A breathtaking 1ct halo pear diamond ring.
The pear cut diamond combines characteristics of the modern round brilliant cut and the marquise cut to create a cutting style that resembles a teardrop. With its elegant and tapered outline, a pear shape diamond is a flattering choice for an engagement ring.
In this comprehensive write up, I’m going to reveal the insider tips to choosing a beautiful pear shaped diamond and how you can save a lot of money when you buy your engagement ring.
I’m also going to show you what to avoid and what to look out for in a well cut diamond. To top that off, check out some of the best ring setting designs to complement a pear cut diamond.
Let’s jump right in…
Here is a list of topics we will be covering:
Anatomy of a pear brilliant cut diamond.
The pear shaped diamond has a history that goes all the way back to 1458. It was first designed by a diamond cutter named Lodewyk Van Berquem in an era where diamonds were starting to gain popularity in the market.
As a testament to the pear shape’s appeal, many famous diamonds like the Millennium Star, Star of the Season, Cullinan and The Star of South Africa are all pear cut diamonds!
In a pear brilliant cut, the diamond usually consists of 56 facets although this may vary depending on the type of facet patterning it has. Due to their elongated outlines, pear cuts tend to look larger for their carat weight compared to a round diamond.
Like other fancy shaped diamonds, GIA does not assign any cut grade in their report for pear shape diamonds. This can make shopping very tricky for first-time shoppers and it doesn’t help that the majority of diamonds in the market are poorly cut.
Below, I’ve compiled a table of ideal proportions you can use as a guide to avoiding terribly cut diamonds. This will help you quickly weed out poorly cut stones and narrow down your selections.
|57% – 62%
|55% – 63%
|53% – 64%
|58% – 64%
|56% – 67.5%
|54% – 69%
|Excellent – Very Good
|Length to Width
|1.45 – 1.55
|1.40 – 1.60
|1.35 – 1.65
|Thin – Thick
|V. Thin – Very Thick
* Note: The table of ideal proportions above should be used as a reference only.
Here, I want to point out that you cannot judge the appearance of a fancy diamond based on numbers alone. For an accurate assessment, you should also rely on tangible data like videos/ASET to help you analyze its optical performance.
From experience, pear diamonds tend to display better fire and brilliance when they have depth ratios between 58-64% and table sizes between 60-65%. Also, it is perfectly fine for the girdle thickness of a pear shape diamond to be thicker (especially near the tip) to provide additional mechanical strength.
To help you visualize what a well cut pear diamond looks like in real life, check out these 2 examples with superb light performance and contrast patterning.
The length-to-width ratio of a pear cut diamond can affect the diamond’s overall shape appeal and is largely a matter of personal preferences. Here is a reference diagram to show you how the different length-to-width ratios will affect the pear’s visual appearance.
Personally, I favor stones with an l/w ratio of between 1.40-1.50 as I find chubbier pears to be more appealing than thin and “malnourished” looking ones. In fact, when the l/w ratio is too high, the pear will look like a deformed marquise.
Subjective observation takes precedence when you are considering the diamond’s length-to-width ratio. There are no wrong or right choices with liking a thinner looking stone or one that appears to be stubbier. Ultimately, the pear’s outline must appeal and speak to your heart.
Well, it really depends on whatever way you want to wear it.
The traditional way to wear a pear cut diamond engagement ring is to have the tip pointing away from you (point down). Wearing the ring this way will help create the appearance of an elongated, slender finger as it draws the attention down your fingers.
On the other hand, if you choose to wear the pear diamond on your finger with the tip pointing towards you, that’s perfectly fine too! At the end of the day, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
I know I am starting to sound like a broken record but I want to re-emphasize that the grading report alone doesn’t contain sufficient information for you to make a purchasing decision.
While physical measurements of the stone are given in the grading certificate, it doesn’t tell you exactly how the diamond looks like. This is where an image or a video of the diamond plays a critical role especially if you are buying online (or offline for that matter).
