A Guide to Finding the Perfect Pear Cut

Looking for a truly unique stone for your engagement ring? Look no further than the pear shaped diamond. Since the 20th century, this shape has emerged as a favorite engagement center stone, especially for those wanting a unique expression of their personalities. The most famous pear shaped diamond is the Taylor-Burton diamond, an enormous 70 carat diamond given to Elizabeth Taylor by her then-husband Richard Burton, the purchase of which launched this shape into pop culture and cemented its place in the modern jewelry industry. 

The Pear Cut

This diamond shape is truly iconic. Also known as the teardrop or pendeloque cut, the pear shape has been utilized by the diamond cutting industry since the 1400s. The cut was introduced by Flemish polisher Lodewyk van Bercken, who, prior to introducing the shape, had also invented a diamond polishing machine known as a “scaif”. This machine revolutionized the diamond industry, allowing stones to be polished with perfect symmetry and laying the groundwork for the complex faceting patterns we know and love today. 

The pear shape, however, was not well-loved at its creation. This shape didn’t truly come into its own until the 20th century, with the high-profile purchase of the Taylor-Burton Diamond by Richard Burton. This well-known Hollywood couple kickstarted the popularity of the pear shaped diamond, and it has continued to grow ever since. 

A combination of the classic round cut and the marquise cut, this shape is categorized as a modified brilliant cut diamond. Like the round brilliant cut, this shape contains 58 facets, a number that has changed very little since the first pear shaped diamond was cut. But unlike the ever-popular round brilliant, this diamond features an asymmetrical appearance inspired by the romantic marquis cut. 

Pear shaped diamonds are truly unique. Not only can this be seen in the shape of the stone, but also the terms we use to describe it. The most important way of describing a pear shaped diamond is by its ratio, the proportion of its height by its width. These diamonds are generally categorized into three ratios: (1) the elongated contour with a ratio of 1:1.70, (2) the ideal pear with a ratio of 1:1.50, and (3) the ‘pudgy’ pear (yes, that is a real term used to describe this shape) with a ratio of 1-1.30. If cut correctly, these proportions won’t impact the scintillation found within the diamond, so the ratio you choose comes down to personal preference. 

As well as proportions, you also need to take into account the overall shape of the pear. A pear cut diamond should be full and rounded, with symmetrical sides that don’t contain ridges or bumps. Pear shaped diamonds are also known for exacerbating the color of the stone; you want to select a stone of H color or higher so that your stone doesn’t appear too dull. Pear cut diamonds are also susceptible to what is known as ‘light leakage’, which can create the appearance of a dark bow tie shape in the center of the diamond. Light leakage occurs when there are flaws in the proportions of the facets, inhibiting light from bouncing correctly through the center of the diamond. While many find that a slight bow tie effect doesn’t take away from the beauty of the pear shaped diamond, others find this to be a bit distracting, hiding the best qualities of the diamond. 

Why Buy a Pear Cut Diamond?  

The pear shape is popular for many reasons, one being that it is incredibly flattering for the wearer. The shape of the pear cut elongates the fingers, adding an air of elegance to the hand. The pear can be worn with the point either facing towards you or away, whichever suits your preference. As well, this fancy shape is one of the more unique cuts used in engagement rings, providing you with a unique way to show off your style.  

In addition to the versatility of the pear shape, this cut is also 15-30% less expensive than the round brilliant cut, which carries the highest price per carat of all the diamond shapes. This difference in price can be especially useful for the couple looking for a larger stone; not only will a pear shape be less expensive than a round diamond of equal carat weight, but it will also be easier to find a stone that appears larger. The stone carries a majority of its carat weight in the round bottom, but the elongated appearance of the stone helps to make the diamond look much larger than it actually is. 

What is the Best Setting for my Pear?

Like most diamond shapes, you can’t go wrong with the classic solitaire setting. You do, however, want to make sure the diamond is stabilized properly; this can be accomplished by adding an additional prong at the point of the diamond. Not only will this keep the diamond from falling out, but it will also protect that delicate point from damage. Pear shaped diamonds also look lovely in a bezel setting. This smooth halo of metal is modern and minimalist, and really emphasizes the shine within the stone.If you’re looking to make an extra-sparkly statement, use your pear shaped stones as accents! Setting two pear shapes horizontally on either side of a center stone really makes your diamonds pop.

Want to read me? Check out these links!  

All about the Pear Shape

Pear Shaped Diamond Buying Guide

More of The Pear Shaped Diamond

More on The Taylor-Burton Diamond

More on Lodewyk van Bercken