Emerald-cut diamonds have a profile that looks rectangular, but they are actually shaped as octagons. This diamond cut is not as popular as the round cut, and this is why emerald-cut stones are less expensive than round brilliants with similar quality characteristics. An emerald cut with a square-looking profile is commonly referred to as Asscher cut.
Here are the most important facts you need to know about the emerald cut when buying diamonds with this shape:
Difference Between Emerald Cut and Round Cut
The most obvious difference between the emerald cut and the round cut is the shape. However, there is also a difference in another characteristic that is even more crucial for how a diamond looks – brilliance.
While round diamonds are cut to maximize brilliance, emerald-cut stones are lacking in this department – their facets are not arranged so as to bend and reflect light as well as round diamonds do.
Because emerald-cut stones are not cut to exhibit maximum brilliance, which can conceal their flaws, inclusions and yellow tints in these stones are more visible than in round diamonds.
Emerald Cut Quality
Unlike round cuts, emerald cuts are not graded on cut quality by the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America).
You will only see Polish and Symmetry grades in an emerald-cut diamond’s grading report.
There is no consensus as to what the measurements of an ideal emerald cut should be. The rule of thumb is that good emerald-cut diamonds should have a total depth that is 60% to 70% of their width (not length).
Generally, a lower depth percentage is preferable for emerald cuts because it means that the diamond will look bigger when set.
Being shallow is not a big issue with emerald-cut stones – since they are not cut to deliver brilliance, total depth does not affect their appearance as much as it does that of round brilliants.
Evaluating the Color of Emerald Cut
Emerald-cut diamonds do not have much brilliance that could make any yellow tints in them less prominent.
This is why the minimum color grade you need to buy to ensure that your stone looks reasonably colorless is higher than if you were buying a round-cut diamond.
When choosing an emerald-cut stone, it is not recommended to go below H color. Lower grades, such as I or J, will most likely look more or less tinted.
Emerald Cut and Clarity
The lack of brilliance in emerald-cut stones also affects how you should choose their clarity. Inclusions that are hidden by brilliance in round stones can be clearly visible in emerald-cut ones.
So, when deciding on clarity for an emerald cut, it’s best not to go lower than the VS grade (Very Slightly Included). SI1- and SI2-clarity diamonds with this shape will most likely have inclusions visible with the naked eye.
If you focus your search on VS1 and VS2 emerald-cut diamonds, however, you are more likely to find an eye-clean stone at a reasonable price.
The Bottom Line
In sum, to make sure you get the most affordable emerald-cut diamond that looks reasonably colorless and flawless, choose a stone with color graded H or G and clarity in the VS1-VS2 range.
Make sure the diamond’s total depth percentage is 60% to 70% of the stone’s width, and the lower this value, the better.
Click here to see a selection of affordable emerald-cut diamonds with the abovementioned parameters — G-H color/VS1-VS2 clarity and depth in the 60%-70% range.