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September 15, 2022

What Is a Bow Tie in an Oval Diamond?

oval cut diamond with small bow tie

What’s not to love about the oval-cut diamond? This sparkly shape creates a graceful effect and flatters every finger. However, those who are shopping for an oval-cut diamond should be aware of the bowtie effect.  

The bowtie effect isn’t exclusive to just oval-cut diamonds – other elongated shapes such as the pear-cut and marquise-cut can also exhibit bow ties. 

pear diamond and marquise diamond with bow ties

Above: a pear-cut and marquise-cut diamond exhibiting the bow tie effect.

Diamonds with a bow tie have dark connected triangles at the center of the diamond that forms a bow tie-like shape. Prominent bow ties are undesirable as they can hinder the beauty and sparkle of a diamond.  

oval diamond with bow tie effect

Bow ties are not an inclusion - they are simply a visual characteristic that happens in elongated fancy shapes. 

What Causes the Bow Tie Effect?  

Light blockage is what causes the bow-tie effect. Because of this, the bowtie may or may not be visible at certain angles - for example, if you closely examine an oval-cut ring and your head is blocking the light, you may see the bow tie. The bow tie in a diamond is basically a shadow within the diamond. The longer facets in elongated shapes like the oval-cut can make it harder for light to be adequately dispersed.  

oval cut diamond facets

Another factor that causes the bow tie is poor cut and symmetry. When facets aren’t well-placed, the stone cannot reflect light properly, contributing to the dark bow tie.  

Do All Oval Diamonds Have a Bow Tie?  

All oval diamonds have them to a degree, but some oval diamonds have more obvious bow ties than others. A subtle bow tie is ok and can bring a nice contrast to a diamond, but stones with a large, detectable bow tie should be avoided. 

Why Don’t Other Diamond Shapes Have a Bow Tie?  

Elongated diamond shapes like oval-cut diamonds, pear-cut diamonds, marquise-cut diamonds, and sometimes even heart-cut diamonds and radiant-cut diamonds will exhibit the bow-tie effect. Diamonds like the round-cut, cushion-cut, and princess-cut do not have bow ties because the light is evenly distributed through these stones, and they are symmetrically shaped.  

How To Avoid Bow Ties in Oval Diamonds 

Unfortunately, a diamond’s report won’t specify whether or not it has a bow tie, so you’ll need to use these tips to avoid them.  

As mentioned earlier, a poorly cut diamond can contribute to the bow tie effect, but here’s the catch – the GIA and other diamond grading agencies do not specify a fancy diamond’s cut grade. They do, however, specify the diamond’s polish and symmetry grades. Always choose an oval cut with Excellent symmetry and polish grades.  

Another factor that goes into a diamond’s cut quality is its depth and table percentage. For oval-cut diamonds, the ideal table percentage is 53-63%, and the ideal depth percentage is between 58-62%. 

It’s essential that you view HD images and videos of your diamond before purchasing it. This way, you can see whether your diamond has a bothersome bow tie. Or see it in person before buying it. Ritani gives you the unique opportunity to preview your diamond for free at a jeweler, WeWork, or Regus location near you. 

Need help choosing the right oval-cut diamond? Our non-commissioned gemologists are ready to assist you! Contact us today. 

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