Oval Cut Diamond Guide

By Michael Fried

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Bottom Line Recommendation

An Oval Cut Diamond provides excellent brilliance, durability and personal 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 is unable to 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 review it with a pair of eyes before purchase. Be sure to also review our Cut Quality chart for general guidelines.

The Oval Cut Diamond

Bursting with brilliance and fire, the Oval Cut Diamond is an exceptional choice for those wanting an exquisite, unique diamond. The Oval’s elongated design often appears larger than other diamond shapes in an equal carat weight, like how this 1.01 Carat Oval Diamond looks quite large in its yellow gold halo setting. An Oval Diamond can also make the hand and fingers of the wearer appear slimmer.

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 like Round Brilliant Cuts, it does not for Oval Cut Diamonds.

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—and, ideally, have a diamond expert assist you. 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
CutletNoneVery 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. We strongly suggest having a diamond expert review your stone before purchase.

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

Bowtie effect in oval cut diamonds

Oval Cut Diamond – Length to Width Ratio

A diamond’s length to width ratio reveals how proportionate it is along with 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.


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 its 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, like this beautiful H SI1 1 carat diamond. While you can go higher in Clarity, you won’t be able to notice a difference 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 scale from D to Z. When a diamond has a Z Color grade, it means the diamond contains 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 for the naked eye to notice the difference between two color grades, the difference in price can be significant.

Due to the difficulty for the naked eye to notice the differences between Color grades, we recommend focusing on how the Color appears to you.

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. For example, this H Color Oval Diamond in a white gold halo setting radiates with whiteness. 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. As an example, this K color diamond beams bright white in a rose gold setting.

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.


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 a 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.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
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  • 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

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well.
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
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging

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