Jewelry Blog

Which Diamond Shape Looks the Biggest?

Three Stone Engagement Ring

You’ve likely heard about the four main factors defining a diamond’s quality – cut, clarity, color, and carats. Unfortunately, these factors often conflict. To get a higher clarity and color grade, you’d have to sacrifice the stone’s weight, unless you aren’t limited in terms of price at all. A lot of women prefer bigger stones to tiny, delicate stones – but which diamond shape looks the biggest? 

Read on to find out which cut will make the piece look the most impressive. Click here to learn how to Make Your Diamond Shape Look Bigger.

Which Diamond Shape Looks the Biggest?

1 Carat Diamond Shapes Cuts Comparison Chart
Here is a comparison chart of how big diamond shapes appear. All the diamonds in this chart are all cut well and all weigh exactly 1.00-carats.

Here’s a list of the diamond shapes that appear the largest from the top in our opinion. Keep in mind that each person may have a different opinion.

  1. Round Cut (and Rose Cut)
  2. Asscher Cut
  3. Emerald Cut
  4. Princess Cut
  5. Cushion Cut
  6. Marquise Cut
  7. Oval Cut
  8. Pear Cut
  9. Heart Cut

Round Cut Diamond Size

Round Cut Diamond Halo Engagement Ring with Big Diamond in Center

The round cut (and Old European cut) has the biggest look out of all the rings. It’s not an accident that it’s the most popular and priciest diamond on the market.

If the round cut diamond is cut well, the round diamond will give an impression of being 0.5x bigger than any of the cuts of the same size.

Emerald-Cut Diamond Size

Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Ring SB1056 Diamond Shape looks the Biggest

The emerald cut works well with stones of higher clarity grade, as it won’t mask inclusions. Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to get a bigger stone – the emerald cut is among the champions of our selection. Diamonds of this shape are less sparkly, but appear bigger. The cut isn’t as deep as the traditional round cut; therefore, the stones are wider. The emerald cut features a large table and an endless mirror effect, adding to the illusion of a big stone.

If all things are equal, the Emerald Cut Diamond will give the largest illusion of size from the list. 

Marquise-Cut Diamond Size

Marquise Cut Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

Pointed edges and a larger appearance make the marquise cut the most extravagant diamond shape. The two sharp sides allow the stone to be longer, thus covering the biggest area on your finger.

Same as the pear cut (mentioned below), the marquise cut diamonds are in lower demand than most other cuts. This results in a more affordable price.

Oval-Cut Diamond Size

Oval Cut Engagement Ring

The shape of oval-cut diamonds creates an illusion that helps the stone appear larger due to elongated lines. Furthermore, an intense sparkle of this cut draws attention and intensifies the illusion effect.

Compared to a round-cut diamond, an oval-cut stone of the same weight will look smaller, but the oval is still a timeless classic and will give you a large shape. 

Pear-Cut Diamond Size

Pear Shape Engagement Ring

Just like the oval and emerald cuts, the pear cut has an elongated shape. The sharp tip allows the rounded end to be wider, and that’s what people will notice first. 

Another advantage of the pear cut is that it’s less popular than most other shapes, therefore, less pricey.

In addition, you often get more carats for the same price. This shape is seriously underestimated, as it makes your fingers appear slender and can be worn two ways.

Plus, pear-shaped diamonds are a tough competition to round and oval cuts in terms of sparkle. 

How to Make Your Diamond Shape Look Bigger?

There are several techniques that jewelers use to make the diamond look bigger. Here are the top choices:

Add a Halo around the Diamond

Cushion Cut Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

Here’s a trick to make a diamond of any cut appear larger – choose a halo setting. Several tiny stones generally cost less than one big stone, but add a lot in terms of sparkle and size. 

The halo setting also leaves room for creativity – you can choose to surround the center diamond with colored gemstones. However, if the colors of the main stone and halo are contrasting, the enlarging effect will be less impressive compared to stones of matching color. 

Last but not least, a halo can protect the center stone from catching objects and scratching. This is especially important for marquise and pear-cut diamonds. 

Proportions Can Make the Diamond Shape Look Bigger

Three Stone Engagement Ring

Another thing to bear in mind, depending on the cut you prefer, is proportions. A diamond which is cut flawlessly and features perfect symmetry reflects the light better.

A strong shine makes the stone appear larger and draws more attention. Therefore, paying more for a better cut is worth it. However, only round-cut diamonds have a GIA-issued cut grade – for the rest you will have to use your own judgment. 

Choose a Narrow Band and Minimal Details 

Three Stone Diamond Engagement Ring with Simple Details on Side

A narrow band will make any diamond appear bigger. Solitaire style rings accentuate the stone, while a lot of design elements can make even large diamonds look tiny – unless it’s a halo style ring.

In general, a high crown requires a deep stone cut, meaning that the diamond will appear smaller when looking from above. If you choose white gold or platinum setting, it will complement the clear diamond color and visually enlarge it. 

A contrasting setting, on the other hand, will do the opposite. Unless you are choosing a yellow gold band to match a champagne-colored diamond, of course!

Flatter Stones and Rose Cuts

Rose Cut Diamond Engagement Ring RD3227 Artistic

Another great way to give a larger impression is to find a (poorly cut) diamond that has a much wider width to height ratio than the commonly accepted criteria. The wider the stone, the larger the look.

Of course, if you have a very wide diamond, you’ll be sacrificing sparkle and brilliance, but you can’t have it all.

Another option, is to go with a rose-cut diamond. Rose cut diamonds have become increasingly popular over the past few years. It’s an antique look that has made a giant renaissance.

Which Diamond Shape Looks Smallest? 

Round Diamond Engagement Ring

If you want a diamond in your engagement ring to look small, go for the complex cuts. The heart-shaped and other complex diamond cuts will end up looking much smaller than the classic and simple cuts.

The round cut is also the most popular. Therefore, due to high demand, a 1-carat round-cut stone will cost more than a 1-carat marquise-cut stone. The sloped sides of a cushion-cut stone make diamonds appear smaller than they are, even compared to round cut stones – which can be considered the golden mean. 

The cushion shape is also less forgiving to inclusions and cut imperfections. This means that it’s certainly not a choice for those who want a large, high-quality stone for a reasonable price. Cushion-cut diamonds have their advantages too, though. 

Talk to a Diamond Expert

If you keep in mind the importance of shape, a perfect cut, and the surrounding details, choosing a ring should be much easier now. No matter what your preference, we hope that you won’t have to compromise the diamond’s quality and overall ring style for the carat number anymore.

Fill out this contact form to talk to one of our diamond experts. We will respond quickly.


About Afshin Shaddaie

Afshin moved to New York City in the 1980s, and a few years later, he began his career in the fine and rare jewelry scene. He teamed up with Michael Khordipour, and they've been curating vintage jewelry ever since. He also regularly contributes to Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, The Knot, and Insider. Afshin constantly travels to international shows and private viewing events in the hope of finding rare vintage rings that will be important enough to make an impression. He is available for appointments at our New York showroom when he's not traveling. In 2019, Afshin authored his book called The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on vintage jewelry and antique diamonds. His favorite jewelry era is Art Nouveau, and he loves rare Italian jewelry from the 1950s - 1970s. The Natural Saltwater Pearl is his favorite precious jewel.