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The Diamond Bow Tie Effect: What It Is and Why You Need to Avoid It

How prominent the bow tie effect is in fancy cut diamonds can dramatically affect its value and appearance. But what exactly is it and why should you care? Read on to learn all about it!

The Diamond Bow Tie Effect: What It Is and Why You Need to Avoid It

Fiery, brilliant, and indestructible, a diamond is the ultimate symbol of lasting love. That's why diamond solitaires are a nearly universal choice for engagement rings and wedding sets. They're also a hefty investment, so it's essential that you know how to detect and evaluate flaws like the bow tie effect before you go shopping.

What is the Bow Tie Effect?

When grading diamonds, experts talk about the four Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat. The bow tie effect is a bow or butterfly-shaped shadow that appears as a result of how a fancy shaped diamond is cut. Round stones are unaffected by this characteristic, but it's a common feature in emerald cuts, oval cuts, and other fancy diamond shapes.

When you look at a fancy cut diamond from various angles in the light, you can see it refracted by the different facets. Irregular cuts sometimes block the light, creating a dark band or shadow no matter which way you turn the stone.

Can Diamond Cutters Avoid This Effect?

Because it's a side-effect of cutting the stone, the bow tie can't be minimized with lasers or treated with HPHT color enhancement or other processes that are used to rectify problems with color or clarity. Experienced diamond cutters can address and attempt to minimize the effect toward the final stage of cutting the stone, but the potential for damage and expense outweigh the benefits of such a solution.

Such a characteristic is barely noticeable unless pointed out in most cases, and it doesn't affect the clarity or value of the ring. Most of the time, such features aren't listed in the grading report. In fact, a well-proportioned butterfly or bow can be considered the mark of a skilled artisan.

Is it Worth it? Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Minor Flaws

Pear Cut Diamond Ring

When it's severe, the bow tie effect can mar the natural beauty of elegant pear cut diamonds from designers like Verragio, vintage-inspired designs from Kirk Kara, or simple styles from A. Jaffe. But, a little bow tie needn't be a deal breaker.

Not all flaws ruin the appearance or value of a diamond. It's possible that a fancy cut diamond that has no shadow at all is improperly cut, and that will ultimately affect the value more. The best way to gauge the extent of the bow is to inspect it in person. Hold it up to the light and view it from different angles. Try the ring on to see how it looks on your hand.

If you're looking at a loose stone, our diamond experts can help you imagine the stone in various settings to find the one that meshes best for an overall pleasing aesthetic. If you're buying online or from a private seller in another location, think twice about purchasing unless you can view the stone in high-resolution photo or video from a variety of angles.

Done right, a bow tie can lend distinction and a unique aesthetic that makes your ring one of a kind. In the end, it's a matter of personal taste. If you love the ring and the shadow enhances the stone and setting, that's all that really matters.


When you're looking for exquisite, high-quality diamond jewelry, visit Medawar Jewelers or call 855-850-8015 to learn more. Our diamond expert will help you select the perfect stone and setting to express your commitment. We'll even help you with financing.

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