5 Types of Ring Settings That Make Diamonds Look Bigger

When shopping for diamond rings, most people prioritize getting the largest looking diamond their budget can afford. One common mistake many consumers make is to compromise cut quality or eyecleanliness just to hit a bigger carat number.

In this post, I am not going to mellow on you about the importance of Cut. If you already browsed and read through the main sections of Beyond4Cs.com, you would have already known all that.

Instead, we are going to look at how the choice of ring setting designs can help you enhance the visual size of your diamond. By placing some considerations on you choice of ring setting, you don’t have to break the bank to buy a bigger carat diamond just to achieve a similar look.

The Number of Prongs in a Ring Actually Matters…

Most rings in the market utilize either a 4 or 6 prongs setting design and you probably come across some of them yourself. Personally, I think they both have their pros and cons to them.

Obviously, the more prongs securing the center diamond will mean there is less risk of losing the stone in the event of a bent/broken prong. However, more prongs equate to more metal covering the center stone.

Check out this blown up illustration below…

4 prongs vs 6 prongs


Now, if we were to shrink down the view, which diamond stands out more?


does the 4 prong look smaller or the 6 prong appear tinier?

Credits: http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/solitaires/

With a 4 prong setting, there is less metal coverage on the stone and this helps to showcase its optical performance better. On the other hand, a 6 prong setting helps your eyes focus on the round outline of the stone and makes it look larger.

Also, prongs which are set higher can help the diamond to appear larger and allow more light to enter it.

Bezel Settings to Accentuate Outline

The bezel setting comprises of a rim of metal which secures the diamond by its circumference. Since it follows the outline of the stone, the shape of the center stone is enhanced and appears larger than it is.

Besides accentuating size, the bezel design is also the best ring setting for round diamonds when it comes to protection and durability.

emphasizing the shape of the mounted diamond

Brian Gavin Diamonds and White Flash are 2 vendors that offer a wide selection of solitaire and bezel style settings. Check them out to browse through hundreds of beautiful ring designs.

Halo Settings – Cost Effective Designs for a Larger Looking Diamond

Halo rings are all about creating visual impacts. When done right, the halo can significantly increase the aesthetic appearance of the ring with its additional dimension of sparkle.

When viewed from a distance, well crafted halo rings have melee diamonds that appear to “fuse” together with the center diamond and this phenomenon creates an optical illusion of a single large diamond.

halo rings

Row of tiny diamonds outline the main stone

Avoid 3 Stone Mountings With Large Sidestones

One of the designs that won’t flatter the center stone is a multistone or 3-stone design with big sized sidestones. Personally, I think the sidestones make the center diamond appear smaller due to their blended look.

This takes the limelight away from the main diamond.

3 stones mounting

Credits: http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/three-stone/

3 stone engagement ring designs with large sidestones like the above should be avoided if your goal is to make the diamond look bigger when mounted. Now, if you you prefer a 3 stone ring because of its symbolism and additional bling factor, it is still possible to make it work.

Instead of using bigger sidestones, choose a design with significantly smaller sidestones relative to the center stone. This arrangement of diamonds actually help to emphasize the center stone.

Here’s an example to show what I mean…

trio diamond ring with princess cut and round diamonds

Using Pave Rings With Thin Bands or Slightly Tapered Shanks

One lesser known secret to bring out the size of a diamond and make it look bigger on a finger is through the use of thin bands or tapered shanks. Personally, I recommend a band with a thickness of 1.8mm to around 2.2mm and that would nail the job perfectly.

thick vs thin

Thin vs Thick – The winner definitely goes to the ring on the left.

Credits: http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/side-stones/

When small accent diamonds (fish tail settings) are set close to each other on a row, the contrast in size gives a perception of a larger looking center diamond.

fishtail vs channel

Fishtail vs. channel setting – the thicker band makes diamonds look smaller

5 Frequently Asked Questions From Readers

1) Question: Do diamonds always look bigger in a setting?

Answer: In general, I would say yes as the prongs and surrounding metal from the setting does make mounted diamonds look bigger. The effect would vary depending on the type and design of the ring mounting as we have discussed above.

2) Question: Do cathedral settings make diamonds look bigger?

Answer: Most cathedral settings can help make the center stone look bigger. The arches of a cathedral mounting can help to highlight the diamond by raising it closer to the viewer’s eyes.

cathedral setting to push diamond mount higher

A sleek looking cathedral ring mounting that props up the center stone.

