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Bad Oval Diamond Bow Tie Effect: Understanding and Avoiding This Common Issue

Bad Oval Diamond Bow Tie Effect
Avoid the undesirable oval diamond bow tie effect to enhance brilliance and beauty. This flaw, resembling a bow tie across the diamond's center, diminishes light performance. Opt for expert guidance to select oval diamonds with ideal proportions, ensuring maximum sparkle and eliminating the bow tie effect for a stunning gem.

When selecting an oval diamond, one may encounter the "bow tie effect," an optical feature that can be a point of concern. The bow tie effect appears as a shadow in the shape of a bow tie that stretches across the width of the diamond. This phenomenon occurs due to the diamond's facets aligning in such a manner that they fail to reflect light back to the observer, which can potentially diminish the stone's brilliance and overall appeal.

Our aim is to discern how the bow tie effect impacts the desirability of an oval diamond and what can be done to mitigate it. Understanding this effect is crucial, as the presence and severity of a bow tie can vary greatly from one oval diamond to another. With factors of cut quality, facet arrangement, and light performance at play, we recognize how this distinctive characteristic can influence one's choice in selecting a quality diamond.

While the bow tie effect is inherent to the oval cut to varying extents, our focus is on distinguishing what constitutes a 'bad' bow tie. Diamonds exhibiting a severe bow tie effect tend to have an obvious and distracting dark area that detracts from the stone's beauty. In contrast, a minimal or moderate bow tie can be acceptable and may even contribute to the character of the diamond, as long as it does not overwhelm the stone's visual performance. We explore the balance required to ensure an oval diamond exudes its intended elegance without falling victim to a pronounced bow tie detriment.

Understanding the Oval Diamond


In this section, we explore the rich heritage and distinctive qualities that define oval diamonds, a favorite choice among fancy cut diamonds due to their unique elongated shape and captivating appearance.

History and Popularity

Oval diamonds have a storied history, combining age-old brilliance with modern cutting techniques. Introduced in the late 1950s by diamond cutter Lazare Kaplan, the oval diamond was a breakthrough in diamond shapes, offering a fresh take on the traditional round brilliant. Their elongated shape provides a distinctive, elongated look, making them a popular option for those seeking a blend of classic and contemporary styles. The elongated outline of an oval diamond can also create the illusion of greater size compared to round diamonds of the same carat weight, enhancing their appeal.

Characteristic Features

Oval diamonds are renowned for their unique brilliance and fire, traits they share with their round counterparts. The standard oval diamond has 56-58 facets, which contribute to its luminous appearance. However, a notable aspect to be mindful of when selecting an oval diamond is the potential for a bow tie effect. This effect, seen as a darker area across the central width of the diamond, can vary from nearly imperceptible to quite prominent, and is typically more noticeable in poorly cut stones.

When evaluating oval diamonds, it is essential to consider the length-to-width ratio, which determines the diamond's proportion and overall appeal. A ratio within the range of 1.30 to 1.50 is generally considered ideal as it balances the stone's elegance with its brilliance. The cut quality plays a crucial role in reducing the visibility of the bow tie effect and enhancing an oval diamond's beauty. A well-cut oval diamond can display an exceptional balance of light and dark areas, contributing to its allure and character.

The Bow Tie Effect in Oval Diamonds

Two oval shaped diamond with bow tie effects in them.


In our exploration of oval diamonds, we address a common concern: the bow tie effect, which can detract from a diamond's overall brilliance. We will examine what this effect entails, its causes, and how it influences the stone's sparkle.

Defining the Bow Tie Effect

The bow tie effect refers to a shadow that sometimes appears across the center of oval (and other elongated) diamonds. This shadow resembles a dark band shaped like a man's bow tie. Not all oval diamonds exhibit this effect; its visibility can vary greatly from one stone to another.

Causes of the Bow Tie Effect

Several factors contribute to the bow tie effect in oval diamonds. First and foremost, it's the result of light obstruction when certain facets of the diamond don't reflect light back to the observer's eye. This can be due to how the diamond is cut, particularly the angles and alignment of the facets. It happens more frequently in elongated diamond shapes because their facets are longer and can create uneven light distribution.

Assessing the Impact on Brilliance

The presence of a bow tie can affect the overall brilliance of an oval diamond. While a slight bow tie is often considered normal and doesn't significantly impact the stone's beauty, a more pronounced effect can create undesirable dark areas that make the diamond appear less lively and bright. We assess each diamond individually to determine the impact of the bow tie effect on its appearance.

By integrating thoughtful consideration of these factors, we aim to help ensure that the oval diamonds we select maintain their intended splendor.

