As is the case with most people, you probably want the biggest possible diamond when buying an engagement ring. However, when diamonds get bigger in carat size, they become dramatically more expensive.
So, is there a way you can get a bigger looking diamond without paying more for the additional carats? Well, infact there is a way. In the industry, these are called (shallow cut) spread diamonds and are marketed by jewelers to give you “more diamond for your money”.
In this guide, you will find out what a (shallow cut) spread diamond is and whether they are good or bad purchases.
What is a (Shallow Cut) Diamond Spread?
In its simplest definition, spread determines how large a diamond appears to be for a given carat weight. For example, a 1ct round diamond with better spread will look bigger than a 1ct round diamond with a smaller spread.
Technically speaking, a diamond’s spread is affected by a myriad of factors like its diameter, depth, table size and girdle thickness. But the easiest way to think about spread diamonds is that they have a shallow cut.
Is Diamond Spread Good or Bad?
Ideally speaking, you would want to buy a diamond that has the right amount of spread so that its performance is not compromised. One of the best ways to make estimations is to use the depth percentage of the diamond as a rough reference.
Depth percentage has an inverse relationship to spread. A smaller depth percentage usually means that the weight of the diamond is distributed across its diameter. This results in a wider and bigger looking diamond.
If you want to better assess a diamond’s spread, factors that make up the total depth percentage like light performance, girdle thickness, crown heights and pavilion heights should be taken into account.
What are the problems with Shallow Cut Diamonds?
While diamonds with a high spread have the advantages of appearing bigger, they will also lose their sparkle and brilliance as a trade-off. Let’s take a look at an example below of round brilliant cut diamonds…
Even though a diamond might have better spread, its overall appearance may be impacted because of its shallow cut and poor proportions. The one marked ideal has top of the line sparkle and brilliance which makes it a significantly better buy!
Cut Details Matter
The tricky aspect which decides how weight is distributed across the diamond is girdle thickness.
For round cut diamonds, its easier to take into account issues related to spread when grading a diamond’s cut quality. But when it comes to fancy cut diamonds like the emerald cut or pear cut, there is very limited information provided in a grading report.
Without a Sarin report or Helium scan, it is almost impossible to gauge how much weight is taken up by the girdle thickness. For example, even if you see a very thin to very thick girdle description in a lab report, it tells you nothing concrete about the details.
Is the girdle only 2% thin and 98% thick?? Or is the girdle very thin at 90% of the diamond’s diameter and 10% very thick at certain portions? Obviously, the diamond will have a better spread in the latter scenario.
Likewise, weight retention methods like the use of pavilion bulges in step cut diamonds can make a diamond look smaller. In these cases, even though the diamond might exhibit a low depth (e.g. 57.0%), it doesn’t necessarily translate into better spread because its weight is now retained at the pavilions!
2 things to keep in mind
#1: A depth percentage value between 58% and 62.6% is required for round brilliants to exhibit good brilliance. Note that these values are not minimum or maximum values. Based on observations, when round diamonds are cut to depths lower than 58% or over 62.6%, it usually leads to severe problems in optics.
If we go beyond both extreme ends of the spectrum, the beauty of the stone could be severely undermined due to the occurrences of fish-eye effects or dark nail head appearances.
#2: Deciding whether the spread of a certain stone fits your needs based on total depth percentage can be tricky. There are a number of practices (e.g., changing girdle thickness with painting or digging) that do affect depth percentage while not affecting spread.
A better way to consider spread is to make use of carat size charts to extrapolate the dimensions of a particular carat weight for its respective shape. You should also rely on tangible data like videos and ASET/Idealscope images to help you make educated decisions.
Should you buy Spread Diamonds?
(Shallow Cut) Spread diamonds are still “desirable” to some degree since size does matter to consumers. However, they are pretty much like cheaters amongst diamonds. Bear this in mind: truly well cut diamonds seldom appear larger than what they really are due to the physics of how light interacts with the facets.
To put in simple words, spread diamonds are the biggest show-off among gemstones. They appear to look big on first glance but when examined closely, they lack sparkle and character.
Always shop for diamonds from Kanjimull where you can always find a trusted expert who can answer your questions about the diamonds you are considering.