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Emerald cut engagement rings have a classic glamour. This flashy step cut diamond shape has long been a favorite of glamorous celebrities, from old Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor to modern day icons like Beyonce. If you’re thinking of selecting this gorgeous diamond shape for your own engagement ring, keep in mind that buying an emerald diamond requires some special considerations. To help you make the best pick, check out our tips for buying an emerald cut engagement ring.

Understanding the Emerald Cut

The first thing to know before buying an emerald cut diamond is what exactly qualifies as an emerald cut. Emerald cut diamonds have a distinctive look. From the top, they look like a rectangle with cut corners and they feature unique step facets. Step facets are different from the more common “brilliant” style cut, which is what most round diamonds are cut with. Instead of having many varying shaped small facets, step cut shapes like the emerald have larger, rectangular facets that are arranged in parallel lines. These lines reflect and refract light in a “flashy” way, in contrast to the more shimmery effect of a brilliant cut. They also offer a more clear, pure view of the diamond itself, allowing the true beauty of the diamond to shine through.

The emerald cut is not to be confused with radiant and asscher cuts. Radiant cut diamonds have the same overall shape as an emerald cut (a rectangle with cut corners) but they have smaller facets designed to create sparkle, rather than the flashy step cuts of the emerald diamond. Asscher cuts also have a similar shape to emerald cut diamonds, a square shape with cut corners. Asscher cuts have step cuts like the emerald cut but they also feature a distinctive “X” pattern on the top of the diamond that creates very different light patterns.

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A simple, yet glamorous emerald cut diamond engagement ring.

What To Look For When Buying an Emerald Diamond

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A custom made 18k white gold halo style engagement ring that shows off the emerald cut’s signature step cuts.

Now that you know the definition of an emerald cut diamond, let’s talk about what you should look for when buying one. Like all other diamonds, looking at an emerald cut diamond’s 4Cs (clarity, cut, color, and carat) is important. But, due to the unique step cut of the emerald diamond, certain aspects of the 4Cs are more important when considering how they reflect on an emerald diamond’s beauty.

Emerald Cut Diamond Clarity

Clarity is incredibly important for emerald cut diamonds. While lower clarity can often be concealed by shimmering brilliant cuts, the step cut of an emerald diamond shows imperfections more easily. That makes it important to buy emerald diamonds with high clarity ratings. We’d recommend choosing emerald cuts with VVS1 clarity ratings or higher. The VVS1 rating means a diamonds inclusions (imperfections inside the diamond) cannot be seen by the naked eye. So, your emerald cut diamond will look perfectly clear as long as you choose a VVS1 diamond or better.

Emerald Cut Diamond Cut

The cut grading is a measurement of how well a diamond was cut. Something unique about the emerald cut is that it actually does not receive a cut grade when it is evaluated and certified. Instead, they are assigned polish and symmetry grades. So, when considering how well an emerald diamond was cut, know that excellent polish and symmetry grades mean that the diamond has better sparkle.

Emerald Cut Diamond Color

Color is one area where evaluating an emerald cut diamond is the same as with any other diamond. Like all white diamond shapes, the color grade of an emerald diamond is a measurement of how little color it has, with D colored diamonds being the most colorless. You don’t have to choose a D (or even an E or F) grade diamond to get a beautiful gemstone, however. How much or how little color you find beautiful is really a matter of personal preference, so go with what looks best to you when considering emerald cut diamond color.

Emerald Cut Diamond Carat

Diamond carat is a measurement of its weight. Carat is not a measurement of quality, it’s more a way to help you understand the size of the diamond you’re getting. Additionally the higher the carat, the more expensive the diamond will be. When shopping for an emerald cut diamond, consider your budget and quality desires, then see which carat weights would be best for you.

Luckily, emerald cut diamonds look larger per carat than round diamonds, due to the large surface area on the top of the shape. So, you will be able to get a larger-looking diamond for the same carat when compared to round diamonds.

Special Emerald Cut Consideration: Proportions

With emerald cut diamonds, the 4Cs are an important way of determining quality. But there’s another factor to consider when it comes to a diamonds quality and style: an emerald cut diamond’s proportions. The ratio of an emerald diamond’s length, width, and depth affects both how it looks and how well it reflects light. Ratios between 1.45 and 1.55 are usually considered ideal, but which ratio you prefer is really up to you. Higher ratios create longer, slimmer diamonds, while shorter ratios create more square cuts. Take the proportion of the emerald cut diamond into consideration when shopping and decide which look you prefer.

Emerald Cut Diamond Settings

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A gorgeous emerald diamond engagement ring setting with a retro vintage style.

Emerald cut diamonds can be put in a variety of engagement ring settings. The one you should choose depends on your personal style. Solitaire and halo settings tend to be the most popular choices, as they let the beauty of the emerald cut shine. Vintage style settings are also popular pairings, giving the emerald diamond a classic and romantic look.

How To Pick Your Emerald Diamond Engagement Ring

When deciding which emerald cut diamond is right for you, it’s really a matter of personal preference. All emerald cut diamonds have a sophisticated, glamorous look. When choosing yours, simply consider which factors are most important to you, then choose the diamond you love most.

To get some emerald cut diamond engagement ring inspiration, see our full emerald cut collection. Find out how to choose the perfect engagement ring for you here