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Fancy Shape Series--Oval

Jul 7, 1998 10:15 AM  
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The oval’s technical name is, “oval modified brilliant,” based upon its shape and modifications of the traditional round brilliant configuration. The oval was invented by Lazare Kaplan in the early 1960s.

Physical Characteristics

and Cutting Issues

A length-to-width ratio of 1.5:1 is almost universally considered a pleasing shape for ovals, with any variation beyond 1.4:1 or 1.6:1 beginning to be noticeable and become an aesthetic issue.

However as with all fancies, a certain degree of individual taste is always factored into the desirability of a particular diamond’s shape. Fifty-six facets are typical for oval brilliants.

Markets and Marketing

Many, if not a majority of ovals are purchased in suites, for the upper guild to upscale luxury markets. Therefore, buyers are generally looking for eye clean (borderline I1/SI2 and up) diamonds, G to H or better color. These suites are generally in graduated sizes for necklaces, most commonly ranging from 1/3 to 1/2 carat sizes.

Overall the market for ovals spans the entire spectrum of consumers, depending upon quality.

Over the last year or two ovals have become very popular as center diamonds for engagement rings. One- to 2-carat sizes are in extreme demand at this time, as are 2- to 3-carat sizes in higher qualities, D through H color and VS to VVS clarity. Smaller engagement sizes in the 1/2- to 1-carat range are also selling well.

Pricing and Supply

Prices for ovals are high at this time, as demand is very strong. In better goods H/VS2 and above, prices are very close to those of pear-shape selling prices. Commercial goods are selling at 10 to 15 percent below pears.

Prices for 1/2-carat single stones, F/VVS, range from approximately $2,700 to $3,000 per carat. The same quality in 1-carat sizes sells for 30 to 35 percent below Rapaport list prices for pears.

In 1/2-carat H//VS, expect to pay $1,700 to $2,200 per carat, with 1-carat sizes selling at discounts equivalent to those in the higher quality.

For commercial quality around K/I1, prices vary widely partly because of less stringent cut parameters, from approximately $800 to $1,300 per carat in 1/2-carat sizes. In full 1-carat stones $1,500 to $1,700 is the common range.

Prices of ovals are rising along with the prices of other fancy shapes. There is a shortage of finely made ovals due to a shortage of suitable rough.

What Should Buyers Look For?

As with all fancies, buyers of ovals should look first at overall make. Look for shape and cut that are pleasing to the eye. The ends should be gracefully round, not flattened or too narrow.

Shallow ovals, perhaps even more than some other fancy shapes, create a larger look that belies their actual weight. Buyers should look for an oval that looks its weight, rather than appearing to be much heavier or lighter than it is. This balance will translate into good brilliance and overall appeal.

Information Sources:


580 5th Avenue, Suite 1620

New York, NY 10036

(800) 223-4024, (212) 575-8145

FAX (212) 575-8187

American Diamond Syndicate

15 W. 47th Street, Suite 500

New York, NY 10036

(800) 223-0641, (212) 869-1670

FAX (212) 391-0589

Premier Gem Corp.

587 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10017

(800) 526-0606 • (212) 319-5151

FAX (212) 759-2255

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Tags: Consumers, Lazare kaplan
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