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    Emerald cut diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

    Whether you're treating yourself or shopping for an emerald cut engagement ring for someone else, look no further for help choosing your perfect emerald cut diamond! Keep reading for:

    • What is an emerald cut diamond?

    • Why we love emerald cuts

    • How to choose an emerald cut diamond

    • Emerald cut versus cushion cut, asscher cut, and radiant cut

    • The most famous emerald cut diamonds

    What is an Emerald Cut Diamond?

    Emerald cut diamonds are step-cut diamonds, meaning they have long parallel facets with a mirrored staircase vibe. Most emerald diamonds are rectangular but they also come in square. Both shapes have cut corners for extra durability.

    Origins Of The Emerald Cut diamond

    One of the earliest diamond shapes, the emerald cut started with emeralds in the 1500s. The cutting style was used to reduce pressure (and breakage) when cutting emeralds which are much softer and less durable than diamonds. As the style became more popular, diamond cutters began using it for diamonds.

    Why We Love Emerald Cut Diamonds


    Angular drama

    With a delicious art-deco, Great Gatsby energy, emerald cut diamonds never lose their lustre. They give a nod to times gone by with their subtle candlelit shine, yet feel forever modern with their elongated proportions and clean geometric lines.

    Less expensive

    Emerald cut diamonds are about 10-15% less expensive than round brilliant diamonds of the same quality and carat weight.

    Why are emerald cut diamonds less expensive?

    The emerald cut wastes less of the diamond rough than other shapes, saving on cost (and winning on sustainability). Also, as a more unique choice, the demand is lower, bringing the price down - a plus for everyone that loves to go against the grain.

    Almost unbreakable

    Those cut corners are more than just drama, they help prevent damage that can happen with sharp pointed corners like on a princess cut diamond.

    So, if you're extra active and want to stay on the safe side, we love an emerald cut diamond for you.

    Cashmere Champagne Emerald Cut Diamond Ring

    Emerald cuts look bigger

    If you put a round brilliant diamond beside an emerald cut diamond of the same carat weight, the emerald cut would look noticeably larger - who doesn't love that?

    Why do emerald cuts look larger?

    Step cut stones have less depth than brilliant cuts, so more of the weight is at the top, making it look larger from above.

    Finger flattering

    With their elongated proportions, emerald cuts can slim and lengthen the look of your finger when set north-west. We do love an east-west set emerald cut though. Decisions, decisions.

    Flash factor

    Unlike a brilliant cut diamond which has a continuous disco ball sparkle, an emerald cut diamond gives off unexpected flashes of blindingly bright light with a more subtle shine the rest of the time. We love a surprise shine moment.


    How to choose an emerald cut diamond - the 4Cs

    Emerald cut diamond - clarity

    Whereas brilliant cut diamonds have all-over facets that camouflage flaws, emerald cut diamonds, with their large, see-through table and parallel facets, don't hide inclusions or blemishes very well. You can peer right into the diamond and any flaws can be easily seen.

    So, if you're looking for an eye-clean diamond, you'll want to opt for a higher clarity grade versus other diamond shapes.

    The GIA clarity scale

    • Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes can be seen with 10× magnification

    • Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions (but some blemishes) can be seen with 10x magnification

    • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult to see under 10× magnification

    • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Minor inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification
    • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification

    • Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Obvious inclusions under 10× magnification

    Emerald cut diamond - color

    Diamonds are graded for color by the GIA from D (colorless) to Z (champagne tones). Just like with clarity, that wide open table on emerald cut diamonds shows a diamond's color more than with other diamond shapes.

    Keep in mind though, diamond color varies between every stone, and in the end it's all about what you love.Choose what you're drawn to first and worry about the grading second. Often, multiple color grades will look exactly the same to the naked eye.

    Not to mention - diamonds are graded by humans, and different diamond graders could give the exact same stone completely different grades - there's an element of subjectivity.

    Emerald cut diamond - cut

    'Cut' is the real predictor of a diamond's beauty. A well-cut diamond with shine bright in direct light and luminize in low light.

    The GIA doesn't give an overarching cut grade for emerald cut diamonds like they do for round brilliants, making it a touch trickier to choose an emerald cut diamond for cut. The best place to start: look at factors like polish and symmetry, table (diamond top) percentage, and depth percentage. Check out our table below for advice on where to start with cut quality.

    If you're going cross-eyed looking at our chart, book a free consult with us to talk diamonds. If you're creating custom with us, we'll source the most stunning stone in your budget and you won't have to worry about vetting stones yourself.

