There are lots of people who like their diamonds as big as possible (or at least, as big as financially affordable). While it is true that the bigger the diamond, the more expensive it is, it is also true that most people would rather not pay more money for the additional carats if they could. In an attempt to offer diamonds that are both inexpensive and look big, jewelers came up with spread diamonds.
What Are Spread Diamonds?
Spread (also “spready”) diamonds are stones that were cut in such a way as to look bigger than they actually are while not being more expensive than their standard-cut counterparts of the same carat size.
This effect is achieved by cutting the diamond in a so-called “shallow cut”.
To understand what a shallow cut is, you should know that an ideal-cut diamond has measurements that maximize sparkle and brilliance.
If you look at a shallow-cut diamond from the side, you will see that it lacks depth compared to standard-cut stones.
From above, shallow diamonds look wider than normal.
That additional width, gained by reducing the diamond’s depth, is what makes the stone look larger.
Why Buy Spread Diamonds?
The biggest advantage of spread diamonds is that they look really big for the price you pay.
Since these stones are considered shallow compared to the standard round cut dimensions, the more a spread diamond deviates from this ideal, the lower the price will be.
Perhaps it seems counterintuitive that as the diamond looks bigger and bigger, the price drops.
The reason for this is that the shallower the cut, the more the stone drops in quality.
The Problem with Spread Diamonds
The biggest issue with spread stones is that they lack sparkle compared to ideal-cut diamonds.
Since a spread diamond is cut shallow, most of the light entering it is not reflected back but is actually lost, “leaking out” from the bottom of the stone.
As a result, spread diamonds lack the light of their counterparts that are closer to the standard.
Although you may find spread diamonds that still exhibit good sparkle, the shallower the cut gets, the more light the stone loses and the less brilliance it retains.
That’s why shallower stones have lower quality grades and are cheaper.
How to Choose Spread Diamonds
If you want to buy a spread diamond, you need to decide for yourself how much sparkle you are willing to sacrifice for the price savings and the illusion of additional size.
Be aware that if you buy such a diamond, its cut will not be graded “Excellent” or even “Good”.
Most spread diamonds’ cuts are graded lower than that, and many have a grade of “Poor” because they are too shallow.
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Always ask for the diamond’s certificate before buying. Look at the carat grade there to make sure you know how big the diamond really is.
Sometimes, the jeweler will only mention the carat size the diamond looks like and not the actual one, so be sure to double-check and read the certificate.