The Top 4 Ways to Make Your Engagement Ring Look Bigger

Michael Fried
Michael Fried

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Looking for a ring that will leave your loved one speechless? One that will announce your engagement for you before you even have time to call the relatives? There are so many things to consider when selecting an engagement ring, but if you’re looking for a ring that will make a big impact, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to make sure your ring really stands out. Combine and customize these tips for a ring that is uniquely yours, and absolutely breathtaking.

Here are a few tried and true ways to make your engagement ring look bigger, regardless of your budget:

1. Optical Illusion

One of the best ways to make your diamond look bigger is by minimizing distracting elements. Opting for a simple setting, a skinny band and fewer prongs can make the central diamond appear larger by contrast. Additionally, avoiding colored diamonds and opting for a bright white gold or platinum band are simple and effective ways to showcase your diamond’s natural brilliance. This is because white diamonds and white metals will optimize the white light reflection of your ring, which can dramatically affect the sparkle of your ring.

This Petite Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring is a great example. A simple solitaire setting keeps all the attention on the diamond. The cathedral setting also helps to accentuate the diamond by raising it up, making it pop by bringing it closer to the viewer’s eye. Optics are all about comparison.

Petite Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring with a princess cut diamond
Petite Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring with a princess cut center stone (Photo: Blue Nile)


The slightly tapered band on this Petite Milgrain Diamond Engagement Ring from Blue Nile enhances the impact of the diamond, while the milgrain diamond band adds that little bit of extra sparkle without overwhelming the central stone. Choosing an oval shaped diamond for this setting is an elegant way to increase the overall size impression by giving the diamond an added element of height next to a comparatively delicate band.

2. Increase the Surface Area of the Diamond Face

Another way to make your ring look bigger is by choosing a diamond (or diamonds) that take up more visible space. You can achieve a larger visible surface area by choosing a diamond shape where more of the diamond is on the surface. Diamond cuts that appear larger by weight include Pear, Oval, Emerald, Marquise and Trillion Cuts. You can also maximize the impact of your ring by choosing a ring with a halo or complimentary side stones.

Not all side stones will have the same effect on the appearance of the center diamond, so choose wisely. 

Bella Vaughan Tapered Baguette Three Stone Engagement Ring with an oval center stone (Photo: Blue Nile)

While some side stones can overwhelm the center stone, making it appear smaller by comparison, the shape and angle of the side stones on this Bella Vaughan Moon Three Stone Engagement Ring actually make the center diamond appear bigger. The overlapping diamonds have a seamless appearance, effectively creating the illusion of one, much larger diamond. This ring is available with a variety of different side stone shapes, and the center diamond can be round, oval or cushion cut, but we love the overall look and symmetry of an oval diamond with half moon side stones.


This 14K Yellow Gold Baguette Ballerina Halo Diamond Engagement Ring  is another fabulous option. The baguette ballerina halo creates the appearance of a much larger perimeter, while the leading lines simultaneously draw the viewer’s eye to the centerpiece, making the center diamond the star of the show. This exquisite engagement ring is sure to make a striking impression on your sweetheart.

3. Get More Diamond for Less

Of course, one way to make your ring look bigger is to choose the biggest possible diamond for your budget. There are a few different ways to get a bigger diamond for less when selecting an engagement ring.

Lab-created diamonds can be a great alternative to natural diamonds if you are looking for a way to go up in carat size without going up in price range. This Marquise Cut Diamond Cluster Halo setting from James Allen can be fitted with a lab-created diamond for a truly stunning engagement ring.

Marquise Cut Diamond Cluster Halo setting
Marquise Cut Diamond Cluster Halo setting with an oval center stone (Photo: James Allen)


Another option is to consider different diamond shapes. Since round diamonds are the most expensive by weight, choosing another shape is another great way to get more diamond for less. Just keep in mind that some shapes will appear larger than others. If size is a priority, going for an elongated shape like an oval, marquise, or pear, will further accentuate the diamond’s size. Proportionately, these shapes tend to have a bigger surface area, and a shallower cut, meaning that diamonds cut in these shapes can appear “bigger” than other cuts of the same carat weight. All diamond shapes have unique advantages and disadvantages, but if you are looking for a diamond that makes a big visual impression, you may want to steer clear of cushion cut or asscher cut diamonds, since these deeper cut shapes will appear smaller because more of the diamond’s weight is below the surface.

This beautiful pear shaped diamond set in a 18K White Gold Graduated Halo from James Allen is a real show stopper. The pave diamond set band completes the look with sparkle and shine fit for a princess.

18K White Gold Graduated Halo with a pear shape diamond center
Graduated Halo Diamond Engagement Ring with a pear center stone (Photo: James Allen)


4. Prioritize Cut

Cut is the number one aspect that will enhance the brilliance and beauty of any diamond you choose. Selecting a well cut diamond will dramatically affect the appearance and impact of your ring, because the cut determines the amount of white light reflected by the diamond. While each cut has its own unique advantages, a round brilliant cut diamond will deliver the most brilliance, and of course, there is something effortless and classic about the look of a beautifully cut round diamond.

brilliance in a diamond from cut

Cut is only one of the 4 qualities to consider when choosing a diamond. The other three are Clarity, Color, and Carat, but if you are trying to maximize apparent size of your diamond, you should opt to prioritize cut and consider compromising on clarity and color. Learn more about the 4 C’s here.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online. Save 25% on wedding rings and  Save 10% off Lab Created Diamonds during limited time sale!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Blue Nile have generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to save $100 off engagement ring settings)

Please enter your email address to receive your personal one-time use unique coupon code:

What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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