The Diamond Pro

Pear Shaped Diamonds: What’s the Best Engagement Ring Ratio?

By Michael Fried
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Buying a Pear Shape Diamond Ring?Pear Shape Diamond Cut

Bottom Line Recommendation:

The best settings for pear shaped diamonds (sometimes referred to as tear-drop diamonds) are tapered solitaire setting like this or an intricate halo setting like this. The setting should protect the vulnerable parts of the diamond (the pointed tip at one end), while showing off the unique beauty of the teardrop shape.  

  • Color: H Color or better

Pear Shapes (and other soft-sided fancy shapes such as Marquis and Oval) are among the diamond shapes that show color the strongest.  The only two shapes that perhaps show color more than this grouping are the Cushion Cut and Radiant Cut.  

That being the case it is best to stick with H color or higher to ensure that your stone will look white.  This of course only applies if you’re setting the stone in white gold or platinum.  If you’re setting it in yellow gold or rose gold, feel free to drop down to J or K and save the money or buy a larger stone.

  • Clarity

Stick to SI2 clarity or SI1 clarity for the best value.  Pear Shapes, like round brilliant diamonds, are great at concealing inclusions.  At the rounded end of the stone, they work as well as a round stone.  

At the pointed edge, it’s even stronger at hiding inclusions making it almost impossible to see any imperfections.  

Still, a concentrated black SI2 in the center of the stone will definitely be visible to the naked eye, so you still can’t trust a site listing virtual inventory at their word regarding checks for eye-cleanliness (see my Blue Nile Review for why that is). Of course, only use a vendor that offers high quality photos (like James Allen).

Inspect the photos and only trust a vendor’s eye cleanliness check if they’re checking it themselves (as does James Allen).

  • Cut Parameters for Pear Shape Diamonds:
    • Depth: Under 68%
    • Polish/Symmetry: Good, Very Good, or Excellent
    • Length/Width Ratio: Usually between 1.55 and 1.75 is considered ideal
    • As with cushion cuts, the suggested parameters are not particularly strict. With pear shapes, the numbers on the certificate matter much less than other shapes (such as round and princess).  

Unfortunately, you will never find the really important things regarding pear shape cut quality on a certificate.  For example, you’d never know the roundness of the round side of a pear shape just by looking at the certificate.  

Some pear shapes have very boxy round sides whereas others are properly curved. Some slope towards the point in a rounded way, whereas some are straight and come to a point like a triangle.  With Pear Shapes, it is absolutely critical that you see at least a photograph of the stone and see with your own eyes how it looks.


The Pear Shape – A Classic Beauty

While pear shapes are certainly not among the most popular shapes these days, I must confess that I am personally a lover of this shape.  I can’t put my finger on the particular aspect of this shape that I love, but I have a feeling I know what it is.

You see, the vast majority of pear shapes out there are absolute junk.  I know when I go online to help readers who are looking for pear shapes, I can look through 20-30 stones before I find one with a nice cut.

A teardrop cut diamond, which is also commonly referred to as a pear shape, is a classic look when done right. Pointed on one end and rounded on the other, a nice pear shape can have an unparalleled shine. It’s just a matter of picking the right cut and setting, which we’ll help you with in this article.

Properly Cut Pear Shapes Are a True Find

Most pear shapes cut today are too short and stubby.  Others are too long. Others aren’t properly rounded on the round side of the stone.  The list goes on and on.

So I think the reason that I love a beautifully made pear shape is simply that I recognize how special and rare they are.  It’s easy to find a stunning round brilliant or princess cut.  They’re all over the market.  But to find a properly cut pear shape truly is a find.

Feel free to look through recently purchased engagement rings from our highest rated retailers here.

Length to Width Ratio

An image of Pear Shaped Cut showing length to width ratio of about 1.55 to about 1.75On of the most common way pear shapes are miscut is with an out of balance length to width ratio. Most people find that they prefer pear shapes with a length to width ratio of about 1.55 to about 1.75.

As you can see in the diagram to the right, both of these ratios look natural for the shape whereas the stone that has a 2.0 L/W ratio looks out of whack.  Where you fall between 1.55 and 1.75 is really a matter of personal preference.  Lets take a look at some real life examples:

L/W Ratio of 1.41

Unbecoming Ratios

As you can see in the picture to the left, a L/W ratio of 1.41 already looks way to short and stubby for a pear shape.  This stone looks like a slightly stretched out round shape – not what you’d like to see in a pear.

L/W Ratio of 2.17

In the picture to the right, you can see the opposite extreme.  This stone has a L/W ratio of 2.17 which is way too long for a pear shape.

Beautiful Examples

And finally, Goldilocks, we’ve come to the stones that fit just right. To the left and right you can see beautiful examples of stones that are at opposite ends of the acceptable range of L/W. Where your preferences lie between these two boundaries is just a matter of what shape speaks to your tastes.

L/W Ratio of 1.53

L/W Ratio of 1.78

Straight vs. Curvy Pear Shapes

While Length to Width ratio is something that you can calculate yourself by viewing the diamond’s measurements on the certificate, the silhouette of the stone is not something you can figure out on paper alone.

How the diamond is shaped, strictly in 2-dimensional terms, is really one of the most important aspects to a pear shape.  This is the case particularly with pear shapes (and perhaps heart shapes as well), over and above all other shapes.

