“Emerald Cut” Diamond Shape Explained (Expert Review)

Looking for an expert guide on emerald cut diamonds?

Perfect, you're in the right place!

In this LearningJewelry.com guide, you'll learn:

  • What is an emerald cut diamond?
  • Pros and cons of this diamond cut?
  • Cushion cuts vs other popular diamond cuts (like the round)?
  • Where to buy the best emerald cut diamond?
  • And much more!
EMERALD CUT DIAMOND RINGS

Emerald cut diamonds are a unique and timeless diamond shape to pick for an engagement ring. They're known for their dramatic flashes of light and celebrity appeal. 

Typically found in lower-set vintage settings, an emerald cut diamond makes a great option if you're looking for a durable ring setting that will easily survive the hustle and bustle of the day. 

They also make for a great choice for someone who wants a larger looking diamond for less cost. Emerald cut diamonds have a larger crown view than the most popular round brilliant cut, and they cost around 35% less.

They may not have as much sparkle, but the hall of mirrors effect is something to be desired. Emerald cut diamonds are best for the bride to be that wants to stand out with a dramatic and romantic engagement ring.

Let's get into it!

What Is An Emerald Cut Diamond?

An emerald diamond is rectangular shape. Asscher cut diamonds have also been grouped with emeralds as they are almost a square version of the elongated shape, so you'll see them talked about often when emerald diamonds come up. 

When diamonds were just being experimented with, they weren't very pretty. They didn't know how to cut them.

Once it was discovered they could sand off part of the diamond to create edges using diamond dust, the early diamond cut process began. And they were very simple cuts, nothing like the brilliant cuts you can find today. 

The parent cut of an emerald cut diamond is called a table cut. After that, 4 corner facets became introduced, referred to as the old eight cut or old single cut. Table cut diamonds were pretty dark back then, which is why most early jewelry was set in gemstones rather than diamonds. 

Once brilliant cuts came into the picture, the experiments furthered. Utilizing a cutting technique known as the "step-cut", the emerald cut diamond came into the fray and were well-known in the 1940s.

Pros And Cons of Emerald Cut Diamonds

There are a bunch of great reasons why an emerald cut diamond should make your engagement ring wish list, but there are a couple reasons you might be hesitant on it.

But don't worry, that's where we come in. We'll help you make the decision that's best for you. 

Pros

  • They look bigger
  • Makes shorter fingers look longer
  • Unique setting
  • Complements vintage ring styles

Cons

  • Needs higher clarity grades
  • Makes long fingers look unattractive
  • Not as much brilliance

How To Choose An Emerald Cut Diamond?

When choosing any diamond shape for an engagement ring, you must consider the diamond grades of the stones, particularly the center diamond.​

All diamonds are measured by what's known as the 4Cs, set forth by the GIA, the most respected name in diamonds. All diamond quality is graded based on cut, clarity, color, and carat. 

Cut

Cut is the foundation of the a diamond. With a round cut diamond, you can find them cut to exact proportions via the idea cut diamond. The same goes for princess cut and some cushion cuts.

Most other fancy shapes are blanketed as Very Good or undisclosed. So, technically, emerald cut diamonds do not have a cut grade. With these fancy shapes, it's important to pay attention to the cut specifics.

These cut specifics should only be trusted on a GIA grading report or AGS grading report

There isn't an industry standard for emerald cut diamonds and not all emerald diamonds are cut the same. Some may have more rounded corners than others.

The general cut shape is more based on personal preference, but there are some cut quality factors to make sure the diamond is in, regardless of shape. The length to width ratio (L/W) of an emerald diamond needs to be between 1.3-1.6. Most consumers purchase around 1.45 or so. 

The L/W can affect an emerald diamond easily, so choosing below or above these parameters can ruin the appearance of your diamond. Additionally, depth is another area that isn't usually talked a whole lot about.

Step cut diamonds like the emerald and Asscher cut don't have to have as much depth percentage as brilliant cuts like the round. The deeper the pavilion of a diamond is, the more brilliance it'll have. 

