If you’re shopping for a partner that likes shine and sparkle, oval engagement rings are a hit. Particularly if it’s a crystalline gemstone like a diamond or sapphire (as opposed to turquoise or jade). Oval rings make your fingers look longer and slimmer, so they can be flattering. And if it’s a diamond, it will have 58 brilliant facets. So let’s check out some ring shopping tips.
Oval Engagement Rings Buying Guide
Tip #1: Emphasise the Shank
Oval rings are simple and elegant. But they can seem quite plain. They’re most often used in a solitaire setting since you don’t have as many workable options. You can use side claws to hold the stone – which is the more common option. Compass-point claws aren’t as popular.
This is why oval rings can seem quite plain and uninspiring. But they don’t have to be. By embellishing the band, you can elevate your beloved’s ring finger. Try pavé shanks, two-tone bands, twists, and coils, or maybe split shanks. They’ll make the ring more fancy and stylish.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Ratio
You might see oval engagement rings describes as ‘modified round’ or ‘elliptical’. So length does matter. 1.5 is ideal for oval rings. But you can also find 1.4s and 1.3s that are thicker around the middle. If it’s under 1.3, it can look weird and stubby because it’s so in-between.
So if you can’t decide between ovals and circles, get a ratio within the 1.2 to 1.3 range. It’ll give you the best of both. East-West oval settings are good if you want a larger gemstone. But vertical oval rings are preferred – the sideways setting might make your fingers look fat.
Tip #3: Avoid the Figure Eight
It’s tough to find oval crystals, so many oval rings have mineral gemstones like jasper or pearl. But when you do find an oval crystal such as a diamond, you’ll experience some windowing and extinction. Windows are when the gem is so clear you can see right through. This makes the ring look cheap, glassy, and less glossy. Yet ovals are chosen for their sparkle!
Extinction is when there are too many dark spots so the ring looks black. Both are caused by badly cut facets and wrong angling inside the stone. In oval rings, the ‘black spots’ often form a figure 8, like an infinity sign. The industry calls it the bow-tie effect. Place your palm or finger under the stone and look through the top to double-check. The less bow-tie, the better.
Tip #4: Consider the Sentiment
Rings sometimes snag your clothing or hair. This could be the claws or sharp edges. Oval engagement rings are less likely to do that because of the smooth, curvy sides, though their settings can still rip loose threads. But because this shape works well with minerals, try that.
You could pick your beloved’s birthstone. Or if you’re spiritual, you may choose a stone for its qualities and properties. Particularly calming or healing crystals like amethyst or lapis lazuli. You may even pick gems in their favorite color or one that reflects their personality.
Tip #5: Colour Trumps Clarity
Clarity isn’t just about sparkle and transparency. It’s also about the number of inclusions. These could be scratches, blemishes, or even organic matter that got trapped inside the crystal as it was forming. Round and oval diamonds can both have 58 glossy angular facets.
So they’re equally shiny, but oval facets are stretched over a longer face and body. Meaning round stones are more sparkly and hide inclusions better. But ovals, being elongated, can conceal yellowing more effectively. Meaning you can get away with a lower color grade.
Tip #6: Check for Symmetry
Round stones have close to sixty facets. But they’re squashed onto a small face. So they shine beautifully and show that ‘crushed ice’ effect. Oval crystals have just as many angles and edges. But because the surface is vertically stretched, ovals sparkle a little less than circles.
The length of those facets and edges is extended as well. So any asymmetry gets magnified. The stone will seem wonky, but you won’t know why. If the oval engagement ring you’re checking out looks off-kilter, it’s probably a misalignment in its lines, so take a closer peek.
Tip #7: Find the Right Dimensions
In addition to length-width rations, the sizing of your stone plays a role in how pretty the ring is. Gemstones with big tables or faces (that’s the flat part on top) look bigger than small-faced stones, even if they have the same number of carats. Think emerald cuts and ovals.
So a 0.25ct round ring looks significantly smaller than a 0.25ct oval ring. But this enlarged face means the width and depth need ideal proportions as well. A luxurious face covers 53% to 63% of the gemstone’s surface area, while the best depth is 57% to 62% without a culet.
Tip #8: Know What You Mean
It’s easy to read a few articles, watch a few videos, spout the jargon, and sound like an expert. But if someone is out to scam you, they can scratch the surface of your knowledge and use it against you. So before you start spouting letters and numbers, here’s a quick primer to help. One, eye-clean means you can’t see the inclusions at a glance. To the naked eye, it’s flawless.
