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The Pear Cut Diamond

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

April 2, 2020

The pear cut diamond has many names. We also call it a teardrop of pear-shaped diamond. Regardless of how you call it, the pear cut diamond is one of the most beautiful shapes. The gorgeous silhouette combines sharp edges with round curves. But it still is remarkably brilliant.

History

Even though the pear cut looks very modern with its pointed tip and rounded bottom, it is anything but. The pear cut dates back to the 1400’s. 1458, to be precise. You can’t say pear cut without mentioning the creator: the Flemish Lodewyk van Berquem.

loose pear cut diamonds

Lodewyk van Berguem

Lodewyk is a famous name in the diamond world. He is the one who said diamonds should be symmetrical and cut in a certain way to gain the most brilliance. Note that this is a few hundred years before the invention of the brilliant cut! In 1456, Mr. Van Berguem invented the scaife. This is a polishing wheel infused with olive oil and diamond dust. The scaife revolutionized the industry. To this day, we still use this to polish diamonds. The scaife allowed Lodewyk to discover and create new diamond cuts. That’s how he came up with the pear cut, only two years after his invention.

Characteristics of the pear cut diamond

We call the pear shape a “fancy shape”. This basically means it is a shape other than round. The pear cut diamond looks like a tear drop. It looks like a combination of a round shape and the marquise cut diamond.

Carat or an ideal ratio

The ideal length-to-width ratio of a pear cut diamond is between 1:1.50 – 1:1.75. However, an ideal ratio is always subjective. As you may know, a polisher can deviate from the ideal cut. Usually, this has one of two reasons:

  1. To exclude a nasty inclusion. By polishing the pear a bit steeper, he or she makes sure that the inclusion is polished off.
  2. To gain a higher carat. By making the shape a bit wider, the weight of the polished gem goes (a little) up. Instead of a 1.98 carat, it can become a 2.00. I can tell you: it’s a great feeling!

soft yellow pear cut

I’ve seen pear cuts that look very subtle because they have a 1:1.40 ratio. Yet I’ve also come across very long pear cut diamonds with an almost 1:2 ratio. This can look unbelievably elegant in a necklace. For rings, I prefer between the ideal 1.50 and 1.70. But the most important thing is that you choose a shape you love.

Consider color

Just like marquise cut diamonds, pear shapes tend to hold more color. Especially to the naked eye. This means that a brilliant cut diamond with a Crystal’ or ‘Top Cape’ color can appear pretty colorless. But the same color in a pear shape, looks a lot more yellow. That’s why I recommend choosing a good color for pear cut diamonds. Ideally ‘Top Wesselton’ and up. Another valid option is a fancy colored pear cut. That’s why we often find pear cut diamonds in a large variety of colors.

pink pear cut diamond ring Pear cuts lend themselves perfectly for rare colors like pink diamonds

Cutting quality

The most important C of the pear shape is definitely the Cut. The quality of the pear shape immediately influences its value. Lodewyk van Berguem already stressed the importance of symmetry in polished diamonds. Symmetry is always key to the overall beauty of gemstones. But it is even more important in shapes that aren’t round; therefore also the pear shape. To find out of a pear shape is symmetrical, draw an imaginary line across the length of the diamond and examine the two sides. If the shoulders, bellies and wings (see illustration) mirror each other, there is good symmetry.

perfect outline of pear cut diamond Notice how the shoulders, bellies and wings in the illustration above 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. Source: gia.edu

Pear cut diamonds in jewelry

When the pear cut was introduced, it was not very popular. But diamond cuts are just like other trends. When celebs started rocking them, they immediately become attractive to the public. The same happened with pear cut diamonds. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Paris Hilton rocked stunning pear cut diamonds. But the most famous example is the one from Elizabeth Taylor.

The Taylor-Burton Diamond

In 1967, jeweler Harry Winston cut a 69.42 carat pear shaped diamond. They sold it, but two years later it was put back up for public auction. Bidding started at $200,000. Bidders included (a.o) Richard Burton (Taylor’s then-husband), Harry Winston, and Robert Kenmore – owner of the parent company of jewelry house Cartier. Kenmore won the auction and decided to name the stone the “Cartier Diamond”. However, Richard Burton was dead-set on getting the diamond; and can you blame him? Elizabeth Taylor was famous for her love of diamonds and her diamond quotes, like “Big girls need big diamonds”.

