July 27, 2012

5 Ways to Make Your Diamond Ring Look Bigger (for under $1000)

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, estate jewelry, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by rosediamonds

the addition of Pintrest, people are becoming more design conscious.  With all of the drool worthy pins out there, it can make a diamond ring you received a decade or so ago look tiny.  Thus, the need for an upgrade.

Not everyone has the budget to replace a diamond with a larger one.  If you do, I usually recommend you go up by at least a full millimeter so you can SEE the difference since you are paying the difference.  A 1/4 carat to a 1/3 carat is hard to tell apart unless you have your calipers on you…  Remember, carat refers to weight, not size, so not all 1 carat diamonds are the same diameter.  Old diamond (they are all old technically) can be moved over as a side stone or made into a pendant.

It may be that you do not WANT to replace your original diamond at all.  It has been my experience that men are many times more sentimental about keeping the same diamond throughout the marriage.  Not necessariy because they are being cheapo, but because they beleive in “luck” and “streaks.”  Ask a man to tell you about the time he wore the same socks to every ball game for an entire season without washing them…

To preserve the peace without breaking the bank, there are several ways to boost your original diamond’s “presence.”

  1. Add a halo.  It adds approximately 2-2.5mm of sparkly to the center of your ring.  I personally don’t like this term–I like “booster ring,” which sounds way more Star Wars–but who can argue with DeBeers?  The final look will depend on your original diamond size.  The diamond in the center can be situated above or level with the other stones.  For those of you in the healthcare industry, a low bezel set center can reduce the nnormal snalling on latex gloves.  Lifestyle matters too!  There are halo versions with varying stone sizes (usually .01-.03ct each)  This new setting can usually be added to your original engagement ring with some slight modifications.  By adding the halo in white, you can update the look of a yellow gold ring and help your jewelry “blend” in more with your other sterling and white gold/platinum pieces.  Also look for expanded halos and double halos.  I personally find the triple halo to be too much…  An expanded halo means there is empty space between yur center stone and your diamond making it look even bigger.  Also check into different prong styles.  Exposed mini prongs have a very different look than the channel set and cocktail setting of the past.  Also there are faux channels with mini milgrain that can lend a vintage look to your ring.  Some halos have stones on the sides of the halo as well.  These add cost, but can be super pretty as well.  Have a fancy shape diamond?  Don’t worry…they make halo heads for them as well!    Estimated cost $850 (depends on stone size and style of course).  
  2. New head.  Usually a thicker one, perhaps with double prongs or tulip prongs.  Some people don’t like the look of halos, so they opt to boost their center diamond by thickening up their prongs.  8 prong heads (octet heads) give a designer finish to the ring that isn’t available “off the rack” at most stores.  Tulip heads are named for their obvious resemblance to the flowers.  Another advantage to the thicker prongs is more durability for everyday wear and tear.  By the way, if you have had your ring for a decade and never had your prongs retipped or at least checked, you may want to consider a replacement head or service work (retipping) anyway.  Its like getting your oil changed–not glamorous, but necessary for the longevity of your ring..Wide and narrow bezel settings also boost the “spread” of your ring, but I find they tend to make an engagement ring look more casual that its prongy cousins;) Estimated cost $150
  3. Have an old set of diamond earrings?  Add them as side stones.  Different shapes?  Doesn’t matter!  This one is a little more tricky as there are three options.  Option one: reset original diamond and two earrings into a new setting.  There are a lot of combinations to three stone rings (some of which have way more than three stones lol).  If your original stone and earrings fit into a standard configuation, an off the rack mounting will do the trick.  Estimated cost $750.  Option 2: Add a wrap to your original ring.  This usually only works with solitaires (no side stones).  The wrap extends over the solitaire shank making it look (kinda) like one ring.  It may need to be soldered together to prevent slippage.  Estimated cost $700.  Option 3: Add smaller earring diamonds in a custom bridge.  This one is more tricky to estimate a price on since every ring is different.  Adding them in a bypass style can also affect how your wedding band (if you have one) will fit next to your new altered ring.  Estimated cost <1000 difinately, but talk to a pro about the feasibility of this one.  Fun alternative to this is adding a pair of gemstones instead.  Sapphires, blue topaz, etc all look gorgeous next to diamonds!  Same price for labor.
  4. Illusion head/plate.  This used to mean white gold diamond cut plate that was used to accent a teeny diamond in a pretty noticeable setting.  There are more modern options to this!  One option is to recreate the vintage box setting.  This illusion setting makes a round stone look bigger, more square, and more vintage.  Estimated cost: Starts at $150.  A free form ring doesn’t make your diamonds look bigger necessarily but by combining it with other medium sized diamonds, it can make the impact of the ring look bigger.  The estimated cost depends on the finished weight of the free form ring (there are stock options and custom options) and how many heads/stones need to be set.  
  5. Narrow or pinch the shank.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat, so now we will take our focus off the diamond and put it on the ring it sits in.  A good rule of thumb is this: the wider the band, the small your diamond will look.  Think about a shift dress.  It looks like a straight column.  If you were to add a belt, it would make your waist look much smaller.  The same thing holds true for rings.  If you use a razor (tiny narrow band) shank, your stone will look bigger no matter its size.  Your jeweler will be able to tell you if your original engagement ring shank can be slimmed down (without causing stability issues) or if you can simply transfer your center head and stone to a more narrow base.  Another fun alternative if you don’t want to give up a wider ring is to get a pinched shank that narrows near the stone.  Use caustion because narrow rings fit differently than wider ones so make sure you are fitted for the new ring style and width (there are different s sets of sizers for this reason).  Also, a narrow shank ring is more likely to rotate on the hand if you have big knuckles.  Most people do…A flared or European shank may help counterbalance to solve  this issue.


