Light Performance in Elongated Shaped Diamonds – Oval, Radiant, Marquise and Pear

Elongated-shaped diamonds are some of the most desirable shapes available on the market today.

Elongated-shaped diamonds have become increasingly popular in recent years and are seen on the hands of many well-known celebrity A-listers, including Blake Lively, Victoria Beckham, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hailey Bieber and Kate Middleton. They are the shape of choice for the more adventurous, artistically inclined woman who celebrates being different from the crowd and who has a flair for the dramatic.

Known collectively as "fancy shape diamonds", they look equally stunning set as a solitaire or as the primary gemstone at the center of a multi-stone ring. Elongated-shaped diamonds are usually tapered or elongated at either one or both ends, and they can have a slender, elegant look, giving the impression of a larger carat weight than a symmetrically cut stone of the exact same size. Elongated shapes also tend to flatter different finger shapes, making them appear longer, leaner and more tapered, so it is perfect for women with smaller sized hands or shorter fingers.

Elongated shaped width to length ratio can indicate the shape of the diamond. As a 1:1 ration is a square, 1:3 ratio is a wider shape. When we will get close to 1.4-1.6 ratio, we will have an elongated shape.

The oval cut diamond is shaped like an ellipse rather than a circle, as its name implies. It was introduced in 1957 by Lazare Kaplan and remains one of the most popular diamond shapes. The oval is most commonly found in a brilliant cut, which has 58 facets including the culet. When masterfully cut, the oval produces outstanding light performance, but its brilliance, fire and scintillation are determined by its proportions; the angle of the pavilion affects the amount of light return, and the angle of the crown determines the brilliance and dispersion. Put another way, the height of the crown will determine the balance of white and colored sparkle or fire.

For an oval diamond to produce maximum brilliance it needs a depth percentage of 62% -66%. Anything below 60% will show a "bow-tie" effect, caused by pavilion facets that obstruct the light. This is not always a negative; the darker bow tie shape will cause other parts of the diamond to give off more scintillation. If the diamond is cut above 68% the bow tie effect is reduced, but the diamond will be dull and dark in appearance.

The elongated radiant cut diamond is relatively new on the market, making its appearance in the late 1970's. It is a cross between a round brilliant and an emerald cut, and is rectangular with clipped corners, so that it has an octagonal outline. As with other elongated shapes, the elongated radiant tends to look bigger and more graceful on the hand. The radiant cut has mixed faceting, so some areas of the diamond will return a twinkling ”crushed ice” effect, which is very appealing.

The crushed ice effect creates many internal secondary reflections which twinkle. If you look into the center of a radiant cut your eye will be drawn into a seeming hall of mirrors, as it descends into a seemingly endless bottom towards the culet. The angular shape and subtle twinkling of the elongated radiant makes it a favorite for many.


The marquise (or navette) cut diamond is an elongated oval. It was named after Madame De Pompadour, who mouth was said to be shaped like a perfect oval. A well-cut marquise diamond has outstanding brightness and plenty of sparkle, and while its shape is mesmerizing, actual light performance is where the marquise shines. It will have a brilliant style facet design with vertical facets on the pavilion from the girdle into the culet.

Given superior cut quality, its rounded central shape has almost 60 facets which give sparkle and drama galore. Marquise diamonds can come in varied shapes, depending on length to width ratio. Depending upon visual taste, a length to width ratio of 1.7 -1.8 and a depth of 58% - 64% are considered optimal for light performance.

Pear cut (or teardrop) diamonds are exactly that – pear shaped with one distinctive rounded end and one pointed end in a brilliant style. The brilliant style faceting in a pear cut diamond creates scintillation and sparkle. In fact, the vertical facets on the pavilion of the diamond provide similar scintillation as the round brilliant.

A width to length ratio of 1.5 – 1.6 is generally considered the most popular and visually appealing pear cut diamond. As with other faceted diamonds, there is more reflected light than the actual number of facets. These are “virtual facets" and they are important in the stone’s light performance. A brilliant cut pear will have incredible scintillation because of these mixed size virtual facets.

Elongated shaped diamonds are dramatically different. With an excellent cut, clarity and color grade, and minimal imperfections, their light performance will be nothing short of spectacular. 

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