January 28, 2023
6 min read

Emerald cut diamonds: the ultimate buyer’s guide

Emerald cut diamonds: the ultimate buyer’s guide

The emerald cut diamond evokes a sense of elegance, strength and openness. This diamond shape was popular during the Art Deco period, which embraced bold, straight lines and geometric designs. Nowadays, people who opt for the emerald cut are not intimidated by its large size, open facets, linear look and precise refinement.

This article will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the emerald cut, explore its background, contrast it with other cuts, and offer guidance on what to consider when purchasing an emerald cut diamond.

The goal is to reword the original text while maintaining its meaning and flow.

What is an emerald cut?

The emerald cut diamond is defined by its elegant rectangular shape featuring rows of facets that run parallel to the girdle. Like other diamond cuts, it typically has 57 or 58 facets in total. The aligned facets create a dazzling reflective effect that the emerald cut is known for. 

History of emerald cut

This distinctive cut dates back to the 16th century when gem cutters first developed techniques for cutting emeralds. Since emeralds naturally have many flaws and are softer than diamonds, previous cutting methods using high pressure often damaged the stones. The new technique reduced pressure on the gem, preventing chips and cracks. Diamond cutters soon adapted this approach for cutting diamonds as well.

The term “emerald cut” itself didn’t emerge until the 1920s when this style became exceedingly popular, largely thanks to the prevailing Art Deco aesthetic of the era which prized straight lines and geometric forms. Since then, the emerald cut has remained one of the most sought-after diamond cuts, especially for engagement rings.

When to choose an emerald cut diamond?

Emerald cut associates with fancy cuts. People choose the emerald cut diamond not solely for its splendor and refinement, but also for several other significant motives. These include:

  • The technique of cutting parallel, graduated lines in fact bolsters the diamond’s robustness and endurance in safeguarding against fractures;
  • The emerald cut contains a hint of old-fashioned flair;
  • Despite the emerald cut having a retro vibe, it can also be combined flawlessly with sleek and contemporary ring models;
  • The market provides abundant options of emerald cut diamonds – everyone has the opportunity to pick a diamond based on their preferences, attributes and financial plan.

When NOT to choose an emerald cut diamond?

The emerald cut is a beautiful and elegant diamond shape. However, like most things, it is not without some potential downsides. The emerald cut does have a few possible drawbacks that need to be taken into account.

  • The flat surface of the stone and parallel step cuts make inclusions more obvious;
  • Although overall a less expensive cut compared to round brilliants, you may end up paying just as much or more because of the need for very high clarity;
  • Emerald cut stones will not be as fiery and sparkly as brilliant cut diamonds. 

Emerald cut prices

We noted previously that emerald cut diamonds tend to cost 20-30% less than round brilliant cut diamonds of comparable size. However, as with any diamond, prices for a 1 carat emerald cut can vary from $3,500 to $8,000 depending on the quality grades.

Because the emerald cut’s open facets don’t conceal flaws as well, you may need to select an emerald cut diamond with higher clarity and color grades to get an attractive stone. The range of prices is similar, but the quality may need to be higher.

Emerald vs Radiant vs Asscher cut diamonds

When someone first starts learning about different diamond cuts, they often confuse the emerald cut with other similar looking cuts like the radiant cut and asscher cut. It can be hard for a beginner to tell the difference between these three cuts at a glance. To help clarify, we will examine the emerald cut more closely and compare its features to those of the radiant and asscher cuts.

Radiant cut

Though radiant cut diamonds have a rectangle shape with cropped corners similar to emerald cuts, that is where their resemblances stop. 

Radiant cuts have smaller facets that are aligned to optimize scintillation. Emerald cuts have larger facets with less scintillation but more depth.  

Asscher cut 

While both emerald cuts and Asscher cuts are step-cut diamonds, they are very distinct.

The Asscher cut diamond has a square shape with cropped corners and a unique X pattern on the top facet. Due to the alignment of the Asscher’s facets, it is more brilliant than the Emerald cut.

What to look for when buying an emerald cut diamond?

When selecting an emerald cut diamond, personal taste, budget, and desired aesthetics should guide your decision. However, there are several key characteristics to keep in mind that indicate diamond quality and cut.  

Length-to-Width ratio: although the L/W ratio is a matter of preference, most clients look for the ration between 1,45 and 1,55. Any emerald stone with a ratio around 1,6 will look longer and thinner, while any emerald cut with a ratio around 1,3 will look shorter and squarer. 

Table: 72 – 60%

Depth: 60 – 70%

Cut Grade: The cut grade of a diamond refers to how well it is proportioned and symmetrical. Although the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and American Gem Society (AGS) do not assign cut grades to emerald cut diamonds, they do evaluate emerald cuts for polish and symmetry. To maximize sparkle, select an emerald diamond with ratings of Excellent for both polish and symmetry.

Clarity Grade: Since emerald cut diamonds have long, open facets, they don’t hide imperfections well. It’s important to select stones with high clarity grades and minimal inclusions in order to get a clean emerald cut diamond.


If an emerald cut diamond is what you desire, you have excellent taste. This elegant cut is currently quite popular among celebrities, like Beyonce’s famous engagement ring. 

When selecting an emerald cut stone, let your personal preferences guide you, focusing on what you find most beautiful. But don’t neglect the key diamond characteristics like cut, clarity, color and carat. Also keep in mind the emerald cut’s unique features previously discussed. Choosing a diamond with these considerations will lead you to a stunning emerald cut that surpasses your expectations.

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