Emerald Cut

Rectangular Emerald Cut

Emerald cut diamond - sample image
sample image
Shape: Emerald
Also known as: Rectangular Emerald Cut
Cutting style: Step cut
Facets: usually 58
L/W ratio: 1.25 - 1.65

Quick Intro

Emerald is an elegant and sophisticated classic. A rectangular shaped step cut with trimmed corners originally developed way back in 1500s. It has flat parallel facets that act like mirrors and produce what is called a hall of mirrors effect.

Emeralds are not designed to be as fiery and brilliant as Round diamonds as they don't bend or reflect light in the same manner. They are more clean looking and accentuate clarity and lustre. A very distinctive look that adds beauty to any kind of jewelry.

Emerald Cut: Carat to MM Chart (actual size)

The following is a chart of actual Emerald sizes (from 0.25 to 10 carats) with their corresponding face-up dimensions in millimeters (length×width). The stones presented here have a length-to-width ratio of 1.35, but this could be anything between 1.25 and 1.65. You can use this website to experiment with different ratios to figure out your preference. The chart below will give you an approximate idea of how big an Emerald diamond of a certain weight looks or should look. The chart is interactive, meaning you can click on any stone to view it in a diamond ring simulator.

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0.25 carat Emerald
4.21×3.12 mm
0.5 carat Emerald
5.31×3.93 mm
0.75 carat Emerald
6.08×4.5 mm
1 carat Emerald
6.68×4.95 mm
1.25 carat Emerald
7.2×5.33 mm
1.5 carat Emerald
7.65×5.67 mm
1.75 carat Emerald
8.05×5.96 mm
2 carat Emerald
8.42×6.24 mm
2.25 carat Emerald
8.76×6.49 mm
2.5 carat Emerald
9.07×6.72 mm
2.75 carat Emerald
9.36×6.93 mm
3 carat Emerald
9.64×7.14 mm
3.25 carat Emerald
9.9×7.33 mm
3.5 carat Emerald
10.14×7.51 mm
3.75 carat Emerald
10.38×7.69 mm
4 carat Emerald
10.61×7.86 mm
4.25 carat Emerald
10.83×8.02 mm
4.5 carat Emerald
11.03×8.17 mm
4.75 carat Emerald
11.23×8.32 mm
5 carat Emerald
11.42×8.46 mm
5.25 carat Emerald
11.61×8.6 mm
5.5 carat Emerald
11.8×8.74 mm
5.75 carat Emerald
11.97×8.87 mm
6 carat Emerald
12.14×8.99 mm
6.25 carat Emerald
12.31×9.12 mm
6.5 carat Emerald
12.47×9.24 mm
6.75 carat Emerald
12.62×9.35 mm
7 carat Emerald
12.78×9.47 mm
7.25 carat Emerald
12.93×9.58 mm
7.5 carat Emerald
13.08×9.69 mm
7.75 carat Emerald
13.22×9.79 mm
8 carat Emerald
13.37×9.9 mm
8.25 carat Emerald
13.5×10 mm
8.5 carat Emerald
13.64×10.1 mm
8.75 carat Emerald
13.77×10.2 mm
9 carat Emerald
13.89×10.29 mm
9.25 carat Emerald
14.03×10.39 mm
9.5 carat Emerald
14.15×10.48 mm
9.75 carat Emerald
14.27×10.57 mm
10 carat Emerald
14.39×10.66 mm
Length-to-width ratio: 1.35

Size Comparison With Other Shapes

Emeralds are roughly in the middle when it comes to size, pretty much equal to Radiant and Heart diamonds. Both Radiants and Emeralds are rectangularly shaped with cropped corners, however, this is where similarities end as they're completely different when it comes to cut. One is a clean looking step cut (Emerald), while the other is a fiery, "crushed ice" brilliant cut (Radiant).

Emeralds typically face-up larger than Asschers, Princesses, and Cushions, and smaller than Rounds, Ovals, Pears, Trillions, and Marquises. Their rectangular shape, however, can give an illusion of somewhat greater size.

The following is a size comparison between Emerald and diamonds of all other cuts. The percentages show average face-up size difference:

Buying Guide For Emeralds

Emeralds have large open facets which means any imperfections will be easily noticeable to the naked eye. For this reason, recommended clarity is at least VS (Very Slightly Included, either VS1 or VS2 for best value). As for the color, step cuts in general will show more color than brilliant cuts. If you want an Emerald diamond (which is a step cut) to appear reasonably colorless, color H or higher is recommended.

Length-to-width ratio or how rectangular you want your diamond to be depends entirely on your personal preference. More rectangular stones (with higher ratios) will somewhat elongate shorter fingers. Always make sure the corners are even and symmetrical.

Here is a guide on what to look for and what to avoid:

Look for:
  • Color: H or higher [depends on a setting]
  • Clarity: VS or better [explain]
  • Cut parameters:
    • Depth: 60% - 69%
    • Table: 58% - 69%
    • Polish/Symmetry: Good or better
    • Length-to-width ratio: 1.25 - 1.65
  • Diamonds certified by GIA or AGS [explain]
  • Eye-clean

Watch out for:
  • Uneven corners
  • Inclusions visible to the naked eye
  • Extremely thin or extremely thick girdle
  • Fair or Poor symmetry
  • Strong blue fluorescence [explain]
  • Diamonds without GIA or AGS certification [explain]

Did You Know?

