Emerald Cut Diamond Guide

Alicia Briggs | July 17, 2023

Emerald cut diamonds are one of the oldest and most coveted diamond cuts. Emerald diamond engagement rings have been popular since the 1920s. With a distinct rectangular shape, clean lines, and exacting cut, it’s no surprise that Emeralds have stood the test of time.

In this buying guide, we cover everything you need to know about this historic diamond shape.

We’ve included expert guidance from VRAI Diamond Experts and GIA Graduate Gemologists, Queena Chang, and Grace Taylor, to help you select the best VRAI created Emerald cut diamond for you.

What Is the Emerald Cut?

The Emerald cut features a step cut with 49 long, symmetrical rectangular facets and a rectangular shape. This dimensional and historic cut draws the eye to the center of the diamond.

Emerald cut diamonds are renowned for their light reflection which creates a mesmerizing “hall of mirrors” effect.

History of the Emerald Cut Diamond

Emerald cut diamonds are one of the rarest and oldest diamond shapes. “Emerald cuts have a long history that dates back to the 1500s. Lapidarists developed the cut to prevent accidental chipping or breakage during the faceting process of Emeralds,” explains Queena Chang, VRAI diamond expert.

The Emerald cut was initially invented by stonecutters for Emerald gemstones and was called the table cut. When diamond cutters realized they could apply the same technique to diamonds, the original Emerald cut was born. With its signature hall of mirrors effect, and its strong, symmetrical appearance, Emerald cut diamonds immediately stood out.

But this diamond cut didn’t get its official name until the 1920s. During the Art Deco period, Emerald cut diamonds became incredibly popular. Their straight, sleek lines and contemporary look embodied the roaring twenties. As such, you’ll often find vintage engagement rings with Emerald cut diamonds from this era.

Today, Emerald cut diamonds remain one of the most sought-after shapes for engagement rings and fine jewelry. They are beloved for their distinct yet versatile silhouette and captivating brilliance.

Pros and Cons of the Emerald Cut

Emerald cut diamonds are a timeless shape with a classic yet modern look. If you’re looking for a cut that conveys confidence and timeless elegance, an Emerald is worth considering. It’s also important to take into consideration the disadvantages of an Emerald cut before choosing this shape.


  • Distinct Brilliance. Emerald diamonds boast a different type of shine than other known diamond cuts. Most popular diamond shapes have brilliant cuts, but Emeralds have a step-cut. This allows them to reflect light differently. They have a unique hall-of-mirrors effect with a stunning shine.

  • Less Expensive. Emerald diamonds are generally more affordable than Round cut diamonds, even though Emerald cuts tend to be rarer.

  • Maximizes Carat Weight. Due to their elongated shape, Emerald cut diamonds usually appear larger, with a slenderizing effect for your fingers.


  • Noticeable Inclusions. Emerald diamonds don’t hide inclusions as well as brilliant cut diamonds do. As such, it’s important to choose a higher clarity grade for Emeralds to ensure a bright and brilliant diamond.

  • Distinct Appearance. Emeralds are chosen for their strong, rectangular shape and captivating shine. But, for some people, Emerald diamonds may be too bold. This shape will attract attention. If you prefer a more subtle, smaller diamond, Emerald cuts may not be best for you.

Evaluating the Emerald Cut: The Diamond 4Cs

The diamond 4Cs will help you evaluate the quality and value of any Emerald cut diamond.


“Emerald diamonds are step cut, meaning they have long rectangular facets rather than the kite and triangular facets featured in a Round Brilliant,” explains Grace Taylor, VRAI’s Sr. Director of Sales & CX. “Cut is important for step-cuts as a poorly cut Emerald can look glassy or the facets can look misaligned. Fortunately, we eliminate poorly cut options for you.”

All VRAI Created Emerald cut diamonds have Excellent cut grades.


“Emeralds are fairly forgiving when it comes to diamond color. But once you get into the I/J range, you’ll likely want to stick with yellow or rose gold for the mounting, if possible. This way the color isn’t highlighted by the setting,” says Taylor.


“You should prioritize clarity for your Emerald diamond. Their larger facets won’t hide inclusions as easily as smaller facets do. VS1 is a good safety zone for most Emerald diamonds. VS2s are also an option for certain Emerald diamonds,” advises Taylor.

VRAI diamond experts can help you select the optimal clarity grade for your diamond.


Thanks to their elongated shape, you can save on carat weight for Emerald cut diamonds and still have a big and brilliant diamond. However, our diamond experts do love Emerald diamonds at higher carat weights. Their strong shape and mesmerizing faceting structure are beautifully emphasized at higher carats.

Best Settings for Emerald Cut Diamonds

Emerald cut diamonds are known for their versatility, which allows this shape to stun in almost any engagement ring setting. However, certain settings will especially highlight an Emerald cut diamond.

“The Classic is perfect for showcasing a single Emerald as the star of the show. It’s the perfect option if you’re considering a larger center diamond,” suggests Chang.

“The Five Stone Heirloom and The Three Stone with either Emerald side stones or tapered Baguette side stones are also fantastic choices. These settings have antique influences with a modern twist,” says Chang.

Overall, Halo, Solitaire, and Three Stone settings are considered the most popular settings for Emerald engagement rings. Three Stone and Halo settings will help your Emerald cut look larger while a Solitaire setting will enhance the elegance and lines of an Emerald.

