Oval diamonds represent the earliest of modern diamond cuts. Before oval cuts, loose diamonds that were used for jewelry were hard, shiny and lustrous, but had little in the way of fire or brilliance. In fact, if you’ve seen paintings of diamonds from 350 – 500 years ago, you’ve probably noticed that they appear black. The very simple diamond cuts that were available prior to the advent of oval diamonds made for a dark and – to modern eyes – relatively lifeless appearance.
Diamond in the Rough
For all their beauty and brilliance, diamonds found in nature are relatively dull looking, appearing more like lumps of grey coal – a substance to which they are chemically identical. It takes a great deal of polishing and carefully calculated cuts to bring out the innate fire and brilliance of loose diamonds. Fortunately, modern technologies such as computer-aided design and laser cutting has made the creation of fiery, brilliant stones such as oval diamonds more efficient than ever before in history.
A Relatively New Innovation
Popularity of various cuts for loose diamonds has waxed and waned over the decades. The most popular of all cut diamonds is the round brilliant; it is considered the “ideal cut” because it results in the best ratio of proportion to brilliance.
Oval diamonds are a recent innovation; it is similar to the round brilliant, except for its more elliptical shape. The first oval diamonds were cut by Lazare Kaplan over forty years ago, and usually has 56 facets, or faces. Oval diamonds ideally have a rose-like appearance on the top and a discernable star pattern on the bottom.
When placed in a ring setting, these diamonds are invariably placed along their north-south axis, with the long ends oriented toward the base and tip of the finger; they are never oriented east and west.
Evaluation of Diamonds
All loose diamonds should undergo both an appraisal and a certification by an independent gemology lab prior to finalization of the sale. That said, flaws in the cuts of oval diamonds can be readily be discerned by the layperson’s eye. If the cut is poor, clear a “bow-tie” shape will be detectable when held under the light.
Because of their growing popularity, these uniquely cut diamonds are finding their way into settings worn by the rich and famous. Tom Cruise presented an ring to Katie Holmes on the occasion of their wedding which contained an oval-cut diamond; oval diamonds are also found in rings worn by actress Rebecca Romijn and professional soccer player Victoria Beckham. diamond painting