  • The emerald cut was originally developed for Emerald gems (hence the name) and dates back to 1500s. Emerald gemstones (green in color) are less resistant to breakage and more prone to chipping, so more care has to be taken when cutting them. Large parallel stepped facets and angled corners will give them more stability. This is how emerald cut was born and later improved and adopted by other gemstones including diamonds.

Where To Buy Emerald Diamonds?

It's simple: for best value, buy online. Online vendors almost always offer better prices than traditional stores. They also have huge selections and with today's technology you can easily inspect any diamond up-close in 360-degree view. It's easy and it's safe. Here are the most recommended online retailers:

Compare Emerald with another diamond

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carat vs. length* width* depth*
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Color Recommendation For Emerald Diamonds

Emerald cuts with large, flat facets are not as good at masking color as Rounds or other brilliant cuts. For Emeralds it's recommended to stay relatively high on a color scale. The choice of color also depends on a setting:

Solitaire Small side-stones Substantial side-stones
White gold/Platinum H+ G+ same as side-stones+
Yellow gold I+ H+ same as side-stones+
e.g. pave setting e.g. three-stone setting
Note: If side-stones are of any significant size (like in three-stone settings), you should at least match the color of the center stone with the color of the side stones, otherwise the center stone might look out of place (a bit "off-white").

For best value, go with the minimum recommended color for a particular type of setting. Color variations between H graded and higher colored Emerald cuts are so slight that it's almost impossible to tell the difference, especially when diamonds are mounted. The difference in price, however, can be quite considerable.

Clarity Recommendation For Emerald Diamonds

Because of the broad, open facets Emeralds reflect less light than brilliant cuts, which means they're not very good at hiding inclusions. For Emeralds it's recommended to stay within the VS clarity range (VS1, VS2, or higher).

Note: You can always go lower in clarity, but it's going to get increasingly difficult to find an eye-clean Emerald below the minimum recommended VS2 grade.

For best value, go with the lowest clarity possible that is still eye-clean. If a diamond is eye-clean, then it doesn't really matter, if it's flawless or VS2. It will look the same, provided all other characteristics are the same.
About Diamond Clarity
Diamond clarity refers to the presence and visual appearance of the flaws inside a diamond (called inclusions) or on its surface (called blemishes). Clarity tells you to what degree these imperfections are present.

The amount of inclusions and blemishes is directly correlated to a diamond's value. Fewer imperfections mean higher price and vice versa.

Gemological laboratories grade diamond clarity as Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1,VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1,VS2), Slightly Included (SI1,SI2), and Included (I1,I2,I3).

GIA and AGS Certified Diamonds

Professional and unbiased assessment of a diamond's characteristics is stated on a diamond grading report, commonly referred to as a certificate. Certificate, while not 100% reliable, is essential in determining a diamond's value.

The standard for diamond grading is pretty much set by GIA - Gemological Institute of America. They are the most reputable and consistent lab in the industry. AGS (American Gemological Society) is not far behind.

If a diamond is not certified by GIA or AGS, you can be pretty much certain that you are looking at lesser quality than indicated. This puts you in a bad position of not knowing the true diamond characteristics, which almost always results in overpaying. That is why a certificate from a well-respected grading lab is so important.

The bottom line: Make sure to always buy a diamond certified by either GIA or AGS. That's the only way of truly getting the quality you expect.

Diamonds with Blue Fluorescence

Blue fluorescence can have a positive, negative, or zero effect on a diamond. Diamonds in the lower color range (H or lower) can benefit from it, as it can make them look whiter, more colorless. On the other hand, strong fluorescence can cause a stone (especially in the higher color range D-G) to appear hazy or milky under certain light conditions. One of the biggest benefits of fluorescent diamonds is that they generally cost less.

GIA grades fluorescence as None, Faint, Medium, Strong, and Very Strong.

Faint fluorescence will have zero effect on color and overall appearance. Fluorescence of this type is not an issue and shouldn't be a purchasing factor.

Medium fluorescence will in most cases have zero to very small influence on color and overall appearance, however, colorless diamonds can sometimes exhibit negative effects and should be examined in different light conditions before purchasing.

Strong/Very Strong fluorescence requires caution. Generally, it's not a good idea to buy a colorless diamond with Strong/Very Strong fluorescence. As for lower color diamonds, even they can sometimes look hazy with strong fluorescence, so never buy a stone with this type of fluorescence without careful visual inspection.

If you're interested in fluorescent diamonds that have been carefully examined and do not display any negative effects of fluorescence, I recommend Brian Gavin's Blue Diamonds. Those are definitely top of the line and a great value.

Diamonds Without GIA or AGS Certificates

The problem with diamond grading labs other than GIA or AGS is that they are looser and more inconsistent in their grading standards. A GIA color H is an IGI color G and an EGL/HRD color F. The same goes for clarity.

While it's true that IGI, EGL, and HRD diamonds are sold at a discount, you can be certain that the same stones would cost less, if they would be certified by GIA or AGS. Why? Because they would get lower grades and thus lower price. Lower than discounted IGI, EGL, and HRD stones with higher grades.

Diamond merchants use IGI, EGL, HRD, and alike to maximize their profits. They know they can sell diamonds with inflated grades for more, even if they're sold at a substantial discounts. Some merchants also use their in-house certification, usually for the sole purpose of increasing their profits. These kinds of certificates are meaningless.
The bottom line: If you don't want to overpay and want to know exactly what kind of quality you're getting, then avoid diamonds without GIA or AGS certification.

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