Two, gemstones are graded by labs like AGS (American Gem Society) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America). GIA grades diamond colors from D (super-white) to Z (warmer yellow). Three, it rates clarity from F (flawless) to I (included). All those letters between? IF means Internally Flawed. VVS1 = Very Very Slightly Included or Very Very Small Inclusions.
Tip #9: Match The Ring Tone
Most of the time, oval engagement rings feature a single stone. But if that style is too plain for your intended, add ovals, pears, emerald cuts, baguettes, or epaulets on the sides. You can mix side stones – like a diamond center stone with emeralds or sapphire side pieces. It’s hard to visually discern graded tones, so prioritize eye-clean stones over high color grades.
But if all your stones are diamonds, they should have the same color grade. Ordinarily, an H diamond is fine, since the naked eye can’t see the difference in a D. And an eye-clean H can sometimes look better than a D that’s SI or VS2. So get the right clarity-color balance, but if side-by-side gems are made of the same gemstone, then they need to share the same shade.
Tip #10: Look at Multiple Angles
A vendor may offer you an amazing price for your spouse-to-be’s oval engagement ring. They may even give you an HD video or an in-person inspection. They’re not worried because they know you probably don’t know what to look for. So here are some sneaky tips and tricks. Check the face and look straight down from the top. That’ll show the extent of the bow tie.
Almost all ovals have bow ties, so you want it as subtle as possible. Then check the side view for depth. Some diamonds have more mass below the face, creating an ‘iceberg’ that’ll sit in the setting and be largely invisible. They might try to conceal this with a hidden halo setting. It’s very pretty, but a deep ring looks smaller than a ‘shallower’ stone of the same carats.
Tip #11: Find a Band that Works
Some modern couples like to go with contemporary rings. Something like silicone or tungsten. Silicone is popular if you work with your hands (surgeons, dishwashers, etc.) It’s easier to sterilize so you don’t have to keep taking it off. But you can’t attach a gemstone.
Metal options include white gold, colored gold, titanium, platinum, steel, zirconium, or silver. For colored metals (yellow gold, rose gold, etc.), you can get away with a yellower diamond. H, which is the lowest official ‘white’ grading. Everything under is labeled ‘tinted’.
Tip #12: Think About Coverage
Nobody likes fat fingers. So it makes sense that oval engagement rings are marketed for their slimming abilities. (Emerald-cut rings are good.) But some of us are more concerned with girth than length. Your beloved may want a ring that fully covers their finger. It feels more opulent and looks more expensive, so they may forgive a few flaws if it means more face.
In that case, you have two options. You could buy an east-west oval that spreads more to the sides. Or you could buy a ring with a shorter ratio like 1.1 or 1.2. These rings are almost round, and most people denigrate them. But if the mister or missus wants no finger-flesh peeking out from behind their bling, get them that stubby semi-round engagement ring!
Tip #13: Get Something Lab-Grown … ?
… but only if your spouse-to-be approves. Because synthetic diamonds are controversial, and you don’t want to offer grounds for divorce before they even say I do! Technically speaking, lab-created diamonds have the same chemical formula and elements as ‘natural’ diamonds. And most of us can’t differentiate them from ‘true diamonds’ and unless it’s pointed out.
Lab-grown diamonds are often natural moissanite on steroids since mined moissanite is too small for rings. Also, natural diamonds took billions of years to form while 1ct lab diamonds can be ready in a week! And they’re way cheaper. But some jewelry experts won’t assess, insure, or even acknowledge them, so it may be hard to resell if your beloved ever goes broke.
Tip #14: A Clue for Queer Couples
This can work for allies as well. We’ve mentioned moissanite or is too small to be viably mined commercially. But yes, it’s a silicate found in the ground. And while you can’t visually tell moissanite from a diamond, there’s a trick. Diamond is the hardest material on earth while moissanite comes second. But in terms of brilliance and sparkle, moissanite will win.