Evaluating Diamond Cut Quality

Excellent Cut

Maximizes the diamond's brilliance and fire, reflecting almost all light that enters the diamond.


Very Good Cut

Reflects most of the light that enters the diamond, offering a high level of brilliance and fire.


Good Cut

Reflects a large amount of light, providing good brilliance and fire, but less than very good and excellent cuts.


Fair Cut

Allows much light to escape from the sides, resulting in less brilliance and fire compared to higher cut grades.


Poor Cut

Most of the light escapes through the sides or bottom, leading to significantly less brilliance and fire.

When selecting an oval diamond, understanding the intricacies of cut quality becomes paramount, as it directly influences the beauty and brilliance of the stone.

The Role of Cut in Oval Diamonds

We recognize that the cut of an oval diamond is crucial in determining its visual appeal. A well-executed cut enhances the diamond's ability to reflect and refract light, creating that sought-after sparkle. Specifically, the faceting pattern of an oval diamond—such as the four main, six main, or eight main options—impacts how light travels through the stone. Each "main" references the apexes of the star-shaped facet pattern viewed from above.

Interpreting Cut Grades

Cut grades, as determined by reputable institutions like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), serve as our guide to assessing diamond quality. While GIA does not issue cut grades for oval diamonds, examining the overall proportions and symmetry through an ASET test or similar methods can provide valuable information. We scrutinize grading reports for indicators of cut precision that influence both aesthetics and value.

  • Ideal/Excellent: Highest light performance; exceptional brilliance.
  • Very Good: Good light reflection; minor reductions in sparkle.
  • Good: Satisfactory light return; noticeable differences from higher grades.
  • Fair/Poor: Compromised light performance; visible dullness or dark zones.

Cut Grade and Diamond Performance

Our examination doesn't stop at the cut grade. We delve deeper to evaluate diamond performance—how a diamond interacts with light. Since oval diamonds can display the undesired bow-tie effect, we examine the balance between brightness and dark areas. A minor bow-tie can be acceptable and might even contribute to the stone's character. However, prominent bow-tie patterns usually signal poor cut quality that detracts from the stone's potential brilliance and value. We use advanced tools to measure light performance, ensuring our selection meets exquisite standards for sparkle and fire.

Choosing the Right Oval Diamond

Two ladies showing their oval cut diamond ring.


When selecting an oval diamond, it's important to consider how the characteristics of the stone contribute to its appearance and brilliance. We'll help you understand how to balance the fundamental aspects of diamond quality and appearance specific to oval cuts.

Balancing the Four Cs

The Four Cs—carat, color, clarity, and cut—are paramount in choosing the right diamond. For oval diamonds, we prioritize:

  • Carat: Weight impacts size; decide on a carat that fits your preferences and budget.
  • Color: Opt for a color grade that appears white relative to the setting, while balancing cost.
  • Clarity: Look for clarity that ensures no blemishes or inclusions detract from the stone's beauty.
  • Cut: The skill of the diamond cutter affects the bow tie effect and overall sparkle.

Considering Visual Appearance

The unique bow tie effect is a shadow pattern resembling a man’s bow tie, visible in the center of some oval diamonds. This can detract from the stone's allure, making the cutter's precision critical. We aim for an oval diamond that exhibits a balanced light distribution with minimal bow tie.

Oval Diamond Buying Tips

When searching for an oval diamond, consider these tips:

  1. Assess Cut Quality: Choose a well-cut diamond to minimize bow tie effects.
  2. Examine in Different Lighting: View the diamond in various lighting scenarios to check for consistent brilliance.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations: Every oval diamond is unique; understand that some bow tie effect may be present.
  4. Preferences Matter: Decide what trade-offs are acceptable based on your specific tastes and the intended ring design, such as an engagement ring.

Maximizing Oval Diamond Value

An oval diamond without any type of bow tie effect.


In ensuring the value of an oval diamond, we focus on mitigating negative properties like the bow tie effect and emphasizing the factors that contribute to the gem's worth.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

When selecting diamonds, one should be vigilant about the bow tie effect, where light blockage within the stone creates a dark area resembling a bow tie. This phenonenon significantly undermines the stone's appearance, thus affecting its value. To steer clear of this pitfall:

  • Examine the stone: We recommend inspecting the diamond under various lighting conditions to check for signs of light leakage.
  • Consult with professionals: Gemologists can provide valuable insight into the quality of the diamond's cut and advise on its effects on light reflection.