    Recommended proportions for AN EMERALD cut diamond

    Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor

    Table %


    57-60 or 70-72

    54-56 or 73-74

    51-53 or 75-79

    <51 or >79

    Depth %


    59-58.9 or 70.1-74

    54-56.9 or 74.1-79

    54-56.9 or 74.1-79

    <54 or >79


    Very Thin to Slighty Thick

    Very Thin to Thick

    Very Thin to Very Thick

    Extremely Thin to Extremely Thick

    Extremely Thin to Extremely Thick



    Very Small




    Length to widtch ratio

    1.4 to 1.5

    1.3 to 1.39 or 1.51 to 1.6

    1.2 to 1.29 or 1.61 to 1.8

    1.15 to 1.19 or 1.81 to 1.9

    <1.15 or >1.90



    Very Good




    Emerald Cut Diamond – Length to Width Ratio

    Most emerald cut diamonds are rectangular, and the most aesthetic ratio is between 1.30 to 1.60. As with all things diamonds however, choose what speaks to you.

    If you prefer square shapes, look at an asscher cut diamond - a stunning step cut we can't get enough of. If you're a Gem Breakfast frequenter, you've probably seen our Founder Catherine's showstopping asscher cut engagement ring that's inspired many custom designs.

    Avoid the pavilion bulge

    A diamond's pavilion is the "v-shape" part on the bottom half of a diamond. If the pavilion is too chunky, the diamond's sparkle will suffer and it will look small for its carat weight. Two things to look for to avoid the pavilion problem:


    This is where you can see through the diamond completely - a totally transparent emerald cut diamond is leaking light and lacking in sparkle thanks to a poor cut.


    This refers to large black areas in the diamond. Either the diamond has too much depth or a rounded pavilion.

    These factors are not covered in a GIA report, but you can often notice them yourself (or if you're working with an expert jeweler, we'll vet all stones for you).

    How to choose an emerald cut diamond: summary

    1. Start with cut - choose the highest quality cut within your budget. Work with an expert jeweler or refer to our chart above to start.

    2. Choose the clarity grade that corresponds with an eye-clean diamond. The emerald cut shows blemishes easily so you'll want to prioritize clarity more than with a brilliant cut stone.

    3. With their wide open table, an emerald cut shows a diamond's natural color more than brilliant diamonds. With that said, choose the color you love from clear to champagne!

    4. For the most aesthetic emerald cut diamond, stay in the range of 1.4 to 1.5 length to width ratio.

    Emerald cut diamond from Misfit Diamonds

    Asscher cut vs emerald cut

    Both step cuts, the only real difference between an asscher cut diamond and an emerald cut diamond is their shape. Emerald cut diamonds are usually rectangular whereas asscher cuts are square. Both are beautiful, it's just what you're drawn to.


    Champagne asscher cut diamond


    Champagne emerald cut diamond

    Emerald cut diamonds vs radiant cut diamonds

    The only things an emerald diamond and a radiant cut diamond have in common are the rectangular shape and beveled corners. The differences: emerald cut diamonds are 'step cut diamonds' whereas radiant cuts are brilliant cut stones. The radiant cut is incredibly sparkly and the emerald cut has a subtler shine.

    How to choose between an emerald cut and radiant cut diamond

    If you love sparkle, a radiant cut will make your soul sing. Also because of their faceting, they hide inclusions much better than an emerald diamond. If you're on team soft shine, emerald cuts will call your name - just keep in mind you'll need a higher clarity grade for an eye-clean diamond.


    Emerald cut diamond

    Champagne radiant cut diamond

    Champagne radiant cut diamond

    Cushion cut diamonds vs Emerald cut diamonds

    The only similarity between cushion cuts and emerald cuts is the rectangular shape. Other than that, cushion cuts are brilliant cut diamonds whereas emerald diamonds are step cut. Cushion cut diamonds have rounded corners while emerald cut diamonds have sharp, beveled corners.

    How to choose between an emerald cut diamond and a cushion cut diamond

    If you love that clean, geometric, understated energy, an emerald diamond is for you. If you love a soft, romantic (and next-level sparkly) vibe, you might love a cushion cut diamond.


    Cushion cut diamond


    Emerald cut diamond from Misfit Diamonds

    The most famous emerald cut diamonds

    Despite being a less common diamond cut in general, among celebrities, emerald cut engagement rings are the most popular style there is.

    Where have you seen an emerald cut engagement ring? On Beyonce, Elizabeth Taylor, JLO, Grace Kelly, Angelina Jolie, and Amal Clooney and so.many.other.stars through history.

    Our favorite setting for emerald cut engagement rings

    We love a three-stone setting for an emerald cut diamond - it lets the center stone shine while adding width and interest to the overall design.

    A sleek solitaire setting is also stunning to give your emerald cut its solo moment in the spotlight - go with single prongs for minimalism or double prongs for extra detail. Having said that, choose whatever speaks to you and worry not at all about what anyone tells you!

    Thinking of creating your own emerald cut engagement ring or treat-yourself ring? Book a free consult with us to chat custom and peruse our custom gallery for inspiration.

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