Does a high setting make a diamond look bigger? What setting makes the diamond look bigger?

Some individuals prefer small, simple, and subtle diamond engagement rings, but others would like their engagement rings as sizeable and glamorous. If you’d instead the biggest possible diamond engagement ring. Still, you also wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on that enormous diamond centre stone. You will be happy with these tips on the best ways to pick and make your diamond engagement ring appear more significant than it is.

You may have heard that a high diamond setting on your engagement ring would make the ring and the stone look more prominent. But is this true? Yes, it is. A higher set diamond will make the ring look more prominent, but be careful about the stone because some less than 0.5 carats will look smaller. What this means is that you will create and achieve the illusion of the perfect sized engagement ring if you opt for a high setting for a high-carat diamond ring.

Engagement ring settings should be both beautiful and practical. A setting defines your ring style, adds drama to the diamond and protects it from loss or damage. The right setting and band can also make your diamond look bigger and even more sparkling.

If you’re looking to create an illusion of size, here are some tips for engagement ring settings that can make your diamond “grow.” But first, let’s start by debunking some dubious recommendations floating around the internet.

Do diamonds look bigger on small hands?

Now, before we look into some of the ways, you could make your diamond look more significant (from the higher setting and all), let’s address the matter of balance and whether the diamond engagement rings look big on smaller hands or not. Let’s clarify that if you have smaller hands, you don’t want your ring to look awkward on your hand.

So, back to the question. Well, the answer to this is that the diamond will always draw attention to itself and the size of your fingers or hands; notwithstanding, the oval-, pear-, and the marquise-cut diamonds on engagement rings will result in the elongation of your fingers. On the other band, diamonds with cut designs like the Asscher, Cushion, or the Princess-cut will always widen your fingers, while in other cases, they will draw more attention to the ring.

Simultaneously, larger diamonds are overwhelming on small fingers, while the smaller diamonds are underwhelming on large fingers.

There’s also the matter of the ring’s band where the rings with thin bands tend to accentuate the wearer’s fingers, and the wide bands will draw more attention to the ring and away from the fingers.

Also, on the ring sizes, it’s important to note that an engagement ring with a very narrow band will blend with your skin, the wideband will dwarf your fingers, a diamond that is too large will overpower your hands, and picking a diamond that is too small will have an overwhelming effect.

To choose the perfect diamond for the ring, consider the band size and the stone’s cut. Princess-cut or solitaire diamond rings work better for persons with small hands because the cut makes the fingers.

But don’t assume that a specific cut will work for you, visit the jewellery store and try out all the different options available until you find that diamond ring size and cut that looks great on your fingers.

What Doesn’t Make a Diamond Look Bigger

Diamond shape and carat weight: While a diamond’s outline – round, rectangular, oval, pear, marquise — can influence the overall perception of diamond size, the shape of a diamond alone does not guarantee the stone will look more prominent. The same is correct for the diamond carat weight. Just because one diamond weighs more than another of the same shape doesn’t mean it will look more prominent. Similarly, one diamond might look bigger than another of the same shape and weight but maybe less appealing overall. That’s because there might be many factors at play, especially those related to the quality of the diamond’s cut and how its weight is distributed.

Here are some examples:

  • A diamond with shallow cut proportions may be physically broader and longer, but it will be far less appealing. That’s because a lot of the light that enters the crown of a shallow diamond might exit through the pavilion, making the diamond look dull and unattractive.
  • A shallow pavilion depth – less than 38 percent – can create a “fish-eye” effect, seen as an unattractive grey ring under the table. (Pavilion depth is measured as the distance from the bottom of the girdle plane to the culet.) As above, the diamond may be physically broader and longer, but the stone will have a dull, flat look.

What’s a crown, pavilion, girdle and culet? Learn more about diamond anatomy.

  • On marquise, pear and heart-shaped diamonds, the sides near the points are called wings. If they’re too flat, they make the stone look too narrow. If they’re too rounded, they make it look short and stubby.

