Q&A on Oval Cut Diamond Wedding Rings

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Reinstein/Ross 20K peach gold "Alternating Braid" engagement ring with bezel-set colorless diamond, featuring single rows of braid alternating with gold wires.

WHAT IS IT?

An oval cut diamond is one of the fancy shape diamonds--in the same company as the marquise, pear, princess, etc. (FYI: A fancy shape diamond is any cut other than a round brilliant--or other than a single cut, too, which is used mostly for diamonds.) An oval cut diamond is also known as the oval brilliant cut.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

Well, this is not the most romantic-sounding, but it is shaped like an egg!

When I look at an oval gem, however, instead of an egg, I think of a sensuous shape that's broadly elliptical, with classic curves. Oval cut diamonds combine the sparkle of the round brilliant cutwith the elongated shape of a marquise. Developed in the 1950s, it's, thus, definitely, a hybrid cut. 

HOW MANY FACETS IN AN OVAL CUT?

Like the round brilliant, it's got 58 facets and has a light reflection that's nearly as dramatic.

IS IT CHEAPER OR MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A ROUND?

Because the oblong shape of an oval cut diamond maximizes its surface area, sometimes you can get a larger-looking diamond for a lower price.than a round--though, remember, that's given that all other factors are completely comparable, e.g., color grade, clarity, etc.

IS IT A MODERN CUT?

Well, that depends on what you mean by modern. It was popularized after 1955, so I consider it kind of "Nouveau Modern." it was Lazare-Kaplan & Sons of New York, a company still making fine jewelry, which universally spread the good word about the oval diamond shape, with its trademarked "Oval Elegance." Prior to that, the oval cut was used mainly for sapphires and rubies (aka the corundums), because the gem-cutting techniques didn't get better until the 20th century.

ARE OVALS SET HORIZONTALLY OR VERTICALLY?

Just recently, in fact, I saw some new engagement rings by a contemporary designer, Rona Fisher, from her new "River Pebbles Collection," where the oval cut was set neither--it was tilting, sort of, in between a horizontal and vertical position! But, most often, the oval engagement ring center stone is set either horizontal or vertical.

If it's horizontal, that means that, when you look down at the diamond on your finger, it's parallel to the band. How you like your oval cut diamond set is purely personal preference, and its position doesn't affect the security and durability. If you want your finger (and hand) to appear longer and perhaps more slender, however, you might want to take a look at some ring styles, which set the oblong-cut oval diamond center stone on the vertical.

IS ANY SETTING POSSIBLE?

Yes, but in contemporary engagement rings, it seems that, when it comes to ovals, bezel settings dominate. That's a very sleek, clean look. I do suggest, too, if you're into oval shapes, ask to see some styles from designers who are doing tension-set oval cut diamonds--the "egg" looks like it's floating between the shank!  On the other hand, if you're looking for a more classic engagement ring with  prong-set oval cut diamond center, consider a brand that makes them with four or six prongs.

ANY MODERN CELEBRITIES WITH OVAL DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RINGS?

One of the most popular is Jennifer Aniston, though hers is not strictly the modern oval cut because it's a 10-carat antique rose cut, which sits flat to the finger. But Blake Lively's ring from husband, Ryan Reynolds, by Lorraine Schwartz, is: It's in rose gold.

 Amber Rose, who's married to rapper Wiz Khalifa, also has an oval cut diamond, and her engagement ring features a 10-carat oval cut diamond in a clean, classic solitaire style. And I love Katharine McPhee's platinum vintage-look engagement ring with an oval cut yellow diamond that's surrounded by pink pavé diamonds.