Last Updated on August 20, 2023 by Rolf Hartmann
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If you’re considering buying an emerald cut lab diamond, this guide has everything you need to know. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced diamond shopper, we’ll help you find the perfect emerald cut lab diamond and save money in this complete emerald cut lab diamond buying guide.
We’ll guide you to the recommended dimensions, clarity, clarity, color, and cut-grades, and what to look for and avoid when shopping for emerald cut lab diamonds.
The emerald cut lab-grown diamond is one of the most popular choices among the many diamond shapes. It is known for its elegant and modern appeal, blending classic and contemporary styles. With its rectangular shape and step-cut facets, it is favored by those who appreciate understated luxury and subtlety.
One of the distinctive features of the emerald cut lab diamond is its open table and elongated facets, which give it a unique optical personality. Unlike the fiery brilliance of round brilliant cuts, the emerald cut diamond has a mesmerizing play of light and shadow that exudes quiet sophistication.
Although emerald cut lab diamonds do not have the same explosive sparkle as round diamonds, they possess a captivating hall-of-mirrors effect. This effect is created by the diamond’s long, reflective facets that produce dazzling flashes of light, similar to glistening pools of water under sunlight.
Throughout this guide, we’ll explore emerald cut lab diamonds’ origins and key features, discuss factors influencing quality, offer tips on selecting the perfect emerald-shaped lab diamond, and address common misconceptions. We’ll also highlight lab-grown emerald cut diamonds as a sustainable and ethical alternative. Finally, we’ll teach you how to save on emerald cut lab diamonds and where to find the best prices.
3 best places to buy emerald cut lab-grown diamonds
- What are emerald cut lab diamonds?
- Pros and Cons of Emerald Cut Lab Diamonds
- Lab-grown emerald cut diamonds vs. mined emerald cut diamonds
- How to Pick the Best Emerald Cut Lab Diamond
- How Much Does an Emerald Cut Lab Diamond Cost?
- Emerald Cut Lab Diamond Engagement Rings
- Final Thoughts on Emerald Cut Lab Diamonds
- Where to Buy Emerald Cut Lab Diamonds
What are emerald cut lab diamonds?
Emerald cut lab diamonds are known for their rectangular, elongated shape. The corners of emerald diamonds are cropped, and the facets are long and narrow. This cutting style is the result of a step-cut diamond.
Emerald cut lab diamonds can also be square-shaped. Square emerald cuts don’t usually have their own category, so you’ll need to either dig in an inventory of emerald diamonds or specifically request a square-cut emerald.
Aside from its length, an emerald cut lab diamond is also known for its cutting style. It is one of the few traditional diamond shapes that are step-cut diamonds.
Step-Cut Diamonds vs. Brilliant-Cut Lab Diamonds
Commercial diamond shapes usually come in either step-cut shapes or brilliant-cut shapes. Non-commercial cut diamonds can also be custom cut or mixed cuts.
Brilliant-cut diamonds are the most popular because of the way they sparkle. When a diamond is brilliantly cut, there are many small facets-usually between 50-60 facets. Light enters the facets and reflects out, revealing a glittering effect.
The most popular brilliant-cut lab diamond shapes are
- Round brilliant cut lab diamonds
- Princess cut lab diamonds
- Oval cut lab diamonds
- Marquise lab diamonds
- Cushion cut lab diamonds
- Radiant cut lab diamonds
- Heart-shaped lab diamonds
Step-cut diamonds are less common, with most of them being emerald cuts or Asscher cut lab diamonds. However, some less common side stone shapes like the baguette or trapezoid-shaped diamonds are step cut.
Step-cut diamonds also reflect white and rainbow light, but the light performance is somewhat different. They are known for their stairlike facets, likening them to “steps”.
Instead of short, sparkly light, you receive dramatic flashes of white and rainbow light cascading down the edges of your diamond. In emerald cut diamonds, this is called the Hall of Mirrors effect.
Pros and Cons of Emerald Cut Lab Diamonds
Aside from initial style appeal, every diamond shape has its features and detractors. The same goes for lab-grown emerald cut diamonds. Here are some of the biggest ones.
- 1-carat emerald cut lab diamonds (and below) are less expensive than other popular diamond shapes of the same quality.
- Emerald cut lab diamond rings may make your fingers look longer and more slender.
- Emerald cut lab diamonds look more prominent than other shapes of the same carat weight.
- Larger diamond inclusions and blemishes from lower clarity grades are more noticeable in emerald cut diamonds.
- Lower diamond color grades may look more noticeable in the step-cut style of an emerald diamond.
Read on to learn about the pros more in-depth and what you can do about the cons of emerald cut diamonds.