White metal band 

A common misconception about engagement ring settings is that a white metal band can act like a mirror to reflect and amplify a diamond’s size. The logic seems sound until you consider that a rose gold or yellow gold band could serve as a dramatic counterpoint to the diamond, making it look bigger. So a white metal band is not a foolproof solution.

Coloured gemstones

Coloured accent stones provide a dramatic contrast to a centre stone, but do they make the diamond look larger? Not necessarily. One could convincingly argue that a coloured stone would compete with a diamond, thus distracting the eye.

Slender prongs

A potentially troublesome myth about engagement ring settings is that the less a prong covers a diamond, the more of the gem shown, so the bigger it will look. While this may be true technically, it is not advisable. Prongs serve an essential function: they hold a diamond securely in place. Skimp on the necessary size and number of prongs, and you risk losing the diamond.

What Does Make a Diamond Look Bigger

Here are some engagement ring settings to consider if you’re looking to boost the appearance of your diamond’s size.

Illusion setting

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, when few could afford large diamonds, jewellers sometimes set a diamond in a head made of a fluted white metal. The shiny metal was made with ripples, so the whole head looked like the diamond is reflected. This setting was so successful in delivering an illusion of size that it’s still used today.

TIPS:

  • The purpose of the illusion setting is to make a near-colourless diamond look more extensive, and white metal must achieve this particular effect. If the diamond is yellow, then a yellow gold illusion setting is a better choice.
  • Diamonds smaller than 0.50 carat (ct) are good candidates for illusion engagement ring settings. You’d probably want to showcase a diamond 0.50 ct or larger on its own instead of relying on the illusion setting to work its optical magic.

Cluster setting 

This engagement ring setting places several small diamonds of similar size next to each other. This technique maximises sparkle and gives the illusion of a single diamond much larger in size (and more costly) than the melee diamonds used to make it.

TIPS:

  • Diamonds of the same or similar colour grades work best in a cluster setting. Diamond manufacturers know this and match colour grades when producing these kinds of rings. So you won’t have to worry about selecting the many smaller diamonds that will be part of your cluster setting.
  • The more metal surrounding a stone, the more it is protected. Cluster settings have lots of metal. So your diamonds will be better safeguarded against damage.

Halo setting

When a ring of smaller diamonds is artfully placed around a centre stone, the centre stone can appear to be the halo size.

TIPS: 

  • Engagement ring manufacturers select the melee that makes the halo, so you won’t have to worry about picking the many small diamonds that will go into the engagement ring setting.
  • A diamond centre stone weighing 0.50 ct or more works best in this kind of setting because the melee in the halo will enhance it. You probably wouldn’t want to use a smaller diamond since it would be too close in size to the melee. That combination would probably look like a pavé set ring with one diamond (the centre stone) somewhat more extensive than the rest.
  • The prongs on halo diamonds tend to wear out faster. Should you go with this style, be sure to have your ring routinely checked by your jeweller.

Pavé setting

Many diamonds 0.20 ct or smaller are set into tapered holes in a metal surface, nestled close to the melee stones next to them to achieve this popular technique. Pavé creates an appearance of uninterrupted diamonds in the band, making the centre stone look larger.

TIPS: 

  • Pavé set diamonds in engagement ring settings are typically very secure, as the diamonds are placed into the metal. However, should a diamond fall out, it is more difficult for a bench jeweller to replace it.
  • Avoid engagement ring settings with pavé set diamonds on the bottom of the shank. This area of the ring is exposed to a lot of friction, so the diamonds are more easily lost or damaged.

Invisible setting

For this technique, small diamonds are cut with grooved pavilions and then slipped into a thin wire framework. This eliminates the need for prongs and allows the gems to be set against each other. The result is that the real diamond is visible, and groups of diamonds can look like one large gem.

TIP: 

  • There is a drawback. Should a diamond in an invisible setting be damaged, it is tough to repair or replace it. So Invisible diamond engagement ring settings are probably not a good idea for physically active individuals.

What setting makes the diamond look bigger?

Bright White Setting

To make your engagement ring look more significant, you need to keep in mind that the colour of the precious metals used will determine the ring’s visual impact.