So, look for a shallow diamond within 61-67%. Anything beyond above 70% and you'll be paying for more carat weight you can't see while making your diamond look smaller. Seems counterproductive, doesn't it?

Another thing about cut you'll want to avoid is based on just looking at the table of the diamond, or looking down at it topside. You want to avoid dark areas as these will impact those broad flashes of light we like so much from step-cuts.

If you are buying in person, make sure you see your stone under the light. If you are buying online, make sure you are looking at a 360 image from James Allen or even a 360 video from Whiteflash.

Clarity

Clarity is the next important diamond grade to look at when it comes to emerald shaped diamonds. Because emerald cut diamonds reveal more surface area than  round brilliant cuts or  princess cut stones, there is more visibility. The step-cut design creates the hall of mirrors effect, so blemishes or inclusions are very easy to see. 

You don't want an emerald cut diamond with a clarity grade lower than VS2. Not all VS2 diamonds are eye-clean, so make sure to check for any black inclusions or blemishes for the diamond you select.

Now, you don't want to go overboard with the high clarity grades either. For instance, a VVS2 or a VVS1 clarity grade isn't necessary for an emerald cut diamond. A flawless diamond is expensive and unneeded.

You'll just wind up paying more for the same inclusion visibility as you might for a VS1. In fact, I wouldn't choose a clarity grade higher than a VS1 for emerald cut diamonds.

Color

Emerald cut diamonds reveal the color of the diamond pretty well due to the large surface area. This means that if you choose too low of a color grade, your beautiful emerald cut diamond engagement ring might look a bit yellow.

This is undesirable when picking out a beautiful diamond. For this reason, I don't recommend choosing a color grade below an H, though it is possible to find a J that looks whiter.

You also don't need a color grade higher than a G, otherwise you will be paying much more for little significance in the color appearance. 

Carat

With most diamond shapes, carat weight isn't as significant, more personal preference. Most people have carat weight in mind before they consider any of the other Cs because they assume that bigger is better in diamonds.

While you may like a bigger center stone, if the cut, clarity, and color aren't elevated as well, that diamond could look pretty unappealing. 

And because you have to have higher clarity and color grades when you go up in carat weight, a 2 carat diamond is not the price equivalent to two 1 carat diamonds.

A 2 carat diamond also won't be 2x the price of a 1 carat. So, keep all of this mind before setting your heart on a larger carat weight. 

Emerald Cut Vs Other Diamond Cuts?

Emerald cuts aren't considered one of the popular cuts, but they are better known than other fancy diamond shapes. If you were to walk into a fine jewelry store today, they may have a couple emerald cut diamonds for you to see in person.

Most of what you'll see in a fine jewelry store is going to be round cut diamonds, princess diamonds, and cushion cuts. So how does the emerald cut measure up to the popular cuts? Let's find out.

Emerald Cut vs Round Cut

Emerald Cut 14k Diamond Engagement Ring

Emerald Cut Diamond

Round Cut 14k Diamond Engagement Ring

Round Cut Diamond

Which sparkles more?

The big appeal that draws everyone to round brilliant cuts is the brilliance. Diamond cutters have the brilliant cut down to an exact science on how to make sure the diamond has the best light return. Step cut stones like emerald cuts, Asschers, baguettes, and radiant diamonds give off a different kind of light. 

Emerald cut diamonds are more subtle, which is perfect for the fiance that doesn't want a whole lot of flash. They produce a "hall of mirrors" effect. That's referring to when the light reflects each other across the pavilion of a diamond. I've always thought step cut diamonds reminded me of glass. 

Which is more expensive?

The round brilliant is not only the most popular diamond shape, but it's also the most expensive. Emerald cut diamonds are not as expensive as round cuts. In fact, choosing a 1 carat emerald cut diamond ring over a 1 carat round brilliant can save you over 35%.

Emerald Cut vs Cushion Cut

Emeral Cut 14k Diamond Engagement Ring

Emerald Cut Diamond

Which is more durable?

