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Round vs Oval Diamond: Which is right for you?

Investing in the perfect diamond is a commitment in its own right.

Representing a natural phenomenon, your unique diamond should feel “just right” for you. From the cut to the clarity, there’s plenty to consider. That’s why we’ve gathered all the information to help you weigh up the difference between the two most popular diamond shapes, the oval and the round brilliant.

Having accounted for a combined 73% of our 2023 sales so far, the oval and round diamond are both illuminating the industry. At first glance, you might not notice a distinct difference between their incredible facet structures. However, despite their similar shapes, there are a number of factors that separate the two. From pricing to personal style, let’s compare the cuts to hone in on your perfect match…

How popular are round and oval diamonds?

First on the agenda: why are round and oval cuts so popular? Before we dig into our access all areas guide, let’s establish the fundamental difference between the two.

The round cut diamond is an iconic, time-honoured style that has a perfectly symmetrical shape. From Old Hollywood to the A-list, this diamond shape is an ever-present cultural phenomenon. It was initially established in the 17th century and is best known for its traditional relevance alongside its captivating fire and light-bouncing brilliant cut. In fact, the round cut accounts for almost 75% of diamonds sold worldwide.

The oval shape diamond also offers the same enlivened magic, but with a distinctively different essence. Appearing in an elongated silhouette, this cut is a unique, modern spin on the traditional round diamond. Introduced in 1957 by Lazare Kaplan, the oval diamond also features a brilliant cut to ensure the same light-refracting fire as its round counterpart, but with the benefit of being a characterful and contemporary alternative.

From the traditionalist to the modern mind, both cuts share one very important benefit: versatility. Thanks to a curved form, they look perfectly at home when incorporated into, well, pretty much any design. The oval cut lends an elongating illusion to the finger whilst the round cut is universally flattering, allowing everyone to enjoy its scintillating delights. As a result, we recommend leading with your personal taste at this very early stage.

What determines the quality of a round or oval diamond?


So, what determines the quality of a round diamond? Well, you’ll want to know about something called the “cut grade”—a phrase that refers to a round diamond’s shape.

When looking at a diamond, you’ll notice it has multiple geometric faces, or “facets”. See how it sparkles? This is because the flat surfaces are refracting and bouncing light from the bottom of the diamond, back through the top, creating its luminescent quality. A round brilliant cut features 58 angular facets that are divided amongst its crown, girdle, and pavilion. However, the geometric faces aren’t always the same size for every diamond. If yours is cut with facets that run a little too deeply or are too shallow to catch the light, you won’t enjoy the same brilliance. Essentially, your diamond won’t exhibit as much sparkle.

That’s why The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) established a cut grading system for round brilliant diamonds. Using a centuries-old practice that follows scientific theories of light reflection, you can ensure yours is a knockout by checking the grade. You’ll notice that we only provide “very good” and “excellent” round cuts, so you can expect a scintillating success with a Taylor & Hart round diamond.


When it comes to checking the quality of your oval cut, you’ll need to follow a slightly different rule of thumb. This is because oval diamonds don’t receive an official cut grade from gemological laboratories, making it a little more tricky to check your stone’s quality. But fear not, we’ve got you covered.

You’ll need to consider the “bow-tie effect”. Like a round cut, the oval diamond also features 57 or 58 brilliant facets. However, the elongated length means one of the facets will not be able to bounce the light due to having a flat face which results in areas of darkness in the middle of the stone. This is known as the “bow-tie effect” due to its shape.

Whilst the bow-tie crossing is considered part of an oval cut’s beauty, there are ways to ensure this area is minimised (and in turn, maximising the light-capturing magic of your cut). Firstly, you can consider the ratio of your diamond. A smaller, more rounded shape will leave less surface area on the face of the diamond, preventing the bow-tie effect. However, if you prefer the elegant illusion of an elongated oval, then you can rest assured that when buying with Taylor & Hart, every diamond has been meticulously inspected not once, but twice, to avoid a strongly visible bow tie.

How do lab grown and natural diamonds compare?

