Last updated on December 25, 2022
Admired for their long lines and dramatic half-of-mirrors effect, emerald cut diamonds are fashioned in a unique manner known as step cut featuring long narrow facets and a large table. If you are interested in buying a diamond with a clean and sleek design, this emerald cut diamond guide is a must-read.
History of Emerald Cut Diamonds
Although the emerald cut is thought to be modern, it is one of the oldest diamond shapes, with origins tracing back to the 1500s.
The emerald cut was initially created for emerald gemstones to enhance the richness of the colour due to the large table size and deep pavilion. The emerald cut was also reducing the pressure during the cutting process and preventing chips in the gems. That is why diamond cutters took notice of this new cutting technique and applied it to diamonds.
Emerald cut diamonds are prominent in a rectangular shape with cropped corners; however, they are available in a square shape as well. They typically feature 57 facets parallel to each other and the stone’s girdle. The emerald cut is less fiery than the brilliant cut as it is not fashioned to maximize the gem’s fire, brilliance and scintillation. This cutting technique is meant to emphasise the stone’s clarity. However, it is worth mentioning that the emerald cut emits wider and more dramatic flashes of light than the brilliant cut.
Interestingly, the term emerald cut was not used until the 1920s, when the cut increased in popularity. During the Art Deco period (1908 to 1935), when clean lines and symmetry were admired, the emerald cut became a huge trend. Since then, emerald cut diamonds are among the most popular choices for engagement rings, pendants, stud earrings and minimalist jewellery pieces.
Emerald Cut Diamond Cut Quality
While the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and other lab entities provide cut grading for the round brilliant cut, they do not give a cut quality grade for fancy shaped diamonds, including the emerald cut. However, they list information on polish and symmetry grades which are some of the key features to choose a brilliant and sparkly stone.
Since there is no industry-wide consent on what cut parameters make an ideal emerald cut diamond, it is recommended to use the table below as a general guideline for evaluating the cut quality of emerald diamonds.
|TABLE %||61 - 69||57 - 60 or 70 - 72||54 - 56 or 73 - 74||51 - 53 or 75 - 79||< 51 or > 79|
|DEPTH %||61 - 67||59 - 60.9 or 67.1 - 70||57 - 58.9 or 70.1 - 74||54 - 56.9 or 74.1 - 79||< 54 or > 79|
|GIRDLE||Very Thin to Slightly Thick||Very Thin to Slightly Thick||Very Thin to Thick||Very Thin to Very Thick||Extremely Thin to Extremely Thick|
|CULET||None||Very Small||Small||Medium||> Medium|
Emerald Cut Diamond Colour
The colour of emerald cut diamonds is graded on a scale from D to Z, where D signifies a completely colourless stone and Z means an easily noticeable yellow or brown tint.
Due to open step facets, a large table and a deep pavilion, emerald cut enhances the richness of the gem’s colour, making it easier to see the natural colour of the stone. If you compare two diamonds of the same colour grade, the one with the step cut facet arrangement will have more visible colouration than the one with the brilliant facet pattern. This is because the higher level of brilliance makes the tints less noticeable. The difference is more pronounced in larger gems weighing 1.00 carats and more. Smaller emerald cut diamonds hide colour better, but you might still need to choose a stone in the colourless range (D-E-F) to have a truly white diamond.
The chart below provides a general guideline for evaluating colour in the emerald cut diamonds.
|< .50 ct||D - G||H - I||J - K||L - M||> M|
|.51 - 1.0 ct||D - F||G||H - I||J - K||> K|
|1.0 - 2.0 ct||D - F||D - F||G||H - I||> I|
|> 2.0 ct||D - F||D - F||G||H - I||> I|
Emerald Cut Diamond Clarity
The GIA grades the clarity of emerald cut diamonds on a scale from FL to I3, where FL means a flawless stone and I3 indicates a heavily included diamond.
Emerald cut diamonds have a relatively lower level of brilliance and sparkle than brilliant cut diamonds. The emerald cut is designed with large step cut facets and accentuates a diamond’s clarity, making it easier to see any flaws in them, especially if the inclusions are found in the middle of the stone. While SI1 clarity might be a great balance of price and appearance for the other diamond shapes, in emerald cut diamonds the preferable choice would be VS2 clarity grade and higher.
The chart below provides a general guideline for evaluating clarity in the emerald cut diamonds.
|< .50 ct||FL - VS2||SI1||SI2||I1||> I1|
|.51 - 1.0 ct||FL - VS1||VS2||SI1||SI2||> SI2|
|1.0 - 2.0 ct||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1||SI2||> SI2|
|> 2.0 ct||FL - VVS2||VS1||VS2||SI1||> SI1|
Emerald Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The length to width ratio expresses how relatively long or wide a diamond appears. It is calculated by dividing the length of the diamond by its width. For example, if the length of an emerald cut diamond is 11mm and the width is 8mm, the length to width ratio is 1.37.
Each fancy diamond shape has a certain length to width ratio that is considered most appealing for that shape. The length to width ratio of emerald cut diamonds varies from square to narrow rectangular; however, the classic ratio for emerald cut diamonds is between 1.30 – 1.60, with 1.50 being the most popular among the buyers.
The chart below serves as a guideline for evaluating the ratio of the emerald cut diamonds.
|SQUARE||1.00 - 1.03||1.00 - 1.03||1.04 - 1.05||1.06 - 1.08||> 1.08|
|RECTANGLE||1.40 - 1.50||1.30 - 1.39 or 1.51 - 1.60||1.20 - 1.29 or 1.61 - 1.80||1.15 - 1.19 or 1.81 - 1.90||< 1.15 or > 1.90|
Featured image: DiamondGalaxy / Canva