With its graceful, tapered outline, a pear shaped diamond is an elegant and flattering choice for an engagement ring. Here are the essentials for selecting the perfect pear shape.
- Learn the anatomy of a pear shaped diamond
- Look for symmetry in a pear shaped diamond
- The ideal length-to-width ratio is the one you prefer
- Check culet placement and position of inclusions
- Make sure the table is centered on a pear shaped diamond
- Avoid the bow-tie on a pear shaped diamond
- Choose a setting that protects the point of a pear shaped diamond
- Point up or down? You decide how to wear a pear shaped diamond
1. Learn the anatomy of a pear shaped diamond
Jewelers consider the pear shaped diamond a “fancy shape,” meaning it’s a shape other than round. Reminiscent of a tear drop, a pear shaped diamond blends the best of the round and marquise diamond shapes.
Since the parts of a pear shaped diamond contribute to its beauty, you should get to know them. Then you can shop for a pear shaped diamond engagement ring with a discerning eye.
You’ll want to be able to name the parts of a pear shaped diamond when you’re looking at various stones. This shows the retailer you’re an informed buyer. Illustration: Peter Johnston/GIA
Look at the diamond face-up and pay attention to its outline. A pear shaped diamond should have gently rounded shoulders and wings. The wings should form attractive arches. If they’re too flat, they make the stone look too narrow. If they’re too rounded, they make it look short and stubby.
A bejeweled pair of pears: a 4.06 carat (ct) yellow pear shaped diamond is nestled against a 3.02 ct colorless diamond. The band, which flows from 18K white gold to yellow gold, echoes the colors of the stones. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com
The pear shaped diamond, like the round brilliant diamond, is faceted to deliver the most sparkle and brilliance. Here are the names of important parts of a faceted diamond, which you should know and are used in this blog:
- Culet: The culet is a small facet at the bottom of the pavilion of a finished gem intended to prevent chipping and abrasion of the fragile tip. Some gems have no facet in this area, which is often called a closed culet.
- Crown: The top part of a gem located above the girdle.
- Girdle: A narrow band that circumscribes the edge of the plane separating the crown and pavilion.
- Pavilion: The portion of a polished gem that is below the girdle. The purpose of pavilion facets is to reflect light toward the crown.
- Table: A large facet in the center of the crown.
On a black background, this 3.83 ct pear shaped diamond shines like a star in the night sky. Photo: Robert Weldon/GIA. Courtesy: Atelier Marisa
Like many other fancy shapes (such as the marquise or heart shape), a pear shaped diamond tends to hold more color than a round brilliant. Therefore, it is best to choose a diamond that is high on the GIA color scale or a fancy-color diamond.
Because pear shaped diamonds tend to hold more color than round brilliant diamonds, it is best to choose a diamond that is high on the GIA color scale or a fancy-color diamond like this 1.21 ct Fancy purplish pink diamond engagement ring set in 18K gold. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com
2. Look for symmetry in a pear shaped diamond
Symmetry is key to the overall beauty of gemstones, but it’s even more important in some fancy-shape diamonds like oval diamonds, heart shaped diamonds, marquise diamonds and pear shapes. To see if a pear shaped diamond is symmetrical, draw an imaginary line down the length of the gem and examine the two halves. The more closely they mirror each other, the better the symmetry is.
Notice how the shoulders, bellies and wings in the illustration below are identical on either side of the line, and how the shape, size and placement of the facets in each half of the stone mirror one another. This is an ideal pear shape. You can use the illustration as a guide when picking a pear shaped diamond.
Illustration: Peter Johnston/GIA
When GIA diamond graders evaluate the symmetry of fancy-shape diamonds, which includes pear shapes, they also look for things like a balanced and even outline. Certain types of asymmetry and uneven proportions are considered by most in the jewelry trade to have a negative effect on the appearance of a pear shaped diamond. These include:
- High shoulders
- Flat wings
- Bulged wings
- Undefined points
Uneven shoulders and uneven wings are other variations that will detract from the appearance of a pear shaped diamond. The illustration below has both.
