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The Emerald Cut Diamond Guide

Understanding the quality, color and clarity for the perfect emerald cut diamond

By Mike Fried,

Emerald cut diamonds typically have of 57 facets and are distinguished by their elongated, rectangular shape and unique step cuts, creating a ‘hall of mirrors effect. While generally not as brilliant they usually appear larger than other shapes of the same carat weight. Their large table can make even tiny flaws stand out, so buyers should be wary of visible inclusions. Emerald cut diamonds tend to show more color than other shapes.

Emerald shaped diamonds are not graded on cut. In general we recommend looking for a depth of below 74% and a length to width ration of 1.30 to 1.60 which will provide a beautiful cut. In this article we discuss our emerald cut recommendations to ensure you end up with a stunning emerald cut at a great price. For example, you can get a great one carat emeral cut for $3,300.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

What is an emerald cut diamond?
Which cut grade should I focus on?
What length to width ratio is the best for an emerald cut diamond?
What clarity should I choose for an emerald cut diamond?
What is the best color for an emerald cut diamond?
Are emerald cuts expensive?
What setting style should I choose for an emerald cut diamond?

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.
Emerald Cut Diamond in a Scalloped engagement ring setting
A 3ct Emerald Cut Diamond in a yellow gold Scalloped engagement ring setting from Blue Nile

Bottom Line Recommendation

It’s often tricky to decipher the cut of an emerald diamond—and preference of a more square vs. elongated shape is largely based on personal style. Because of these unique factors, the range of acceptable depth % changes from diamond to diamond.

To find an emerald cut diamond that’s stunning and also high in value—without a giant price tag—we encourage you to contact us directly for assistance and advice.

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What Is An Emerald Cut Diamond

The emerald cut diamond flaunts an elongated, rectangular shape and chiseled step cuts, with straight linear facets—usually arranged parallelly down the stone. To add stability and prevent fractures, the corners of an emerald cut diamond are usually cropped.

The emerald cut diamond provides for deep clarity and a large surface table. Through its long step cuts, the diamond offers abundant reflections both of white and colored light. Emerald cuts are more prominent in rectangles but are available in squares as well.

A popular choice for those wanting a larger stone without a high price point, an emerald cut diamond usually appears bigger than other shaped diamonds in the same carat weight. Emerald cuts are also a top choice for celebrities. As Hello Magazine, a top magazine covering celebrities, reports celebs like Paris Hilton make emerald cuts their top choice.

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The Most Popular Diamond Shapes

The most popular diamond shape is, hands down, the round cut diamond. It’s the classic look that everyone imagines under the word diamond. However, there are many more shapes that are popular with people looking for a different, more unique look. Head over to our dedicated page covering all the diamond shapes you may want to consider.

Emerald Cut Diamond – Cut Quality

Diamond cut quality is a little trickier to assess for emerald cuts than round brilliants, because lab entities (GIA included) don’t give a cut grade for fancy-shaped diamonds. In general, though, there are parameters that make it easy to select a brilliant and beautiful emerald cut. 

Dimensions like depth %, table %, and length to width ratios impact how the diamond looks and how much light it reflects. To buy a well-cut emerald diamond, focus on depth being below 74%. Of course, you should pay attention to all the specs available, but the depth itself will present a beautiful emerald cut. 

These two emerald cut diamonds are examples of stones with a good depth % and other quality dimensions:

If you want to dig into more specifics, review the table of cut recommendations below. Or contact us and we’ll give you a recommendation on any emerald cut.

Emerald Cut Diamond – Cut Quality Recommendations

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
Table %61-6957-60 or 70-7254-56 or 73-7451-53 or 75-79<51 or >79
Depth %61-6759-60.9 or 67.1-7057-58.9 or 70.1-7454-56.9 or 74.1-79<54 or >79
GirdleVery Thin – Slightly ThickVery Thin – ThickVery Thin – Very ThickExtremely Thin – Extremely Thick
CuletNoneVery SmallSmallMedium>Medium
Length/Width Ratio1.40-1.501.30-1.39 or 1.51-1.601.20-1.29 or 1.61-1.801.15-1.19 or 1.81-1.90<1.15 or >1.90

Emerald Cut Diamond – Length to Width Ratio

A diamond’s length to width ratio tells how squared or elongated its shape is. The ratio is calculated by dividing the length of the diamond by the width. For example, if a diamond’s length is 6mm and its width is 4mm, the length to width ratio is 1.50 – rectangular shape. On the opposite side, a length to width ratio close to 1 looks like a square, because the length and width of the diamond are similar.

The ideal shape for an emerald cut diamond is rectangular, with the ratio classically ranging from 1.30 to 1.60. Most people choose a ration close to 1.50, however, you may have your own preference for a slightly wider or longer shaped diamond.

Review a handful of emerald cut diamonds to determine which length to width ratio you prefer. Consider also how the diamond will look in your desired setting.

If you prefer a more square shape—instead of a rectangular design—you may wish to consider an asscher cut diamond, an exquisite alternative to the emerald cut.

emerald cut diamond length to width ratios

Emerald Cut Diamond – Clarity

The table (top surface area) of an emerald cut is like a clear unobstructed window into the center of the stone. Any inclusions found in the middle will be clearly visible. Because both the pavilion (the bottom slanted portion of the diamond) and crown (the upper diamond resting atop the girdle) are comparatively shallow, step cut stones are generally not as bright and never as fiery as brilliant cut stones. Rather, they accentuate a diamond’s clarity, as even the slightest flaw would be highly visible.

In other words, blemishes in an emerald cut diamond will be more noticeable than in a round cut diamond or cushion cut diamond.

The GIA diamond clarity scale ranges from best (void of inclusions) to worst (easily noticeable inclusions). Their designations include:

  • IF – Internally Flawless
  • VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusions 1
  • VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions 2
  • VS1 – Very Small Inclusions 1
  • VS2 – Very Small Inclusions 2
  • SI1 – Small Inclusions 1
  • SI2 – Small Inclusions 2
  • I1 – Inclusions 1
  • I2 – Inclusions 2

We recommend a VS2 clarity for the best value. SI2 and SI1 clarity grades are generally not recommended with step cuts such as asscher cuts and emerald cuts. Step cuts aren’t cut for their brilliance, so there’s no scattering of light to hide inclusions.

Most importantly, review all possible diamonds carefully to ensure they look clean to the naked eye. If you’re looking for an SI1 or SI2 emerald cut, for example, you must verify that inclusions are not in the center of the stone.

Emerald Cut Engagement Rings for Inspiration (Click a Ring for More Information)

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For the best tool in evaluating an emerald cut’s clarity, we suggest James Allen’s ultra-high quality diamond photography. Their technology provides up-close photographs for reviewing stones in detail.

If you’re not confident in selecting an eye clean emerald cut diamond, be sure to contact our experts.

Emerald Cut Diamond – Color

Similar to clarity, color is another attribute that is more noticeable in an emerald cut. Its large table and step cuts retain more color than other diamond shapes, allowing the eye to see the natural color of the stone.

The GIA grades color on a scale from D to Z. D is the best diamond color while Z contains easily noticeable brown or yellow tint.

When you look at an emerald diamond of a J grade or higher with the naked eye, you can easily notice a slight yellow tint. Because the naked eye notices no tint at an I color grade or better, we recommend this range for the most beauty and best value. If you choose a diamond below an I, such as a G or H, you will likely not notice much of a difference—if any at all. Paying more for a lower color grade is usually not worth the additional cost of a diamond.

It’s also important to ensure your diamond looks white in relation to its setting. For example, this stunning I color emerald diamond in a white gold pave setting from James Allen bursts with white, radiant color. Even this J colored emerald from James Allen looks shimmering in a rose gold setting. Overall it’s important to review the diamond’s color and setting before purchasing.

The emerald cut diamond won the title of the most popular diamond shape. Look at our video where we asked random people on the street what they thought:

Emerald Cuts Pros & Cons


  • Lower price per carat than most shapes
  • Understated, elegant appearance
  • Relatively easy to find


  • Glassy nature makes inclusions more noticeable (so you need a higher clarity grade)
  • Not as brilliant as other diamond shapes
  • Emerald cuts pros & cons
Things to know about Emerald Cut diamond

Comparing Size and Carat Weight

Take a look at the size differences between different carat weigh of an emerald cut. Keep in mind that those are average measurements as every emerald cut diamond is slightly different (in measurements and L:W ratio).

size vs carat weight emerald cut

Are Emerald Cuts More Expensive?

