When Travis Barker proposed to Kourtney Kardashian, he did so with an estimated 12 carat elongated oval sparkler by jeweler Lorraine Schwartz. The reality star is just the latest to rock the celebrity cut du jour: oval engagement rings grace the famous fingers of Ariana Grande, Hailey Bieber, Serena Williams, and Blake Lively. (Just to name a few.)
In fact, oval engagement rings are experiencing a massive spike in interest, from, well everyone. According to Google Trends, “oval engagement rings” was the top-searched ring cut over the past five (yes, five!) years. And while the Gem Institute of America estimates 70 percent of diamonds sold today are round cut—buzzy e-commerce site Ring Concierge recently found 30 percent of their customers requested oval-cut diamonds.
Why, exactly, is the oval engagement ring capturing such public fascination?
Versions of the elongated shape have existed for centuries. Signet rings, for example, are commonly done in an oval shape as it has enough surface area to carve in a family crest. In the 1700s, they started popping up in Georgian-era England, says Joan Boening, president of premiere antique silver, porcelain, and jewelry company James Robinson. 150 years later, Queen Victoria acquired the Koh-i-noor diamond from India. She recut the whopping 186-carat stone into a brilliant 105-carat oval shape. In 1937, the diamond was placed into a coronation crown for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It now sits in the Tower of London.
It also had a heyday in the 1950s. In 1957, Lazare Kaplan, a Russian born New York diamond dealer, crafted an oval gemstone shape that could be mass produced. It was a fresh contrast to the angular, straight-lined Art Decor rings popular in the 1920s and 1930s—and marketed as such. (“Scheer’s tells you everything you need to know about the NEW OVAL CUT DIAMOND!” read a 1958 ad in a Rochester, New York paper. Scheer, a former jewelry manufacture in New York’s diamond district, went on to explain: “It is proclaimed to be more grateful and elegant than the emerald-cut.”)
The famed Kaplan was a supplier of Tiffany & Co. Cartier, and Van Cleef and Arpels. Soon, the shape sat in jewelry store cases across America. (Many jewelers touted its ability to look larger in size than a round cut diamond. “Oval diamonds look larger, but cost less!” read a 1958 ad in the Orlando Sentinel.) Upon his death, Kaplan was credited with its modern origins: “With such outlets, it was inevitable that the oval-cut diamond that he developed would become popular,” The New York Times wrote in his obituary.