Pear is the combination of the modern round brilliant and marquise cuts, with a unique cutting style that resembles a teardrop. It’s a flattering choice for an engagement ring due to its shape which makes fingers look elongated. If you are interested in buying a diamond with an elegant tapered design, this pear-shaped diamond guide is a must-read.
History of Pear-Shaped Diamonds
The pear cut, also known as the teardrop cut, was created by Flemish jeweller and diamond cutter Lodewyk van Berquem back in the late 1400s. In addition to designing the world’s first pear cut, in 1456, van Berquem invented scaif, which is a gemstone polishing wheel. His invention revolutionised the diamond cutting industry, and it became possible to polish symmetrical facets allowing to maximise diamond fire, brilliance and scintillation.
Although pear is one of the most popular diamond cuts today, it was not much of a success when its creator first introduced it to the world. The public favoured the cut for its beautiful and unique shape, but diamond cutters at the time were not happy with the amount of rough diamond loss during the cutting and polishing processes.
The modern pear cut features 56 to 58 facets depending on the modification and combines the brilliance and design of the round brilliant and marquise cuts. The unique shape has a tapered point and a rounded end and resembles a pear or a teardrop, hence the name. The pear cut belongs to the brilliant cut group, that is why it is described as pear brilliant or pear modified brilliant in grading reports.
Pear-Shaped 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 pear cut. This is because fancy shapes have many non-standardised facet structures, meaning they can be cut to a wide range of proportions. However, grading laboratories list information on polish and symmetry, which are some of the key factors in choosing a brilliant and sparkly stone.
When choosing a pear-shaped diamond, make sure to pay attention to the facets of the stone and their symmetry. The facets on the right and left halves should have the same shape. All the points of the facets should meet, and there should not be missing or extra ones. An ideal pear-shaped diamond should possess an excellent symmetry, meaning the pointed end should line up with the apex of the rounded end. The shoulders and wings (the upper and lower curves on the right and left sides) should be symmetrical without straight edges, while the rounded top should form a semi-circle. Symmetry is the key to maintaining the overall beauty of the stone.
Due to their elongated shape, most pear cut diamonds exhibit a bowtie effect, which occurs when some of the entering light leaks out from the centre of the stone and does not bounce back to the table. Sometimes the effect is easily noticeable, and other times it is hardly visible. It gets darker as the length to width ratio increases, and pavilion angle variations become more extreme. The thing is that a prominent bowtie effect distracts from the beauty of the stone, which is why you should make sure the diamond you choose does not have a dominant bowtie, meaning it should not be the first thing you notice when looking at a pear-shaped diamond.
|TABLE %||53 - 63||52 or 64 - 65||51 or 66 - 68||50 or 69 - 70||< 50 or > 70|
|DEPTH %||58 - 62||56 - 57.9 or 62.1 - 66||53 - 55.9 or 66.1 - 71||50 - 52.9 or 71.1 - 74||< 50 or > 74|
|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|
|L/W RATIO||1.45 - 1.55||1.40 - 1.44 or 1.56 - 1.65||1.35 - 1.39 or 1.66 - 1.80||1.25 - 1.34 or 1.81 - 2.00||> 1.25 or < 2.00|
Pear-Shaped Diamond Colour
The colour of pear 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.
As a general rule, smaller pear-shaped diamonds, those weighing 0.50 carats and less, hide colour better than larger ones. That is why, depending on the size of the diamond you are going to purchase, you may not need to buy a premium colourless stone, even if you want it to look white. While it is usually impossible to see the difference between two adjacent colour grades for an untrained eye, the price difference can be significant.
In general, it is recommended to opt for an H colour or better to have a diamond that will appear white and colourless to the naked eye. However, keep in mind that colour should be compared on a case-by-case basis.
The chart below provides a general guideline for evaluating colour in the pear 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 - J||> J|
|> 2.0 ct||D - F||D - F||G||H - I||> I|
Pear-Shaped Diamond Clarity
The GIA grades the clarity of pear-shaped diamonds on a scale from FL to I3, where FL means a flawless stone and I3 indicates a heavily included diamond.
The issue of clarity is the same in all diamonds. Depending on their type, inclusions can affect the brilliance and fire of a diamond. However, pear cut diamonds, due to their unique cutting style, tend to hide inclusions and blemishes well, especially if the flaws are at the tapered end. Moreover, smaller pear cut diamonds hide imperfections better than larger ones do, which is why if you are going to purchase a smaller stone, you may opt for a lower clarity grade such as SI1 and SI2 while keeping an eye-clean appearance.
The clarity chart below provides a general guideline for choosing the right pear-shaped diamond based on your inclusion tolerance.
|< .50 ct||FL - VS2||SI1 - SI2||I1||I2||> I2|
|.51 - 1.0 ct||FL - VS1||VS2 - SI1||SI2||I1 - I2||> I2|
|1.0 - 2.0 ct||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1 - SI2||I1||> I1|
|> 2.0 ct||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1||SI2||> SI2|
Pear-Shaped 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 a pear-shaped diamond is 10.20mm and the width is 6.5mm, its length to width ratio is 1.6.
Each fancy diamond shape has a certain length to width ratio that is considered most appealing for that shape. While personal preference prevails, the optimal ratio for pear cut diamonds is between 1.50 – 1.75. The higher the ratio, the thinner the diamond looks.
Featured image: DiamondGalaxy / Canva