Understanding the Bow Tie Effect

  • The bow tie is often a result of improper cut and facet alignment, which can cause inconsistencies in light distribution.
  • A diamond's value is preserved by ensuring the bow tie is minimal or absent, enhancing the overall brilliance of the gem.

Factors Affecting Diamond Value

Several factors contribute to the valuation of oval diamonds beyond carat weight, inclusions, and flaws.

  • Carat Weight: While larger stones are often more valuable, the quality of the cut and the presence of a bow tie can negate the benefits of size.
  • Inclusions and Flaws: A diamond's clarity is affected by the presence of imperfections, which are intrinsic or surface features that can detract from its appearance and value.

    • Intrinsic features: Internal inclusions such as crystals or clouds.
    • Surface flaws: Scratches or blemishes visible under magnification.
  • Certification: Diamonds certified by reputable organizations maintain higher value due to the confidence in quality assessment.

In the interests of value, our dedication to avoiding diamonds with prominent imperfections, coupled with our appreciation for the importance of impeccable cuts, is paramount. By focusing on these facets, we uphold their intrinsic worth and enhance their desirability in the market.

Enhancements and Treatments


Clarity Enhancement

Techniques like laser drilling and fracture filling are used to improve the appearance of inclusions.


Color Treatment

High-temperature annealing and irradiation processes are used to alter or enhance the diamond's color.


High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT)

This treatment can improve both color and clarity by simulating the natural conditions under which diamonds form.



Thin layers of material are applied to the diamond's surface to enhance color or mask imperfections.

When seeking the perfect oval diamond, especially for engagement rings, it's crucial to understand the potential enhancements and treatments these gems may undergo to mitigate the undesirable bow tie effect. These processes can affect the diamond's natural characteristics, intrinsically altering its appearance and value.

Identifying Treated Diamonds

We must be mindful of the treatments a diamond may have undergone. Common treatments include laser drilling to remove inclusions or fracture filling to enhance clarity. Knowledgeable vendors like James Allen or Blue Nile will disclose these treatments for transparency. Identification starts by examining diamond certificates—reputable grading entities such as the GIA or AGS will always report any enhancements.

  • Laser Drilling: Creates small channels to remove inclusions.
  • Fracture Filling: Uses a glass-like substance to fill surface-breaking cavities.

Impact on Durability and Value

The treatments diamonds undergo can affect both durability and value:

Durability: While techniques like fracture filling might make inclusions less visible, they can also reduce the gem's structural integrity. Untreated diamonds, especially those with round brilliant cuts that distribute strain evenly across the stone, are considered more durable.

Value: A natural diamond without treatments is usually valued higher than a treated one. Although, a diamond with minor inclusions may still be preferable if it ensures a naturally beautiful look without a distracting bow tie effect. Online retailers, such as James Allen and Blue Nile, often provide detailed descriptions and imagery to assess the quality of the diamond, including any treatments it may have undergone.

  • Natural Untreated: Higher value, but may display natural inclusions.
  • Treated: Enhanced appearance, but lower value and possible durability concerns.

By staying informed about enhancements and treatments, we can make educated decisions when purchasing a diamond, ensuring we understand the full picture of our potential investment.

Visualizing Oval Diamonds Online

A close up view of diamond can be seen under magnifying glass


When selecting an oval diamond, it's crucial to assess its light performance and avoid those with a pronounced bow tie effect. We can utilize online tools effectively to gauge these factors.

360° Video Previews

360° video previews are indispensable for evaluating an oval diamond's brilliance and scintillation. By viewing a high-resolution video that rotates the diamond through a full circle, we gain a comprehensive understanding of how light interacts with the stone from every angle. We specifically look for consistent light reflection throughout the diamond to ensure a minimal bow tie effect.

Using Magnification Tools

Magnification tools allow us to inspect diamonds in finer detail. By zooming in, we can closely observe the precision of the cut and the diamond's lighting effects. We should pay attention to how the light travels through the diamond under magnification, which can indicate the overall brilliance and reveal the presence and extent of the bow tie effect. Here's how we can approach magnification:

  • Zoom in to closely inspect the symmetry of the cut.
  • Look for even light distribution to ensure the facets are reflecting light properly.
  • Observe the diamond at various levels of magnification to check for consistent scintillation.

Comparing Oval Diamonds to Other Shapes

Different diamond cuts shown in the image.


In our exploration of diamond cuts, we focus on how oval diamonds stand apart from round brilliants and other fancy shapes by considering their unique faceting patterns and visual effects.

