A truly timeless, classic shape, oval cut diamonds and other precious stones have become more popular again in recent years as the centre of attention on stunning engagement rings and other jewellery.
In this article, we take a closer look at this gorgeous shape and explain everything you need to know about oval cut options.
Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other gems have been cut in ovular shapes for centuries, but it is a very difficult cut to master. Early versions were often slightly asymmetrical or somewhat crudely finished, but in the 20th century the famous diamond cutter, Russian-born Lazare Kaplan perfected the technique, and in 1957 the modern oval cut was born. Kaplan had learnt his craft from his uncle, Abraham Tolkowsky, who is credited with inventing the ‘ideal’ cut.
The ideal cut is a diamond – round brilliant or princess cut – which has been finished with ideal proportions, angles, symmetry and polish. It should reflect nearly all the light spectrum entering it. Lazare Kaplan took on rough stones which were considered too difficult by other cutters. He transformed them into masterpieces and is recognised as one of the greatest diamond cutters of all time.
Using shape to enhance intensity
Although quality oval-cut diamonds will sparkle with the same intensity as the highly sought-after round brilliant, there are far fewer oval-cut stones around, so they tend to stand out.
As industry expert, US jewellery designer Lauren Priori explains, “Oval engagement rings are great for women who love the classics but want something just a little bit unique. Ovals have the ability to feel feminine and fresh but are still more timeless than trendier shapes like pears or marquises. Some of them are long and thin, others are wide and round, some have pointy ends, and some have flatter ends that almost veer into cushion-shaped territory.”
She goes on to advise, “Look at a variety of stones to make sure you choose the stone that’s right for you. At the end of the day, trust your eyes! You’re the one wearing the diamond, so you have to love it.”
Elongated and enlarged elegance
The form of an oval cut diamond or other gemstone will certainly tend to enhance the elongated look of the fingers and hand of its wearer; a vision of elegance. This effect should occur for every person wearing an oval shape stone, in any design. Oval shape precious stones have a bigger surface area than most others, so they will appear larger than most other stones of the same carat size. The appearance of fingers being longer and slenderer and the centre stone grander are both traits that will surely appeal to all fiancées.
Finding your masterpiece
Often described as enduring and ageless, the oval shape lends itself to time-honoured designs, as well as vintage styles and the cut also perfectly suits the chic modern look.
A more traditional engagement ring, for instance, may showcase a stunning oval-cut ruby with smaller accent diamonds flanking it. Whereas a contemporary design might feature a stunning diamond or ruby on a slender platinum band. A superb oval-cut precious stone set in rose gold makes for a fabulous vintage-feel engagement ring. Oval-cut gemstones work wonderfully in halo settings. Diamonds are spectacular in this shape and other coloured stones that resent amazingly in oval are rubies, sapphires, emeralds and aquamarines. Stones are usually held by six claws in more traditional designs and the modern look has the stone secured in four claws typically.
What to look for in an Oval-cut gemstone?
Some oval shape stones are longer and thinner, others are more compact and wider. The choice is yours. It is said the ideal ratio is 1.35 – 1.50.
The longer narrower oval-cut gemstone tends to have a more defined and conspicuous look, whereas the wider-cut stone has a softer, more wistful feel. A narrower stone is preferable if you are adding accent stones to either side of the centre stone, which is a much-admired design. Some oval-cut stones may exhibit an occasional ‘bowtie’ effect, which is some discolouration in the centre of the stone when viewed under certain conditions.
This can actually add to the visual intricacy of stones, and some people are not at all perturbed by it. Be sure to discuss this with your jeweller if you are unsure. Purchasing an oval cut jewel is usually a pleasant surprise when it comes to price, as they are typically more affordable than round brilliant stones.
This is because there is less demand for oval-cut gemstones and also because there is less waste when they are cut and polished from the rough.
Frequently asked questions?
Are oval cut diamond engagement rings fashionable at the moment?
They are very much in vogue. The oval shape has increased in popularity over recent years.
Which precious stones look best in the oval shape?
All the top gemstones look and perform fantastically when oval cut: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and more. Talk to your jeweller about the options.
What is the most famous oval shape engagement ring in the world?
Most likely this would be the famous engagement ring given to Lady Diana Spencer by Prince Charles in 1981. It featured an incredible oval cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds. It is now worn by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.