Often referred to as a teardrop diamond, the pear cut diamond is a unique shape featuring a rounded bottom tapering to a pointed top. Graceful and elegant, this shape resembles a perfect drop of water (hence it's also known as a "teardrop") and is often considered a universally flattering choice for an engagement ring. It’s been around for hundreds of years, but many view it as a specifically modern, but lesser known cut. Beautiful and rare, let’s talk about what you need to know about this stunning diamond shape.
The Guide to Pear Cut Diamonds
History of Pear Cut & Teardrop Diamonds
The origins of the pear cut diamond trace back to the late 1400s when Flemish diamond polisher Lodewyk van Berquem first introduced the pear cut. Prior to this, van Berquem had invented a diamond polishing machine called the ‘scaif.’ This machine revolutionized the industry as it allowed facets to be placed into the diamond with complete symmetry. With that achieved, it laid the groundwork for the creation of the complex brilliant diamond cuts that we know and love today.
At the time of its introduction, the pear cut diamond was not immediately loved. It wasn’t widely used until a well-known Hollywood couple purchased a huge pear-shaped diamond and made the cut infamous. Elizabeth Taylor, famed for her extensive jewelry collection, was gifted a 69.42 carat pear cut diamond by husband Richard Burton in 1969. It came to be known as the Taylor-Burton Diamond and was one of the most popular pieces in Taylor’s collection.
WIth this boost in popularity, the pear cut diamond experienced steady popularity throughout the rest of the 20th century. In recent years, the pear cut has emerged as a new favorite for engagement rings, especially for those wanting a unique and rare expression of their personality in their ring.
When to Go Pear: Pros & Cons
A rare beauty of a diamond, the pear cut, also known as a teardrop, has a lot to offer the diamond world with a few things that may require some extra consideration:
- - The shape of the pear cut will have an elongating effect on your finger.
- - The price is likely to be 15-30% less expensive than the highest priced diamond per carat, the round brilliant.
- - Its brilliant faceting style ensures a sparkly diamond with lots of fire and brightness when cut well.
- - Its unique shape offers instant personality and elegance that sets itself outside of the pack.
- - You should choose a setting that will protect the vulnerable point of the diamond stone.
- - While it’s quite possible to find a beautiful stone with minimal bow-tie effect, any stone you choose is likely to display the effect to some degree.
- - The unique shape has more elements to its symmetry you’ll want to compare before choosing a stone.
- - Pear cut diamonds of high quality can be relatively rare.
Evaluating a Pear Cut Diamond: The 4Cs
Like the [oval cut diamond] and other fancy-shaped diamonds, certification agencies like the GIA do not grade pear cut diamonds for cut. There are simply too many variables and differing ratios and proportions to be able to establish a sound cut grading system for pear cut diamonds. However, there’s other information you can prepare yourself with to best understand what would be a quality cut for a pear diamond.
Due to its unique shape, a pear cut diamond has a vocabulary all its own for the elements of its shape. Starting at the rounded end you have the head. As you move down you get the shoulder, the belly in the middle, the wing below that, ending in the point at the bottom. Drawing a straight line down the middle of the stone to test symmetry, all these features of the stone should be symmetrical in an excellently cut stone.
For these features on a pear cut diamond, the shoulders and wings should be gently rounded and even without either side rising or falling differently from the other side. The wings should form attractive arches as they narrow to meet the point. Too flat and the stone looks too narrow; too rounded and the stone looks short.
Pear cut diamonds will also fall within a particular range for their length to width ratio. Industry standards consider pear cut diamonds falling between 1.55 and 1.70 to be ideal, but it really comes down to personal preference. Its shape will have an elongating effect on the finger, but keep in mind that ratios on the lower end will feature wider and shorter pear cuts and those on the higher end can become very long and closely resemble a marquise cut diamond.
Length to width ratio of 1.57
Length to width ratio of 1.73
Along with oval and marquise cut diamonds, any body color will show more prominently in a pear cut diamond. This is a feature inherent to the cutting style, and not a mark against the pear cut. To work best with this consideration, a color grade of G or better will look the best in white gold and platinum.
For those who prefer a warm metal and intend to use a yellow gold or rose gold setting, dropping down to a I could be fine for producing a beautiful ring. The warm tones of the yellow and rose gold metals help to counteract the stronger color in the diamond.
Pear cut diamonds are wonderful at concealing inclusions. Their brilliant faceting style combined with their shape means that from the rounded end to the pointed end, it’s very favorable to create eye clean clarity for more clarity grades. However, it’s important to not have larger inclusions too close to the point as that is the weakest area of the diamond and make it more susceptible to chipping or breaking.