  1. Excellent information about diamond rings. Useful ways to make your diamond ring look bigger.

  2. Gerardo said,

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this amazing site needs a
    lot more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!

    • Denise said,

      This article was very helpful. Thank you! But can you do with a marquis cut diamond!

  3. Olivia said,

    Thanks!! I’ve been looking at ways to enhance my marquise diamond, because most jewelers do not have halo settings for marquises, because they’re such a variable shape diamond-to-diamond. Very useful info 🙂

  4. Julie said,

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if a halo could be added to a ring with 3 diamonds (2 smaller on the sides), and what the price would be like.


    • rosediamonds said,

      Dear Julie,

      Yes, a halo can be added to all three diamonds (separately or a halo around the three)

      Also, we can add a halo around the center diamond only.

      I would estimate that the halo would cost between 1-1500, depending on which option you chose.

  5. Denise said,

    My ring is 1/3 carat and it has a halo. I wanted to either increase the size in diamond or add another halo to my ring. How much do you think that would be?

    • rosediamonds said,

      Hi Denise,

      I estimate it would be easiest to reset your ring in a new setting if you want a double halo. Designs would run 1300-2500, depending on diamond size, ring width and weight, etc. a larger diamond would be the more expensive route, though you could get a trade in value on your original. We have had some women prefer to work their first diamond into the new desin as a side stone. Up to you! Come in for a free consultation if you are in the area. It’s a more precise estimate if we can see what you are working with.

  6. Cynthia said,

    Hi, I have a tiny bit bigger than 1 carat diamond in a tacori vintage style setting. I would like to keep my setting and add a single halo around my diamond. How would this work be done? Ship my ring to you? That makes me uneasy. ..

    • rosediamonds said,

      Something like this will depend on the ring setting. Do you have access to skype? I’d be happy to take a look at it

  7. GInger Sledge said,

    Hi ! I was wondering if you think a halo takes away from a 8-9mm diamond solitaire ? I like the look of the expanded halo and prong set as opposed to bezel set.

    • rosediamonds said,

      Good question! On a larger diamond, it is easier for a halo to look like an accent instead of a distraction if you use smaller stones. The difference in stone size creates the visual interest you are looking for without detracting from your center.

      I recommend you check out example pictures with similar proportions to your diamond to get a feel for the look you want. I often tell people scale is just as important as carat weight. Most of the engagement rings on sites like Pinterest have large center stones with tiny diamond halos. Other places to see examples of the center stone size you mention with a halo are websites like Cartier, who sells larger diamonds.

      • GInger Sledge said,

        Thank you ! Do you personly like a larger solitaire with a halo or without ? I currently have a carat solitaire with a halo that I love, but I recently acquired a 2 carat solitaire and I am torned how to set it . I thought about a setting without halo , maybe with accents diamonds such as half moon etc.. So confused? I want to love it ??? I will look at Cartier website as you suggested but if you have any other opinions or suggestions you would like to share , I would appreciate them so much. Thanks again !

