Emerald diamonds have elegant step cut facets, which give them their signature icy, flashing look. While emerald cut diamonds have been appreciated by style setters for decades, they’ve been having a bit of a boom in popularity lately. Emerald cut diamonds have been trending for earrings, necklaces, and engagement rings, as more and more women (including Beyonce, who has an emerald cut engagement ring) are drawn to their distinctively glamorous beauty. Though this unique shape has become more popular, it’s still a rare choice: only around 5% of shoppers choose an emerald cut diamond.

If you’re among those who appreciate the distinctive beauty of the emerald diamond, there are some things you should know when shopping for one. In this post, we’ll cover what an emerald cut diamond is, what to look for when buying an emerald cut diamond, the cost of emerald cut diamonds, and which settings work best for emerald cut diamonds. Here’s everything you need to know about buying an emerald cut diamond.

Know the Cut: What is an Emerald Cut Diamond?

This diamond shape is called the “emerald cut” because their cut was first used on emeralds. Emeralds are generally more fragile than diamonds, as they are softer and usually have more inclusions. To keep emeralds from breaking during the cutting process, artisans in the 1500s began cutting them with linear, step cut facets, which became standard for the stone. Stonecutters later found that diamonds also looked stunning with the emerald cut, thus the emerald cut diamond was born.

The emerald cut diamond is shaped like a rectangle with cut corners and is step cut, which is what gives an emerald cut diamond its mesmerizing “hall of mirrors” effect. Emerald diamonds can look longer or more square, depending on their ratio.

What Do I Look for When Buying an Emerald Cut Diamond?

When buying any diamond, you should understand the 4Cs. When considering the cut, color, and carat gradings of an emerald cut diamond, judge them the same way you would with other shapes. Cut is always very important, as a poor cut will make a diamond look dim, so you’ll want to prioritize that when buying an emerald cut diamond. Color is, as always, a matter of personal preference when buying a diamond. Carat, the weight of a diamond, always has the biggest effect on the price of a diamond, so know that when shopping for an emerald cut diamond.

For the fourth of the 4Cs, clarity, there are some special considerations to keep in mind for emerald cut diamonds. There’s also another thing you to consider when buying an emerald cut diamond: its length, width, and depth ratios.

Emerald Diamond Clarity

So, why is the clarity of an emerald diamond something you need to consider carefully? Clarity is a grading of how flawless a diamond is, both internally and externally. Internal flaws (inclusions) and external flaws (blemishes) can affect the beauty of a diamond. And there’s perhaps no cut where clarity is more important than the emerald cut.

The way an emerald diamond is cut allows you to see very clearly into the diamond. This gives emerald cut diamonds a gorgeous, unique look— but also allows flaws to be more visible. When buying an emerald cut diamond, be wary of buying low clarity grades. For this cut, experts generally recommend buying an “eye clean” diamond (one with no flaws visible to the naked eye), which would be one with a clarity grading of VVS1 or higher.

Emerald Cut Diamond Ratios: Length, Width, and Depth

There are two ratios you need to understand before buying an emerald cut diamond: the length to width ratio and the depth ratio.

The length to width ratio of an emerald cut diamond affects its shape. Those with higher ratios will look longer and those with shorter ratios will look more square. Which ratio is right for you is really a matter of personally preference. For reference, most people prefer emerald diamonds with a ratio of around 1.45 to 1.55. But if you prefer a longer or more square emerald cut diamonds, you can certainly go outside that. It’s simply important to understand what this length to width ratio means so you can make an informed choice when buying.

The depth ratio of an emerald cut diamond affects how it reflects light. So while the best length to width ratio of an emerald cut diamond is mostly a matter of personal preference, there is a clear best depth ratio range. To ensure that your emerald-cut diamond reflects the most light (and, therefore, looks the most brilliant), you’ll want one with a depth percentage of 60 to 70 percent of the stone’s width.

How Much Does An Emerald Cut Diamond Cost?

Emerald cut diamonds are rarer than many other diamond shapes, which can make them more expensive. A one-carat emerald cut diamond can cost anywhere from $1,400 to $6,000, depending on its quality. Emerald carats do look a bit larger per carat than many other shapes, however, due to having more of their surface area on their table (their top). So, if you want to stretch your budget, you may find that you can go a bit lower with your carat weight and still have a diamond with a size you like.

What Setting Should I Choose for an Emerald Cut Diamond?

Finally, let’s talk about setting emerald cut diamonds. Really, emerald cut diamonds look stunning in any setting. Choosing the right one is simply a matter of personal preference. While all setting styles look beautiful with emerald cut diamonds, the most popular settings for emerald cut diamonds are solitaire settings, which allow the beauty of the diamond to take full focus, and halo settings, which amp up the glamour of emerald cut diamonds.