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August 11, 2022

Diamond Visual Size

visual carat weight

To get a bigger, beautiful diamond, it’s important to understand visual size. A diamond’s visual size is how large it will look when viewed from above. 

Even though two diamonds can have the same carat weight, they can be different sizes. This is because a stone’s surface area is key in dictating how large it looks.  

A diamond’s visual size is evaluated by measuring its surface area and comparing it to the standard surface area for varying carat sizes of the same diamond shape. This is also sometimes called visual carat weight.

If you are comparing two stones, look for the one with the bigger length and width, as well as the smaller depth percentage – this stone will appear to be the largest. The diamond with a larger depth percentage will appear smaller because more of the diamond’s carat weight will lie in the lower portion of the stone rather than the top. 

However, you don’t want to choose a diamond whose depth percentage is too shallow. This will affect the light return and make your stone less sparkly.  

Here are the ideal depth percentages for each diamond shape:  

 Diamond Shape   
   Ideal Depth Percentage
   59-62.6% 
   68-75% 
   61-68% 
   58-62% 
   61-68% 
   61-68% 
   58-62% 
   61-67% 
   58-62% 
   58-62% 

 Check out below the impact surface area has on a diamond:

Asscher-cut diamonds are known for having the smallest surface area of any other diamond shape and are cut so that most of their weight is in the pavilion. You can see above that while these two different cuts are the same carat weight, the round-cut diamonds look larger than the Asscher-cut diamonds because they have a larger surface area.

Which diamonds have the best visual size?  

Oval-cut diamondsmarquise-cut diamonds, and pear-cut diamonds typically have the largest visual size as these shapes have the largest surface areas. The emerald-cut and radiant-cut also have larger surface areas, improving their visual carat weight. It's important to note that if you are interested in a radiant cut that appears larger, you need to choose an elongated radiant cut - some radiants are squarer in shape.

In general, always choose the best cut grade possible for your diamond (an Ideal cut for round-cut diamonds and a Very Good cut for fancy-shaped diamonds). A well-cut diamond will have optimal proportions while poorly cut diamonds will appear smaller than other diamonds of the same carat weight.   

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