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    The History of Pear Shaped Diamonds

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    Did you know that every diamond shape except the round brilliant is referred to as a fancy cut? And the fancy cut we’ll spotlight today is the pear shape.

    The pear cut diamond has sometimes been called a teardrop shape for its similarity to that crystal drop falling from the eye. This elegant diamond is anything but downcast—it’s actually a symphony of scintillation. Let’s take a closer look at its history, and evolution—and its place in modern jewelry.

    The Cut: Marquise + Round = Pear

    First, let’s
    look at its shape and discover how this cut handles light. The pear-shaped diamond is an
    amalgam of the famed round brilliant cut, which
    is the world’s most popular diamond cut. It also blends the elongated end shape
    of the marquise cut. We happen to have a soft spot for marquise shaped diamonds
    not only for their romantic legend of origin, but their dainty feminine appeal.
    So, there we have it: a round brilliant marries
    a marquise and the result is a compelling pear-shaped diamond.

    18K White Gold Pear Shape Halo Diamond Stud Earrings
    Find these Earrings at James AllenPear cut diamonds offer a graceful option for diamond stud earrings. © James Allen

    The Origin of the Pear Cut

    Today, modern designers
    integrate pear shaped diamonds into their imaginative jewelry creations. That
    caused some diamond fans to mistakenly believe this is a modern cut. But not so
    fast. While It may look very much up-to-date, this diamond shape has origins
    dating to the mid-15th century in Flanders.

    The year was 1475, where a Flemish (modern day Belgium)
    diamond cutter named Lodewyk van Bercken had just invented a diamond-polishing
    wheel, or scaif. His new invention would transform
    diamond cutting forever. The pioneering polishing wheel enabled him to place
    facets onto a diamond rough with complete symmetry, thereby creating a trail
    for the later development of complex diamond cuts.  In that same year, he invented the world’s
    first pear shaped diamond.

    0.540 VS2 Fancy color Pear Brian Gavin
    What could dazzle you more than a fancy color pear cut diamond? This one is a showstopper. © Brian Gavin

    Since its inception over 500 years ago, cutters have labored
    hard to determine the ideal ratio of length to width for pear shaped diamonds
    to optimize their sparkle factor. The number of facets however, have remained
    the same since their beginning. Van Bercken established his pear cut diamond
    with 58 facets and it hasn’t veered from that standard all these centuries
    later. Conventional round brilliant cuts are also 58 facets, but creative
    license from some innovative cutters has resulted in more facet patterns
    established for the round brilliant. Yet with the pear, it seems like you can’t
    improve on a good thing.

    Why is the Pear So Unique?

    The pear’s soft-sided curves and rounded bottom narrows upward
    toward a pointed tip finale. Because of its unique asymmetrical shape, the
    pear-shaped diamond is especially well suited for pendants and earrings besides
    being placed as a stand-alone solitaire in diamond engagement rings. Since
    they’ve been around for so long, you’ll be able to see both modern and antique
    diamond jewelry with pear shaped diamonds. And in doing so you’ll be seeing a
    wide variety of proportions. Some may look like pudgy pears. Some may appear so
    elongated to you that they don’t seem quite right; even though you can’t put
    your finger on exactly why the shape is ‘off’.

    FFrench Set Pave Diamond Engagement Ring With Clarity
    Find this Ring at With ClarityWith Clarity understands today’s bridal jewelry shopper. Here’s their take on modern meets timeless.

    Today, you’re more likely to see commercially cut pear shaped
    diamonds polished into three distinctly observable ratio ranges: (1) 1-1:30
    which is a semi-pudgy pear, (2) 1-1:50 which most people find attractive, and
    (3) 1-1:70 which is an elongated elegant contour. Some cutters have gone as far
    as successfully polishing a stone with a 1-1.75 ratio, but they don’t want to
    go farther than that in order to keep the elegant lines for which pears are
    celebrated. You can’t go ‘wrong’ with any of the above diamond shapes. It boils
    down to personal preference. One diamond will speak to you—and you fall in
    love. When cut ‘just right’ the stone should deliver a depth of scintillation
    all the way to the pointed end of the diamond.