Natural round and oval cuts:

When it comes to natural (or mined) round cut diamonds, you can expect to pay a premium. Along with its global market demand, the round diamond also produces the most waste during the cutting process. This is because a large amount of the rough diamond is removed to achieve its symmetrical shape. To give you a tangible number, a round 1ct F colour, VVS2 clarity natural diamond (both considered to be an excellent balance of the highest quality range and value) would currently cost around £8,000 at the time of publication (March 2023)

As it stands, an oval cut diamond of the same quality will cost around £7,500. This is because, in comparison to the round cut, it’s more rare. With less oval diamonds on the market, this causes a higher demand for premium quality cuts. However, as the oval cut loses less rough diamond in the cutting process, it has a slightly more affordable price tag—one benefit to moving away from tradition.

Lab-grown round and oval cuts:

Alternatively, there is a massive incline in lab-grown diamonds. This is an exciting industry advancement, as a lab stone offers the same fire and brilliance as that of a mined diamond, but at a far lower price point. Lab-grown diamonds can also be incredibly sustainable, when made in a laboratory that offsets their energy usage, creating diamonds from carbon that bears an identical crystal structure to their mined counterparts. This means lab-grown diamonds are the real deal, just without the emissions used to retrieve them from under the earth’s crust.

For a round lab-grown diamond that offers the same premium quality as the natural ones listed above, you can currently expect to pay around £1,500. Likewise, the oval cut lab diamond is priced at a similar cost of £1,200.

It’s important to note that the lab-grown versions may not maintain their market value in the same way a natural diamond might. This is because the industry is rapidly expanding, with the future generation of lab diamonds predicted to cost just 10% of Earth-mined diamonds. However, we believe that the sentimental (and ethical) value remains a priceless factor when considering this option.

How do oval diamonds show imperfections compared to round diamonds?

Finally, let’s look at the importance of clarity to both cuts. The main thing to consider at this stage are the “imperfections” that will affect both, known as inclusions.

Inclusions are very common, as a “perfect” diamond is incredibly rare. In fact, almost every diamond will feature an imperfection of some kind. So, what to look for?

Inclusions are internal “imperfections” that are part of your diamond’s story, usually occurring during the diamond’s geological formation. For example, you might find slight streaking (known as graining) or small crystals that appear inside the diamond. This is due to the heat and pressure that formed your stone.

Blemishes are sometimes located on the surface of the diamond and occur after its natural formation. This is the result of the highly-skilled cutting process that your diamond undergoes. More often than not, cutting a diamond will leave some scratches or nicks on its surface—usually unnoticeable to the naked eye. But not to worry, we have a double-inspection process that ensures your stone will be without visible blemishes.

So, how do round-cut diamonds show imperfections? Well, this is dependent on the size, placement, colour grade, and also type of inclusion. That’s why you can use the clarity grading system to decipher how visible the imperfections are. Our stringent quality standards mean that we only offer SI1 clarity grades or higher, meaning our round-cut diamonds meet the “very good” and “excellent” criteria.

Similarly, the clarity of an oval cut is also subject to the aforementioned factors. However, because of the high brilliance of this cut, imperfections are usually very difficult to see. An oval diamond with a clarity grade of VS2 or SI1 will ensure the brilliance and fire is illuminated to maximum potential.

As you can see, the oval cut and the round brilliant cut both boast a captivating presence, illuminating fire, and plenty of individual quirks.

Whilst the round cut is priced at a slight premium, it also carries an incredible legacy of historical reverence. Just remember to follow the cut grading system and to also check the clarity of your round diamond. Despite costing just slightly less, the oval is a rare choice that nods to tradition with fresh reverence. After checking for the bow-tie effect, it provides the same luminescence from a clarity-enhancing brilliant cut.

With similar price points, adjusted to the lower end for those considering lab-grown versions, we suggest basing the decision on personal taste and your expectations for the diamond.

When it comes to engagement rings, oval engagement rings stand out as a captivating choice, combining the timeless symbolism of commitment with the unique beauty of their elongated shape. Round engagement rings are renowned for their classic appeal, showcasing a brilliant and symmetrical shape that exudes elegance and captures the light from every angle, symbolizing a love that shines brightly for a lifetime.

Halodouble halo, and hidden halo settings can enhance the beauty and allure of the center stone. A traditional halo setting provides a classic and refined look, while a double halo adds extra drama and glamour. A hidden halo, placed beneath the center stone, offers a subtle touch of sparkle and adds dimension to the overall design.

Engagement ring settings also play a vital role in showcasing the beauty of the center stone, with a variety of options such as prong, bezel, pave, and cathedral settings, allowing you to personalize your ring and create a captivating piece that reflects your unique style and love story.

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