What this means is that you should consider platinum and 18K white gold settings for the rings. The bright white shine from the metal will reflect the centre diamond for the ring like a mirror, creating an illusion of a bigger engagement ring.

Note that the 18K white gold offers an excellent reflection thanks to the plating with rhodium, which gives off a beautiful and extraordinary shine. It’s also more reflective than platinum and even cheaper, making it a good setting metal if you don’t want to break the bank for the ring that looks big.

Halo Ring Setting

To make your diamond engagement ring look bigger, or buy an engagement ring that will ultimately look bigger on your ring finger, one of the most effective strategies is buying a halo-set engagement ring.

The halo setting naturally looks big and glamorous, which is why it is a recommended option for you if you’d like the ring to look bigger without having to buy the ring with the biggest diamond.

You will have your centre stone surrounded by that shimmering set of rings made of smaller accent rings with the halo setting. The bright halo shape/ design will exceed the centre diamond’s size optically, and the ring will look a lot bigger than it is. The extra shimmer further enhances the optical illusion of a bigger diamond from the halo setting’s diamonds.

So, if shopping for a diamond engagement ring for the first time and you need that dramatic feel, the halo setting for the diamond will be the best way for you to create and add impact on the engagement ring.

The halo setting is also ideal if you plan to upgrade your older engagement ring and if you are going for that dramatic flair from the bigger ring.

Choose rings with slimmer settings.

The other thing you could do for your diamond engagement ring to look bigger is to settle for the slim, delicate diamond settings. Select the ring with the slim band and narrow set prongs for the centre diamond to look bigger.

Note that a wide metal band and bulky prongs will make the diamond smaller, which is why it is a good idea to select a thin or slim setting for the band and the prongs if you want to create an illusion of a giant diamond ring.

Diamond shapes to avoid

As you look for ways of making your diamond engagement ring look more significant, you need to make sure that you know which shapes you must avoid creating the illusion of a bigger diamond.

Avoid the Princess and Asscher-cut diamonds. Also, steer clear of round-cut diamonds. These cuts don’t have the illusion of bigger stone, and they are also among the most expensive cuts. Some of the cuts you should consider include the oval, pear, marquise, or emerald-cut diamonds. These are not only affordable but also create the illusion of a bigger diamond ring.

Spread Stones

Spread stones refer to the stones that are designed to look bigger than they are. The most common spread stones are scattered diamonds. These diamonds are not the highest-quality diamonds, but they are designed and cut in a way that makes them look bigger, meaning that a 1.00carat diamond will look like a 1.20-carat diamond.

Note that the spread stones are shallow diamonds, and because of their broader mass, they look more extensive. But before you get an engagement ring with spread diamonds, you should know that they are low-quality diamonds that will lose their sparkle and brilliance too soon.

Eye-Clean Inclusions

A diamond with a high degree of clarity looks bigger because more light enters the stone, hence more sparkle and the illusion of a bigger diamond.

White Diamonds

A pure white diamond looks bigger because it looks like there is some spotlight on it, so the white diamond from the D-E-F colour range will automatically look bigger than it is.

Ways to Make Your Engagement Ring Look Bigger

Some people want a subtle engagement ring, while others want their engagement ring to look as glamorous and sizable as possible. If you fall into the latter category, we’re here to help with some handy tips on how you can make your engagement ring look bigger— without spending more on an enormous centre stone. 

Prioritise Cut 

If you’re looking for a diamond for your engagement ring and want your diamond to look as big as possible, don’t overlook cut grade. People often assume that the only thing that will make a diamond look larger is going up in carat weight. But that’s far from reality. Many factors determine how large a diamond will look, including how well it was cut. 

A cut grade is so important for how large a diamond looks that a low cut grade can make a large diamond look considerably smaller. Knowing that while a higher carat weight will lead to a technically larger diamond, a shallow cut grade can negate all that pricy extra carat weight. 

