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Round vs Oval Engagement Ring

by Julianna Church
Last updated on August 23, 2023
What to Look for in a Diamond Engagement Ring

You’ve been looking at engagement rings and have narrowed your options down to a round vs oval engagement ring.

The problem is you’re not sure which one to go with.

Keep reading to learn more about each of those types of engagement rings and by the end, you’ll know which one is the perfect one for you!

History of Round Cut Diamonds

model wearing a round engagement ring

Back in the day, diamonds weren’t cut for sparkle or brilliance. We didn’t have the knowledge of diamond cutting and faceting techniques we do today. Diamonds weren’t the stars of the fine jewelry world like they are today. Royalty and the wealthy opted for colored stone jewelry rather than duller diamonds.

Round diamonds weren’t optimized for brilliance like they are today until the 1900s. Marcel Tolkowsky invented the ideal cut diamond and soon after the Gemological Institute of America implemented the 4Cs of Diamond Quality. These are the standard for diamond quality around the world.

Cut Quality of Round Diamonds

Round diamonds are the only diamond shapes that have official cut grades on a diamond certificate. Some gemological laboratories give princess cut and cushion cut diamonds grades on their reports. However, we don’t carry any loose diamonds certified by those laboratories

Round diamond cuts receive grades of Ideal/Excellent Cut, Very Good Cut, Good Cut, Fair Cut, and Poor Cut. You shouldn’t see poor or fair cut diamonds in many places. We only provide our customers with the best- Excellent Cut, Very Good, and Good Cut diamonds.

It’s not necessary to get the highest diamond grades in every one of the 4Cs of diamond quality, but the cut isn’t something you should compromise.

If you want unparalleled sparkle and brilliance, you’ll want the ideal cut diamond. At Clean Origin, we offer our latest line of high-quality, superior, sparkling lab created round diamonds in our Ideal Love collection.

This collection makes it easy for you to select a round diamond with excellent cut quality and sparkle.

Ideal cut diamonds are undoubtedly more expensive than round diamonds with Very Good and below cut grades. However, when set side by side, a lot of people won’t notice the difference in sparkle. They may not think it’s worth the price difference.

So you don’t have to have the best cut grade for a round diamond. But if you’re already choosing the most expensive diamond shape with the best brilliance, you should get your money’s worth by purchasing higher cut grades.

Ideal vs Super Ideal Cut Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds

Sometimes you’ll hear about Excellent Cut diamonds called ideal cut diamonds. In the jewelry world, we consider these two interchangeable terms. However, some grading reports only report Excellent Cut grades, and others on Ideal cut grades. All in all, they’re of comparable quality.

Another popular term is a super ideal cut diamond. These diamonds are high-quality cut diamonds like ideal cut diamonds. The “super” is because they have extra facets.

Many brands claim that their super ideal cut diamonds offer more fire and brilliance than the average ideal cut diamond. However, the super ideal cut diamond is not a recognized cut grade by the GIA.

Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight of a Round Cut Diamond

Round diamonds are the best at hiding unwanted characteristics, whether it’s color or clarity imperfections. However, the carat weight is a different story.

Brilliant cut diamonds have been cut to maximize sparkle and optimize light return in the form of white light and subtle rainbow light. Round diamonds with excellent cut quality make the brilliant faceting technique even more sparkly by adding the perfect proportions.

History of Oval Cut Diamonds

model holding flowers wearing an oval engagement ring

Interestingly enough, oval diamonds share some history with ideal cut round diamonds. And it’s not just their circular shape they have in common. Oval-shaped diamonds have been around for quite some time, but like all of the original vintage cuts, they weren’t quite what we see today.

The modern oval engagement rings have 57-58 facets, just like a round diamond. Our modern oval was developed by Lazare Kaplan in 1957. Kaplan is renowned in the Jewelers Hall of Fame and was the cousin of Marcel Tolkowsky, the inventor of the ideal cut round diamond.

Cut Quality of Oval Diamonds

Unlike round diamonds, there are no Excellent or Ideal cut grades or any cut grades at all. Ovals are very popular, but few people realize how difficult it can be to obtain a well-cut diamond.

Not only do oval diamonds not have cut grades like round diamonds, but they are also the victim of optical effects that diamond filters can’t sort out for you. And if you’re buying your diamond in-store, you probably have very limited inventory. That reduces the chances of finding a well-cut oval diamond.

You have to observe fancy shape diamonds (shapes other than round diamonds) one by one. Finding the right length-to-width ratio for an oval diamond is a good start. Determining how you feel about the bow tie effect is the next.

The Bow Tie Effect in Oval Cut Diamonds

One of the biggest caveats people run into when searching for oval cut diamonds is the bow tie effect. This optical effect is not partial to oval diamonds, as they are present in pear and heart cut diamonds too.

The bow tie is an optical effect that happens when an oval diamond is cut. The majority of oval cut diamonds have a bow tie. However, you can also tell how well-cut your diamond is based on how noticeable the bow tie is.

The bow tie effect casts a shadow in the shape of a bow tie across the center stone of an oval engagement ring. If the oval diamond has been cut poorly, you’ll see a very dark shadow across it that looks like a bow tie. If the oval diamond has been cut well, the bow tie effect will be either barely noticeable or non-existent.

However, you won’t be able to notice this effect without being able to either look at the diamond under magnification or by using a 360˚ viewer like ours online.

