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.
|Table %||57% – 62%||55% – 63%||53% – 64%||Outside Ranges|
|Depth %||58% – 64%||56% – 67.5%||54% – 69%||Outside Ranges|
|Polish/Symmetry||Excellent – Very Good||Good||Outside Ranges|
|Length to Width||1.45 – 1.55||1.40 – 1.60||1.35 – 1.65||Outside Ranges|
|Girdle Thickness||Thin – Thick||V. Thin – Very Thick||Outside Ranges|
|Culet Size||None||Very Small||Small||Outside Ranges|
* 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.
For people who intend to set the diamond in vintage style or yellow gold settings, it’s perfectly fine to go down to lower color ratings like J or K.
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!
Thank you SO much for your help and advice! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I wanted to ask — is there any way you can tell the quality of light performance for an antique pear diamond? I would so appreciate your help on this. I love the chunky facets of an antique cut, and all the pears I’ve found on James Allen are modern/brilliant… I’m starting to feel a bit hopeless in finding a beautiful, chubby, faceted pear like the one below that also has good light performance.
This is the diamond in question: http://jewelsbygrace.smugmug.com/Loose-Diamonds/100-200cts/131ct-Antique-Pear-Shaped/
What do you think of it? Thank you so much in advance for your help!
Apart from the large culet, there’s really nothing much “antique” in this particular pear diamond. The best way to determine light performance of a fancy shaped diamond is to subject them to a video recording under different lighting conditions. Offhand, I would say that this looks like a pretty diamond that’s further a further investigation.
Hi Paul, I have been reading through your blog and it is a GREAT help! Unfortunately James Allen doesn’t have ASET images for these 2 .5 carat pear shape diamonds. My preference is a narrower pear as opposed to a wide one. Are you able to have a look at these 2 and advise which you think will have the most brilliance? We are hoping to set in a pave halo. https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/pear-shaped/0.50-carat-f-color-vs2-clarity-sku-2310572
Michelle, you have a winner with this diamond: https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/pear-shaped/0.50-carat-f-color-vs2-clarity-sku-2667056
Hi there! I’ve been receiving your newsletters and using your website (along with others) in a big way to help me with researching an engagement ring for my girlfriend for the past couple months. She’s a tough one because things she has pointed out that she likes over the time we’ve been dating are of course difficult to pair together (emerald accent/melee stones, 3 stone setting, pear center stone, platinum band, likely mild vining in band, petite hand (~4.5 ring size)).
Sorry in advance for the wall of text, but your website said to give as much detail as possible. Ask and ye shall receive! :-)
What I’m looking for:
– Overall total budget: $7-8k tops
– Center stone: pear shaped, likely 0.8 – 1.0ct center stone (I don’t want it to look gaudy big with a 4.5 ring size and 3 stone setting). I went to Rogers & Hollands and struggled through 2 appointments (both about 2-3 hours long, the latter having high pressure sales tactics) and got an idea of how big in real life a 0.8ct stone is. It’s crazy how they wanted $4,511 for a 0.81ct G-SI1 1.55LW ratio pol-ex sym-vg on “sale” [retail $6,015] before even putting it in a ring!! Your carat size chart that I found today is also super helpful!
* Cut: I know there isn’t a grading system for pears and I’ve been struggling with this on how to pick the best cut. I’ve used your charts & articles for proportions/polish/symmetry/girdle thickness/depth/table/fluorescence/etc guidelines to give me a running start on narrowing them down, but anything to help beyond that is obviously welcome!
* Clarity: thinking VS1 or higher clarity, most VS2s or lower that I’ve seen seem to have pretty visible inclusions because of the pear shape (although JA gives pretty high magnification visuals, so it’s hard to say if they’re eye clean or not to me); as long as it is eye clean and has great scintillation, I’m open to going lower clarity to make the budget realistic if it currently isn’t.
* Color: minimum of G, but preferably in F-D (some G’s I’ve seen look visibly slightly yellow to me)
* L/W ratio: I like the slimmer pears (towards 1.52-1.58) because she has a petite hand and I don’t want it to look like a little chunker between the two side stones (I figure do round side stones? I wasn’t sure if something else might look better. Princess/pear/etc I thought would look bad). Should I change the table/depth preferences for “excellent” given that I’m not aiming for the “ideal” 1.5:1 ratio?
– Band: Platinum or 14k white gold, depending what budget I have left! She’s mentioned platinum, but I’m flexible on doing white gold [I’ve heard platinum gets a little brittle after having work done on it, as will be necessary to modify the below band]
– Mounting: 5 to 6-prong with V for tip, possibly tungsten prongs? Needs to be durable (she works with her hands a lot) in a 3-stone setting (see below link from James Allen of what I’m thinking of customizing from their available options, I don’t like their available 3 stone settings). She does NOT like the halo mountings.
– Ring size 4.5
– Preferably minimal space between areas in band and not super raised from the band (works with animals in the veterinary field, lots of places for hair/dander to get stuck!)
– Side stones in 3-stone setting (the 2 big ones next to center): diamonds (suggestions for size/shape & how to pick cut/quality of these? or how to pick them through James Allen?)
– Accent/melee stones (in order or preference, if 1 isn’t doable): 1) Emeralds, 2) Diamonds (from what I’ve discussed with them, James Allen will not do emerald accent/melee stones due to durability concerns)… also ways to ensure these look good and not dull down the center stone(s)?