Taylor Burton Diamond Elizabeth Taylor wearing the Taylor-Burton Diamond. Source: bestdesignevents.com

Burton wanted to buy the diamond, regardless of the price. The next day, he bought the stone for $1.1 million and named it the “Taylor-Burton Diamond”. Taylor had the diamond set in a necklace. Its incredible size and beauty made it one of the most well-known pieces in Taylor’s extensive jewelry collection.

Pear cut diamonds in modern jewelry

You can find pear cut diamonds in practically all jewelry pieces. But they are most popular in diamond rings, diamond earrings and diamond necklaces.

Woman wearing pear cut diamond ring

Pear cut diamonds in rings
When you wear the tip of the diamond towards the nail, pear cuts make the finger look longer and slimmer. That’s why many women love this particular diamond shape. They also appear bigger than round diamonds. So you feel like you get more rock for your money.

Woman wearing pear cut diamond earrings

Pear cut diamonds in earrings
Pear cuts are very popular in drop earrings. They provide a certain elegance that no other diamond cut can compete with. They are feminine and romantic. This makes them very suitable for special occasions. Yet they also lend themselves for everyday use.

Woman wearing pear cut diamond necklace

Pear cut diamonds in necklaces
Just like raindrops, pear cut diamonds fall in a natural way down. This effect is highly visible in necklaces. The drop accentuates the collar bones. It is the summit of sophistication. You saw it already in Elisabeth Taylor’s necklace. But I guarantee you that it also works with (much) smaller pear cut diamonds.

Main stones or sidekicks
Some diamond cuts are almost always the main stone in a piece of jewelry, for example oval cut diamonds. I rarely see them used as shoulder stones. Whereas other cuts are almost exclusively used as sidekicks. For example the baguette cut diamond. So what about the pear cut diamond? The beauty of a pear cut is that we can use them as a center stone, a solitaire engagement ring or as side stones.

two diamond rings

Pros & cons of the pear cut diamond

Just like any other diamond cut, the pear shape has some pros and cons. Let me summarize what I explained so far. Roughly said, there are 5 pros and 3 cons of the pear cut.

Pros

In general we can say there are 5 pros of the pear cut diamond:

  1. Price: pear cut diamonds overall have a lower price than the popular brilliant cuts. You can get a pear cut diamond that is bigger, better colored or clearer compared to a round cut diamond.
  2. Size: besides the fact that the pear costs less in general, it also looks bigger than a brilliant cut. The pear is actually around 8% larger on the surface than a round cut.
  3. Versatility: like mentioned earlier, the pear cut lends itself for different jewelry pieces. You can wear it as a necklace or in a ring. Moreover, pear cut diamonds can be used as the main stone or as side stones.
  4. Slimming, elongating & sophisticated: many women love the visual effect of the pear cut diamond. In a ring, the pear cut diamond makes the finger appear longer and slimmer. A pear cut diamond in a necklace looks sophisticated. It highlights the collarbones and can emphasize the bust in a classy way.
  5. Vintage: the pear cut is around for many centuries. Therefore, we consider the pear one a timeless classic. Especially for the vintage woman, the pear cut is an all-time favorite.

pear cut diamond in ring box with flowers

Cons

Where there are pros, there are also cons. When we look at what we know, there are 3 cons to take into account:

  1. Expertise is a must: as discussed, symmetry is essential for a pear cut diamond. A poorly polished pear loses it symmetry and with that its scintillation and sparkle. That’s why pears need to be polished by true craftsmen. Therefore, I recommend purchasing pear cut diamonds only at renowned jewelers. Another important reason to choose high-quality craftsmanship is because of the bow-tie effect. Many pear shaped diamonds show a dark pattern that looks a bow-tie. On well-cut pears, this effect is minimal.
  2. Fragile tip: the tip of a pear cut is very narrow. But it is also a reservoir for sorts of inclusions. This makes the tip susceptible to damage. That is why it is important to opt for a setting that protects the tip of the diamond cut.
  3. Fewer options: a pear cut is less popular than a brilliant cut. On one hand, it’s a pro since there are less people competing for the same diamond cut. But on the other hand, lower demand means also fewer options to choose from.

single pear cut diamond

What to look for in a pear cut diamond

Are you looking for a pear cut diamond? If so, it is important to take the characteristics and the pros & cons into account. But you should also purchase them at a trusted seller. Fortunately, Royal Coster is here for you. We are in the business for 180 years. With almost two centuries of expertise, our diamond consultants can help you to choose your perfect pear cut diamond. Contact a diamond consultant now.

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