Question: How Can I Find the Best 1 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond?

Most online jewelers allow you to search for all of the parameters I list below in this article. I have created a direct link to emerald diamond search pages at James Allen, Brian Gavin Diamonds, Blue Nile, and Leibish here for your convenience:

This year has seen an increase in the demand for emerald cut diamonds. As such I decided to write a little bit about how to go about finding the best emerald cut diamond.

Definition of emerald cut diamond:

Emerald Cut diamonds are oblong step cut diamonds with a large, open table. The corners are truncated to avoid points of weakness.

Image: Brian Gavin Diamonds

Categorized as a fancy cut, the emerald cut was originally developed for the cutting of emeralds, and came into vogue as a popular fancy cut diamonds during the Art Deco period.

This shape, which is usually known as emerald cut diamond, step cut, or trap-cut accentuates a diamond’s clarity. The large table makes it easy to see right into the diamond.

Like other fancy shaped diamonds, emerald cut diamonds can come in a variety of length to width ratios. The classic outline of emerald cut diamonds usually have a ratio of 1.00:1.50 though ratios of up to 1.00:1.75 are also found to be pleasing to the eye. If the diamond has a 1.00:1.00 ratio it is usually called an Asscher shape as I outline in this article here:

What is the difference between Asscher and Emerald Cut Diamonds?

Ideal proportion is not as clearly defined for emerald cut diamonds as it has been for round cut diamonds. Emerald Cut diamonds, as is the case with many other types of fancy cut diamonds, will be cut to a wide variety of shapes, each with a slightly differing proportion. These variations, particularly in the pavilion, makes the science of light performance extremely complex for fancy shapes. As a result you will not find any cut grades noted on gemological reports issued for fancy cuts. This means you will rely more on the jeweler to help you with choosing your fancy cut stone. For this reason it is quite important to choose the jeweler carefully before getting too caught up in the details of diamond geometry.

There are some guidelines to follow when choosing an emerald cut diamond which can help but the truth is that without extensive diamond experience this will only get you so far. A trained gemologist is much more likely be able to help you find what you are looking for as they will know a lot more about the subtle differences between different emerald cut diamonds.

My choice would be to ask Brian Gavin Diamonds for advice when choosing an emerald cut diamond if your choice is to buy your diamond from an online jewelry retailer.

If you prefer to locate a jeweler within driving distance so you can go in person and speak to the jeweler face to face you may enjoy the service provided by FindMyJewlerTM. (USA only)

Secret Shopper Tests Of Jewelers in the USA

Read here to find out more about the excellent Find My JewelerTM service.

Emerald Cut Diamond Buying Tips

Following are a few points to help get you started on your search

Best options for Emerald Cut Diamonds
Best options for Emerald Cut Diamonds

Clarity

The shape of Emerald cut diamonds, with its large open table, makes it well suited to show off higher clarity grades.

Clarity grades for emerald cut diamonds are shown on the diamond lab grading report (unlike cut grade, for which, as far as fancy cut diamonds go, there is no established science).

Since the clarity of emerald cut diamonds or other step cut diamonds is going to be much more obvious it’s advisable to select from the following range:

  • VS2
  • VS1
  • VVS2
  • VVS1
  • IF

Color

A slightly warmer color range is often considered to be as nice or even nicer than cooler color grades. This is due, in part, to the large open table on emerald cut diamonds. Another reason is that the light play is considerably different in an emerald cut diamond when compared to a round brilliant. The choice of color grade is therefore up to your personal preference.

Warmer colors are found among the following colors on the GIA color scale:

  • L
  • K
  • J
  • I
  • H
  • G

Cooler tones will be found among the color grades that are near colorless on the GIA color scale:

  • F
  • E
  • D

The following video is of an emerald diamond that has a slightly warmer color (the L color on the GIA scale) and you can see that it looks gorgeous. Also note how the large table allows the viewer to peer into the diamond and appreciate its clarity.

 

Cut Grade

While the actual cut grade for fancy cut diamonds like the emerald cut is not something that has been firmly established in the diamond industry* there are certain ratios which seem to work better than others and which would place a diamond in a better cut grade if this were something that laboratories were prepared to include on the diamond grading report. Some of the grades listed below are subjective and it’s an area where opinions do vary even between specialists.

*Even round brilliant cuts, which have been the subject of a great deal of study, can still have variability even among diamonds that have all received a top grade. Finding a good jeweler to deal with is always more important than just looking at a grading report. Check out the list of recommended diamond jewelers on our home page.

Having said that, there are some numbers which can serve as a rough guide which I list here:

Emerald Cut Brilliance Guide

Recommended Table Depth %
NOT recommended
Excellent Cut Very Good Cut Good Cut Fair Cut Average Cut
60% to 65% 58% to 69% 57% to 74% 56% to 78% 53% to 80%
Recommended Table %
NOT recommended
Excellent Cut Very Good Cut Good Cut Fair Cut Average Cut
58% to 69.5% 57% to 72% 57% to 74% 56% to 74% 53% to 76%
Recommended Length to Width Ratio
Excellent Cut Very Good Cut Good Cut
1.00:1.50 to 1.00:1.75

1.00:1.26 to 1.00:1.49
&
1.00:1.76 to 1.00:1.99

1.00:1.26 to 1.00:1.49
&
1.00:1.76 to 1.00:1.99

Additional Factors for best results

Fluorescence None or Faint
Polish Excellent to Good
Symmetry Excellent to Good

This handy tool brings you to the Emerald Diamond Search box on four separate websites.

What is the difference between Asscher and Emerald Cut Diamonds?

The short answer is: Asscher cut diamonds are square (ish), Emerald cut diamonds are rectangular (ish).

The reason I say “ish” is that both Assher and Emerald have the corners truncated which gives them eight sides around the girdle.

But a Square Emerald is exactly the same as an Asscher cut diamond.

Cuts like Asscher and Emerald have their outlines arranged parallel to the girdle. This method is called a step cut though occasionally it may also be referred to as a trap cut. These types of cuts emphasize the diamond’s clarity, whiteness, and polish. Therefore it is advisable to select diamonds with the highest grades of color, clarity, and polish.

Other step cuts include carré, baguette, lasque, trilliant/triangle, kite, lozenge, trapeze/trapezoid and obus.

When performing a diamond search you will usually find Asscher diamonds by checking the “Square” shape. The actual square shape had already been taken and named “Princess”, so shapes such as the Asscher shape were given the title “Square”, purportedly to simplify things. I agree that it doesn’t really simplify it that much, but there you are. At least with the internet it is possible to unravel all the mysteries of diamond terminology. It just takes a little research and patience. But you will also find Asscher cut diamonds in the Emerald category. If you look for Emerald cut diamonds which have a length to width ratio of 1:1 (or close to that like 1:1.05) then you’ll find Asscher cut diamonds.

diamond search

History of the Asscher cut:
The Asscher cut was developed in Amsterdam in 1902 by one of the 20th century’s most prodigious diamond experts Joseph Asscher. The Asscher shape was the first signature cut to ever be patented and was under patent until shortly after WWII.

Trivia about the Asscher diamond cutters:
In 1907 and Joseph Asscher and Abraham Asscher were commissioned to cut the renouned Cullinan diamond which weighed over half a kilo (621 grams). Joseph Asscher contemplated for 6 months deciding on the best way to make the cut . When he was finally ready to begin cutting the diamond the first blow broke the blade. He took up the task again the following week and allegedly fainted after stiking the Cullinan with a tremendous blow. The Cullinan was cut into the Cullinan I and Cullinan II diamonds for the British royal family.