Choose Your Diamond Shape Wisely 

Another thing that can change how large a diamond looks is its shape. Diamonds can be cut into many different forms, such as round, princess, or oval. But each diamond shape has its mass distributed differently. Some diamond shapes have more mass on their table (the top of the diamond), making them look much larger per carat. 

Wondering which diamond shapes look the largest per carat? The four shapes that look the largest per carat are (in order of which examines the largest): marquise, pear, oval, and emerald diamonds. Among these shapes, oval diamonds are a top choice among those who want a classic-style engagement ring yet wish to maximise the size of their engagement ring’s centre diamond. Oval cut diamonds look quite a bit larger than round diamonds per carat, yet they have a similar traditional look. 

Avoid Certain Diamond Shapes 

Just as some diamond shapes look larger per carat, others look smaller per carat. If you want the largest-looking diamond, you can fit it into your budget. You may wish to avoid Asscher cut and princess diamonds. Both of these shapes hide much of their weight below their table, only due to how they’re cut. 

Round diamonds are another shape you may want to avoid if you’re trying to get a larger-looking diamond while maximising your budget. Round diamonds look smaller per carat than marquise, pear, oval, and emerald diamonds. Then, they also tend to be much more expensive. Round diamonds are by far the most expensive diamond shape, partially due to demand (round is the most popular diamond shape) and partly since there is more raw diamond waste during the round diamond cutting process. 

Consider Going Lower in Color and Clarity

Unlike diamond cut, diamond colour and diamond clarity don’t have much impact on how large a diamond looks. If the size is your main priority, know that you can maximise your centre stone budget by going a bit lower in diamond colour and clarity. Being flexible with your colour and clarity grades frees up room in your account for a diamond that is higher in carat weight yet still has a Very Good or Excellent cut. 

Shine Bright With a Halo 

Halo engagement ring settings are an excellent option if you want your engagement ring to look as glamorous and sizable as possible. In a halo setting, your centre stone is surrounded by a shimmering ring of smaller accent diamonds. This brilliant halo optically extends the size of your centre diamond, making it look much more extensive. The extra shimmer provided by the diamonds in a halo setting adds to this effect.  

If you’re shopping for an engagement ring for the first time, halo settings are a great way to add drama and impact to your engagement ring. But they’re also a great option if you’re looking to upgrade your old engagement ring. You can switch out your current engagement ring’s setting for a halo setting and get a much larger-looking ring for a fraction of the cost of upgrading your existing centre diamond. 

Go Slim With Your Setting 

Another way to use your setting to make your centre diamond look larger is to go with a very slim, delicate set. If you select a setting with a slim band and slim prongs, your centre diamond will look larger in comparison. On the other hand, if you choose a wide band with bulky prongs, your diamond will look smaller. So if you want your centre stone to look as large as possible, always select a slim, delicate setting. 

As with our last tip, you can use this trick on a new engagement ring or your current one. Suppose your existing engagement ring has a wide, bulky setting overpowering your diamond. In that case, you can quickly (and inexpensively) switch it out for a slim setting to make your centre diamond look much more extensive.

Choose a Bright White Setting 

Some precious metals can make your engagement ring look bigger than others. Namely, platinum and white gold— but mostly 18k white gold. A shiny white metal will reflect your engagement ring’s centre diamond like a mirror might, making it look larger. 18k white gold is particularly good at reflection, as it’s plated in rhodium, which is extraordinarily shiny. As a bonus, 18k white gold is not only more reflective than platinum but less expensive, which can help you put more of your budget toward a larger centre diamond. 

Keep Your Ring Clean 

Our last tip is perhaps the easiest one to follow on this list. If you want your engagement ring to look as large as possible, year after year, always keep it clean. As we mentioned throughout this article, the more sparkly your engagement ring is, the larger it will look. Over time, diamonds and precious metals accumulate oil and dirt, which dulls their sparkle. So to keep your engagement ring shining, clean it regularly. 

Wondering how often you should clean your engagement ring? We generally recommend getting your ring professionally cleaned every six months. Then, in between professional cleanings, simply wash your ring at home using warm water, dish soap, and a soft toothbrush whenever you think it’s starting to look a bit dim.

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