Most ovals exhibit a bow tie effect which can be observed as dark areas across the center of the stone. This phenomenon is created as a result of pavilion facets causing light obstruction when a person looks at the diamond. In general, I find that ovals with shallow depths (less than 58%) tend to have a higher probability of a severe looking bowtie. 

Having said so much, you might assume that all bowties are bad. That isn’t true. Just because an oval has a bowtie doesn’t necessary mean it is a deal breaker. You see, well cut ovals display good brilliance and scintillation. A faint bowtie can actually work in your favor as it helps create contrast within the diamond.

What you want to avoid are bowties that look huge and remain totally dark even when the viewing angle of the diamond changes. This is because a significant bowtie creates a dark appearance and also causes an unbalanced look in the diamond which detracts from its usual appeal.

You Need to View Videos or Images Under Magnification

These photographs are used with permission from JamesAllen.com. With the launch of their new video technology, James Allen has totally changed the way online retailing works. Customers can now easily access thousands of diamonds that have HD magnified videos at the clicks of a few mouse buttons.

oval with dark bow tie effect

oval diamond with small bow tie

bowtie effect in oval diamonds


Although these pictures only show us how the ovals will look like face up, they actually tell you a fair bit of information. On the left most stone, the bowtie is dark and ugly. Not only does it impact the brilliance of the stone, it focuses your eye on all the wrong things. The examples in the middle and on the right show faint bow ties that aren’t distracting.

How Much is Too Much? How Little is Too Little?

Well, this is a pretty subjective issue that is entirely up to your own preferences. The answer is to view as many ovals as possible until you get the knack of it.

Click here to see hundreds of oval diamonds in all shapes and sizes to your heart’s content.

From my grading experience in GIA, I concur that most people do not like seeing dark patches across their stones. To help illustrate this, here are 2 examples in which many people find unpleasing.

criss cross dark areas

Does this cross-shaped bowtie looks good?

big dark bowtie

What about this diamond that displays a large bowtie?

What do you think? If you differ in opinion, please leave a comment on why you find these 2 diamonds appealing to you. On the next page, I’ll show you exactly how and where to shop in order to get the best bang for your buck…


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