the most appealing length to width ratio is 1.3-1.5, others may want a stone that is more or less elongated.
And hey, what's the deal with movals? That's an oval that thought it was a marquise at one point, then changed its mind. They usually have a more elongated shape and slightly rounded points. Super gorgeous, not quite oval.
All of these options have their own appeal, but since there's no specific formula for the perfect oval engagement ring, the shape you end up with will have to be based more on personal preference than anything else.
One thing is for sure. Ovals sparkle like nobody's business.
Because they have such a high brilliance, it's much easier to find an oval diamond with an eye-clean look. You may have to search high and low for your perfect oval, but clarity won't stand in your way.
An Sl1 or Sl2 can be just what you're looking for so long as you keep an eye out for dark intruders.
Speaking of which, did we mention that cut kind of defines this brilliance? A lousy cut means giant bowties and visible blemishes, but a good cut means gorgeous, gorgeous sparkle?
Look, while it's nearly impossible to find a perfect, flawless diamond, it's entirely possible to find one that looks amazing and eye-clean (even if it's not). The cut of an oval is going to have everything to do with making a diamond work for you.
First off, those nasty bowties? Defined by cut. A well-cut oval will have a light bowtie–yes, it still has a bowtie–that blends in with the rest of the sparkle. And speaking of sparkle, the cut will also define if the diamond will shine bright enough to make blemishes and tint invisible to the naked eye.
You can't hide a bad cut, but a good cut can hide a lot of bad.
Yep, that checks out.
There's a reason ovals are so popular. They look bigger, cost less than a round brilliant, and are more flattering on your finger. They also pack quite the sparkly punch.
Ovals pull off classic and unique at the same time, quite the little party trick. Whether you're trying for trendy or leaning towards a lifelong look of sophistication, ovals totally have you covered.
Here's the thing, ovals are super versatile. Whether you are looking for a vintage vibe with side stones or a stunning 4 or 6 prong solitaire, ovals are fantastic at integrating into your style.
Halos are also a fantastic way to enhance the already larger appearance of an oval by surrounding it with smaller stones.
Fun fact, ovals are already an excellent choice for an active life since they don't have any sharp corners to snag, but a bezel makes it even better.