Square shape diamonds are not as durable as ​​​​rounded stones like a cushion cut because of the edges. While a diamond remains the hardest mineral known to man, nothing is 100% unbreakable.

It's unlikely a diamond would shatter, but they can chip. Even round stones. But if the diamond shape has exposed edges, they are more likely to chip. 

Keep in mind that it doesn't mean that all exposed square shape diamonds will chip. It also doesn't mean that you're stuck with rounded shape diamonds for extra durability. You just need a protective ring setting, like a bezel or a tension setting. 

Which one looks bigger?

While cushion cut diamonds are one of the most popular diamond cuts in today's market, they do have not-so-flattering aspects. For instance, a 1 carat cushion cut diamond in a solitaire setting is going to look much smaller than a 1 carat emerald solitaire. Cushion cut diamonds have their corners cut off, so they lose table size. 

Further than that, if you have larger fingers, you might consider an emerald cut diamond ring over a cushion. Emerald diamonds make your fingers look longer, which is great especially if you're considering a solitaire. But even if you want a thicker band or wider ring, you're going to be more likely to find an emerald diamond in these sorts of setting than a cushion.

Emerald Cut Vs Princess Cut

Emerald Cut 14k Milgrain Marquise Diamond Engagement Ring

Emerald Cut Diamond

Princess Cut Milgrain Marquise Diamond Engagement Ring

Princess Cut Diamond

Which is more common? 

Princess cut diamonds are undoubtedly more popular than emerald cut diamonds.  Emerald cut diamonds are for those who want something different, but still striking.

Famous rapper Jay-Z bought Beyonce an 18 carat emerald cut engagement ring, which is one of the largest emerald diamonds ever cut. Right behind her, Jennifer Lopez owns a 16 carat emerald cut diamond ring.

Other celebrity owners of exquisite and unique emerald cut rings include Angelina Jolie, Mariah Carey, and Kate Hudson. 

When you choose an emerald cut engagement ring, you are choosing a unique diamond shape that stands out above the rest. 

Which is more practical?

In the case of princess cut diamonds, it can be hard to find a princess cut in a lower ring setting, especially in solitaires. Most princess cut diamonds are in cathedral settings, which contain mostly high profiles.

High profile settings and diamonds are more likely to wear and tear from everyday situations. . An emerald cut diamond is more of a vintage style, so you're likely to find it in lower profile settings from the early settings, such as bezel and flush settings. 

Also, princess cuts are more likely to snag because of their sharp corners, unless it a protective setting of course. But that also limits your styles. With emerald cut diamonds, their corners are cut, so they're less likely to catch and bend a prong.

Where To Buy The Best Emerald Cut Diamond?

Emerald diamonds aren't super popular, but they can still be found in brick-and-mortar jewelry stores like Jared or Kay. But you will pay more for an emerald cut diamond in a store than you would buying online. Not to mention that most retail jewelry stores have rings already preset. 

Thankfully, there are places online like James Allen that show you complete transparency. James Allen allows you to carefully select your emerald diamond via a slider system, filtering through various diamond grades. You can see your diamond set into one of their room settings as well as view it in different colored golds and platinum. 

The 360 viewing technology allows you to survey your emerald diamond looking for any inclusions or those dark spots we want to avoid as well. You can even request to see the grading report through their diamond experts, available 24/7.

What Are The Best Settings For Emerald Cut Diamonds?

The emerald settings you're more likely to come across are going to be vintage or antique ring setting styles. Some may contain filigree or milgrain designs with side stones.

But that doesn't mean you can't find other ring styles with an emerald cut diamond in the center. Check out some of our favorite emerald cut diamond engagement rings. 

  1. 14K  Falling Edge Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
  2. 14K  Petite Solitaire Engagement Ring
  3. 14K Milgrain Marquise and Dot Diamond Engagement Ring
  4. Platinum Vintage Infinity Engagement Ring
  5. 14K Tapered Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring

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