Now, there are certain kinds of appearances that you want to avoid when buying a pear shaped diamond. With the help of James Allen, I’ve picked out some examples of pear diamonds with bad outlines to show you below.
Squatty looking stone with overweight appearance.
Overly elongated pear diamond that looks unnatural.
Squared pear diamond shoulders with a boxy look.
This is the ideal outline you should look out for in pears.
Fancy shapes like marquise, oval and pear diamonds tend to show more color compared to the round cut diamond. Due to the inherent nature of the cutting style, the color is much more noticeable near the tip of the diamond.
If you are a color sensitive person and you want the diamond to face up white after it is mounted on a white gold/platinum setting, choose a color grade like G or better.
When it comes to clarity, the brilliant cutting style of the pear diamond is great at concealing inclusions. This means that you can get away with an eyeclean diamond at the lower clarity ranges.
Now, I understand that different readers would have different expectations and comfort levels for clarity. If you are more comfortable with a high clarity diamond (i.e. VVS or IF), who’s to say you are wrong if you don’t mind paying the excessive premium for such stones.
Personally speaking, I’m a practical person and my recommendation for a minimum clarity grade is SI1. As long as the diamond is eyeclean, I don’t see a need to pay the premium for a higher clarity rating and you will need videos to help you determine this.
Check out the two SI1 diamonds below. One is eyeclean and one isn’t. Click on both of them to view their video listings. Can you tell which is which?
As you can see above, SI1 diamonds can look very different. That’s why it is extremely important for you to utilize videos/images in order to help you see exactly how the diamond looks like.
With that said, I also don’t recommend that you limit yourself to the lowest eyeclean clarity rating when you are searching for a diamond. Since there are much lesser pear diamonds to choose from, you may need to cast your net wider and include higher grades in your search to find a well cut stone.
Like some other fancy cut elongated diamonds, pears can exhibit a bow tie effect which can affect its appearance in a negative way. Some bow ties are less noticeable while some are very distracting and dark looking.
The intensity of the diamond’s bow tie is attributed to its cut and cannot be judged based on a grading report alone. This means that you need to SEE the stone visually to determine how severe the bowtie is.
All 3 diamonds above show a varying degree of the bow tie effect. In my personal opinion, the 3rd diamond on the right has a blended looking bowtie which I find desirable. If I were to make selections out of these three stones, I would pick the one in the middle and the right.
Now, the 2D photographs alone would only show the severity of the bow ties in the face-up view. In ideal scenarios, you should physically inspect the stone from various angles to get a better idea of its performance.
Luckily for us, 2D imagery is a thing of the past as video technology has changed the way we buy diamonds. By tilting the diamond and viewing it from various angles, you can determine whether the bowtie is perpetually dark or whether it would scintillate with movement.
Below is a case study of 2 diamonds which are graded by GIA as D color, VVS2 clarity and 0.70 in carat weight. Although both diamonds may seem very similar based on their specifications and grading reports. However, the diamond on the right has far better optics than the stone on the left.
My personal preference is to shop online only at websites that actually provide additional information like videos or optical performance data. Compared to local stores, online stores carry a huge range of diamonds that can cater to people with different budgets and preferences.
That happens to be the biggest advantage of shopping online since it enables you to cherry-pick diamonds that are the cream of the crop (provided you know how to go about doing so).
The important thing to note here is not to buy sight unseen. This means avoiding vendors (both physical and online) who only perform dropshipping and those that only provide information limited to a grading certificate.
Compared to round cut diamonds, the prices of pear diamonds are generally 15-30% lower due to the better yield from rough diamond cutting. That means that if you are looking to get a better bang for your buck, pears are better options than round cut diamonds.
To give you an idea of how much a pear diamond can cost, I’ve compiled a price comparison table using 1ct pear diamonds with different material properties. Bear in mind that this price chart is based on competitive price points offered by a reputable online vendor.
Price chart comparison of GIA certified 1ct pear shape diamonds.