Lab-grown emerald cut diamonds vs. mined emerald cut diamonds
There’s a significant difference between lab diamonds and mined diamonds. The prices of lab diamonds are much lower, and they are more ethical than so-called “natural” diamonds. Learn more about the benefits of lab diamonds.
The 4Cs are the industry’s universal grading standards for diamond quality. This dictates that the quality and prices of diamonds depend primarily on four factors:
The four characteristics of diamonds are exactly the same, regardless of the origin of the diamond or if one type is more ethical than the other. So you can compare lab-grown and mined diamonds as apples-to-apples.
The only potential downside to lab diamonds is their lower possible resale value. But, presumably, you don’t buy diamond jewelry with the intention of reselling (mined diamonds also sell for much less when resold, so don’t buy diamond jewelry as an investment).
How to Pick the Best Emerald Cut Lab Diamond
Most people have opinions about diamonds and tend to be in one of two camps. They either think diamonds are overpriced and all the same, or they believe they have to buy the biggest and best diamond with the highest grades.
Neither one of these assumptions are correct. In fact, the correct way to approach diamond quality and prices lies somewhere in the middle. As noted above, the first thing you need to learn about is the diamond 4Cs, which are the same for all diamonds, mined or lab-created.
But, for emerald cut diamonds, there are additional important factors to be aware of when diamond shopping.
Best Proportions for Emerald Diamond Shapes
The proportions are the main factors to pay attention to when choosing the cut quality of your lab-created emerald diamond. They will dictate the shape and weight distribution of the diamond.
If the weight distribution isn’t balanced, it can impact the overall durability of your diamond. If it’s struck, it could chip.
If the facets in your emerald diamond aren’t the right proportions, it results in what’s called light leakage. That’s when light enters the diamond but doesn’t reflect back out. Light leakage is a result of poor cutting.
If your emerald cut lab-grown diamond has light leakage, you’ll see lots of dark shadows within it.
Emerald cut diamonds are fancy shapes and don’t have official cut grades (though they are often still graded for their cut quality). Round diamonds are the only diamond shapes that always come in cut grades like Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, etc., which follow strict guidelines.
With fancy diamond shapes, you should stick to the recommended proportions for that shape. This can help you select a diamond that is cut well and avoids the problems we discussed above.
What are the ideal measurements for emerald cut lab diamonds?
The ideal measurements of emerald cut lab diamonds are the following, and you should aim to stay within these ranges unless you have a particular need or preference.
- Table percentage: 60-70%
- Length-to-width ratio: 1.3-1.5
- Depth percentage: 60-70%
- Crown height: 10-15% of the total depth
- Polish and symmetry: Excellent
Ideal proportions for fancy shapes aren’t an exact science, so you’ll notice the ranges may be larger than anticipated.
As long as you stay within the ranges, you’ll be fine. But numbers aren’t everything. Choose the emerald diamond that stands out to you. You, as the customer, will ultimately decide on its shape, appeal, length, and overall style.
Best Carat Weight for Emerald Cut Diamonds
The carat weight of a diamond is usually one of the first things people have in their minds before purchasing a diamond. They’ll search: “What is the average size for a diamond engagement ring”.
Sites like Brides.com and other wedding sites estimate that an engagement ring’s average carat weight is between 1-2 carats. But for lab-grown diamonds, that often shifts higher. That’s because you can get 3-4 times as heavy a diamond for the same budget if you choose an ethical lab-grown diamond!
The truth is, no magic carat weight number makes the perfect engagement ring. You don’t need to buy a 6-carat diamond ring to express your love unless, of course, you like very large diamonds.
One of the biggest mistakes people make about diamond carat weight is thinking that weight equates to size. Carat size and carat weight are two different things.
A round diamond carat weight chart would show that you increase the face-up size as you increase the carat weight. This is true. But here’s where it gets confusing.
If you place a 1-carat emerald diamond and a 1-carat round diamond next to each other, you’ll undoubtedly notice that these diamonds are not the same size. But they’re the same weight!
Round diamonds are cut to reflect light best. To do so, they have a deep pavilion. Those are carat points that you can’t see. More weight is distributed at the bottom of the diamond, resulting in a smaller face-up view. It’s almost like an iceberg.
Emerald cut lab diamonds have one of the biggest face-up views compared to any other diamond shape. The step-cutting technique requires more of a shallow cut in the pavilion, so much more weight is distributed at the top.
So, an emerald cut lab-created diamond is an excellent choice for those wanting a bigger diamond without paying the increase.
But if you want to increase your carat weight from a 1-carat emerald to a 2- or 3-carat diamond, you’ll also want to consider adjusting the other diamond grades.
Increasing the carat weight is a surefire way to skyrocket the price of your diamond. Higher-carat weight diamonds are harder to find and cut. That increases the cost significantly.
Also, clarity imperfections and color tint are more noticeable, which is why some of those grades won’t look great in higher carat weights.
