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Bow Ties and Light Leakage Explained

Fancy shaped lab diamonds including ovals and pears, are some of our most requested shapes for engagement rings. If you’re shopping for a fancy shaped lab diamond, you may have heard of the “bow tie effect”. Our diamond experts explain everything you need to know about bow ties and light leakage when shopping for your perfect lab grown diamond.

What is a “Bow-Tie”?

A “bow tie” is a shadow or darkened area that runs across the width of a diamond. In a well cut diamond, all of the light that enters is reflected back through the facets, resulting in all the sparkle and fire that comes to mind when thinking of a diamond. However, in fancy shapes such as oval, marquise, and pears, a poor cut creates a shadow across the diamond from the diamond’s facets not being able to properly reflect light. Fancy shaped diamonds will typically display some degree of bow tie, and while a minimal bow tie can actually enhance the character of a fancy shape, it’s important to have a trusted expert to help you avoid choosing a diamond with a large dark shadow, since this characteristic is not mentioned on diamond grading reports.


Light Leakage

Light leakage is a phenomenon that occurs in diamonds with poorly cut pavilion facets that result in a dull or lifeless looking diamond. Light leakage is an important consideration when purchasing your diamond because it impacts a diamonds overall visual appeal. A diamond that displays a lot of light leakage does so because the pavilion facets do not reflect light back to the crown of the diamond. Diamond shapes that are “step-cut” such as emeralds and elongated radiant shapes, sometimes display light leakage in large carat weights because of the way they pavilion facets are cut.


At Ada Diamonds, our expert gemologists visually inspect every single lab diamond, to ensure they are eye clean and don’t display a visible bow tie effect or poor light performance. Your Diamond Concierge will also provide you with HD video of the diamonds they’ve curated for you in a variety of lighting so you can see for yourself that your diamond is eye clean. We know that quality and curation matter, and we’re committed to delivering you the best lab diamonds on earth.

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