What Causes The Bow-Tie Effect In Oval Diamonds?

When shopping for an oval diamond, you may encounter a common phenomenon known as the "bow-tie effect." At Plateau Jewelers in Sammamish, WA, we're here to help you understand this unique characteristic, its causes, and how it can impact your diamond selection.

Understanding the Bow-Tie Effect in Oval Diamonds 

The bow-tie effect is a dark, bow-tie-shaped shadow that appears across the center of some oval-cut diamonds. While it's most commonly associated with oval cuts, it can also occur in other elongated shapes, such as marquise and pear.

Causes of the Bow-Tie Effect in Oval Diamonds

  • Facet Alignment: The bow-tie effect is primarily caused by the alignment of facets in the diamond's pavilion (the bottom half of the stone). When light enters the diamond, certain angles and arrangements of facets can create a shadow, resulting in the appearance of a bow tie.
  • Cut Quality: The quality of the diamond's cut plays a significant role in the presence and intensity of the bow-tie effect. A well-cut oval diamond will minimize the appearance of the bow tie, while a poorly cut diamond may have a more prominent shadow.
  • Proportions: The length-to-width ratio of an oval diamond can also influence the bow-tie effect. Diamonds with a more extreme ratio (longer or wider) may be more prone to this phenomenon.

Evaluating the Bow-Tie Effect

When considering an oval diamond, it's important to assess the visibility and impact of the bow-tie effect:

  • Visual Inspection: View the diamond under various lighting conditions and from different angles to see how noticeable the bow tie is.
  • Personal Preference: Some people find the bow-tie effect adds character to the diamond, while others prefer a stone with minimal shadowing.
  • Balance: Look for a diamond where the bow tie is not too dominant and doesn't detract from the overall beauty and brilliance of the stone.

Tips for Minimizing the Bow-Tie Effect in Oval Diamonds

  • Choose a High-Quality Cut: Opt for an oval diamond with excellent cut quality to ensure better light performance and a less noticeable bow tie.
  • Consider the Setting: Certain ring settings can help draw attention away from the bow-tie effect and enhance the diamond's overall appearance.
  • Expert Guidance: Work with a knowledgeable jeweler like Plateau Jewelers to select a diamond that meets your aesthetic preferences and minimizes any unwanted effects.

Alternatives to Oval Diamonds

  • Round Diamonds: If you're concerned about the bow-tie effect, consider a round diamond, which typically does not exhibit this phenomenon due to its symmetrical shape and facet arrangement.
  • Radiant or Cushion Cuts: These shapes offer a similar elongated appearance without the pronounced bow-tie effect seen in oval, marquise, and pear shapes.

Enhancing Oval Diamonds with Ring Design

  • Halo Settings: A halo setting, where smaller diamonds encircle the center stone, can draw attention away from the bow-tie effect and add additional sparkle to the ring.
  • Side Stones: Adding side stones or accent diamonds can balance the overall look of the ring and minimize the focus on the center stone's bow tie.


The bow-tie effect is a natural characteristic of oval diamonds and other elongated shapes. While it's a consideration when selecting a diamond, it doesn't necessarily detract from the stone's beauty. At Plateau Jewelers in Sammamish, WA, our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect oval diamond, with or without a bow tie, that captures your heart and sparkles with elegance. Visit us to explore our exquisite collection and discover the diamond that's right for you.