The uneven outline of this pear shape reveals the asymmetry of its shoulders, belly and wings. You might want to avoid a diamond cut like this. Illustration: GIA
3. The ideal length-to-width ratio is the one you prefer
You might run into the phrase “length-to-width ratio” (comparison of the length and width of the outline of many fancy-shape diamonds, determined by dividing the diamond’s length by its width and stated as a ratio, like 1.75:1). Many experts prefer a length-to-width ratio that lies in the range of about 1.50–1.75:1. Others in the trade believe that a ratio isn’t enough to convey a diamond’s beauty. You may want to let your heart and eye guide you.
Falling in love with any diamond is more than finding the perfect symmetry and length-to-width ratio. Are you infatuated with this 0.88 ct pear shaped diamond? Courtesy: 1stdibs.com
4. Check culet placement and position of inclusions
The placement of the culet on a pear shaped diamond can affect its appearance. It should be the same distance from the two sides of the diamond. A culet that is off-center will affect the diamond’s symmetry and is likely to make it less attractive. In some pear shapes, the culet is included in a keel line that extends down the length of the diamond where the pavilion facets meet. Like the culet, the keel line should be equidistant from either side of the diamond.
The culet on this pear shaped diamond is off-center. It should be symmetrically placed at the same distance from either side of the gem. Illustration: GIA
Note, too, whether the diamond has any inclusions, especially near its point, as this is the area of that is most sensitive to damage. In addition, if the pear shaped diamond has a larger table facet, inclusions could be more apparent, so good clarity is a consideration.
5. Make sure the table is centered on a pear shaped diamond
A poorly placed table facet can also make a pear shaped diamond look less attractive. For maximum brightness and fire, the table should be centered on the line of symmetry.
If the table is off-center, the crown facets on one side of the pear shaped diamond will appear larger than the facets on the opposite side. Illustration: GIA
6. Avoid the bow-tie on a pear shaped diamond
Many pear shaped diamonds show a dark pattern that resembles a bow-tie. This pattern typically runs across the width of the stone from the center of the table. The bow-tie on a well-cut pear shaped diamond should be minimal, but there will still be good contrast between light and dark areas in the stone.
A bow-tie can vary from light gray to black. The darker or larger it is, the more it detracts from the face-up appearance of a pear shaped diamond. A bow-tie gets darker as the difference between a diamond’s length and width increases and pavilion angle variations (the measured angle between the pavilion main facet plane and the table plane) become more extreme.
If you find the bow-tie effect distracting, be sure to examine a variety of pear shaped diamonds from different angles under the lighting conditions in which the engagement ring will be worn. You may not be able to avoid a bow-tie altogether, but you should be able to find a stone in which it is subtle.
These pear shaped diamonds display a bow-tie effect, the dark area that extends across the width of each stone. Photo: Nicholas DelRe/GIA
7. Choose a setting that protects the point of a pear shaped diamond
The most vulnerable part of a pear shaped diamond is the point. This area can be protected by placing a V-prong on the point or choosing a bezel setting around the entire stone.
A V-prong protects the point – an area susceptible to chipping – of this 8.25 ct pear shaped diamond. Four more prongs hold the diamond securely in place. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com
A bezel setting ensures that the 0.40 ct pear shaped diamond is well protected. Courtesy: Doyle & Doyle
8. Point up or down? You decide how to wear a pear shaped diamond
The traditional way to wear a pear shaped diamond engagement ring is to have the tip pointing away from you (down). According to many in the trade, this makes the finger look more slender. But tradition has its limits. Some brides choose to wear this shape with the point toward them (up). And some prefer a horizontal setting that gives this classic diamond shape a distinctive, contemporary look.
Like all matters of the heart, let yours decide which way the pear should point.
Whether the tip of the 1.34 ct pear shaped diamond points toward or away from you, an engagement ring like this will look spectacular on the finger. The center stone is surrounded by 43 radiant cut diamonds weighing 0.41 carats and 1.03 carats of sapphires. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com
Among the most elegant of the fancy shapes, a pear shaped diamond conveys both the delicacy of a single tear and the strength of the brightest star. While there are many factors to consider when searching for the perfect stone for your diamond engagement ring, it is a journey well worth taking. When deciding between different pear shaped diamonds, the overall appearance is more important than the specific proportion details. Often, what makes a pear shaped diamond attractive is a matter of personal taste. So enjoy looking at different pear shaped diamond engagement rings until you fall in love with the perfect one.
Before you go shopping, be sure to read our 12 tips for buying an engagement ring.