different sizes of emerald cut diamonds

Elegant Classic Elongated Look

Back in the Art Deco period, the emerald cut diamond was an extremely popular choice for engagement rings. The cutting style featuring stacked terraces and large parallel facets was initially developed for emeralds (green colored gemstones) and was later adapted for diamonds due to its popularity.

Emerald cut diamonds usually take on a rectangular outline and have “blocked corners” to give the outline a distinct classic appearance. As a result of its step cut and parallel faceting structure, emerald cuts don’t bend or reflect light as much as the round diamonds.

Consequently, this leads to a loss in brilliance and scintillation properties which makes the emerald cut very poor at hiding material flaws present in the rough stone. Also, having a huge table facet is like having a big open window which enables you to peer deep into the diamond’s body. This means that any inclusions, flaws or color nuances are easier to be picked out compared to the round diamonds.

The Unique Properties of the Emerald Step Cutting Style

emerald step cut diamond

What really makes an emerald cut nice?

The scintillation pattern of an emerald cut diamond differs from those found in brilliant cutting styles like the rounds or ovals. Instead of having tiny sparkles of light emitting from the facets, emerald cuts flash “on” and “off” due to the step faceting structure.

Combined with its classic appearance, this unique optical property is the main reason why women have a soft spot for the emerald shaped diamond. Also, for people who love vintage designs and sophisticated elegance, you’ll find this shape to be a very suitable choice for you.

Ideal Emerald Cut Diamond Proportions Table

Excellent Very Good Good Fair/Poor
Table % 61% – 68% 59% – 70% 58% – 72% Outside Ranges
Depth % 60% – 65% 57% – 68% 56% – 70% Outside Ranges
Polish/Symmetry Excellent – Very Good Good Outside Ranges
Length to Width 1.30 – 1.50 1.20 – 1.60 1.10 – 1.70 Outside Ranges
Girdle Thickness Thin – Slightly Thick V. Thin – Very Thick Outside Ranges
Culet Size None Very Small Small Outside Ranges

* Note: The recommended emerald cut diamond proportions should be used as a reference only. A physical examination or a video to show shape appeal will take precedence when you are deciding on its outline. I also strongly encourage you to utilize light performance tools like ASET to assess cut quality.

Seeing is believing! Inspect and interact with 1,500+ emerald cuts with 360° videos at James Allen.

General Recommendations When Choosing Emerald Shaped Diamonds

In emerald cut diamonds, the body color of the stone can show up very easily. It is even more readily apparent if you intend to buy larger sized diamonds above 1 carat. For this reason, I recommend that you to get a stone within the D – G color grades if you are color adverse.

Due to the lesser brilliance and scintillation of the step cut, inclusions can also show up easily to the naked eye. To maintain eye-cleanliness, a higher clarity grade of  VS2 or better is recommended. In my experience, I rarely come across eye clean SI1s or SI2s for emerald cuts and you do have to pay a little more for better quality diamonds.

Now, buying a great looking emerald cut diamond can be a very tricky affair especially for first time shoppers. Beyond the grading report, you need to make use of other available resources to help you make a rational decision. On the next page, I’m going to show you the crucial things you need to take note of when shopping for a diamond…

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  1. Avatar
    November 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    is Baguette cut tha same as Emerald cut? which one is more expensive inthe market?

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    November 5, 2014 at 12:26 am

    No. They aren’t the same. Baguettes are strictly rectangular and are traditionally cut to 14 facets. Because of the simplistic look that Baguettes portray, they are usually used as sidestones in engagement rings instead of being the main diamond. On the other hand, emerald cuts tend to have better optical properties and a scintillation pattern that more consumers prefer.

    In the market, emerald cuts usually cost more per carat. That said, it is very difficult to find properly graded loose baguettes (GIA) as most vendors don’t carry them.

    This url might offer more information: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/baguette/

  3. Avatar
    February 14, 2018 at 7:56 am

    I stumbled upon your website while checking out reviews of Blue Nile. I really appreciate all of the information you provide!

    I will definitely spend the time to digest it all before making any decisions. But I first I want to ask you for your opinion of which vendor I should go with, based on what I am looking for.

    Specifically, I’m looking for an Emerald cut engagement ring, with a tempered baguette setting, in either 18 ct white gold, or platinum. Hoping to get 1 carat or just over. I’m willing to spend $5000-6000, but of course, if I can get a great quality ring for less, that would be good too.

    Should I go with your number 1 vendor, James Allen? While you sounded “ok” in your review about Blue Nile, I noticed they didn’t even make your top 6 vendors for 2018.

    I also saw where you said “cut is king” so I’ll be sure to focus on that, with whatever company you recommend.

    Once I digest all of the information from your website, I’d like to come back to you with what I’m considering buying, if that’s ok!

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    February 15, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Blue Nile is a jack of many trades and they don’t really specialize in a particular area. They are great for UK/EU consumers who have a misconception that they can avoid taxes with BlueNile instead of going with US based online vendors. What Blue Nile offers for EU/UK is a simplification of the tax paying process where they collect it at the onset of the purchase.

    To each his own and if they are more comfortable buying from a company with operations in UK/EU and still legally PAYING tax, who am I to say they are wrong?

    Anyway, that is really none of your concern given that you are based in the States. For emerald cuts, definitely start at James Allen. They have good selections of fancy cut stones. I did a search for you and would recommend these diamonds:


    Both these diamonds are eyeclean and cut for light performance. I do have a preference for the better scintillation patterning of the G diamond. But if the small budget overrun is an issue to you, then go with the E diamond.

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