3) Question: What’s the best setting for 2 carat round diamond or the ideal ring mounting for 3 carat sized diamonds?

Answer: The best setting for large carat sized diamonds are those that put the spotlight on the center stone. In my opinion, solitaire designs are the best ring mountings for large stones above 1.5ct size.

4) Question: Does a high setting make a diamond look bigger?

Answer: Having the diamond mounted at a higher elevation will help it to stand out and “pop”. However, the visual size difference in a diamond set higher is only nominal. With high profile mountings, you run an increased risk of snagging the ring on fabrics and other things.

5) Question: How much bigger does a halo make a diamond look?

Answer: Simple halos can easily enhance the size of the center diamond by half a carat size. However, the sky is the limit when it comes to halo designs. If you want a much bigger looking diamond ring, all you need to do is to increase the rows of halos that surround the center stone.

single halo engagement ring setting enhance diamond size
double halo ring mounting enlarge diamond bigger

Single halo vs multi-halo diamond engagement ring setting.

Wrapping Things Up: Make Your Diamond Look Bigger

All in all, choosing a ring design is all about personal tastes and preferences. You’ll need to strike a balance between the advantages and disadvantages of different designs while finding one that appeals to you at the same time.

So there you have it, I hope this article has provided you with useful insights on how ring settings can enhance the size of a diamond. Even if you have a slightly lower budget, it is still possible to make an big visual impact by shopping smart.

Now, I want to hear from you. Which of these settings is your favorite design? Would you choose to spend more on a larger sized diamond or save money by using a setting to amplify perceived size?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

To view more ring settings and designs, visit Brian Gavin and White Flash. They have one of the best craftsmanship standards when it comes to making rings.

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  1. Pharoah-
    October 23, 2012 at 2:19 am


    Thanks for the awesome content and website that you had built. I am based in Turkey and currently am looking for an engagement ring together with my fiancee.

    I was down at a reputable local jeweler who had 2 options of purchasing a 0.9 carat round brilliant cut certified by AGS and another 1.02 carat diamond without any grading report. Both of them are retailing at similar prices and I was made a guarantee by the owner that the un-certified stone had a F-G color and a clarity of VS2-SI1.

    So, my question is, it seems tantalizing to purchase the bigger stone with seemingly better specifications. However, how do I know whether the cut of the stone is good since there is no report for the stone?

    The other question I have in mind is, how high should a diamond be set or is there a standard height that they should be mounted for ideal performance?

  2. Paul-
    October 23, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Hi Pharoah,

    I am glad you dropped by here before making any purchases. It sounds like you are getting ripped off from the jeweler. No reputable jeweler will sell uncertified diamonds. The reason is simple. If they can sell the stone for much more with an accompanying diamond report, why wouldn’t they do so?

    Read these articles for more details…


    Bottomline, stay away from them and do business with someone else.

    There’s no hard and fast rules to how high should a diamond be set as it is largely personal preferences. Many people assume that setting the diamond VERY HIGH will help boost its size but that’s not necessarily true. There are also other concerns to be aware of. Setting a diamond too high increases the risk of the engagement ring getting caught by stuff when you move your hands.

    The ring design and carat size of the center stone may also impact how high a diamond should be set in it.


  3. Dayle Hudson-
    October 5, 2017 at 4:51 am

    I don’t agree with your thinking on bands. I have gotten a few nice three and four carat rings with skinny bands. If the band is thin It can’t support the weight of the stone and will fall sideways unless the ring is tight. Most of my rings are a little big because I need half sizes

  4. Paul Gian-
    October 5, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Yep. I would agree with that. For the general population, people don’t usually buy diamonds that are so large like 3 to 4 carats. This post is more for people with smaller budgets (and obviously, smaller diamond sizes). The goal here was to give readers some suggestions for ring settings for small diamonds. For large center stones, it is better to go thicker in band sizes.

  5. Nick-
    May 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Dayle Hudson sounds like one of those guys who like to show off while knowing exactly why Paul recommended certain things.

    It’s like saying. “A Volkswagen Golf is a good sporty vehicle but my Bugatti Veyron is just a little bit better so your opinion is incorrect.”

    Bravo Dayle, hope you enjoyed your 20 second of fame. Nobody cares a lick about what sized diamond you bought. I bet that if asked, you’ll tell me how much you paid for that thing as well.


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