From the table above, you can see that the price of a 1 carat pear shaped diamond can range anywhere between $3,000 to $10,000. There is a big disparity in prices when you compare lower tier quality against higher tier quality clarity/color grades.
Now, I want to be very clear that a more expensive diamond with D/IF clarity doesn’t necessarily translate into a better looking diamond. Prices are largely determined by rarity factors in color/clarity/carat size.
And if you know what you are doing, you would be able to find a cheaper diamond with G/VS2 grades that will look livelier and has more sparkle than a D/IF diamond as long as you prioritize cut quality.
If you are on a budget, going down to lower color/clarity grades would help you save a lot of money when shopping for an engagement ring.
You don’t want to end up with a stone like this…
For inexperienced shoppers, you might assume that the local stores are your best bet to sourcing for a pear cut diamond. The fact is, they are one of the worst places to shop for fancy cut diamonds. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons based on my personal experiences of store visiting in various parts of the world.
1) Stock. It is very likely that your local store will not carry a particular fancy shape in stock. Why? Fancy shapes are widely considered to be “exotic” tastes. Most brick and mortar stores only carry round diamonds because they are in higher demand and sell better.
One common tactic that brick and mortar stores use is to make you pay a “non-refundable deposit” in order for them to bring in a pear diamond for viewing. When foolish consumers do this, they are actually taking in all the risks by allowing the jeweler to shop blind on their behalf.
2) Budget. Even if your local store has some pear shaped diamonds in stock, it is very likely that they only have a limited number of them. Given the fact that close to 90% of fancy shaped diamonds are cut to poor proportions and have dismal light performance, the odds are stacked against you in finding one that is well-cut.
Also, most stores would usually stock fancy cut diamonds of more than 1 carat in weight. If you have a smaller budget and cannot afford larger sized diamonds, tough luck. You are going back to square one.
When choosing a ring setting, I recommend using a 6 prong design (a 5 prong design is also feasible) that include a v-shaped prong to fully secure and protect the vulnerable tip. Check out some of my favorite ring designs below…
Simple, elegant and affordable. This solitaire ring design puts the limelight on the pear diamond.
A gorgeous halo emphasizes the shape of the pear diamond and makes it look larger than it is.
A split shank pave adds multiple dimensions of sparkle to this sophisticated engagement ring.
This iconic ring features 2 tapered baguette diamonds on the side for a classy look.
This pave setting has a milgrain tapering shank that draws the attention towards the center stone.
To get more ideas and look at hundreds of beautifully crafted diamond engagement rings, head over to Blue Nile and James Allen. From simple solitaire designs to sophisticated designer settings, there are plenty of options to choose from regardless of your budget.
To recap, here are my recommended guidelines for buying a pear cut diamond:
Depth: 58% to 64%
Table: 57% to 62%
Polish/Symmetry: Very Good or Excellent
Length to Width Ratio: Within a range of 1.45 to 1.55
Color: G or better
Clarity: SI1 or better
The depth and table proportions are just a guideline and tool for you to quickly filter lousily cut diamonds. And I will say again, numbers alone do not guarantee a great looking stone. You need to rely on videos and tangible data to make that assessment.
Also, bear in mind that color and clarity ratings are subjective. If your recipient prefers a warm looking diamond, by all means, go for a lower color grade. Likewise, if you need the D/IF ratings for a symbolic reason, it is perfectly fine to pay a premium for such a diamond.
With pear shaped diamonds, the best places to buy your engagement ring would be Blue Nile and James Allen. Both are reputable dealers and offer fantastic sales policies where you shop with zero risks.
More importantly, both vendors offer HD videos that allow you to review symmetry, performance, outline and clarity imperfections. They also offer an extensive selection of GIA certified diamonds where you get to cherry pick your diamond.
Click this link to see diamonds on a turntable you can play around with…
With that, I hope this article has helped and if you have any questions or need a second opinion on a diamond, feel free to leave a note below or get in touch via email. Good luck!