  8. rosediamonds said,

    I had the same internal battle when I upgraded. I finally decided using two accent stones for my larger ring. I also liked the look of using small stones on the halo as an alternative. I think the main thing is to change the style a little bit from what you had originally so it feels new.

  9. GInger Sledge said,

    Thank you so much ! I believe I wil be extremely happy with one similar to the style you chose . I am currently looking at semi mounts of that style . I felt exactly as you stated about changing from my current style! Thank you so much for your opinion and reassurance ! You are the best !

  10. geraldine said,

    I have a large sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Can a halo with diamonds be added to the outside of the original band of diamonds? And if so would that make my ring band look too skinny? Can an extra band be added to my ring to make it a
    double band?

    • rosediamonds said,

      Hi Geraldine,

      Yes, this can be done but you may prefer to reset your ring in a new setting if you are going to implement these changes for stability.

      A lot depends on the ring construction. You are welcome to send me a picture at gemstonejen@gmail.com and I will take a closer look

  11. Lee said,

    I have a 0.9 ct oval diamond ring with 1.1 mm diamonds in a halo surrounding the center stone (shank is plain). I feel like the diamonds in the halo are too small. Would it look ok to increase the size of the diamonds in the halo to 2mm? I don’t want to detract from the center stone but also don’t like the halo to be too dainty.

    Thank you

    • rosediamonds said,

      Yes, that would still be nice at that size. You may need to raise the halo a bit to accommodate the new width. It depends on the ring construction.

  12. Janel said,

    I currently have a .5 center Marquise and am going to a .9 Oval center setting. Do you know the estimated price of changing the setting?

    • rosediamonds said,

      I’m guessing a head and set will be approximately $150. Each jeweler will set their own prices though

  13. Christine said,

    I am in the process of switching from four prongs to six prongs to bump up my engagement ring, so that my wedding band sits closely to it. Since I am altering this, i would also like to have the gaps between the diamond closed in. I don’t like how the are spaces. Can the jeweler alter his part of my ring? If so, it will make the ring smaller… Can they enlarge it overall?

    • rosediamonds said,

      Yes, this should be no problem. The setting may require small notches in your band. I advise you to consider whether these will bother you if you opt to wear your band solo on occasion.

  14. JG said,

    i have an old round 1 carat diamond, can that be combined with my new engagement pear shaped center stone?

    • rosediamonds said,

      Yes, it can be combined. It may look less engagement-y than a single stone center, but there are a lot of creative ways to add it in. Duo rings are getting more popular again so it is up to you:)

  15. Denise said,

    Can anything be done to enhance a marquis diamond ring?

    • rosediamonds said,

      Sure! The halo works well on a marquise. There are also some interesting configurations that can make them appear more oval ish or even square.

  16. Zennia said,

    Hello how are you doing today I was trying to merge my two ring how much do you think it will cost to merge these two rings

    • rosediamonds said,

      Hi! It usually costs between 40-75 to solder the rings together. Make sure you try them on together. If you have been wearing them separately, the added width can make it fit you differently

  17. Shamila said,

    Hi there,
    I have a question for you…I have a 2ct princess cut diamond which I am going to set in a cushion cut halo to change the shape. I would like to have the halo diamonds larger at around .05-.08 pts per diamond. Will this look too big? What would you suggest or are there any pictures available for something like this?

    • rosediamonds said,

      Hi Shamila! You may be asking the wrong person, since I have never seen a ring that is too big. lol.

      Seriously, the larger stones will look nice since the center stone is that large. I’ll see if I can find a picture of a larger stone halo.

  18. rwade29 said,

    Reblogged this on wadedesignsjewelry and commented:
    Excellent point of view! For all of my customers who want to do a re-design I love that you can create that bigger look without sacrificing the sentimentality of the original diamond you received.

  19. Marie Lorek said,

    Hi! Your suggestions are great! I currently have a setting with round .5 mm stone and I am trying to make look at little bigger. A halo would be great, but according to my jeweler, they are expensive. Plus, I want to add two 3.8 mm round diamonds (from other rings) each side (not in halos). Does your company do this and can you give me an idea of what the cost might be? Thanks

    • rosediamonds said,

      Hi Marie! A halo for this size center stone would be under $1000 with us. There are a few different varieties that influence cost. Adding the 3.8mm diamonds to the side may be more difficult. To get more specific, please send us a picture. You can email it to gemstonejen@gmail.com.

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