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The Oval Cut Diamond Guide

Everything you need to get the best oval cut diamond for your budget

By Mike Fried,

An oval cut diamond provides excellent brilliance, durability and style. We recommend an H color or better and an SI1 or SI2 for clarity for this diamond shape. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of the ‘bowtie effect’ in oval diamonds, a potential dark area in the diamond’s center.

If you follow our recommendations laid out in this article, you will get the best oval cut diamond for your buck. For example, a nice one carat oval cut will cost you $3,200.

Oval cut diamonds, with their elongated and graceful design, have surged in popularity, thanks in part to celebrities like Blake Lively and Hailey Bieber. Offering a unique blend of classic round brilliance and a distinctive shape, oval diamonds appear larger than their actual carat weight and often come at a more affordable price than round diamonds. Their elongated design not only enhances finger aesthetics but also provides a modern twist to traditional diamond cuts.

This article will cover everything you need to know to find the perfect oval cut for whichever style you are looking for.

Gourgeous Oval cut jewelry - all custom made by Abe Mor
Gourgeous oval cut jewelry – all custom-made by Abe Mor

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

What is an oval cut diamond?
What setting style should I choose for an oval cut diamond?
Which cut grade should I focus on?
What is the bowtie effect?
What’s the best length-to-width radio for oval diamonds?
What clarity should I choose for an oval cut diamond?
What color should I choose for an oval cut diamond?
How much do oval cut diamonds cost?
Oval cut diamonds size chart
What is the difference between a round cut diamond and an oval 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.

Bottom Line Recommendation

An oval cut diamond provides excellent brilliance, durability and style. We recommend an H color or better and an SI1 or SI2 for clarity for this diamond shape.

Unlike a round diamond, a certificate for an oval cut does not provide any indication of how the diamond will look. Take a look at this beautiful 0.70ct from Blue Nile compared to a virtually identical diamond that is less than impressive. Therefore, we recommend evaluating the diamond closely or having an expert visually review it before purchase. Be sure to check our diamond cut chart for general guidelines.

Deal Alert: Get 30% off lab-grown diamonds during a limited time sale at James Allen.

The Oval Cut Diamond

Bursting with brilliance and fire, an oval cut diamond is exquisite and unique. The oval is considered a “fancy” shape; the elongated design makes it appear larger than other shapes of the same carat weight. For example, a 1ct oval cut looks quite large in a halo setting. But a 1 carat round diamond in a similar setting would look slightly smaller.

The slender body of the oval diamond creates a beautiful, elongated look. It often makes the hand and fingers appear slimmer. The diamond’s shape has no sharp corners, so it’s less prone to chipping.

If you enjoy a rounded design but want a stone with more character, an oval diamond makes a stunning choice. In addition, oval diamonds are almost always priced lower than round brilliants.

what to know about oval cut diamond

History of the Oval Cut Diamond

Oval shaped diamonds have been popular for centuries. The earliest oval diamonds date back to the 1300s, though they aren’t described by name in literature until the 1800s.

According to Rapaport, in the early 1960’s, a Russian diamond cutter named Lazare Kaplan perfected the oval cut process. He had a knack for turning undesirable rough stones into gorgeous diamonds. His technique significantly improved the brilliance of the oval diamond. The process that Kaplan pioneered is what diamond cutters use to create oval cut stones today. The oval diamond consistently ranks as one of the most popular diamond shapes.

Best Settings for Oval Cut Diamonds

Oval cut diamonds are versatile, meaning they can look good in just about any setting. Taylor Lautner’s wife is the perfect example of that with her oval pavé engagement ring and an oval eternity wedding band.

The best settings for oval cut diamonds generally have four or six prongs, showcasing the shape of the diamond. Oval cut diamonds can also look fantastic in bezel settings. Some oval cut diamond engagement rings, particularly those with three or five stones, feature four or six prongs for the center diamond, plus a bezel setting to hold the side diamonds.

In terms of style, you can design an oval cut diamond ring with almost any kind of setting, from vintage to side stone. Oval diamonds look exceptional in a few particular styles, though. We’ve outlined the best settings below with engagement ring inspiration (when you build your own engagement ring, you can combine the oval with even more designs).

Halo settings: A sparkling halo of small diamonds makes an oval cut radiate even more. Oval engagement rings with a halo setting boast plenty of character—no matter the carat weight.

Solitaire settings: The classic, simple style of a solitaire setting lets the oval take center stage. From yellow gold to rose gold, a solitaire ring will never go out of style.

Side-stone settings: Whether it’s a three-stone ring or a setting with multiple stones, the extra sparkle adds elegance to the oval shape.

Pavé settings: A pavé ring brings additional character and sparkle to any oval cut diamond. The styles range from twisted bands to solitaire-style pavé rings.

Shop for oval cut diamond engagament rings here.

Oval cut diamond ring
Oval Cut Diamond Center Stone in a White Gold Halo Setting

The Most Popular Diamond Shapes

Oval has been gaining popularity back in the last few years. it’s a great shape for combining a classic, older look with a modern setting. The round diamond is still number one, but oval is definitely in the top 4. Head over to our dedicated page covering all the diamond shapes you may want to consider if you want something unique but not an oval specifically.

Diamond Shape Chart

Diamond shapes

Oval Cut Diamond – Cut Quality

The most important element in any diamond is the quality of its cut, which impacts the fundamental beauty and structure of the stone along with its capacity to offer brilliance and fire. While the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) provides cut grading for some shapes, such as round brilliant cuts; it does not provide cut grading for oval cut diamonds.

“As with all fancies, buyers of ovals should look first at overall make. Look for shape and cut that are pleasing to the eye. The ends should be gracefully round, not flattened or too narrow.” Rapaport, Fancy Shape Series – Oval

In this vein, standard cut parameters for an excellent oval are unachievable—due to the oval’s complex and unique structure. Despite what anyone describes, there is no magic combination for table % or depth %. All cut recommendations for oval diamonds should be regarded as widely general and usually subjective.

Above all, an oval diamond’s beauty is determined by what you—and the wearer—sees. Review oval cut diamonds thoroughly. Rather than hoping to make a smart decision with your purchase, ensure that you do.

To offer a loose guideline for an excellently cut oval diamond, we provide our general parameters for cut quality below. Keep in mind that these parameters are general and should not be applied without looking at the diamond yourself and receiving an expert’s opinion.

Oval Cut Diamond – Cut Quality Recommendations

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
Table %53-6352 or 64-6551 or 66-6850 or 69-70<50 or >70
Depth %58-6256-57.9 or 62.1-6653-55.9 or 66.1-7150-52.9 or 71.1-74<50 or >74
GirdleVery Thin – Slightly ThickVery Thin – ThickVery Thin – Very ThickExtremely Thin – Extremely Thick 
CuletNoneVery SmallSmallMedium>Medium
Length/Width Ratio1.35-1.501.30-1.34 or 1.51-1.551.25-1.29 or 1.56-1.601.20-1.24 or 1.61-1.65>1.20 or <1.65

Bowtie Effect in Oval Cut Diamonds

Due to their fancy, elongated shape, almost all oval cut diamonds have a bowtie effect. The dark space stretching across a diamond’s center is considered the bowtie. The severity of a bowtie differs among diamonds: sometimes it’s easily noticeable, and other times it’s hardly visible.

An oval cut diamond with a prominent bowtie will distract from the beauty of the stone. You’ll want to be certain not to choose an oval diamond with a dominant bowtie.

In the examples below, notice the difference between a visible bowtie and a non-bowtie diamond.

oval cut diamond with bowtie
oval cut diamond without bowtie

Oval Cut Diamond – Length to Width Ratio

A diamond’s length to width ratio reveals how proportionate it is according to its intended shape (i.e. square or rectangular). To calculate the length to width ratio, divide the length of the diamond by its width. For instance, a diamond with a length of 5.5mm and a width of 3.5mm has a length to width ratio of 1.57.

While primarily dependent on personal style and preference, the oval cut diamond is usually most appealing with a ratio between 1.30-1.50. Review various oval diamonds to determine which ratio is most appealing to you. You can also view them in engagement rings to have an idea how they look when set.


Oval Cut Diamond – Clarity

The GIA grades clarity from best to worst:

  • 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

Due to the shape, inclusions and blemishes are well hidden with oval diamonds. Near the rounded end or where the jewelry setting will lay, it is almost impossible to see imperfections.

This is why we recommend an SI1 or an SI2 for excellent clarity with the best value. You can go higher on the diamond clarity chart, but the difference won’t be visible to the naked eye, so your budget is better spent in another area like cut or carat weight.

In addition to evaluating the bowtie and receiving the clarity grade, you should also carefully review an oval diamond yourself or ask for the help of an expert. Inspect photos and only trust a vendor’s eye cleanliness check if they also are checking it themselves (as does James Allen). To learn more about the differences in oval cut diamond clarity, contact us.

Oval Cut Diamond – Color

Color is graded by the GIA on a diamond color scale from D to Z. When a diamond has a Z Color grade, it means the diamond contains an easily noticeable brown or yellow tint. On the other end of the scale, the D grade represents the most colorless a diamond can be.

While it’s usually impossible to see the difference between two color grades, the difference in price can be significant.

As it is difficult to notice the differences between color grades with the naked eye, we recommend focusing on how the color appears to you.

1ct G VS2 Oval in White Gold Solitaire Setting

As a general guideline, we recommend an H color or better for oval cut diamonds. This ensures your stone will look white in a white gold or platinum setting. If you’re setting your diamond in yellow gold or rose gold, feel free to drop down to a J or K to save money or to buy a larger stone.

If you want to ensure you’re getting an oval diamond that appears clear to the naked eye and maintains an excellent price point, reach out to our experts and we’ll be happy to help.

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Oval Cut Diamond – Prices

In general, oval cut diamonds are less expensive than round brilliant cut diamonds of the same cut quality, color, clarity and carat weight. In fact, in our guide to diamond shapes and pricing, we compared the oval cut to the round brilliant cut and found that oval cut diamonds are, on average, about 28% less expensive per carat.

This is because the oval cut uses a larger amount of rough diamond. Since less of the rough diamond is discarded during the cutting and polishing process, you can get better value for money (at least from a dollars-per-carat perspective) from an oval cut than from many other diamond shapes.

Like with all shapes, the diamond price per carat for an oval cut diamond increases exponentially as the diamond’s carat weight increases. Below, we’ve compared the price for oval cut diamonds in four popular diamond sizes — 1 carat, 2 carat, 3 carat and 4 carat. For a fair comparison, we’ve chosen the H color grade, VS clarity grades and great cut proportions for all of the diamonds compared below.

Prices of Oval Cut Diamonds

DiamondDiamond PricePrice Per CaratSpecifications
1.01 carat H color, VS2 clarity oval cut diamond from James Allen$3,570$3,535At under $4,000, this 1 carat oval cut diamond offers great value for money and exceptional beauty.
2.00 carat H color, VS2 clarity oval cut diamond from James Allen$13,680$6,840As you can see, the price per carat for oval cut diamonds rises exponentially. This 2 carat diamond is more than twice as much per diamond as a smaller 1 carat stone.
3.00 carat H color, VS2 clarity oval cut diamond from Blue Nile$37,330$12,443This 3 carat oval cut diamond looks absolutely stunning, with a slight increase in cost per carat compared to the 2 carat diamond above.
4.01 carat, H color, VS1 clarity oval cut diamond from Blue Nile$80,010$19,953This 4 carat oval cut diamond is significantly larger. As with other diamond shapes, the cost per carat increases with the carat weight of the diamond.

Oval Diamond Size Chart

Like all diamonds, oval cut diamonds are sold by carat weight rather than by size. You can use the chart below to convert a diamond’s carat weight into its length and width measurements.

Note that because all diamonds vary slightly in length to width ratio, the chart below uses the average measurements of an oval cut diamond. If you choose a diamond with a long or short length-to-width ratio, it may have different measurements from those provided below. For the best looking oval cut diamond, we recommend sticking to our guidelines above and choosing a diamond with a length to width ratio in the 1.30-1.50 range.

Oval Cut Diamond Sizes (Carat Weight to Length/Width in MM)

Carat WeightSize in MM
0.33 carat5.5*3.5mm
0.35 carat5*4mm
0.50 carat6*4mm
0.60 carat6*5mm
0.65 carat6.5*4.5mm
0.75 carat7*5mm
1.00 carat7.7*5.7mm
1.25 carat8*6mm
1.5 carat8.5*6.5mm
2.00 carat9*7mm
2.5 carat10*8mm
2.88 carat10.5*8.5mm
3 carat12*8mm
4 carat12.9*8.6mm
5 carat13.9*9.3mm
6 carat14.5*10mm
8.20 carat14.7*12mm
8.75 carat15*12mm
9.30 carat16*12mm
11.88 carat16*14mm
12.86 carat18*13mm
14.96 carat20*15mm

To imagine this even better, we made this simple comparison to a US quarter:

size vs. carat weight oval cut

Oval vs. Round Diamonds

Although oval cut and round brilliant cut diamonds can look similar at first glance (and, in fact, do share numerous similar features), there are several key differences between these two diamonds shapes.

The first is the shape. As you’d expect from their names, oval cut diamonds are oval and round diamonds are round. But beyond the obvious, there are also several key differences in shape between oval cut and round diamonds.

The biggest of these is that round cut diamonds are always round. While there can be some slight variation in length to width ratio between different round cut diamonds, all round diamonds have either a perfect or near-perfect round shape.

Oval cut diamonds, on the other hand, come in a variety of oval shapes. Depending on the length to width ratio of an oval cut diamond, it may have a wide, normal or slender oval shape.

oval vs. round cut diamond graphic

The second is the level of brilliance. A diamond’s brilliance refers to the strength of its sparkle and fire. Oval cut and round cut diamonds are both brilliant cuts, meaning they’re designed to maximize the reflection of light and create a powerful sparkle. In fact, they both have the same number of facets — 58, to be precise.

Assuming all other factors are equal, a round brilliant cut diamond will have a slightly stronger sparkle than an equivalent oval cut diamond. However, the difference between these two diamond shapes is very subtle, with both offering an excellent level of brilliance and fire.

The third is the perceived size. Because the oval cut diamond shape has an elongated design, an oval cut diamond will look slightly larger than a round brilliant cut diamond of the same carat weight.

For example, a 1 carat round cut brilliant diamond from James Allen has measurements of 6.49*6.46mm. A 1 carat oval cut diamond from James Allen, which is identical in carat weight, has measurements of 7.55*5.54mm. Because of its extra length, it will appear slightly larger than the equivalently-sized round cut diamond once it’s set in an engagement ring.

This makes the oval cut a great shape to consider if you’re looking for a diamond that appears larger than its true carat weight.

Finally, there’s the difference in price. As we covered in our guide to diamond shapes and pricing, the round brilliant cut is by far the most expensive diamond shape on a per-carat basis. This is because it requires a large amount of the rough diamond to be discarded during the cutting and polishing process.

Because the oval cut uses a larger amount of the original rough diamond, it’s generally a more affordable shape on a per-carat basis. This makes the round cut diamond almost 40% more expensive than the oval cut diamond.


The curved shape of the oval cut diamond is perfect for those with an active lifestyle because it doesn’t contain any pointed edges. The fancy oval diamond also showcases a distinct personality with a high level of brilliance and fire. Consider an oval cut diamond for those who want an elegant look with unique flair and excellent durability.

If you’re looking to purchase an oval cut diamond and would like assistance in evaluating it before purchase, contact one of our diamond experts today.

Here are more specific diamond shape topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
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  • Free ring inscriptions
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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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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