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The pear-shaped diamond cut is a cross between the round brilliant and the marquise cuts, consisting of one curved and one pointed end. It has been around for about 500 years, making it one of the oldest of the diamond cuts. The pear-shape (also called the teardrop shape) is often used as the side stones on an engagement ring, flanking the center stone. They are also a popular cut for pendants and drop earrings. However, when chosen for the center stone, the pear-shape diamond is unique, eye-catching and has a classical feel to it.
Consisting of 58 facets, the same number as the brilliant round cut, the pear cut gives a fantastic sparkle to the stone. In fact, it is the most brilliant of all the fancy cuts making it a great choice for a center stone. In addition to this, pear-shaped diamonds elongate the fingers, and suits any hand shape.
Pear-shape diamonds require great skill to create which is why it can be difficult to spot a high quality pear cut diamond. There are a number of factors involved when choosing one. Here is what you need to know if you decide to choose a pear-cut diamond.
Look for perfect symmetry
When it comes to pear cuts, symmetry is critical! We cannot emphasize this enough. If you buy a pear cut diamond that is slightly wonky, it will show. The slightest difference will be noticeable.
If divided down the center, each section should be a mirror image of the other. The point of the stone should align with the tip of the curved end. There should not be any straight edges on the sides of the cut, which should gracefully curve towards the point. The rounded point should not be too wide, as this can cause it to have a triangular look and neither should it be too narrow.
Look for Excellent or Very Good symmetry in a pear cut. The symmetry will also depend on the length to width ratio of the stone.
Choose the length to width ratio
The ideal length to width ratio for the pear-shape is 1.50 to 1.75. Anything under 1.50 and the stone starts to look squat while anything over 1.75 will make the stone look too narrow and long.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t choose a length to width ratio outside of 1.50 to 1.75. It all comes down to personal preference. A long, narrow diamond suits drop earrings beautifully, while a more classical pear shape makes for an awesome center stone for an engagement ring.
Check if there’s a bow–tie
A bow-tie is the darkened area, in the shape of a man’s bow-tie, which lies across the middle of the diamond. This occurs when there is not enough light reflecting from the surface of the diamond, created by facets that are misaligned. The light travels through and out of the diamond, instead of being reflected back at the observer.
Pear shapes are susceptible to having a bow-tie, but this can range from being nearly undetectable to severe. If the diamond has been cut expertly, with the facets aligned perfectly, then the bow-tie will not be as visible.
If it is the first thing that catches your eye when you look at the stone, then it’s best to choose another one. The issue is that you have to actually view the stone to see if it has an unsightly bow-tie, as the certification will not give you this information.
Below is a screenshot of a selection of pear cut diamonds from James Allen. Although all the diamonds have similar specifications and prices, they all have varying degrees of bow-tie, with the diamond third from the top left having the most severe. On paper, all these diamonds would seem nearly identical.
Choose your setting – Protect the pear shape
The pear-shaped diamond needs to be placed in a protective setting, as you don’t want the pointed end to chip or get caught on fabric.
The best setting would be a six-prong setting. This has five prongs holding the diamond securely in place, while the sixth V-shaped prong protects the point.
A five-prong setting is also a secure choice, with just a prong less around the diamond. It is perfect for smaller stones. Bezel and halo settings also provide ample protection for a pear cut diamond. Regardless of the setting you decide on, just ensure that the diamond has a V-shaped or large bottom prong to protect the point.
Here are five different types of settings from James Allen. The six prongs in this first setting are set in pairs and appear like three large prongs. This is ideal for smaller pear shapes and offers very good protection for the point.
This 5-prong setting has a V-shaped tip that protects the point with all 5 prongs holding the diamond steadily in place.
This is the common 6-prong setting for pear shapes. The bottom prong in this setting is wide enough to protect the point.
A halo setting offers protection all around the diamond and protects all the edges while adding an extra sparkle to the stone.
This tension setting is fairly uncommon for pear shapes. It is quite unique and not a common choice for pear-shaped diamonds.
What style suits the pear diamond?
If choosing the style for an engagement ring, bear in mind that the pear-shaped cut is quite versatile.
It looks stunning as a solitaire ring, taking pride of place in the center. If you want a more classical and elegant choice, you can opt to have the 3-stone pear diamond style, where two pear shaped diamonds flank a central pear stone.
Pick you color grade
This is a shape that tends to show even the slightest color, so if you don’t want there to be any tint in your stone, you will need to select a color grade at the top of the near colorless range.
D-G grades on the GIA scale would be the best choice. Colorless grades will give you more sparkle and fire. The downside is that colorless grades, such as D-G, will cost more than slightly tinted grades. Remember that there is very little perceivable difference between these grades, but the price tags can be very different!
The pear cut comes with a hefty price tag. On Blue Nile, a round, 1 carat, good cut, VVSI diamond with a color grade of D cost $8488 while the same diamond with a G color grading cost $5759. That’s a difference of $2729 for an aspect that you may not even be able to distinguish.
This color recommendation is only applicable if you are choosing white gold, platinum or other silver-hued metals. However, if you opt for yellow or rose gold metals, you can choose a slightly more tinted stone from grades H-K.
The best clarity grading for the pear cut
The pear cut is great at hiding inclusions. You can choose from Flawless to Very Slightly Included 2 for stones less than a carat.
However, if you’re planning on picking a larger stone, then it’s best to select between Flawless to Very Very Slightly Included 2. Inclusions will be more visible on larger stones so it’s best not to compromise on quality in this aspect.
Make sure you view the stone or high quality photos or videos of the stone to ensure that it is eye-clean.
Where to buy online
Whichever retailer you decide to go with, always make sure that they are reputable, are specialized in what they do and will provide you with certification.
Check that the certifying laboratory is reputable, such as GIA, AGS and EGL. The report should be complete with information on clarity, color, carat and cut. Also, remember that with pear-shaped diamonds, it is essential that you view the stone carefully before you buy it, to check for factors such as symmetry and bow-tie.
It is best to choose a professional retailer like James Allen, who have high quality photos and special Diamond Display Technology, that will allow you to inspect your diamond closely (and if worse comes to worst, you can still return the diamond after your purchase for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with it).
Buying an antique pear-shaped diamond ring?
Sometimes, old is gold. If you have found an antique pear-shaped ring, just ensure that you aren’t being ripped off by asking for a certificate of authentication or an appraisal of the ring.
As the diamond will already be mounted in its setting it cannot be evaluated in a lab as loose stones. It might be a good idea to have this double-checked by an expert.
The most important thing to remember with the pear cut is that it is essential to see the stone prior to purchasing it. The grading report will not mention the most important factors such as the curves of the sides.