    Find this Ring at White FlashModern, sleek and yet romantic, this pear is a scene stealer. © White Flash

    You may wonder why there are still outliers in the
    pear-shaped department when the consensus has blessed these three basic
    proportions. That is because diamond cutters looking at a rough crystal often
    chose weight saving cuts over beauty. Simple as that. In the bid for weight
    retention, they may decide that an out of ideal shape will still be salient—and
    we can’t make too much of a case to the contrary. There really is a diamond for
    everyone, isn’t there?

    Besides a well-proportioned length / width ratio, a key element
    to look for in a pear stone is to make sure the rounded sides of the gem are
    full, symmetrical and with no flattened areas or bulges too far out of
    symmetry. Pudgy or elongated, the pear needs to exhibit the best of a round
    brilliant’s symmetry displayed in its belly and shoulders, and marquise-like
    sleek, elegant, slightly curved wings going toward the point. Shaping a crystal
    into a pear allows a diamond cutter to leave more carat weight in the
    stone—which is usually found in rounded end of the diamond.

    The Best Color for a Pear Diamond

    Keep in mind that diamonds cut into pear shapes are among
    those stones that show color the strongest.  With that to consider, when
    choosing a pear shape diamond, look for stones with H color or higher as those
    will make the the stone look whiter.

    Bezel Set Pear-Shaped Diamond Pendant Blue Nile
    An east-west setting lends an unexpected twist to this fresh diamond pendant. © Blue Nile

    Additional Considerations for a Pear
    Diamond

    No matter which pear-shaped diamond you select, be it one of
    the trade’s “best proportions”, or even a charming outlier, you will want to
    have your jeweler or a gemologist check for light leakage, a potential
    unintended consequence of this unique cut. Simply put, a well-cut pear diamond
    should not possess any light leakage, which appears as a dark bow tie effect in
    the center of the stone. That formation prevents the optimum light return back
    to the eye from the middle of the diamond. Even without training, you may be
    able to recognize a dark bow tie effect in the gemstone. But a professional
    will help isolate that effect for you and point it out.

    Now let’s
    point out a few perks of
    this diamond cut. First, it often looks larger than
    the same carat weight diamond cut into another shape, like a round brilliant for instance. Second, the delicate
    elongated shape adds grace and an impression of length to the lady’s hand.
    Since pears have been around for so many years, jewelers today are seeing
    customers come in to inquire about reimagining their older pear cut diamond
    jewelry.

    Some of the more updated ways to work with an older pear cut ring is to set it in a modern halo mounting. Not only does that look updated, but the halo helps the diamond look much larger overall.

    modern pear halo
    Find this Ringat James AllenA halo of smaller diamonds makes a pear-shaped diamond look even bigger as seen in this .95 carat beauty by James Allen.

    We’re also
    seeing the bypass design utilized with pears—a pair of pears to be precise.
    Rather than position a pear stone vertically down the finger, the jeweler finds
    another matching pear diamond or even a delightful colored stone and designs a
    bypass ring where the point of one stone is nestled beside the rounded belly of
    the opposing stone. The result is opulent and intentional. We like that! And you’ll
    occasionally see the pear stone set sideways (east-west orientation) on a stone
    for an unexpected modern effect.

    Find this Ring at Custom MadeYoung diamond ring shoppers are drawn to the updated look of modern rings flaunting pear cuts on either side of a round diamond. © Custom Made

    Is the pear diamond the “Comeback Kid” of the
    diamond set? Celebrity chatter mags have made mention
    of red-carpet personalities flaunting a sizeable pear-shaped diamond engagement
    ring in recent years.

    We like to think this earliest diamond cut never really went out of style.

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