Ovals vs. Round Diamonds

Oval diamonds and round brilliants are two popular shapes that engage buyers with their brightness and fire. However, they have distinct differences:

  • Brightness: While round diamonds are renowned for their superior brilliance due to their symmetrical faceting allowing optimal light reflection, oval diamonds can exhibit similar brightness but with a more elongated shape.
  • The Bow Tie Effect: An issue primarily seen in oval diamonds is the bow tie effect—dark areas resembling a bow tie due to uneven light distribution. Round diamonds do not typically display this phenomenon because of their uniform faceting.

Round Diamonds:

  • Pros: Maximum brilliance, timeless appeal, hides inclusions well
  • Cons: Generally more expensive per carat due to higher demand and cutting waste

Oval Diamonds:

  • Pros: Creates an illusion of greater size, unique aesthetic, can appear to elongate fingers
  • Cons: Can possess bow tie effect, requires careful inspection for faceting quality

Ovals vs. Other Fancy Cuts

Oval diamonds share the category of fancy cuts with shapes like pears, hearts, and other elongated stones. These other fancy shapes each embody their own pros and cons:

Elongated Shapes (Ovals, Pears, Marquise):

  • Pros: Can create an illusion of length, often more affordable than round cuts, unique appearance
  • Cons: More susceptible to the bow tie effect, some may not disperse light as evenly as round

Heart-Shaped Diamonds:

  • Pros: Symbolic shapes ideal for romantic gestures, unique faceting can offer good brilliance
  • Cons: The complexity of cut can lead to variability in light performance and aesthetics

In our evaluation, we find that while ovals share some characteristics with other fancy cuts, such as the bow tie effect, their elongated design harbors a distinct charm and requires mindful selection to ensure the bow tie is minimal, thus preserving the stone's beauty.

The Science of Light and Diamonds

Brilliant cut oval diamond shown in the picture


Diamonds captivate us with their brilliance, and understanding light's interaction with these gems is fundamental. Light's journey through a diamond profoundly affects its appearance, highlighting the stone's facets, internal features, and overall sparkle.

When light enters a diamond, it refracts due to the gem's high refractive index, registering the sparkle that diamonds are known for. Facets, the flat surfaces on a diamond, act like mirrors reflecting and refracting the light inside and directing it back to the observer's eye.

Various cutting styles influence diamond light behavior:

  • Brilliant cuts aim to maximize light return through triangular and kite-shaped facets.
  • Step cuts have long, narrow facets in parallel rows, offering a different type of reflection.
  • Mixed cuts combine characteristics from both styles for a balance of brilliance and clarity.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamonds based on this scintillation, which is the sparkle that occurs when a diamond moves.

A diamond's bow tie effect is a shadow that appears across the central width of a diamond, diminishing its light performance. This feature is more prominent in elongated cuts, such as the oval shape.

We focus on careful cutting to minimize this effect and preserve the diamond's allure:

Mastering the science of light in diamonds enables us to produce gems that exude superior fire, brilliance, and scintillation, resonating with confident elegance.

Oval Cut Moissanite Ring on Sale

Frequently Asked Questions

In our examination of oval diamonds, one focal point of interest is the bow tie effect. It's a phenomenon that both intrigues and concerns buyers, as it can impact the stone's aesthetic appeal. Below, we address the most common inquiries regarding this particular feature in oval diamonds.

What causes the bow tie effect in oval diamonds?

The bow tie effect in oval diamonds is caused by light blockage that occurs due to an imbalance in facet arrangement. This creates shadowed areas in the shape of a bow tie across the diamond's central width when viewed from above.

How can one minimize the appearance of a bow tie in an oval diamond?

To minimize the appearance of a bow tie, we recommend seeking diamonds with optimal facet proportions and symmetry. An expert cut can ensure better light dispersion, thus reducing the prominence of the bow tie effect.

Are bow ties in diamonds considered a flaw?

Bow ties are not universally considered a flaw. While they result from certain cutting techniques, a minor bow tie effect can be inherent in oval diamonds and doesn't necessarily detract from the stone's overall beauty.

How does the bow tie effect impact the value of an oval diamond?

The impact of a bow tie effect on an oval diamond's value varies. A slight bow tie might not significantly affect value, while a more pronounced effect could lower the diamond's appeal and therefore its value.

Can the bow tie effect be found in diamond shapes other than oval?

Yes, the bow tie effect can also occur in other elongated diamond shapes, such as pear and marquise, due to similar facet arrangements and the shape's propensity to create areas of light blockage.

Why do some oval diamonds exhibit a more pronounced bow tie effect than others?

Some oval diamonds exhibit a more pronounced bow tie effect due to differences in cut quality and facet alignment. Diamonds with less optimal facet proportion or symmetry are more likely to have a noticeable bow tie effect.

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