How to make a diamond look smaller (yes, that's a thing some people want!)

Updated Jul 10 2016
meggyfin
Rose gold diamond engagement ring by Etsy seller artemer
Rose gold diamond engagement ring by Etsy seller artemer

Do you know that if you search for "how to make a diamond look smaller" in Google, ALL you get is results for how to make a diamond look bigger? How unhelpful is that?

I can't be the only one in the world who inherited a bigger diamond than they're comfortable with, or maybe even wanted.

In my case, Mike talked to me about the ring a few times prior to him proposing. I knew that he was excited to give me the ring his grandma's ring. But when he told me about it, it was almost apologetically: She didn't have much money… it's old… I'm not sure about the quality… On and on with a worried inflection in his voice. So I was expecting a sweet tiny vintage ring, and I was stoked. It ended up being… not that.

I know that in a lot of circles my ring would not even considered big. But, for someone who doesn't wear much jewelry, it feels like I'm wearing a diamond-studded "rob me!" sign around Los Angeles all day long. So I need to find ways to make this ring look smaller, without getting rid of a wonderful family heirloom.

So, let's figure this out…

I know to avoid these things that make a diamond look bigger:

The Adele Ring from Gemvara is a perfect example of a halo setting making a diamond look bigger.
The Adele Ring from Gemvara is a perfect example of a halo setting making a diamond look bigger.

But what are the things that make a diamond look smaller?

Cherry Blossom wedding set from Wexford Jewelery
Cherry Blossom wedding set from Wexford Jewelery

Here are my guesses…

  • If a halo setting makes a diamond look bigger, then it would stand to reason that the opposite — a solitaire setting — would be the best choice.
  • If a setting that raises the diamond higher makes it look bigger, then go for a flush setting — something like this.
  • Stack a bunch of rings together, or set it in a large setting like that Cherry Blossom ring (pictured above), or this one.
  • Get a setting that is so awesome, it will distract from the stone. These are my favorite choices so far.

Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do to try to make your diamond look smaller?

  1. I don't have any experience with designing a ring but I have a certain amount of experience with how perception can alter over time. I suspect if you wore the ring every day it wouldn't take very long before it didn't seem too large.
    I advocate getting a setting you really love, whether or not it minimizes the diamond.

  2. I also felt like I was wearing a rob me sign for the first few months after getting engaged. My diamond isn't actually that big either but it's blue and it's surrounded by fourteen baby white diamonds, with another three baby diamonds trooping down each side of the band. It's shiny and gorgeous and I love it but it terrified me because while I do wear jewelry, it's not GOOD jewelry.
    While I didn't do anything to make my e-ring diamond look smaller, I did resist the crushing pressure from every jewelry store we visited to get a diamond wedding band. I would look at the sales associates and be like "More diamonds? Why on earth would I want even MORE diamonds? Every single one adds something more for me to worry about. NO!" So while I have no good proposal on how to make your rock appear smaller, I would say getting a non diamond wedding band is a good way to calm nerves. PLUS, I got my band .25 size down from my e-ring and I wear the band on the outside to "hold" the e-ring on more securely. All this help assuage my getting robbed or losing the expensive rock nerves!

  3. My wife and I didn't do engagement rings but I had the same feeling about my very simple plain white gold wedding band in the beginning… and I thought about and chose that so you'd think I'd be ready for it but there was still a period of adjustment! I am nothing if not a person of big existential reactions, aieeeeeee.

    For what it's worth I love the Catbird NYC ring you linked to, there is a quietness (despite the not inconsiderable bling going on) about it that I find really lovely. Also I love the gold studdy bits, it's kind of contemporary but somehow at the same time almost mediaeval or something, looks like it stacks well too.

  4. I know this isn't the point of the "'rob me!' sign" discussion, but it seems like the right time to mention that good jewelry insurance is your friend! 😉

  5. I'm not sure if I'll ever be comfortable wearing a big, flashy engagement ring every day. My FI already bought a ring, though we're not engaged yet, and it's gorgeous. It's not huge, but it is very sparkly and elaborate, and I just keep thinking about it falling off or losing stones, or any number of awful things happening to this gorgeous piece of art. On the other hand, I get a little sick thinking about him spending so much money on something that I'd hesitate to wear.

    Is it weird that I want the fancy wedding set for special occasions, but I want a simple, inexpensive band to wear most of the time? I keep mentally comparing it to the cabinet full of fine china no one ever uses, and then I feel bad for wanting something cheap so the nice thing can sit in a jewelry box 99% of the time.

    • I have a two ring dilemma also. Honestly, I just think one set of rings is easier to keep track of. Maybe wear your engagement ring for the duration of your engagement. Once you get married, you can decide if you want to keep wearing it or if you just want to wear your band! Then you can wear your band every day and throw on your sparkly engagement ring when you are feeling fancy!!

  6. I've been wearing my "ROB ME" ring since November and I'm only just starting to get used to it. (It's not a large diamond, but I have TEENSY hands so the rock looks relatively much larger.) I absolutely adore it though.

    I will say that in certain situations I slide my ring so it's upside down and the obvious 'rob me' sign is against my palm. (I do this in subways of cities I don't know, etc….I travel a lot to other countries and have been stolen from several times.) So far this seems to work because it's a subtle thing I can do with my thumb, but reduces the flashiness factor by about 10,000 as the underside of the ring is very plain, as most are.

    And +1 on the jewelry insurance. SO IMPORTANT.

  7. I just inherited a HUGE diamond from my Grandmother. Whatever you're thinking is huge, it's bigger. I can't even get myself to write the size. That's how big. I've been married for five years and my ring is a lovely .93 carats. I am in love with my engagement ring and the setting. I designed it myself with a jeweler friend. I love my Grandma though and I would be honored to wear her diamond. My ring was designed to make my diamond look bigger so the design of my art deco inspired ring will not work with her diamond. I think i might make my engagement ring a "right hand" ring and put her big ol' thing in a deep set solitaire setting to wear with my wedding band. What in the world do I need two diamonds for?? I don't, but I don't know what else to do!

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