A Guide to Emerald Shaped Diamonds

There is no gemstone shape more classic than the emerald cut. Favored by Amal Clooney and Beyonce for their engagement rings, this shape has captured the hearts of people from all walks of life. And as one of the oldest diamond shapes, it has certainly had plenty of time to make an impact.

But there is more to this vintage style diamond cut than meets the eye. It is important to be informed on all the ins and outs of the shape you wish to purchase, especially if that stone will be in the center of your forever jewelry.

The Emerald Cut

The versatile emerald cut has origins as far back as the 15th century, with the implementation of the “table cut”. In the history of diamond cutting, the table cut represents the second technique ever used to shape these precious stones. Before, diamonds were simply polished on all sides in what was known as the “point cut”, which lacked brilliance and sparkle. When diamond cutters discovered that cutting off the point to reveal a flat surface at the top of the diamond greatly increased the amount of light able to flow through the stone, they began to experiment with different techniques and patterns for shaping diamonds. 

The modern emerald cut wasn’t developed and popularized until the 1920s, with a rise in the art deco style inspired by clean lines and symmetry. Many engagement rings from this time feature emerald cut diamonds, and the shape still remains popular to this day. Emerald cuts typically are made up of 57 facets, and proportioned in long rectangles, with truncated corners to create an octagonal shape. Unlike the round brilliant diamond, which contains a star like appearance when viewed from the top, the emerald cut contains a “hall of mirrors” effect, created by the facets of the pavilion and crown that are patterned in what is known as a “step cut”. This cut is less flashy than the famous brilliant cut, but is no less elegant. 

What Exactly is a “Step Cut”?

Like the brilliant cut, the term “step cut” can be applied to many different diamond shapes, including emerald, asscher, and baguette. This cut is usually used when crafting square or rectangular diamonds, as it is created from straight, symmetrical lines. The facets will be arranged in parallel lines on all four sides, creating larger facets than the brilliant cut. Because of the arrangement of these facets, they take on the shape of steps, where the cutting pattern takes its name. 

Unlike the brilliant cut, step cut diamonds feature a large, open table on top of the diamond, and fewer facets on the sides. Because of this, it is much easier to see inclusions found within the diamond. When choosing your emerald cut diamond, it is important to select a diamond with a high clarity grade, with a minimum clarity at VS2. Like the cushion cut, the step cut is known to enhance the color of the gemstone you choose. For colored stones like emeralds and sapphires, this is an excellent choice, naturally enhancing the color of the stone. But for diamonds, especially diamonds intended to be colorless, this can be to their detriment. When shopping for your perfect emerald cut stone, you want to prioritize a high color grade in your diamond. 

Why Choose an Emerald Shaped Diamond?

Unlike the highly sought after round brilliant cut, emerald cuts don’t boast as much sparkle. This cut is known for its elegance, and for its price. The emerald cut is truly striking, with its lovely mirrored look and timeless style. The emerald cut is also incredibly flattering, with the long rectangular proportions helping to elongate the appearance of your fingers. Emerald cuts are also an excellent choice for those looking for a large stone without breaking the bank; due to the long, flat nature of the shape, these diamonds can appear much larger than their actual carat weight, helping to cut down on cost. 

What are the Best Settings for Emerald Shapes?

One of the most versatile diamond shapes for setting, an emerald cut looks gorgeous in any vintage-inspired setting. Many people choose to go with a classic solitaire, or four-prong, setting, but the most popular setting by far is the three-stone setting. This setting will feature a prominent center diamond, with a smaller stone on either side. Like the art deco style that this shape takes its inspiration, the three-stone setting favors straight lines and symmetry. If you want to modernize your look, add a halo or pave band. Whatever style you choose to go with, the emerald shaped gemstone will provide a look of timeless elegance and beauty.

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