Emerald Cut Diamonds 101

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Emerald Cut Diamonds 101


The emerald cut diamond features a rectangular profile with beveled corners, along with a large table that provides a view of the facets beneath. This creates the illusion of a larger size. These facets are not the same style as a brilliant cut.

Concentric rows of step-cut facets are on the diamond's crown and pavilion which run parallel to the girdle, creating a "hall of mirrors" effect that results in dramatic flashes of light. Since emerald cut diamonds typically have far fewer facets than other popular diamond shapes, they display less brilliance.  

emerald cut diamond


The emerald cut is one of the most classic, dramatic and sophisticated cuts out there. With long crisp lines, these stones elongate any finger, creating a sought after look. The emerald cut diamond is derived from the first true diamond cut, the table cut.

Emerald cut diamonds have a long history dating back to the 1500’s when people would cut real emeralds into an emerald shape. It’s a timeless shape that people use for all different types of gems. It really takes a special and quality diamond to pull off an emerald cut. 

The emerald cut diamond hit peak popularity during the Retro era of the late 1930s and 1940s. The diamond shape was perfect for the style of the period, which celebrated eye-catching designs, romance, and sophistication. Because emerald-cut diamonds were so in demand during the Retro era, they’re often considered to have a vintage style that harkens back to the elegant glamour of the age.
Since then, emerald cut diamonds have maintained consistent popularity as an engagement ring centerpiece stone. It has become famous for gracing the rings of iconic women from Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor to Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. Today, it is still a coveted diamond cut that withstands the test of time in both its durability and style.


Considering Length to Width Ratio 

When you’re shopping for an emerald-cut diamond, you need to decide what you’d like for your diamond’s length to width ratio. Emerald cut diamonds can have many different length to width ratios. Depending on this ratio, an emerald cut diamond can range in proportion, going from long and thin to square. There’s no “best” emerald cut diamond ratio or perfect emerald cut diamond ratio. If you love the look of elongated shape of a slimmer emerald cut diamond, go for a higher ratio. Alternatively, if you love the look of a more square shaped emerald cut diamond, choose one with a lower ratio. 

Considering "Hall of Mirrors Effect"

That "hall of mirrors" effect that we mentioned earlier is certainly beautiful, but you do need to be careful of the quality of the diamond you're buying. It needs to be a high cut grade, clarity grade, and color grade, because step-cut diamonds do not hide blemishes within the stone, according to diamond experts. The stones should have a high depth percentage and appear clean to the naked eye.

Considering Diamond Quality

Turn to the 4C's of diamond quality when shopping for an emerald cut diamond.


  • Emerald Cut Diamond: Cut

As a fancy shaped diamond, there are no industry wide standards for ideal cut, and certification agencies like GIA will not offer cut gradings for fancy shapes. And emerald cut diamonds are not cut for brilliance like most other diamond shapes. The emerald cut diamond is distinguished by its elongated, rectangular shape and carved step cut, which features straight linear facets aligned parallel down the stone, that produces a hall of mirrors effect. The emerald cut diamond’s corners are usually trimmed to promote cohesiveness and avoid fissures. 

  • Emerald Cut Diamond: Clarity

With the cutting style of an emerald cut, the table – the top surface area – has a clear view into the center of the stone. Any inclusions in this middle area will be clearly visible. And since step cut diamonds are not as bright and fiery as brilliant cut stones, there’s nothing about the faceting style that can mask the blemishes within the stone.

For this reason, clarity is one of the most important gradings to consider for an emerald cut diamond. Step cut stones are generally not as bright and never as fiery as brilliant cut stones. The cut is meant to show clear, straight expanses of white light return, that means there’s no scattering of light to hide inclusions.

Considering that you can so clearly see inclusions in emerald cuts, a VS1 clarity or higher is the typical recommendation for a quality stone. However, it’s always important to view any diamond in person to make sure it looks clean to the naked eye. But if there are inclusions, it’s best that they not be in the center of the stone. Staying away from the table will provide the most coverage from viewing them.