It will also have fewer inclusions because of the careful conditions it grows in. But while natural diamonds give off a white shine, moissanite gives off a rainbow sparkle. That’s why some jewelers call it ‘the disco ball gemstone’. So that can be a cute way to express your queerness with a lab-grown precious stone, no? It’s just as durable as a natural diamond …
Tip #15: Be Sure What You Want
Yes, you’re shopping for an oval diamond, but what does ‘oval’ look like in your mind’s eye? Is it a flattened disc-like the pictures of the earth in children’s atlases? Is it an eye-shaped gem? Or maybe an egg-shaped one? You may be asking for an oval when what you want is a pear (teardrop shape with one pointed end) or a marquise (oval with two pointed ends) …
You should also ask your beloved (or her sister, mother, best friend, stylist – you know the most accurate source!). Find out what their ring priority is because those qualities can cause a subtle (or even drastic) shift in price. Does your intended prefer sparkle, setting, clarity, or carats? You can mix and match these factors to get the right ring within a workable budget.
Top 15 Oval Engagement Rings
Now that we’ve shown you how to pick one, we want to share some visual inspiration. You could order any of these oval engagement rings, or you could use them as a fount for ideas as you design your own ring. Be sure to click on each image for a 360° demo of the piece.
Also, while you can get far bigger moissanite than diamonds, size increases the rainbow effect. So if you don’t want anyone calling you out for your ‘fake stone’, get a smaller one. Now let’s dig into fifteen of our favorite oval engagement rings so you can start shopping.
1. Twisted Pave Oval Engagement Ring
Our first shopping tip was to focus on the shank so our first inspiration has an elaborate twisted band. Smaller pave diamonds and coiled into the rope-style shank in yellow gold.
2. Hidden Halo Oval Solitaire Ring
Hidden halos are having a moment, and this one is set in 14k white gold. This Verragio ring has French beading on the upper side of the shank. And yes, that’s a bow-tie on the stone.
3. Rose Gold Traditional Halo Ring
If your beloved is all about detail, they’ll love this 14k rose gold oval engagement ring. Beading on the upper shank, pavé on the sides, and an old-school halo around the stone.
4. Yellow Gold East-West Oval Engagement Ring
Here’s an interesting way to style a ring with multiple oval gemstones. The central stone sits vertically, but its ratio is round. The side stones sit in east-west bezel settings of yellow gold.
5. Tess Oval Engagement Ring
All oval gemstones have a bow tie, whether it’s subtle or dramatic, so make it work. The shank on this ring tapers towards the center stone, making the bow tie seem intentional.
6. Angelina Oval Engagement Ring
The previous ring had a rounder ratio and the oval side stones made it seem brilliant but stubby. This is the reverse effect – the round side stones make the center stone seem longer.
7. Swirling Oval Halo Ring
Oval rings can be quite simple, but not this one. If your beloved wants something bold and dramatic, this is it! The oval center stone sits on a raised halo, flanked by marquise petals.
8. Lab-Created Oval Engagement Ring
For the femme that loves simplicity, this gorgeous moissanite ring will grace the hand without breaking the bank. And the savings mean you can invest in a higher karat white gold ring.
9. Top Claw Oval Cut Engagement Ring
Oval rings are often set with two prongs on either side. When you choose pointed compass-point prongs, the stone looks pointed too. Especially when flanked by marquise side stones.
10. Lab-Created Crown Diamond Ring
When you buy a lab-grown diamond, you save thousands. Which means you can get a higher karat shank. Or a bigger carat stone. This one is an eye-popping 2.42ct plus sparkling pavé.
11. Lab-Created Trio Pavé Ring
Many buyers are wary of low-ratio rings because the roundness is ‘stubby’. But if you prefer it, setting side stones in trios (or epaulets) can create the illusion of an east-west oval ring.
12. Navette Leaf Oval Engagement Rings
When you’re ready to invest in a D-rated ring, you want a suitably sophisticated setting. This one has a glittering halo plus gemstone encrusted navette leaves on the basket and sides.
13. Lab-Grown Oval Ring with Marquise Halo
A marquise setting can heighten the curves on oval rings. These lab-grown stones are set in a pointed halo with a yellow gold shank. The sides are embellished with pavé settings as well.
14. Oval-Cut J-VS2 Halo Diamond Ring
When you want a larger stone, you can opt for a lower color. Especially if the stone is eye-clean. The center stone here is a VS2 J, but on yellow gold, that’s not much of a problem.
15. East-West Lab-Created Oval Bezel Engagement Ring
We’ll close our list with the epitome of simplicity. A fuss-free knife-edge shank in 14k yellow gold. A low-key side-set oval sitting snug in its bezel. And it’s a lab-grown high-color E-SI1.
Which oval engagement rings are you currently checking out? Show us in the comments!