What are Emerald Cut Diamonds?

September 17, 2023

The emerald cut is one of the classic diamond shapes revered for its sophisticated elegance and captivating optical clarity. Its sleek facets and elongated outline reflect light in a unique hall-of-mirrors pattern. This guide covers the emerald cut's history, specifications, grading factors, settings and comparisons.

Brief History of the Emerald Diamond Cut

As the name implies, the emerald cut was originally developed for emeralds in the 1500s to showcase their lush green hues.

By the 1700s, this step-cut faceting technique expanded to diamonds. The long linear facets enhanced diamonds' clarity and brilliance in a distinctive way.

Emerald cuts rose most prominently during the Art Deco period from 1920-1930s. The sleek geometry and lines complemented the era's bold styles. It remains a popular choice for diamond solitaires today.

Emerald Cut Facets and Proportions

The emerald cut has:

  • Rectangular outline with cut corners
  • Stepped facets in rows
  • Unfaceted girdle edge
  • Angled corners
  • Blocky 58-step crown, deep pavilion
  • Table width 50%-60% of width

Configured differently than brilliant cuts, emerald facets are cut in rectangular steps with parallel, almost mirror-like symmetry. This strong geometric patterning refracts light in a unique way.

When well-proportioned, emerald diamonds exhibit a hall-of-mirrors effect from light bouncing down the precision rows of facets. Subtle variations alter the light patterns.

Factors Grading Emerald Cut Diamonds

Like other shapes, emeralds are graded by the 4Cs:

  • Cut – Look for Excellent or Very Good cut with optimal symmetry and angles.
  • Clarity – VS range or better optimizes the clean look. Inclusions are typically more visible.
  • Color – Hues are accentuated. Stick with G-J for value while minimizing color.
  • Carat – 1 carat or higher recommended to maximize shape.

Being step-cut, emerald diamonds tend to show hues and inclusions more readily than brilliant shapes. Cut and clarity are especially important. Carat weight gives the linear shape more presence.

Emerald Diamond Settings

Simple, elegant settings keep the focus on the emerald cut’s captivating shape:

  • Solitaire – Four-prong settings exquisitely frame the center emerald.
  • Side stones – Work well with baguettes, Asscher or trillion cuts.
  • Three stone – Stunning flanked by two trapezoid side stones.
  • Pendant – Gorgeous when suspended from understated bails.

Avoid bold settings that compete with the strong lines of the emerald cut. Let its sophisticated geometry take the lead.

Emerald Cut Diamond Prices

Price ranges for a 1 carat emerald diamond:

  • D color, VVS2 clarity, Excellent cut - $6,700
  • G color, VS2 clarity, Very Good cut - $3,600
  • J color, SI1 clarity, Good cut - $2,100

The emerald shape retains value well and commands a premium for its captivating optical look.

Emerald Cut FAQs

How does emerald cut brilliance and fire compare to other shapes?

With their step facets, emerald cuts exhibit elegance over high brilliance. Light is reflected in flashes down the linear rows.

Do all emerald diamonds have a "hall-of-mirrors” effect?

Well-cut emeralds have distinct linear facets that create almost reflective mirror-like faceting. Poor cutting loses this effect.

Should I choose an emerald or a cushion cut diamond?

The emerald has bolder architecture and lines. Cushion is softer and more brilliant. Pick emerald for art deco style or cushion for vintage sparkle.

Do emerald cuts show more color than brilliant cuts?

Yes, the linear faceting and broad table tend to accentuate body color more. Stick with G-J color grades even if lower clarity.

Does the emerald cut hide inclusions well?

Not as well as brilliant cuts. Step faceting can draw the eye to clarity issues. VS2 or higher clarity is recommended if possible.

With its mesmerizing optical effects and sophisticated elegance, the emerald cut brings commanding presence to engagement rings, necklaces and earrings. When properly made, emerald diamonds emanate incomparable beauty.

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