Famous Emerald Cut Diamonds

It’s no surprise, due to their popularity, that there are numerous famous Emerald cut diamonds. This shape is favored by celebrities, but the most famous Emerald cut diamond engagement ring belongs to either Elizabeth Taylor or Grace Kelley, depending on who you ask.

Elizabeth Taylor’s 29.4-carat Emerald cut ring, given to her by Mike Todd, has solidified its status as one of the most memorable engagement rings. But Grace Kelley’s historic Emerald ring is what took her from Hollywood royalty to actual royalty. The Princess of Monaco was given a 10.48-carat Emerald diamond ring, with a Three Stone setting and Baguette side stones, in 1965.

In recent years, the most famous Emerald cut diamond rings include Amal Clooney’s 7-carat Three Stone Emerald, Beyonce’s extravagant 18-carat Emerald, Angelina Jolie’s 16-carat Emerald, and Kim Kardashian’s 20.5-carat Three Stone Emerald ring.

Are Emerald Cut Diamonds More Expensive?

Emerald diamonds can be less expensive than other popular diamond shapes of the same quality, such as Round Brilliant cuts. This is due to less demand, not due to quality. Emerald cut diamonds are considered valuable, but they are still rare, whereas Round Brilliants are the most popular diamond shape in the world.

Ultimately, the cost and worth of an Emerald cut diamond depend on its diamond grade. A VRAI created 1-carat Emerald cut diamond with G color, SI1 clarity begins at $978 and goes up in price from there.

A Popular Choice for Engagement or Wedding Rings

“Emerald Diamonds became abundantly popular for engagement rings during the Art Deco era due to their geometric shape and long facets,” explains Chang. “They are still popular today, as they bring a striking shine to diamonds that aren't seen in brilliant or mixed cuts.”

Emerald diamonds are a wonderful and popular cut for engagement rings. Their elegant shape uniquely demands attention, with subtle glamor and captivating shine. Plus, Emerald cut diamonds tend to appear larger and elongate the finger, which are qualities engagement ring shoppers often desire.

While commonly chosen for engagement rings, Emerald cut diamonds also look beautiful set in wedding rings. Our most popular VRAI wedding ring designs for Emerald diamonds include The Five Stone Band, The Tetrad Ring, and The Emerald Eternity Band.

Are Emerald Cut Diamonds Considered Old Fashioned?

Since Emerald cuts are so historic, some shoppers ask whether or not they’re a little bit old-fashioned. Thankfully, Emerald cuts are anything but. Emerald cut diamonds have a vintage feel that never looks dated.

“I wouldn't say that Emerald cuts are old-fashioned at all. They have a lasting appeal, with a unique way of showcasing the qualities of a diamond,” Chang says.

What Does An Emerald Cut Ring Symbolize?

An Emerald cut diamond engagement ring means you have a strong sense of self and an appreciation for vintage and timeless style. Few diamond shapes are as confident and sophisticated as an Emerald cut diamond.

Shoppers who choose an Emerald ring do so because they seek something that deviates from tradition and stands out - just like them.

Emerald Cut Diamond FAQs: Ask a Diamond Expert

Use the following advice from our diamond experts to answer any lingering questions you may have about Emerald cut diamonds.

How Many Millimeters Is a 1-Carat Emerald Cut Diamond?

“Generally, a 1.00ct Emerald cut tends to be 7.00x5.00mm, but this can vary depending on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond,” explains Chang.

How Large Do Emerald Cut Diamonds Appear?

Emerald cut diamonds often appear larger than they are, and look even bigger at higher carat weights. A 1-carat Emerald cut diamond attracts plenty of attention, but a Halo or Bezel setting will further emphasize an Emerald's size.

Use VRAI’s size guide to see how big each diamond ring will look on your hand. You can do this by selecting your favorite VRAI created Emerald cut diamond online. Then, use the corresponding size chart to compare what it will look like at higher carat weights.

Do Emerald Diamonds Look Bigger Compared to Other Diamond Shapes?

Emerald cut diamonds will look larger than certain diamond shapes, including the Round Brilliant cut. When compared to other elongated shapes, like Oval and Marquise, Emerald cuts often look similar in size.

Emerald Cut Diamonds vs Princess Cut Diamonds

Emerald and Princess cut diamonds have some similarities with several key differences. They both have a strong, linear shape. But Emerald cuts are elongated and rectangular, with beveled corners, and Princess cuts are square with square corners.

Emerald cuts have a step cut while Princess cuts have a brilliant cut. Both cuts are popular and beautiful, but they each have their own stunning shine and distinct look.

Emerald Cut Diamonds vs Baguette Diamonds

“Emerald cuts and Baguettes both are step cuts, meaning that they feature long flat facets that reflect the light in larger flashes,” Chang explains. “The main difference is that Emerald cuts aren’t a true rectangle. They are more Octagonal, with corners that are cut at an angle. Baguettes are truly rectangular, so they tend to be much longer and thinner.”

Baguette diamonds are typically only featured in fine jewelry or as side-stones in rings while Emerald diamonds are commonly chosen for center diamonds.

Shop VRAI Created Emerald Cut Diamonds

Explore our vast, high-quality selection of lab-grown diamonds online or in person at one of our showrooms. All VRAI created diamonds are grown in our certified zero-emission diamond foundry. This means no mining, no emissions, no human toll, and no guilt.