Should you buy an emerald cut diamond engagement ring?
Have you noticed those very shiny rocks that Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé have been wearing?
The rectangular ones?
These are called emerald-cut diamonds.
They are all the rage now, so let’s explore what they’re all about.
The Story of the Emerald Cut
So, if you look at a drawing or diagram of a diamond, you’ll see the main “diamond” shape that leads down to the point at the bottom.
On the top is a broad, flat surface, called a table, after the furniture.
About four hundred years ago, jewelers found they could grind away everything but the table and have a wonderful slice of rock that could be set into rings and other jewelry.
Basically, the table can be considered a big facet.
Well, if you add a little facet beneath the table, you have a step-cut, with a smaller surface above a larger rectangle, with a little ledge leading from one to the other.
This creates the hall of mirrors effect that makes the emerald cut diamond look even larger….
The emerald cut is the result of centuries of experimentation on the simple table.
It was perfected in the early 20th century. People like the house of mirrors effect of the step cut.
So now, let’s help you decide if you want to buy one.
1. Emerald Cut Diamonds are Cheaper Than Other Cuts
The first major benefit of the emerald cut diamond is the comparative price.
Particularly if you’re looking for an engagement ring, you’ll find emerald cuts (with all their beauty) to be less expensive than round cut diamonds.
The main reason for this is the fashion and style that drive demand. Emerald cuts stones are just less popular. For a 1 carat stone, with very good cut, F color (colorless), VS2 clarity (noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification) , an emerald shape will cost 20 to 25% less than a traditional round cut.
One good thing is that you can buy an emerald cut diamond that is a bit light, in terms of carat weight, compared to a counterpart.
That’s because an emerald cut stone will look bigger than a different stone of the same carat weight.
2. Celebrities love Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Rings
When you go for an option that might be a bit less expensive, there could be a danger of a stigma forming.
The great thing about emerald cut diamonds—they are good on the budget yet glamorous and valuable at the same time.
One way you know there’s built in cool in emerald cuts is that there are a few notable celebs that sport them.
Not to be outdone, Alex Rodriguez bestowed upon Jennifer Lopez an emerald cut engagement ring said to value about $4.5 million.
You can spend a lot less and get your own version.
3. Emerald Cut Diamonds have Less Sparkle but a gorgeous and Unique look
To a lot of fashionistas, the bling is the thing. This is not an area of strength for emerald cut diamonds though…
Why? Well, sparkle in a diamond basically comes from its angles and the way they throw off light.
Reflections of light at enough points that are very close together create what we describe as a sparkle.
However, the emerald cut has the step cut format. At the point of the step is a dark plane with no sparkle.
The light that bounces off an emerald cut is more isolated and in flashes, more than a network of rays that make up a sparkle.
The sparkle is there, but it’s not a sort of cut for someone who wants sparkle above all.
4. “Visible” Inclusions Separate natural from synthetic diamonds
Emerald cut diamonds do have great clarity because of their shape.
But if they do have inclusions, these will be easy to spot due to the large table that makes up the visible surface of the diamond.
A lot of times, with various cuts, a person might buy a stone with inclusions that are hard to see, which basically means they aren’t a factor.
And inclusions are what separate natural from synthetic diamonds.
5. The classic simplicity of Emerald cut diamond engagement ring
When you tap into the classic beauty of an emerald cut, you’re going for history and for a classic simplicity.
As mentioned, the emerald cut goes back a long way and is older than most cuts.
When jewelers started experimenting and really getting funky, they got into princess cuts and radiant cuts and so on, creating more adventurous cuts.
However, some people may shy away from the very simple, unadorned quality of emerald cuts.
How to Buy Emerald Cut Diamonds
Have someone else buy it for you, of course!
Well, when picking out an emerald cut diamond for your emerald cut diamond engagement ring, you have to be aware that they’re not all the same.
They have the same general shape, yes, but there are varieties.
The most important factor in buying an emerald cut is knowledge. Try to go to the jeweler’s with a trusted companion who’s in the know when it comes to jewels.
However, if you’ve been going to a jeweler for years and know you can trust her/him, that may suffice.
The reason that personal knowledge and expertise is so important is that the certificate for an emerald cut is worthless.