But with lab-grown emerald cut diamonds, you can purchase higher carat weights at a much more affordable price than if they were mined and of the same carat weight. That also means you can pick higher cut, clarity, and color grades.
Best Color Grade for Emerald Diamonds
Color grades of lab diamonds reflect the presence of impurities in your diamond. The impurity is usually nitrogen, causing it to have a yellow or brownish tint-most often yellow.
The official GIA color grade scale groups color grades into the following categories:
- Colorless: DEF
- Near Colorless: GHIJ
- Faint: KLM
- Light Yellow: N-Z
That said, choosing the best emerald cut lab-grown diamond isn’t always about picking out grades. You don’t need a D color-graded emerald cut lab diamond unless you want it.
Your diamond’s color grade doesn’t affect its durability or light performance. There are official grades and values for them, but choose what looks best to you.
Some people are more sensitive to color than others. Some customers prefer diamonds with color grades within the Faint range to complement their skin tone or the color of the jewelry setting. The warmer the colors (such as gold), the more the color of the diamond will be hidden. That means you can settle for a lower diamond color grade.
But be aware that emerald cut lab diamonds tend to reveal color tints more so than other diamond shapes because of the step-cutting styles. If your goal is colorless white, you may consider going higher on the color grades.
You have more options for colorless emerald cut diamonds with lab-grown emerald cut diamonds. Because of their controlled environment, they have better chances of having higher color quality. And they’re much cheaper. But that doesn’t mean that tinted lab-grown emerald diamonds don’t exist either.
Best Clarity Grade for Emerald Diamonds
Diamond clarity assesses the overall presence of inclusions and blemishes within your emerald cut diamond. The GIA judges clarity imperfections based on type, size, relation, number, and color.
Most inclusions and blemishes in diamonds are black or white colored. White-colored ones tend to be found in higher clarity grades. The GIA clarity chart consists of many clarity grades and tiers:
- Flawless (F)
- Internally Flawless (IF)
- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
- Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
- Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
- Included (I1, I2, I3)
In most gem-quality diamonds, clarity is also a visual aspect of your diamond. The lower your clarity, the more likely your diamond will have dark inclusions. Most inclusions don’t affect the durability of your diamond, but some surface blemishes might if the diamond is struck.
Diamonds in the “I” (included) clarity tier often have many dark inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye. These can impact the beauty of your diamond, especially if you notice them.
And with emerald cut diamonds, their long facets also reveal dark clarity imperfections more than other diamond shapes. Small choppy facets reflecting white and rainbow light are better at hiding bigger inclusions, but emerald diamonds don’t have that protection.
For those reasons, choosing emerald cut lab diamonds with VS2 or higher clarity grades is recommended. The VS diamond clarity is the first tier to be considered eye clean-where inclusions are only visible under 10x magnification.
Fortunately, if you’re taking the lab-grown diamond route, you’re at an advantage. Just as the likelihood of tinted yellow lab diamonds is lower, so is the appearance of clarity imperfections.
Lab-grown emerald cut diamonds still get inclusions, but the types of inclusions are limited because of the controlled environment. Most lab diamond retailers don’t even sell “I” clarity diamonds.
Summary of emerald cut lab diamond buying tips
Buying any diamond is not easy, but following our tips and recommendations, you’re already much closer to finding the perfect lab-grown emerald cut diamond at the best possible price. Here’s our summary of our emerald cut lab diamond buying tips:
- Search for emerald cut lab diamonds with the above ideal measurements and proportions.
- If graded, aim for excellent or ideal cut diamond grades and see how well the light is reflected.
- Start your search at minimum VS2 clarity graded emerald cut lab diamonds and look for diamonds without or with a minimum of visible inclusions.
- Unless set in gold or similar warm colors, aim for a slightly higher color grade than with round brilliant since the emerald shape shows more color. Avoid lower color grades like J and K.
How Much Does an Emerald Cut Lab Diamond Cost?
For most, the best thing about purchasing lab-grown emerald cut diamonds is how much more affordable they are than mined emerald diamonds.
The prices of lab diamonds are constantly fluctuating and differentiate from retailer to retailer. And there are a ton of factors that go into the pricing of diamonds – not just the 4Cs.
But you’d find a distinct price difference if you were to take a natural emerald cut diamond and compare it to a lab-created emerald cut diamond of the same grades and quality.
The emerald cut diamond is the second most popular diamond shape. It tends to be more affordable than the number one favorite: the round brilliant cut. Though the light performance doesn’t quite match up, the emerald cut is typically much less expensive.
Not only does it appear visibly bigger, but it’s also cheaper. Part of the reason is how much of the rough diamond is retained when cutting emerald-shaped diamonds. When diamonds are cut, the rest of the rough diamond that has been shaved off usually gets discarded.
Round diamonds only retain about 40% of the original rough stone. Emerald cut diamonds retain 60-70% of the diamond rough. Since not as much is wasted, producing emerald cut diamonds is less expensive for the industry.
Now this isn’t true when compared to every single diamond shape because there are a lot of different factors beyond the 4Cs that determine diamond prices. But, the easiest way to get the best value when choosing a lab-grown emerald diamond is by considering all the guidelines within the 4Cs.
By not choosing the highest grades in every category, you can lower the price of your emerald cut diamond. Instead, select the diamond that is eye-clean or has the warmth (or lack thereof) you wouldn’t notice anyway.
A balance of these grades will help you get a stunning diamond for a good price. And because you’re buying a lab-grown emerald cut diamond, you can get it at a 60-80% discount over an equivalent mined diamond.
We have compared the prices of lab-grown diamonds of various carat weights from the best places to buy lab-grown diamonds. See, for example:
- How much does a 1-carat emerald cut lab diamond cost?
- How much does a 2-carat emerald cut lab diamond cost?
- How much does a 3-carat emerald cut lab diamond cost?
- How much does a 4-carat emerald cut lab diamond cost?
- How much does a 5-carat emerald cut lab diamond cost?
And sometimes you can save even more. For example, check if there are any lab-grown diamond sales allowing you to save even more on your lab-grown emerald cut diamond.
Remember, lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds in every way. Whether formed in a lab or within the earth, the diamonds are just the same.
Emerald Cut Lab Diamond Engagement Rings
The emerald cut’s clean lines and trimmed corners give it a graceful and sophisticated appearance, making it an excellent choice as the main stone for a lab diamond engagement ring. The emerald cut lab diamond’s timeless look adds a classic and refined aesthetic to any engagement ring
With the step-cut facets resembling the previously described hall of mirrors, an emerald cut lab diamond engagement ring will offer a unique play of light, distinct from the more common brilliant cut.
Their versatility in settings and the vintage charm are another reason emerald cut diamonds are surging in popularity for engagement rings.
As we previously noted, with emerald cut lab diamonds, you should prioritize higher clarity grades, optimal cut quality, and suitable color grades that reflect the metal used for the setting. Be sure to pick an appropriate setting that protects the corners of the diamond, as the emerald cut can be a little more prone to chipping. Ask your favorite lab diamond jeweler for advice if you’re in doubt.
If you want a more vintage look that will set your ring apart and allow a much bigger diamond appearance, consider the emerald cut for your lab-grown diamond engagement ring. And save even more with our guide to finding the perfect lab diamond engagement ring.
Final Thoughts on Emerald Cut Lab Diamonds
A lab-grown emerald cut is an excellent choice for engagement rings or any other ring, earrings, pendants, bracelets, or fashion jewelry. There are many advantages to buying lab-grown emerald diamonds.
They are less expensive and look bigger than most other diamond shapes. They also have a unique appearance with their cutting style and can make your fingers look longer and more slender.
But they have some caveats too. Clarity and color grade effects are more noticeable in emerald cut diamonds, so these grades may have to be higher to accommodate a beautiful diamond. But with lab-grown emerald diamonds, these also come at lower prices and better visual appearance.
At the end of the day, you should choose the lab-grown diamond you love. You can have a gorgeous lab-grown emerald cut diamond you’ll love for years. The only thing missing is where to buy emerald but lab-grown diamonds and get the best price. Luckily, that’s next in our guide to emerald cut lab diamonds.
Where to Buy Emerald Cut Lab Diamonds
At LabGrownCarats.com, we review lab diamond jewelers, and based on our countless in-depth reviews, we recommend the following places to buy emerald cut lab-grown diamonds.
Grown Brilliance review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Grown Brilliance is our best-rated place to buy lab diamond engagement rings and emerald cut lab diamond jewelry. They have a massive selection of emerald cut lab diamonds, gorgeous jewelry settings, and some of the best prices for lab-grown emerald cut diamonds.
Brilliant Earth review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Brilliant Earth is the leading sustainable lab-grown diamond jeweler. Their deep commitment to sustainability, including being the only seller of sustainable graded lab diamonds, sets them apart. The prices are excellent, too, and they have an extensive inventory of emerald cut lab diamonds.
With Clarity review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
With Clarity is another of our favorite places to buy lab-grown diamond engagement rings because of their unique 3D ring replica home previews (that you can try for free). In addition, they have a large selection of stunning emerald cut lab diamonds and excellent prices.
Clean Origin review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Clean Origin is another of our favorite places to buy lab-grown diamond jewelry, including emerald cut lab diamonds. We recommend Clean Origin for its unbeatable prices, a large selection of lab-grown diamonds and jewelry, and excellent support (plus 100-day risk-free returns).