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Which Cut of Diamond Looks The Biggest?

Which cut of diamond looks the biggest? GREAT question! Seriously – you’re onto something here that most clientele don’t consider. The shape – or cut – of a diamond has a huge impact on how big it looks, but before we get into the shapes themselves, we’ve gotta cover a few bases.

Biggest Diamond Cut

First, let’s review cut. It’s not to be confused with capital-C-Cut, which is part of a diamond’s grade and measures its proportions, how well it reflects and refracts light, symmetry, and polish, among other things. Rather, when most people say “diamond cut” they mean diamond shape – round brilliant, pear shape, emerald cut, etc. You can read more about capital-C-Cut here, and more about diamond shapes here.

Different Diamond Shapes

Usually, people think of a round stone when they think about diamonds. It’s the default shape! But there are actually so many different shapes of diamonds, and anything that isn’t a round is considered a fancy shaped diamond. We wrote about them last week (check it out!) but to review, those shapes include:

  • Emerald cut
  • Pear Shape
  • Cushion Cut
  • Marquise
  • Heart Shape
  • Oval
  • Princess Cut
  • Asscher
  • Radiant

And there are more! Baguette, Old European, Rose Cut, Trillion, and other less prominent shapes. Plus proprietary cuts like Ashoka or CrissCut. Even specialty cuts that are super rare, like hexagons! Diamonds come in nearly every shape, size and color you can imagine. But today, we’re concerned about size.

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Size of a Diamond

The size of a diamond is measured in millimeters. Its weight is measured in carats. So a higher carat weight usually means a diamond that looks bigger – but not always. The more skilled a cutter is, the better he can maximize a diamond’s face-up appearance, without sacrificing the important balance of proportions that give a diamond sparkle and beauty. When a diamond looks bigger than it weighs, jewelers say it has “good spread” (check out more industry lingo here.)

A 1.5 carat diamond with good spread can look identical in size to a 2 carat diamond. That extra half carat will cost you a lot more though! The key to finding a diamond with good spread is also looking for one that doesn’t sacrifice its proportions. A diamond cut too shallow to achieve more spread will give the stone a lifeless, dull appearance. Likewise a diamond cut too deep will make a stone look too dark, and it will hide all that expensive carat weight in the bottom of the stone where you can’t see it anyway. You’re looking for a happy medium when you’re shopping on a budget.

So now you know the lingo and what to look for across the wide world of diamond shapes (spread spread spread.) Let’s get to the good stuff: which cut of diamond looks the BIGGEST?!

Elongated Fancy Diamond Shapes

Elongated fancy shapes are always your best bet. They lengthen your finger when worn as a ring, and their length to width ratio gives the eye a chance to scan all that vast diamond goodness. And their tables are usually larger – which means more surface area on the aerial view of a diamond. Elongated fancy shapes are:

  • Ovals
  • Marquise
  • Pear Shapes
  • Emerald Cuts
  • Some Radiant Cuts

What diamond shape looks the smallest?

The shape least likely to look bigger than it is? Princess cut. They’re stunning, and if you love this shape, don’t let this dissuade you – their balance of brilliance and clean lines is one-of-a-kind. But because of the way they’re cut, they tend to be a bit bottom heavy, holding a lot of their carat weight in the base of the diamond. That being said, princess cuts are the most popular fancy shape, come closest to replicating the fire and brilliance of a round brilliant, still look bigger than a round brilliant of equal weight and cost less-per-carat than identical round brilliants.

If you’re open to diamond shapes, and just want the biggest stone you can possibly get, look to the elongated fancy shapes first! If you have your heart set on a certain shape, don’t worry about how much bigger it might look as a different shape. Instead, focus on using the 4C’s to maximize your budget, and turn to your favorite jeweler to find out how to get the best deal on a diamond.

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