It seems like oval engagement rings are popping up just about everywhere these days. Celebrities like Blake Lively, Leann Rimes, Heidi Klum, Katharine McPhee, Salma hayek and all wear (or have worn, in some cases) them proudly, thus increasing their popularity. Kate Middleton even stunned jewelry lovers across the world when she flaunted her blue sapphire oval engagement ring— the very same ring made famous years ago when it was worn by her fiancée’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. If you’re looking for an oval engagement ring, you’ve landed on the right article.

1.2 Ct Pear Shaped Diamond Engagement Ring Pave SI2 14KNow, once you decide you would like to purchase an oval engagement ring, you need to decide what kind of stone you want. Virtually every gem can be cut into the oval shape, and while engagement rings traditionally have diamonds recent years have shown the increasing use of other stones on account of people desiring uniqueness and individuality.

Historically, the oval shape was primarily only used for cutting rubies and sapphires, as they are easier to cut than diamonds. Oval diamonds as we know them today were not cut until the early 1950s, and they were not perfected until the early 1960s, as 20th century technology greatly enhanced gem and stone cutting techniques. The oval cut was created as a mix between the already established round and Marquise cuts.

1.25CT Fancy Pear Shape Diamond Engagement White GoldAn oval diamond has 56 facets and works well in both simple and more elaborate settings. For a unique variation on an oval engagement ring, some women choose different stones for the side settings. This can be a birthstone, making the ring especially personal, or a classic gem like a ruby or emerald. Nevertheless, reports from the past few years state that oval engagement rings use what is now the fourth most popular diamond shape available.

Compared to other diamond cuts, oval-shaped diamonds have a larger flat facet across the top of the stone. This is also known as a “table”. Although it may seem like insignificance to some, a larger table can make flaws in clarity and color more apparent. Therefore, any problems with the clarity and color (namely mineral impurities), should be looked for carefully before a final purchase is made, as they will be all the more obvious in oval engagement rings.

Another flaw to watch out for is the “bow-tie effect”. This is a darkened area across the widest part of the stone (the middle section). In oval engagement rings with any kind of stone, this bow-tie effect can ruin the overall look of the ring— unless you happen to like darkened centers. The degree to which the bow tie is apparent (the intensity of it) is considered to be a good indicator of the stone’s quality. Jewelry stores typically have a professional appraiser on staff or on call who can determine the true value of an oval engagement ring, or just the stone if you do not have it set in the band yet. This is important to ensure quality and integrity.

1.32 Carat Pear Shape Diamond Engagement Ring GVS2No matter what kind of stone you select, an oval engagement ring is flattering to most hand shapes as its elliptical shape (when set vertically, as is the norm) has the effect of making fingers appear long and slender (similar to the way vertical stripes in clothing work to make the body look slimmer). Because of the oval engagement ring’s classic appearance, it is one of the more versatile shapes and can be set with either modern or vintage designs. It can also come in a variety of colors. When it comes to the actual structure of the ring, oval engagement ring settings typically have just one large stone, with maybe some smaller diamonds set around it (the oval stone is obviously the focus, however). The oval center can also be set just above or flush with the ring band.

With the rise in popularity and mainstream prevalence of oval engagement rings, one would think that they would be very easy to find. However, finding the right one can still be a bit difficult, and many jewelers do not have a wide selection on hand. Chain jewelers like Jared, Kay Jewelers and Zales often have a set amount of oval engagement rings for display in their stores, while a much larger variety and set of options can be found in their online catalogs. These online catalogs include oval engagement rings from a variety of individual designers. For example, Kay Jewelers sells rings from designer and bridal specialist Neil Lane (although you can also view oval engagement rings on his individual website).

When shopping for an engagement ring in general, it is very important that you spend some time looking at different options from different designers and sellers. However, it depends on when you need the ring. If you are looking to get something custom made or specially handcrafted, you will need to allow at least a month of extra time. Therefore, this option may be out of the question if you are planning to propose with the ring next week.

If you do want a custom-made oval engagement ring, however, the Internet may once again be your friend. Some specialty jewelry designer websites have now made it possible for customers to both design and order their rings entirely online. Blue Nile, for example, has a Build Your Own Ring section on its company website that allows you to do just that. And yes, Blue Nile offers the option of oval engagement rings. Shane Co., a design company that has everything from diamonds and rubies to sapphires and pearls, has a similar setup on its website. On the other hand, if you know you want a diamond ring, you should check out the Harry Winston website. This jewelry design company works exclusively with diamonds when it comes to engagement rings, and their Oval Micropavé Diamond Engagement Ring is none other than exquisite. Tiffany and Co. also has a collection of diamond oval shaped engagement rings that are well worth looking at.