Remember, the bow tie has no bearing on the durability of an oval engagement ring. If the idea of a bow tie bothers you, make sure to carefully look at an inventory of oval diamonds to find the one you like.

If you have wider fingers, the length of an oval diamond engagement ring can make your fingers look longer.

Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight of an Oval Cut Diamond

There’s no doubt the elongated shape of an oval diamond is an advantage when we’re talking about bigger diamonds. An oval diamond isn’t cut as shallowly as a round cut diamond, so it distributes more of its carat weight over its length. The same idea applies to other elongated shapes like marquise diamonds or emerald cut diamonds.

But oval diamonds are slightly different than other elongated shapes. The surface area of oval diamonds may closely match emerald cut diamonds, but they have two different cutting styles. Marquise diamonds have the length but aren’t equal to the wider oval cut diamond. Oval diamonds appear bigger than the majority of diamond shapes. They also have the biggest surface area of brilliant cut diamonds.

The large table area of oval diamonds can create complications when it comes to color grades. Round and oval diamonds might both be the same “brilliant” cutting style, but they don’t offer up the same sparkle. Oval diamonds just can’t compete with the amount of white light reflected in high-quality round diamonds.

color grades

As a result, the color tint in oval diamonds is more noticeable. Of course, this isn’t a problem unless you’re budgeting on a low color grade for your oval diamond. And keep in mind that diamond color may have definitive grades for colorless, near colorless, and faint yellow diamonds, but it’s honestly just your opinion.

An H color diamond may appear yellow to some, but not very noticeable to others. Many people are unable to tell the difference between a colorless and near-colorless diamond grade. However, diamonds with an oval shape tend to look more yellow than round diamonds of the same carat size.

The brilliant cutting styles help both the round diamond and oval diamond shape when it comes to hiding smaller visible inclusions. Larger and darker noticeable inclusions you might have a harder hiding with all that surface area. It can be extra unsightly when coupling lower clarity grades with an oval shape diamond with a strong bow-tie effect.

Round Diamond vs Oval Diamond Cut: The 4Cs of Diamond Quality

Round Diamonds

round engagement ring

Cut: It’s easier to find a well-cut round diamond shape because they are the only ones that have official cut grades on a grading report. Ideal/Excellent cut round diamonds will have a brilliance that no other diamond shape can replicate or compete with.

Color: The mass amount of white light that comes from a well-cut round diamond is perfect for offsetting lower color grades. It’s not necessary to choose colorless diamond grades unless you want them.

Clarity: The white light of a high-quality round diamond produces the same advantage as it does for color grades. The many facets used in brilliant cuts can make small visible imperfections invisible.

Carat Weight: The carat weight distribution of round diamonds makes them appear smaller than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight. Round diamonds have a smaller surface area than the long shape of an oval diamond of the same carat weight.

Oval Diamonds

oval engagement ring

Cut: It’s difficult to find a well-cut oval diamond because there’s no definitive cut grade to go by. Some retailers may categorize their oval diamonds by placing them in a category, but it’s more of a general distinction. You’ll need to choose an oval diamond with the ideal proportion range for that shape.

Color: In many ways, the length of an oval shape diamond can work to your advantage. In terms of color grades, not so much. The large surface area of oval engagement rings can make your diamond tinted if you’ve chosen too low of a color grade for your diamond.

Clarity: Being a brilliant diamond shape, oval diamonds are better at hiding natural imperfections than shapes like emerald cuts or Asscher cuts. But you shouldn’t choose too low of a color grade either because prominent inclusions will be noticeable.

Carat Weight: The elongated shape of an oval diamond can work to your advantage if you’re wanting your diamond to look bigger without having to pay the increase on other diamond grades too.

How Do They Match Up Against Each Other?

You’ve heard both sides, the good and the bad. Now, let’s recap the pros and cons of both princess cut and cushion cut diamonds to help you make your final decision.

Round Cut vs Oval Cut: Price

Round cut diamonds are the most expensive diamond shapes because of their ability to have the best light performance and sparkle of all diamond shapes. No other diamond shapes can be cut to perfect symmetry and proportions.

Another reason a round diamond cut might cost more per carat is that it requires a lot of technique to cut a round diamond shape and maximize the diamond’s brilliance. When diamond cutters facet round diamonds from the diamond rough, they discard around 60%, trashing or using it as melee diamonds if the quality is good enough. The diamond rough wastage drives up the cost of buying that diamond shape.

Round Diamond vs Oval Diamond: Sparkle

Because of the ability to have superior cut quality with round diamonds, oval diamonds tend not to sparkle as much in comparison. But if you’re not comparing round and oval diamonds, oval diamonds can have better sparkle than other brilliant cut diamonds.

Round Brilliant Diamond Cut vs Oval Shaped Diamonds: Durability

Both oval and round diamonds have rounded edges, you don’t have to worry about corners chipping like you would with other fancy diamond shapes. However, that doesn’t mean that round and oval diamonds can’t chip.

The truth is, most faceted gemstones can chip if struck hard enough. That’s why it’s important to protect the edges of oval and round diamonds. Watch out for diamonds with thin girdles or inclusions too close to the surface of the girdle.

Now that you know the differences and similarities between a round cut and an oval cut, you have a better idea of which one is the right for you (or maybe you’ve decided to look at princess cut engagement rings!). At Clean Origin, our team of experts is ready to help you.

Schedule a virtual appointment with one of our jewelry experts or find a showroom near you today!