After speaking with JamesAllen, the following band can be customized/modified to a 3 stone setting and is tentatively what I’m planning on the Martin Flyer setting SKU 54988.
I also really liked the following band, but there isn’t something similar on JA and Brilliant Earth’s maintenance plans/etc looked cruddy to me. They also only have a handful of stones that have 360º views.
Budget-wise, JA can’t tell me until I pick a center stone how much the above customization will cost. If the customization puts me over the budget, I may need to tweak the center stone down in some areas. These are some of the stones I’ve liked and don’t have terrible bowties. The first one is only “good” in symmetry, but I thought looks pretty good overall. The rest are a minimum of very good in polish & symmetry. I also thought sending these several examples to you to possibly get some guidance could help me narrow down (or continue to search for) my 3 ideal ones for them to look at and evaluate ASET images on for me to choose before they give me an estimate.
These are some center stones I have found that I’ve liked, but I am open to suggestions/guidance on changes to make to my process! I appreciate any and all help you can give. If I wasn’t clear on certain things, or you need more details, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Setting wise, I am of no good help here as it is largely a matter of personal preferences. The Martin Flyer ring is a design I personally love.
Unless the side diamonds are each larger than 0.30ct, I would let JA pick them out for the ring. If they are > 0.3ct, it makes sense to select your own matching pair.
As for the pear shape diamonds, I think you did a fantastic job of picking these stones out. They are all pretty well cut and are eyeclean. Personally, I would gravitate towards these 2 diamonds:
I like these stones for their shape appeal and overall cut quality. If you need to do 3, I suggest the E IF diamond option to be thrown into this mix as well.
I live on the Big Island of Hawaii and am looking to propose to my girlfriend of 4 years this June. She is really small…around 4’10” 90 lbs. I really want to propose to her in June because she’s stuck by me while I was coaching high school girls basketball. This means we’ve never spent a Christmas, New Years, or our birthdays (Dec 27 and 29) together. I’ve always been busy as its smack in the middle of our season and she lives on another island working as a nurse. These kids I coach…and am very close to, I will no longer coach after I take them to the mainland in June. I want them to be there when I propose…seems a fitting close from one part of my life and the beginning of another!
We’ve talked about rings and she is looking for a pear or oval shaped diamond with a halo. Something around .7 carats as when she tried on rings in a shop(but after reading your site, I’m not sure if it was a true 3/4 carat diamond), 3/4 was about a nice size for her finger without being too large. White gold.
We both don’t want to spend a large amount on a wedding or ring. Her cousin got married recently and spent over $50k…we can’t fathom spending anywhere near that amount as we want to invest those resources into purchasing our first home. She purchased her rings from The Wedding Ring Shop and we were going to do the same but luckily I did my research and stumbled on your site!
I want it to sparkle and look great, but am not really concerned about having a perfect diamond on paper. Just perfect to the naked eye. I’m guessing a budget somewhere around 2-4k all included for both rings? I just want a simple white gold band. I can push it a higher if needed but really want to keep our costs down as much as possible…even a slightly smaller diamond would work for us as well.
Could you please help? I think I have analysis paralysis after seeing just how many diamonds are listed on James Allen.
Great story and I am glad beyond4cs.com helped you in your research. I will be more than happy to help you out. It’s common for people to get analysis paralysis because its quite a handful of knowledge to take in within a short period of time.
If we keep the engagement ring setting and wedding band to simple white gold designs, that will cost roughly $500 at James Allen.
That will leave us with around $2,500 for a 0.7 carat oval and this is doable.
I did a search for you and would recommend these diamonds:
would like your expertise or recommendations on purchasing a loose pear or marquise cut diamond to upgrade my current wedding set. My existing set is 1.36 ct marquise, I1, E, 2.08 L to W, 14k white gold channel set band with 3 round diamonds on each side and a matching channel set wedding band for a total of 3 ct. It is a beautiful ring but it was purchased from Zales back when we had no knowledge of buying a ring.
I want to upgrade to at least 1.50 to 2.0 ct pear or marquise diamond. I think I might be leaning more towards the pear which is what I originally wanted. It is important for me to have it face up white, be eye clean, not to chubby, but not to long and skinny looking, and have some sparkle. I would like to stay under $10,000. The diamond doesn’t have to be an investment piece but I do long to have a quality, eye clean, diamond that sparkles and has a good cut without breaking the bank. We will be celebrating 25 years on March 28 and I want a diamond that I love!
Thank you for any recommendations or diamonds that you can suggest that I take a look at!
Sure. I can definitely help you out. For a budget of $10000, you can get a 1.5ct pear diamond in the near colorless and eyeclean VS-SI clarity range. I’ve dropped you a reply privately with the recommendations.
Do you take crown height into consideration?
I saw in another website, recommendation for the Crown height between12-15%, I’m not sure how important it is.
could you enlighten me, thanks for the detailed guide!
For fancy cut diamonds, crown heights and specific pavilion angles don’t necessarily determine the light performance of the diamond. All these angles have to be taken into context together and you will end up with a million possibilities. So, I don’t pay much heed to crown heights or crown angles. i.e. just because a pear cut diamond has 15% crown height doesn’t mean it is well cut. Likewise, just because a diamond has 10% crown height doesn’t mean it is poorly cut. The easiest way to determine light performance is to get hold of the ASET image as well as properly taken videos in the correct environments.