The Gemological Institute of America does not issue grades for Emerald cut diamonds
There are a few things you should focus on with this unique cut. One is the percent of the stone that is table.
An excellent emerald cut diamond is 60-70% table. Do not buy anything under 55%.
Next, there’s one other big index in diamonds: depth. This refers to how much of the diamond’s substance, measured by carat weight, is below the table.
So, if you have a big, tall rock, it will have a lot of depth. As you can see, an emerald cut diamond isn’t supposed to have depth.
The whole point of it is the table itself, with little material beneath.
Go for a low percentage number in depth
That means you’re looking for a low percentage number in depth, meaning between 60 and 67%.
Another really big issue is the length to width ratio—how skinny is the table.
Any reputable jeweler will be able to tell you the width and length of a stone, and when you divide, you get the ratio.
It will be a number like 1.5, 1.9. etc. Generally, stones that aren’t extremely skinny look a bit better, fuller.
There’s more luxury in them, even if a bit of thinness is great to make your finger look more sleek.
A good bet is a ratio of about 1.5, probably no higher than 1.7
Cost Range of an Emerald Cut Diamond
The main factors determining the price of an emerald cut diamond, whether for a halo diamond or for an emerald cut diamond engagement ring, are carat weight, clarity, and color.
Here are a few examples:
- A 0.5 carat stone with SI2 clarity grade (some inclusions) and a color rating of D (colorless), with no fluorescence, should run roughly $800
- A 1 carat stone with a color rating of K (noticeable color) and an SI2 clarity rating with no fluorescence would come in at about $1,700-$1,800
- A 1 carat diamond with an I color rating (some color) and a VS2 clarity rating (very small inclusions) with strong luminescence, will run up to about $3,000
- A 1 carat diamond with an F color rating (colorless) and a VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included, almost perfect) clarity grading with strong luminescence, will run up to about $6,000
At the huge end of the spectrum, an 6 carat stone with an H color rating and VS1 (Very Slightly Included) clarity and strong luminescence will give you the chance to spend $150,000.
Therefore, if you’re shopping in the 1 carat range, plan to spend between $2’000 and $6,000, with some exceptions spilling out on either side of that range.
Emerald Cut vs. Radiant Cut vs. Asscher vs. Princess…
Radiants and Asschers diamond shapes are sometimes confused with Emerald cut stones because these 3 cuts are step-cuts.
Radiant-cut diamonds look somewhat similar to emeralds because they are rectangles.
Asscher cuts are closer to a square but with angled corners, almost an octagon.
To compare emerald vs. radiant, emeralds have larger facets, meaning greater depth.
The top facet of the Asscher cut has an X shape that causes it to have greater brilliance than an emerald cut.
And finally the Princess cut:
Emerald Cut Diamond FAQ
Q. How Much Does an Emerald Cut Diamond Cost?
A. A 1-carat emerald cut diamond, F color, VVS2 clarity, with excellent cut will run about $4.000-$6,500.
Q. What is the Best Setting for Emerald Cut Diamonds?
A. As far as settings go, there’s probably a consensus that solitaire settings are the best for simple elegance.
Pave bands are popular, particularly for engagement rings.
But halo engagement rings are very popular with emerald cut diamonds too.
Some other factors of a diamond can be up to you, and a particular stone may jump out to you based on a feeling you get looking at it.
It can be about personal preference. But one thing to note is that since the emerald shape isn’t the best for hiding imperfections, going with a high level of clarity such as VS1 or VS2 is a good idea.
Color ratings can be a matter of personal preference; buying one with a little color can be a way of saving a tad bit of dough.
Q. What Should I Look For When Buying an Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Ring?
A. Try to find an emerald cut diamond with as few visible inclusions as possible. If you can afford it, go for one with a VS grade.
Also look for a stone with a width to length ratio that looks good to you.
Q. What Does an Emerald Cut Say About You?
A. Emerald cut engagement rings say that you like things that are rare and classic. It could also tell people that you’re up on celebrity trends and have the confidence to rock the same stone as some big names.
Q. What Cut of Diamond Looks Biggest?
A. It is the emerald cut. Where the diamond gets its look of bigness is from the table.
Some cuts, of course, have little tables and then get right into the pointy part.
That’s why the emerald cut diamond engagement rings always looks bigger than their carat weight, and bigger than different cut stones of a similar weight.
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