  • Emerald Cut Diamond: Color  

Color will be easier to see in an emerald cut, just like clarity. The large table and step cuts display more color than other fancy shapes. So, color will be more easily noticeable to the naked eye.

An emerald cut diamond of color grade I or lower will very clearly show a yellowish tint. The naked eye is not as likely to notice a tint at color grade G or better. For the best quality and value of a stone, it’s best to stay at or above a G color for an emerald cut.

A final note about color is to consider the metal for your setting. If you are choosing a more cool tone of white gold or platinum, a G color grade or better will radiate with white color. If you’re going with yellow or rose gold, the warm tones will complement slightly lower color grades like H or I nicely.

  • Emerald Cut Diamond: Carat Weight

The emerald cut accounts for roughly 3% of all diamonds in the marketplace. Emerald cut diamonds have better cutting productivity, which means that when a raw diamond is cut into a polished emerald cut, the least amount of weight is lost. As a result, cutting an emerald cut is less expensive than cutting a round brilliant diamond. 

Although they are less in demand than the most popular round brilliant diamond, emerald cuts are widely available. It also shouldn’t be too difficult to find emerald cuts in a variety of carat sizes, even into larger carats. While the quality will differ, large carats are available, but you can still expect the price to increase exponentially with each full carat jump.


Emerald cut diamonds fit well in many different styles, but they really fit perfectly with more understated settings. Emerald cuts go well with solitaire, pavé and simple halo settings, and are perfect for three stone settings.

white gold emerald cut diamond solitaire engagement ring


A solitaire setting lets a lot of light hit the diamond, amplifying the “hall of mirrors” effect of a well-proportioned emerald cut. It showcases the unique style of an emerald cut diamond perfectly. It’s very hard to go wrong with a simple solitaire setting and a beautiful emerald cut diamond.

(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)

white gold emerald cut diamond pave engagement ring


A pavé setting will make your ring stand out more, without taking away from the emerald cut diamond as a centerpiece. The round accent diamonds add some flair to the ring, at the same time amplifying the fire of the center stone.

(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)

rose gold halo emerald cut diamond engagement ring


Halos are commonly created by placing a ring of tiny diamonds all around the center stone. Halo settings are stunning for emerald cut diamonds because they add that extra touch of sparkle that the emerald cut lacks, creating a surrounding sparkle that emphasizes the unique beauty of the emerald cut, all the while keeping the focus on the center stone.

One of the main advantages of the halo is that you can opt for a smaller center stone and still have it appear large when surrounded by the halo. Our eyes tend to measure the size of the center diamond from edge to edge of the halo rather than from the edges of the diamond. What this translates to is that you can save money by purchasing a smaller emerald cut diamond. 

(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)

yellow gold three stone emerald cut diamond engagement ring


There are many variations to the three stone setting, which means that whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist, there is bound to be a three-stone ring design that you’ll love. You can opt for three equal-sized emerald cut diamonds set side by side or you can choose to have different gemstones in varying sizes. Another variation is to mix and match different diamond cuts. The three-stone emerald cut engagement ring proves that a diamond doesn’t have to be brilliant to be gorgeous! 

(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)



Besides engagement rings, emerald cut diamonds look great in other types of fine jewelry as well. You can add a unique twist on the classic round diamond stud earring and use emerald cut diamonds instead. You can opt for an emerald cut diamond tennis bracelet or even go with a simple solitaire emerald cut diamond pendant with a halo of round diamonds around it. No matter what you choose, emerald cut diamonds are an excellent way to feature your unique, yet classy style! Stop by Devon's Diamonds & Decor in Boca Raton to talk to us about custom designing a beautiful piece of emerald cut diamond jewelry.

white gold emerald cut diamond stud earrings

Curious about what other diamond shapes there are?

Check out our Diamond Shapes 101 blog post!

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