An oval diamond bow tie refers to a pair of black triangles visible across the middle of the diamond. To ensure your oval diamond doesn’t display this characteristic of a poorly cut stone, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Oval diamonds are captivating gems but come with their own set of unique qualities. Before delving into the specifics of how a bow tie forms in an oval diamond, let’s take a moment to appreciate the oval cut itself. Ovals are currently in the spotlight, experiencing a surge in popularity unlike any other cut. Currently they stand as one of the top choices for engagement rings, and rightfully so. Their elongated shape offers a refreshing departure from the traditional round brilliant. Ovals create the illusion of elongated fingers and impart an additional touch of sophistication to a classic solitaire setting. Additionally, ovals tend to appear larger than round diamonds of the same carat weight due to their spread-out, shallower profile. Furthermore, they often come at a slightly lower cost per carat compared to rounds, allowing for a larger appearance within a given budget. With so many appealing attributes, it’s no surprise they have garnered such widespread acclaim.

Unfortunately, choosing an oval diamond presents more challenges than selecting a round brilliant diamond. The complexity arises from what's referred to as the "oval diamond bow tie" effect. However, if you're willing to invest additional time, patience, and effort, the oval cut might be the ideal choice for you. There are numerous pitfalls when it comes to choosing the right oval diamond, with the most common mistake being the bow tie effect. So, what exactly is this effect? Why is it undesirable? And how can you ensure that your oval diamond is free from it? Do all oval diamonds exhibit this feature? Read on and we will answer all of these questions for you in our detailed blog covering all things oval diamonds and bowties! 

What is an Oval Diamond Bow Tie?

A bow tie is a dark area that extends across the diamond, resembling a bow tie. Ovals, pears, and marquise diamonds all exhibit this characteristic to varying degrees. A prominent, dark bow tie is undesirable as it can diminish the diamond's overall appearance. While not the sole indicator of an oval diamond's quality, it is often the most noticeable. Bow ties can be elusive. They appear differently in various lighting conditions, rooms, and angles, whether the diamond is mounted or unmounted. At times, they are clearly visible, while at others, they seem to disappear.

What Causes the Oval Diamond Bow Tie?

In poorly cut round diamonds, light leakage occurs, resulting in reduced sparkle because the facets fail to reflect light effectively. In the case of ovals, the bow tie effect is caused by light obstruction, creating a significant shadow that reflects back toward the observer. Surprisingly, the obstruction originates from the body and head of the viewer themselves. This occurs due to the angles of the facets and their light reflection properties, preventing light from penetrating the oval diamond and causing the bow tie effect. So, if you find yourself wanting to part ways with your oval diamond, you can truthfully say, "It's not you, it's me."

Can the Bow Tie Be Eliminated?

Yes and no. Removing a bow tie from an oval diamond isn't simple and involves compromises. If it were easy and cost-effective, all ovals would be cut to the same ideal standard and graded accordingly. However, the truth is that each oval is cut to maximise the carat weight from the rough diamond it originates from. Despite common belief, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) doesn't have specific standards for determining a good, very good, ideal, or in this case, bow-tie-less cut. Diamond cutters continuously explore methods to minimise the bow tie effect. However, widening or deepening the cut of an oval diamond can reduce the bow tie's prominence, but this may require compromising on the diamond's perfect ratio or settling for a diamond that appears smaller when viewed from the top.

Contact our bespoke team at our Sunshine Coast Jewellery Studio to book your complementary consultation and view a range of oval cut diamonds.

Are Bow Ties Present in All Ovals?

Bow ties are quite common, and virtually all oval diamonds exhibit some degree of a bow tie effect. Surprisingly, a minimal bow tie can actually enhance a diamond's appearance. How so? Here's where it gets nuanced. Contrast plays a pivotal role in diamond aesthetics. A balance of deep shadows and bright highlights adds to the diamond's allure and visual depth. A diamond devoid of any dark areas might appear lackluster. However, excessive contrast, such as a thick, dark line across the center of the diamond, is undesirable. So, while a certain level of contrast is desirable, a pronounced, uninterrupted black feature is not.

Is the Bow Tie Noted on the Grading Report?

Unfortunately, the presence or severity of a bow tie is not typically included in a diamond's grading report. This omission stems from the subjective nature of assessing a bow tie's impact on a diamond's beauty. Unlike round brilliant diamonds, fancy-shaped diamonds like ovals do not receive a specific cut grade from the GIA. This is due to the wide variety of shapes and the more subjective nature of determining their appeal. For instance, the number of facets can vary between ovals. This complexity makes purchasing an oval diamond without seeing it in person risky, as you might end up with a prominent bow tie and a less appealing stone.

How to Ensure Your Diamond Doesn't Have a Prominent Bow Tie

The most reliable method to ensure your diamond doesn't feature a noticeable bow tie is by working closely with an expert to find and select the perfect stone. Our team can assist you in sourcing and evaluating diamonds, regardless of your location. Schedule a complimentary consultation online to start your search today. We advise against browsing on your own and purchasing your diamond online, regardless of it's shape. Our team can work with you in studio or virtually and source your diamond for you, your specifications and your budget. 

Bool your complementary consultation here — we can't wait to meet you! 

— Morgan xo

April 25, 2024 — Morgan Gaskin