The simple answer is no. An engagement ring with an emerald cut will be cheaper than an engagement ring with a round diamond (and cheaper than most other shapes). Emerald cuts are cheaper per carat than most cuts, and are significantly cheaper than round diamonds. This is due to two factors: lower demand for emerald cuts and higher yield on cutting (you lose the least amount of weight when cutting a rough diamond into a polished emerald cut.

But things are not that simple. Yes, emerald cuts are cheaper. But you also need to be far more strict when choosing an emerald cut. Due to their glassy nature, emerald cuts do not hide inclusions nearly as well as other cuts. We normally find SI1 or SI2 clarity grades when selecting a diamond for our readers. When we are selecting emerald cuts, it’s usually a VS2 or even VS1 clarity grade.

Take a look at this emerald cut from Blue Nile. Usually, an SI1 clarity diamond like this would be eye-clean. Unfortunately, due to the large table and the glass-like look, the inclusion is visible to the naked eye. That doesn’t mean that emerald cuts are a poor choice. As we mentioned, emerald cuts are cheaper per carat. You can upgrade in clarity and still get a good deal.

All that being said, you can find an emerald cut diamond that is worth a lot of money. Just a few months ago, in June 2022, a 103.49ct Light of Africa emerald cut diamond sold for $195,000 per carat (just over 20 million dollars). And that’s impressive.

Emerald Cut vs. Asscher Cut

Emeralds and asschers are pretty much identical. The only discernible difference is L:W ratio. Emerald cuts are traditionally rectangular while asscher cuts are square. From a value or quality difference, there is no difference. It all boils down to personal preference or setting style.

emerald vs. asscher

Emerald Cut vs. Cushion Cut

Emerald cuts have a glassy, understated elegance to them while cushion cuts have a softer, more modern look. Cushion cuts will exhibit more brilliance and are the more popular cut. Emerald cuts cater to someone looking for a classy, timeless look.

Emerald vs. cushion cut diamond

Shop for emerald cut diamond engagement rings here.

Best Setting for Emerald Cut Diamond

Emerald cuts fit well in many different styles, but they really fit perfectly with more understated settings. Emerald cuts go well with solitaire and simple pave settings, and are perfect for three stone settings.


A solitaire setting lets a lot of light hit the diamond, amplifying the “hall of mirrors” effect of a well-proportioned Emerald Cut. It showcases the unique style of an emerald diamond perfectly. It’s very hard to go wrong with a simple solitaire setting and a beautiful emerald cut.

For inspiration, see this classic four-prong solitaire engagement ring from Blue Nile with an emerald cut diamond.

Solitaire setting with emerald cut center diamond


A pavé setting will make your ring stand out more, without taking away from the emerald diamond as a centerpiece. The accent diamonds add some flair to the ring, at the same time amplifying the fire of the center stone.

See this 14K white gold petite pavé engagement ring from James Allen as an example of how the emerald cut can work in a pavé setting.

pave setting with an emerald cut center diamond

Three Stone

Emerald diamonds also work beautifully in a three stone setting. Two smaller stones flanking the emerald in the middle help draw attention to the center stone and amplify its beauty.

Brilliant cut diamonds on each side provide a great contrast to the emerald’s long, straight facets, such as in this marquise shape three stone ring from James Allen

Alternatively, you can flank the emerald with baguette diamonds like in this example from James Allen below for a sleek and classy look.

Three stone setting with emerald cut center diamond

According to Us Weekly, Marc Anthony gave his new fiance, Nadia Ferreira a gorgeous 10ct emerald cut diamond in a platinum three stone setting. Another example that emerald cuts are truly a piece of art.

For more inspiration, check out these engagement rings that have been recently purchased at the major online retailers.


Emerald cut diamonds offer an elegant shape and unique step cuts. Emerald cuts are a phenomenal choice for those desiring a larger-looking diamond without a hefty price tag.

Because emerald cut diamonds require careful observation of cut quality, we suggest having an expert review your diamond before purchase. For assistance with finding the perfect emerald cut diamond, reach out to our experts today.

Here are more specific diamond shape topics to browse:

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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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