Jewelry Guide

Oval vs. Round Cut Diamond – Pros and Cons and Which to Choose

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The round diamond cut has always been the most popular of all diamond shapes. But lately, there’s been an unprecedented interest in the oval cut diamond and its popularity is soaring.

Many shoppers want to know how the oval cut stacks up against the round diamond. While some say that an oval cut cannot hold a candle to a round cut, we disagree. Oval diamonds have a charm of their own and make for stunning jewelry.

If you want detailed information about how to buy an oval cut diamond, check out buying guide here. In this article, we’re only focusing on the oval cut vs. the round cut, taking a look at their pros and cons and which shape is the best option for you.

Oval vs. Round Diamond – Which Should You Choose?

The shape you choose comes down to your budget and personal preferences. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of both shapes in detail below, but if you’re looking for a quick takeaway, here it is.

Choose an oval diamond if you want:

  • A unique diamond shape
  • A larger looking diamond
  • To save on your diamond
  • A rarer diamond cut
  • An elegant and sophisticated shape
  • A sparkling brilliant cut stone

Choose a round diamond if:

  • Budget is not a primary issue
  • You want to stick with a traditional, classic style
  • You want the most brilliant shape
  • You want lots of options when purchasing

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – Sparkle

The round cut is the most brilliant of the diamond cuts, due to its faceting structure and concentrated shape. It is easily the shape that contains the most fire, brilliance and scintillation.

Does this mean that when you choose an oval diamond, you lose all this?

Not at all. Admittedly, an oval cut doesn’t have the same level of sparkle as a round cut. But it’s still one of the most brilliant of all the diamond shapes and is cut with a similar faceting structure as round shapes. Oval cuts also fall into the category of diamond cuts known as ‘brilliant cuts’, so called because they’re designed to maximize a diamond’s brilliance.

So while a round diamond is more brilliant than an oval, an oval’s sparkle is nothing to scoff at.   

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – Size

Oval vs round shape diamond comparison

Which looks bigger – oval or round? See this ring style here.

When we look at an oval diamond, we tend to measure it from the top to the bottom with our eyes, meaning that the diamond appears a lot larger than it is.

But not only does an oval shape look bigger, it is, in fact, about 10% bigger than a round cut in terms of surface area. So when you opt for an oval cut, you’re getting more real estate and therefore more bang for your buck.

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – Price

This is another area where the oval cut really shines, metaphorically speaking. Oval cut diamonds are generally more affordable and can be as much as 30% less expensive than round diamonds. This is mainly because oval diamonds are not as in demand as round diamonds. Most shoppers (in fact, about 75%) choose round diamonds. Another reason is that there is less diamond rough wastage when cutting an oval as opposed to a round diamond, where up to 40% of the rough can be lost.

Comparing round and oval shape diamonds

Comparing Oval and Round Diamonds using Blue Nile’s comparison tool.

Compare more diamonds here.

Take a look at the two diamonds compared above. Both have near identical specifications, but the oval cut is significantly less expensive than the round cut. To put it into perspective, that’s about $880 that could be used on an amazing setting like this.  

So in short, if you’re on a budget, then the oval cut is clearly a better financial decision.

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – Variety in Shapes

A round cut is only ever round and differs visually one from the other in terms of size but never in shape.

An oval, on the other hand, comes in a variety of ovals, depending on its length to width ratio. The oval shapes can be thin, slender and long or wider and squatter.

Oval shape diamond L/W ratio

See more oval diamonds here.

As this simple diagram shows, the normal length to width ratio range for ovals goes from around 1.30 to 1.66. This gives you more choice when picking out your oval.

While oval cuts around 1.45 are considered the classic shape, longer ovals can make your finger look slender while a wider oval looks very similar to round diamonds.

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – Rarity and Availability

A simple search on the Blue Nile website brought up over 136,000 round diamonds but only 5400 oval cuts! Again, due to the lower demand for oval diamonds, they’re actually rarer and less available. You can find heaps of round diamonds but an oval that fits your exact specifications will be harder to come by and will take a little digging and searching around.

