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How to Get a Larger Looking Diamond Without Spending More (9 Tips)

Girl's hand wearing engagement ring

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Do you want a big diamond on top of your future engagement ring? Of course, you do, everybody does. One of the first things people ask when they see an engagement ring diamond is “How big is it?”

The larger the size, the more expensive the diamond and it’s common for even just a tenth of the carat to increase the price of the stone by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. But the good news is that there are ways to make your engagement ring look bigger than it is…. all without spending more.

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Here are our 9 tips on how to get a larger-looking diamond without loosening your purse strings.

1- Pick the best possible cut

Even though every shopper is focused on the carat weight of diamonds, we’d recommend you focus more on another of the 4Cs – the stone’s cut. Cut refers to more than just the shape of the diamond – it involves the faceting structure, alignment, symmetry, proportion and polish among others.  All these are essential for how well the diamond reflects light and how much sparkle and brilliance it creates. This is vital not only because it makes diamonds more beautiful but also because it makes them appear bigger. For example, a 1.1 carat diamond with an excellent cut may look bigger than a 1.3 carat diamond with only a fair cut, because the sparkle of the stone tricks the eye into seeing it as larger.

James Allen loose diamond filter

James Allen offers a super-ideal cut grade called True Hearts.

For reference, the Gemological Institute of America categorizes the quality of diamond cuts like this: Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Fair. Sometimes, the Excellent grade is known as Ideal, which is the term used by the American Gem Society (AGS). An Excellent cut or better (most retailers have their own version of better than excellent cut diamonds) will give you the most sparkle and thereby a larger looking diamond.

2- Clarity is important

A diamond with few or no inclusions will mean better sparkle because there will be less interference with the movement of light. Flaws within the diamond can break up light refraction and diminish the sparkle of the stone so by picking a stone with good clarity, you’re enhancing the sparkle of the stone which, as we’ve already mentioned above, is one way of emphasizing the size of the stone.   

3- Pick a shape with a larger surface area

Which of these two diamonds of similar carat weight looks bigger?

See more engagement rings on James Allen 

Different diamond shapes have different amounts of surface area even when they are of the same carat weight. What you should look at the most is the surface area of the table (top side) of the diamond. For example, while the classic round cut has a larger table than the princess or the cushion cut, it has a smaller table than some less traditional shapes like emerald, marquise, pear and Asscher for example. However, there’s a trade-off here. The round cut offers the best brilliance and sparkle, which, as we said, makes the diamond look bigger. While there is some subjectivity here, in general, there are some shapes that look bigger than the round cut.

4- Go for white metals

2-carat round shape engagement ring

White metals enhance a colorless diamond’s size. Check price HERE.

White metals like platinum, silver and white gold are popular not only because they are hip and contemporary but also because they make diamonds look more impressive. They do this by better reflecting the brilliance and sparkle of the stones and thus causing them to pop more to the eye.

What’s more, because white metals don’t offer much contrast to colorless diamonds, the edge of the diamond and the metal beneath it can be a bit harder to distinguish. You might think that this means your diamond will be less noticeable – but the opposite is actually true as the diamond looks bigger to the naked eye.

On the other hand, colorful metals such as yellow or rose gold can make your ring’s diamond look smaller because you can clearly see the outline of the diamond which gives its size away.  

5- Choose a more delicate ring

thinner band ring makes diamond look bigger

Engagement ring with thinner band. Check price HERE.

Another way you can use the ring to emphasize the diamond’s size is by picking a thinner band. Don’t compromise its structural integrity, of course, nor its overall look, but if the band is thinner and more delicate, the diamond that’s on top of it will look bigger. This is a matter of simple contrast – a 1.0 carat stone will look much bigger on a 2mm engagement ring than it would on a 6mm engagement ring. Engagement rings can come in different widths – from 1 to 20 millimeters, technically, but they most commonly fall somewhere between 2 and 6 millimeters.

6- Pick a setting that highlights the diamond

Halo setting fancy engagement ring in white gold

This elaborate setting makes the center diamond look massive. See it HERE.

The setting of the stone is also important. A pronged setting with large and protruding prongs can make even a big diamond look smaller, while thinner and less noticeable prongs won’t overshadow it. Still, a ring’s prongs are there for a reason and if your diamond’s shape requires security, don’t compromise with insufficiently thin and weak prongs.

An excellent setting that makes a diamond appear larger is the halo setting, as it adds a ring of diamonds to the center stone making it appear larger than it is. The trick is to pick similar colored diamonds. Cluster, pave and side-stone settings that include several or lots of smaller stones beside the main diamond can also help it look bigger by comparison.

7- Clean your ring regularly

This is generally good advice for many reasons but it will also genuinely help your ring look bigger because it will sparkle much more. Think of it this way: If you buy a ring with an excellent cut and great clarity but then don’t clean it regularly, you’ve effectively wasted your money because you could have just as well bought a cheaper and lower-quality stone that has no brilliance anyway.

8- Don’t wear other rings on the same hand as your engagement ring

Your Engagement Ring

Most people wear their engagement rings and wedding bands on the same hand – that’s the traditional way of doing it. If you move one of them to your other hand, however, and make sure that your engagement ring doesn’t have any other rings near it, there’ll be nothing to compare its diamond with intuitively and the stone will look more impressive on its own.

9- And finally – don’t forget to shop smart

We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again – the first and most important step when buying diamonds and jewelry, in general, is finding the right vendor, whether that’s an online shop or a physical shop. Good and reputable vendors don’t just offer quality, they also offer fair prices for the value you’re getting, as well as a lot of additional services included in the price.

And don’t follow brand recognition either – a lot of the more popular shops you’ve heard of are actually the biggest scammers out there as they bloat their prices to absurd levels because they know people are going to buy them anyway.

If instead, you go to a quality vendor like James Allen or Blue Nile, to name the two most prominent online vendors, you’ll be able to get a much bigger and better diamond for your engagement ring at the same price you would have paid somewhere else.