Unique Asymmetry

The reason is simply that the pear shape’s silhouette is its signature. Think about it – every other shape is a basic symmetrical geometric shape.

Only the pear shape has this unique asymmetrical shape with a different top and bottom.  So how the stone makes its way from the round end to the point is what this shape is all about.

Triangular Pear Shape diamond

Triangular Pear Shape

Common Mishap Pear Shapes

In this section, I would like to point out a couple of commonly misshapen pear shape types.

Firstly, to the left, you can see what I like to call the “triangular” pear shape.  If you look at the picture, you’ll see it’s obvious why I call it this.

Flat Back Pears

The left side of the stone (in this picture) is supposed to be a perfectly round semicircle. Instead, it’s nearly flat.  Furthermore, the sides of the stone should have a bit more curve to them. A close relative to the “triangle” pear shape is what I call the “flat-back” pear shape.

These are basically one step better than the “triangle” since the only noticeable problem is the flattish back whereas the sides still have the proper curve to them.

Too Curvy Pear Shape Diamond

Too Curvy Pear

Too Curvy Pears

The next common misshapen pear is what I call the “too curvy” or “too wide” pear shape.  See the picture to the right.

Here, you’ll notice that the sides that come around towards the point do so with too wide of a slope.

It’s almost like it wants to be an oval as it comes around the sides and only decides it wants to be a pear shape at the last second as it closes to a point. It’s not a smooth slope all the way around.

Pear Shape Bow Ties

Pear Shape diamond with a Classic bow tie pattern

Classic Bow-Tie Pattern

Probably the most common concern regarding pear shapes is whether or not a stone has a “bow tie.”

See the diamond to the left for a classic example of what a bow tie is. The “bow-tie” refers to that pattern that you see in the stone to the left running North to South in the photo running through the center of the stone.

This is yet more reason why it would be a very big mistake to buy a pear shape sight unseen.  There is simply no way to tell whether or not your pear shape will show an ugly bow-tie like this simply by looking at the certificate.

Size vs. Carat Weight Comparison

All shape differences aside, if you struggle with the imgining the actual size of a pear shape, check out this image where we compared the most popular pear shape carat weigths.

difference in size between carat weights pear shape

Shop for pear shape diamond enagagement rings here.

Pear Shaped Diamonds Pros and Cons

There are some definite pros and cons about pear shape or teardrop cut diamonds. Take them into account when you’re picking out a ring and it may help you make a decision you (and your spouse to be) are happy with.

Pros:

  • Appear larger than round diamonds
  • Lower cost
  • Unique style
  • Great for some hand types

Why choose a pear-shaped diamond? A big reason is that they appear bigger and more impressive than some more traditional cuts (such as a round diamond). The shape of a pear cut diamond means a greater surface area of the diamond is visible, compared to a different cut with the same carat weight.

This helps you save more when buying your ring, as you can go for a lower carat weight that maintains a similar or greater visual effect.

The style of a pear shape diamond can also be a deciding factor. It makes for beautiful, unique engagement rings, whether you want to go for a classic or trendy style. The elongated diamond also suits particular hand shapes more than other cuts.

Cons: 

  • Potential for damage
  • Hard to find a good cut

There are a couple of downsides to pear shape diamonds. The first is that the pointed tip is easier to damage than a round cut, for example. This makes the diamond prone to chipping, although it should be set to avoid this as much as possible.

As we’ve already touched on, it’s also harder to find a high-quality pear shaped cut diamond. It will take a lot of searching to find one with a good cut and ratio, so you may want to opt for an easier choice like a round or cushion cut.

Best Setting for Pear Shaped Diamonds

Once you find the perfect pear shaped diamond, you have to pair it with the best setting to complement the stone.

Aside from showing the diamond in all its beauty, you should take care to ensure the setting protects it from damage, specifically on the pointed tip. This tip can be prone to chipping, as well as catching on things like clothing.

Prong settings (either 5 or 6 prongs) are very popular for pear shaped diamonds. The prongs securely hold the diamond in place without covering up too much, with one prong placed on the tip, to protect it from damage as mentioned above.

This ring features 5 prongs, with one prong in a larger v-shape specifically to protect the point of the diamond, while this 6-prong setting opts for a little less protection but more space to show off the stone.

Bezel settings give the most safety for the center diamond, by fully encircling the stone with a metal outer ring. A bezel setting is modern, minimalist, and practical. The tradeoff is that the diamond is not shown off as much as with a prong setting, and you may not get the same brilliant sparkle. Check out this mini pear shape diamond ring

A halo setting offers a stunning all-round sparkle, accentuating the unique shape of the diamond with a number of smaller diamonds forming a ring around it. These smaller diamonds make the center diamond appear larger, making for a truly glamorous design.

Here is an example of the kind of brilliant shine that’s possible with a halo setting and a pear cut diamond.

Finally, for a stunning and unique design, you can go with a tension setting. These settings work great with pear shaped diamonds, as one side of the setting curls around the pointed edge and protects it from damage. 

This type of setting really puts the diamond on display, so there will be no trouble showing off its beauty and shine. Tension settings generally come at a higher price though, so it’s an option if you decide to go all-out on a stunning ring. 

Take this 14k white gold tension ring as an example of how unique and stylish this kind of setting can be with a pear shape stone.

Conclusion

There is no magical combination of parameters that you can remember that will guarantee your stone won’t look like this.  You must see a photo of the diamond so stick with a vendor like James Allen!

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
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