What Diamond Shape Looks The Biggest?

Ask any Texan, and they'll be sure to tell you, "Bigger is better." But what about when it comes to shopping for diamonds, where bigger carats come with big-time price tags? Sometimes the smart approach is to choose a diamond that only appears bigger courtesy of a clever optical illusion. There are several diamond shapes with shallow proportions that deliver this visual trick for maximum impact.

Why Do Certain Diamond Shapes Look Bigger?

When compared carat to carat, not all diamonds are created equal and that mainly has to do with cut and shape. Differently shaped diamonds that share the same carat weight can have the illusion of vastly different sizes thanks to their proportions. Think about it like comparing two swimming pools that hold the same amount of water, but one is 10 feet deep and the other is only 6 feet deep. The shallower pool will appear wider and longer than the deeper pool due the ratio difference.

Certain fancy shape diamonds like marquises and ovals are cut with a shallower pavilion, creating a table with a wider surface area and the overall appearance of a larger gemstone. This is sometimes referred to as "spread," and while these shapes are cut to look larger, they also tend to produce less brilliance. Conversely, an ideally cut brilliant-round diamond cut for sparkle will appear smaller due to is slightly narrower diameter and elongated depth.

Quick Guide To Fancy Shapes

When it comes to choosing a diamond cut that looks larger than life, lean toward fancy shapes that have an elongated silhouette rather than the classic round cut. In general, fancy shapes also cost less per carat than round stones of the same quality, which is another reason to love them! Here are the most popular fancy shaped diamonds that trick the eye:

  • Oval diamonds have brilliant faceting similar to round diamonds but because of their elliptical or egg-like shape, are the best shape for tricking the eye into appearing larger.  
  • Pear shaped, or "teardrop" shaped diamonds are typically cut with 58 facets in the round brilliant style. Thus, its elongated pointed edge works well to give it visual boost with some extra surface area.
  • Marquise is a brilliant cut stone with 57 facets and is known for its "football" shape which can vary greatly as its length to width ratio changes. The cut creates a larger appearance than its carat weight would suggest.
  • Emerald cuts are normally rectangular and have step-cut elongated facets on the crown and pavilion. The "endless mirror" effect its cut evokes, along with its shallower depth, adds to the illusion of a bigger stone.

In short, all fancy diamond shapes with elongated cuts can appear significantly larger than their carat weight might suggest. While most people might agree that the oval diamond shape looks the biggest in a side-by-side comparison, you should choose the diamond shape that most fits in your personal preferences and budget. For more guidance selecting diamond shapes and cuts, book an appointment with the fine jewelry experts of Siebke Hoyt in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.