As with the oval diamond, pear cut diamonds are likely to show a bow-tie effect that can vary from light gray to black. This stretch of darkness through the middle width of the stone may be difficult to avoid, but with the combination of other gradings, you are likely to find options with minimal bow-tie. It’s always best to view pear cut diamonds in person whenever possible for this very reason.
Pear cut diamonds will vary widely in terms of their final cut proportions and resulting carat weights. Because pear cut diamonds are cut to the ideal proportions and length width ratio for the quality of the stone being cut, each pear cut won’t necessarily have linear changes in carat size and dimensions.
For example, you may find a 1 carat pear cut diamond with the measurements of 8.40 x 5.40 mm as well as a 0.97 carat with the measurements of 8.50 x 5.50 mm. They both may have a similar, ideal cut, but the smaller carat diamond will likely be less expensive since it weighs slightly beneath the full carat when the price will increase exponentially. And because of the larger dimensions, it will appear slightly larger, too.
Consider the two diamonds below. The measurements are extremely close, but the 1.40 carat is selling at a 27% discount to the 1.50. Both have the same color and clarity. One would still need to see the stones in person to make any conclusions, but it is true that there are savings to be had buying just under a critical weight class like 1.50 carat.
Choosing an Ideal Pear Cut Diamond
Each person has their own standards for what comprises their perfect stone. For personal preference, you’ll want to compare stones you find appealing to determine where you fall on color and clarity gradings and the level of bow-tie effect However, there are some things about a pear cut that are going to be universal to the integrity of the stone that are important to choosing one with longevity to it.
The outline of a pear cut diamond should be proportionally symmetrical. Having one shoulder lifting higher on one side versus the other, or a wing with less arch than the other creates a stone that can be harder to set securely and won’t have the most appealing look. Similarly, other parts of the stone’s cut like the culet and table should be centered on the line of symmetry for the best-appearing diamond that will deliver the most fire and brilliance.
Lastly, the pointed end of the pear cut presents a weak point for the structural integrity of the stone. You will want to avoid any inclusions near the point as this is the spot most sensitive to damage. If the stone you choose does have some questionable inclusions in this area, it’s extra important to consider settings that will provide more protection from damage.
Pear Cut Diamond Prices
Compared to round diamonds that usually carry the highest price per carat for a diamond, pear cut diamonds are generally 15-30% less expensive. The cost difference is due to the better yield from rough diamond cutting and less rough waste from the process. Pear cut diamonds of excellent quality are relatively rare. They do come in a variety of carat sizes, but often dimension will play a larger part in your selection than carat size.
There can also be quite the disparity in price. Between two 1 carat pear cut diamonds, one may be $3,000 and the other could be $9,000. When comparing lower tier quality against higher tier quality of clarity and color grades, the discrepancies will establish this big range in prices.
Designing a Ring With a Pear Cut Diamond
Since the point is the most vulnerable part of the pear cut diamond, choosing a setting to protect this area is important and provides peace of mind if you wear the jewelry often, as with an engagement ring. One way to do this is with the placement of a prong directly at the point. You can see this method on our Lauren where 4 prongs hold the stone in place with a fifth on the point for stability and protection.
Another type of prong is called a v-prong. Just as it sounds, it extends in a V shape slightly up each side of the point. This is a very common type of prong for pear cut and marquise cut diamonds, and it is lovely when paired with a halo setting. Aside from being a beautiful accentuation to the pear cut, a halo setting also adds a layer of protection for the point of a pear cut. We incorporate both a v-prong and halo setting in our Juliana.
A perpetual favorite for pear cut diamonds is a bezel setting. The bezel setting looks like a smooth halo of metal and has returned to popularity in recent years as a modern, sleek, and minimalist style for an engagement ring. You can see in our Tani just how much this technique amplifies the diamond’s brilliance.
If you really want to go for a unique visual impact, a pear cut diamond set horizontally in the band is an ultra-contemporary look with definite personality. We like to pair this setting style with an organic, sculptural band as seen with our Tanya, to really deliver a fresh take on a uniquely beautiful shape.
No matter your choice of style and design, a pear cut diamond will make a stunning centerpiece to any engagement ring. Just be sure to follow your preferences for an ideal stone, protect the point in the setting, and you’re sure to have a ring to swoon over for many years to come!
Lauren: pear four-prong engagement ring
Juliana: pear halo engagement ring
Tani: bezel set pear diamond
Tanya: horizontally set pear diamond