Oval engagement rings:
Oval engagement rings are relatively modern, compared to most other designs. Historically, the oval cut was mostly used for rubies and sapphires, which are easier to cut than diamonds. But 20th-century technology helped improve gem-cutting techniques, and the oval diamond cut was perfected in the early 1960s. Oval engagement rings are similar to the round brilliant diamond, which is traditionally the most common style in engagement rings and have been gaining in appeal over the years. They are currently the fourth most popular diamond shape available.
The elliptical shape of an oval engagement ring is flattering to the hand and can make a woman's fingers appear longer and more slender (the same way vertical stripes work in clothing). Because of its classic shape, an oval engagement ring can be used in either a modern or vintage setting. Oval engagement ring settings can have just one stone, but most often they feature a center diamond and two smaller stones on either side. In a cluster setting, another common option, the oval center stone is surrounded by smaller accent stones (either diamonds or another gemstone), but the oval diamond remains the focal point and center of attention.
An oval diamond has 56 facets and works beautifully in both simple and more elaborate settings. For a unique variation on an oval engagement ring, some women choose different stones for the side settings. This can be a birthstone, making the ring especially personal, or a classic gem like a ruby or emerald.
Oval-shaped diamonds have a larger table (the flat facet across the top of the stone) than other diamonds, so when considering an oval engagement ring, pay extra close attention to the color and clarity of the diamond, since any flaws will be more noticeable in an oval engagement ring than in rings with different cut stones. Oval engagement rings are also more likely than other styles to display a visible bow tie effect, a darkened area across the widest part of the stone. The degree to which the bow tie is apparent is an indicator of stone quality - any engagement ring should be professionally appraised, and this can be especially important with an oval engagement ring, to ensure the stone's integrity and optimal appearance.
Even though oval engagement rings have become increasingly popular among couples, they can sometimes be harder to find than other styles. If you're looking for an oval engagement ring but having trouble finding one, try shopping around for loose oval diamonds and then work with a jeweler on mounting it in a setting you like.
One of the most famous - and most imitated - oval engagement rings in the world didn't have a diamond as its center stone. When England's Prince Charles became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, she chose an oval egagement ring with an 18-carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds.