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5 Reasons Not to Buy an Emerald Cut Diamond

Have your heart set on an emerald cut diamond ring? Here’s everything you need to know to get the luxe look without losing your shirt.

By Stephanie Dore

Jennifer Lopez emerald cut diamond ring
Image Source: Getty / Kevin Winter
Amal Clooney emerald cut diamodn ring

Let’s reflect on the emerald cut diamond for a minute. Its mirror-like facets and regal stature. Its celebrity following—I mean, J. Lo, Beyoncé, Amal Clooney, that’s a bridal party we want to be a part of. Did we mention its understated elegance? All seems like a pretty good pro list right? So, then, what could possibly be the cons?

Well, these subdued stones are kind of like the Miranda Priestly of diamond shapes—particular to say the least. And not for the faint of heart. They require a certain confidence of the wearer and a certain style of setting to really look their best. They’re so finicky, in fact, that we’re about to convince you not to buy one. Or at least, we’re going to try.

Beyonce emerald cut engagement ring
Image Source: Clive Brunskill

Reason #1 They Don’t Even Sparkle!

Do we need to elaborate? Okay, okay. Let’s explain. That glitter that all the girls are looking for? Well, emerald cuts don’t have it. They may have the same number of facets as a round brilliant cut, but those facets sure don’t behave the same. Rather than sparkle, an emerald’s elongated, step-cut facets do more of a flash dance. Fiery flash, yes, disco ball brilliance, you won’t find it here. But, on the other hand, you can certainly get size and sophistication (go bigger!) without blinding the onlookers. Did we mention that emerald cuts run 15-25% less than a similar quality round diamond?

A round cut diamond — lots of sparkles
An emerald cut diamond — lots of flash

Reason #2 They Corner the Market on Clarity

The emerald cut’s big, beautiful facets and wide open table (that’s the flat top facet) are like a giant picture window into your diamond. Sounds kind of tempting, right? They’re also a giant window into that diamond’s inclusions. Which means you’ll probably want to spend a bit more on the clarity grade of your stone to make sure that bad boy is eye clean. After all, you don’t want to have a window that just looks dirty all the time, amirite? 

We’d recommend avoiding the SI clarity range. But you don’t have to go all out flawless. A VVS or even a VS1 can do the trick to ensure you don’t get distracted by anything but beauty. 

An eye clean VS1 emerald
cut diamond
An SI2 emerald with a large white crystal in near the middle of the diamond

Reason #3 Their True Colors Shine Through

Back to that whole brilliance thing … see because emerald cuts are less sparkly, it’s easier to see their body color. I.e. there’s less sparkle to distract your eye. Now, if you’re going for yellow or rose gold for the setting—or you happen to like the look of a warmer color—it’s not going to matter as much. But if you’re going for white metal, you’ll probably want to stick with H or higher for that color grade. 

Reason #4 They’re a Little Basic

Look, no offense to the emerald cut, but they really look best in a simple, sophisticated setting. Their slender, lengthy ratio isn’t going to suit every ring style. But they do perfectly suit a 3-stone design. No fuss. No frills. Just lots of fire shining through. If you want to add some extra pow, and really hit them with that timeless art deco chic, try some step-cut sidestones or a few baguettes to really pump it up. 

Or, to be frank, we love the emerald on its own, with a modern twist. Literally. A horizontal-set emerald cut solitaire is a today’s, well, regular set solitaire. It’s trendy but totally timeless.

Reason #5 Getting Asked for Your Autograph Might get Tedious

Like we said, the emerald cut is a celebrity favorite. They’re sophisticated, worldly, and glamorous. They elongate the finger, and because they’re less costly than a round, you can go a little bigger. Just don’t blame us if you start getting mistaken for a movie star. 

But if you want luxe without losing your shirt, and your heart is still set on an emerald cut, remember to invest in color and clarity. After all—size isn’t everything.

Think You’re Ready for Some Window Shopping? 

Check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds and compare diamond clarity grades, or book a virtual or offline appointment at our New York salon to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person. 

Not finding what you’re looking for? Email us with what you’re looking for at hello@frankdarling.com. We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.