Is this a pro or a con?

It can be both, depending on how you view it. While it might be harder to find an oval, you know that it’s a more unique choice.

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – The Bow-Tie Effect

This is one area that a round diamond scores. A round diamond never has a bow-tie, but long shapes like ovals, marquise and pears typically do.

What’s a bow-tie you ask?

Take a look at these four randomly selected oval diamonds. What do you notice?

The third diamond has a very visible ‘bow-tie’ or horizontal line right across the center when viewed face up. This is unsightly and something you want to avoid in an oval diamond.

Oval shape diamonds

The other diamonds also have varying degrees of bow-tie, with the fourth diamond featured having none. This is quite normal for an oval stone. As long as the bow-tie isn’t severe and doesn’t impact on the beauty of the diamond, it’s fine.

As we mention in our oval shape diamond guide, the trouble with fancy cut diamonds like the oval is that it doesn’t receive a cut grading from grading labs like the GIA. On paper, all these four diamonds would be listed with similar specifications. But visually, they’re not all equal. Another thing to note is that although the diamond will not show a bow-tie from all angles and may look stunning from when viewed from a slightly different angle, remember that when you look at it once it’s mounted, it will be face up. And bow-ties show face up.

To be fair, round diamonds too often have misaligned facets and poor cut, albeit never a bow-tie. But the difference is that a round diamond’s cut is graded, from poor to ideal/excellent, so you know what to look for. In other words, the GIA helps you evaluate the round cut but not the oval.

In any case, this is why it’s very important to carefully see the actual diamond before you decide to purchase.  

Oval Cut vs. Round Cut – Setting Choices

Oval diamonds can be set in any setting, including avant-garde tension ring styles.

oval shape diamond in tension setting engagement ring on bride's finger

See this ring setting here.

unique engagement ring with oval and round shape diamonds

When you can’t get enough haloed round diamonds! See this amazing setting here.

Both oval and round diamonds look stunning in any setting type, be it solitaire, vintage or more avant-garde styles like the tension setting. Because neither shape has sharp edges or corners, they’re fairly resistant to chipping and don’t need extra protection when mounted in a ring setting.

However, round diamonds are the quintessential diamond shape, with a history that goes back several centuries, whereas oval diamonds are fairly recent and more unique. This results in round diamonds rings looking more classical, ideal for someone who wants a traditional style ring. Oval diamonds, on the other hand, look different and more unique. Both diamonds are sophisticated and classy and make for stunning engagement rings and other jewelry.

Where to Buy Round and Oval Cut Diamonds

While there are many online retailers offering round and oval cut diamonds, ensure that they are trustworthy, have a proven track record, offer images and videos of the actual diamond as well as grading reports and, if applicable, light performance reports.

For a quick comparison, check out our review comparing top online diamond retailers.

We recommend the following vendors:

  1. James Allen

James Allen has a large collection of round and oval diamonds on offer. Their site allows you to view each diamond carefully from all angles using their ground-breaking Diamond Display Technology. They also have Diamond Experts on hand to help you through the process. We particularly love the quality of their ring settings and designs.

  1. Blue Nile

Blue Nile is known for being the largest online diamond retailer and have the most round diamonds compared to any other online retailer. They also have over 5000 oval diamonds. Blue Nile offer competitive prices and excellent products, including an impressive range of settings.

  1. Brian Gavin

Brian Gavin’s diamonds are famous for their exceptional cut quality and for their continuous innovation in perfecting their diamond cut. Check Brian Gavin out for some of the best cut round and oval diamonds on the market.

  1. Whiteflash

If you’re looking for superior sparkle, look no further than Whiteflash. Their diamonds are of stunning quality and brilliance and customers rave about their services. Browse through their diamond collections to find an exceptional stone.

 

 

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