Picking the Best Styles for Oval Engagement Rings

Picking the Best Style for Oval Engagement Rings

In 1957, Christian Dior ruled fashion with his nipped-in waistlines and full skirts, while Chanel set the standard for jewelry with long, rope-like, pearl necklaces. Fashion in the late 50s was not subtle. It was glamorous. As women perfected their hourglass shapes with girdles and accentuated their lips with matte red lipstick, Lazare Kaplan was creating another future star of fifties fashion and style: the oval shape diamond.

Boasting the same number of facets as the round brilliant cut, the oval shape glistened with fire. Unlike the round diamond, however, the oval’s elongated length also gave the illusion of a higher carat weight. Like Dior’s dresses that cinched in the waist to create the perfect hourglass figure, the lean oval cut diamond provided a slimming effect for a woman’s fingers and hand.

How the 4C’s Affect Oval Diamonds

Like all elongated fancy shapes, oval diamonds are prone to a “bow-tie” effect within their cut, which can affect the brilliance. The bow-tie effect gives the illusion of—you guessed it!—a bow-tie design within the center of the diamond with reduced sparkle. This results from a poor cut and an exaggerated ratio.

Oval Shape: Then & Now

As the decades passed, the oval cut also complemented other fashion trends. Mary Quant gave rise to the mod fashion trend of the late 1960s by popularizing the use of bold chunky geometric designs. Circles, squares, arrow designs and ovals popped into fashion around the globe. In fact, oval-shaped shades became a signature mod accessory.

Today, the oval shape remains a favorite in engagement ring designs for women who want the brilliance of a round cut and the irresistible glamour of an elongated cut like the emerald or marquise. Blake Lively is synonymous with Old-Hollywood-inspired classic elegance, and her engagement ring from Ryan Reynolds features a pink oval diamond set in a rose gold band glistening with pave diamonds.

Oval Shape: Then & Now

Color Grade of Oval Diamonds

Color grade also is more apparent within oval and elongated diamond shapes. Always try and choose an oval diamond that has a higher color grade to ensure a whiter and brighter appearance. Aim for a grade of F, G, or H if the budget allows, although you can find great stones at great values with grades as low as an I color.

Color Grade of Oval Diamonds

Carat Grade of Oval Diamonds

While buyers should splurge on better color grades in oval diamonds, the carat weight is more generous. A one-carat oval looks larger and more prominent than other one-carat cuts. As ovals give the illusion being larger, buyers can pick a smaller size stone while still appearing bigger looking stone. 

Carat Grade of Oval Diamonds

Oval Ring Mount & Light

The perfect setting for the oval cut is one that allows for the diamond to exude maximum fire. Certain setting styles allow more light to hit the stone, which provides the sparkle that makes a diamond remarkable. With oval diamonds, a raised head mount—the area in the setting that holds the diamond—allows for more light to enter the stone at different angles. The number of prongs also affects how light projects into the diamond. Six prong designs accentuate the oval shape but cover more of the stone, while nudging down to four prongs will create more room for light to bounce within the stone.

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Oval Ring Mount & Light

Oval Diamond & Metal Choices

Oval cuts display their color grade more prominently than other cuts, and the choice of metal is extremely important for the setting of an oval shape diamond. If an oval diamond sits lower on the color scale, a warmer metal will mask the yellowish hue of the diamond and make it appear lighter. Selecting yellow or rose gold will work well for this. For near colorless stones, choose metals that accentuate the whiteness of the stone and allow even more light to bounce off the diamond. Platinum settings are ideal, as the pure, natural white sheen of the metal creates a mirror-like effect that bounces more light through the stone. For more budget friendly silver-hued metal options, choose white gold.

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Oval Diamond & Metal Choices

Oval Diamonds & Side Diamonds

Designs with accent stones play very well with the oval cut diamond. To further accentuate the oval cut’s elongated appearance, choose complementary shapes like the tapered baguette or the triangular shaped trillion cuts. Round cut diamonds provide a gentler pairing and naturally blend with the curves of the oval.

Oval Diamonds & Side Diamonds

Oval diamonds & Gemstones

A pop of color gives the oval a touch of Art Deco appeal. Cooler colors like blue sapphires, green emeralds and purple amethyst accentuate a near-colorless oval beautifully. For oval diamonds with a bit of yellow, choose warmer gemstones like rubies, garnets or yellow topaz that absorb any tint in the center stone.

Oval diamonds & Gemstones

Oval Diamond Perspective

While oval diamonds are typically set vertically, or north-south, to showcase its elongated cut, the diamond can also be set horizontally, or east-west, for a far more unique look. Highlight the horizontal oval center stone with a halo or choose a setting with a diamond encrusted band. The horizontally placed stone also looks stunning solo. This style works well for more opulent ring designs. Cocktail rings use the east-west setting more often than engagement rings, but for a woman with a larger ring size or who is looking to get more coverage on her finger, this is the perfect way to go about it, and it can make a modest oval diamond seem even larger than its elongated shape already does.

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Oval Diamond Perspective

Your Oval Cut Diamond

Like the decade of its birth, the oval cut exudes glamor and Hollywood luxury. The elongated length of the cut adds a thinning line to the hand while creating the illusion of a heavier carat weight. Oval cuts project the fire and beauty of a 50’s starlet for a look that is both trendy and unique at the same time.

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