Anatomy of an Oval Diamond

An oval diamond is a fancy shape. You can think of it as a round brilliant diamond stretched on its sides, or a rounded version of a cushion shape or cushion brilliant. To pick a beautiful oval diamond, you need to know its parts.

Head or end: The “tips” of the oval.

You’ll typically find oval diamonds cut in the brilliant faceting style, which means the diamond has 57 or 58 facets, like a standard round brilliant, giving it similar visual qualities. An oval diamond can have a variety of facet arrangements, but the most common is eight bezel facets on the crown combined with eight main facets on the pavilion.

Shoulder: The curved area reaching from the head/end to the belly.

Belly: The central area where the sides curve out the most.

Knowing the anatomy of an oval diamond will help you pick one you love. Illustration: Evaanta

A common facet arrangement for oval diamonds: eight bezel facets on the crown, pictured in light blue (left); eight main pavilion facets, pictured in dark blue (right). Illustration: Evaanta

There are compelling reasons why many people love oval diamonds: Because the oval diamond has a larger surface area than a round diamond of equal carat weight, it can appear larger to the eye. The oval shape can make the finger seem longer. And because the shape doesn’t have sharp angles or corners, an oval diamond is less prone to chipping compared to other fancy shapes.

History of the Oval Diamond

The brilliant faceting style was first introduced circa 1700. Brilliant-cut cushion shaped diamonds predominated because cutters tended to follow the outline of the rough crystal. But diamonds were available in a variety of shapes, including oval. At this time, diamonds were not described by their shapes – they were simply called “brilliants.” It isn’t until the late 1800s that we first see mention of oval diamonds in literature.
Modern appeal for the oval diamond began in 1957. The oval diamond enjoyed a resurgence between 1998 and 2001, driven in part by marketing campaigns, and now it’s making a comeback. According to Town & Country magazine, the oval diamond ranked 6th in popularity with American consumers in 2016 (round diamonds were still no. 1).
Symmetry : Symmetry is important in creating the beauty of an oval diamond. To determine if an oval diamond is symmetrical, draw an imaginary line down the center. The shape and faceting of the two halves should mirror each other. Then draw an imaginary line across the middle of the oval. Again, the shape and faceting of the two halves should be identical.
Shape Appeal : Look for an oval diamond with a graceful outline and harmoniously proportioned parts. To find one that’s attractive to you, it pays to compare several different oval diamonds. Here are some common shape variations.
If the diamond is cut well, the bow tie will be minimal, but once you are in front of the diamond, there will always be some measure of a bow tie.
What causes a bow tie? A diamond’s facets act like a series of mirrors that gather light from around you and return it to your eye. As you look at the stone, the dark contrast you see is a reflection of your head and shoulders blocking light from entering the diamond. The closer your face is to the diamond, the more pronounced the bow tie will be.

Evaanta Diamond Grading Report

Girdle Thickness : The girdle is the intersection of the crown and pavilion. It defines the perimeter of the diamond and functions as its setting edge. Girdle thickness is judged the same way in fancy shapes as in rounds. Be sure to look at the diamond’s proportion diagram in its Evaanta Diamond Grading Report. The diagram will show the stone’s average girdle thickness percentage and indicate if the girdle is too thick or too thin. An overly thick girdle can contribute to a heavier diamond than its face-up appearance warrants, and a thin girdle can increase the risk of damage such as chipping.

Bow-tie Effect : Expect to see a bow tie. A “bow tie” in diamond parlance is a dark bow-shaped pattern across the table of the diamond.