Many individuals want their precious stones to be as large as possible – or as large as they can afford, anyway. While it’s true that the larger the gem, the more pricey it is, most people would prefer not to spend more money on extra carats if possible.
So, jewelers invented spread diamonds to provide affordable – but still appear prominent – gems. What are spready (spread) diamonds, though?
Spread diamonds are gems that have been cut to appear larger than they are while retaining the same price as their conventional counterparts of the same carat weight.
Diamond spread is basically a measurement of a diamond’s table width when seen from above. Note that the stone table is the plain facet seen when gazing at it from the side – similar to the top of an actual table, hence the name.
It is the apparent size of the diamond for its particular carat size. Since the reflection is stronger, a 1-carat diamond with a wider spread would appear more prominent than a 1-carat gem with a narrower spread.
So, what’s the perfect diamond spread? It’s something to consider in a particular circumstance, based on the form of the diamond.
For instance, the optimal range for the table facet of a round shape diamond is between 54 and 61%. So, if you select a gem with a spread within those recommended values, you’ll get a larger diamond with excellent sparkle without losing brilliance or paying more than necessary.
Working with a gemologist who can educate you about the optimal depth and table dimensions can guarantee that you choose the right diamond spread.
What Is A Spread Diamond?
A spread diamond is typically a shallower gem. The stone’s extended at the expense of depth, which means it is no longer in the optimal range.
That may appear to be advantageous since the stone appears more prominent. The valuable diamond material that was lost in depth is pushed on the table – that is, the diamond seems larger across than deeper diamonds of the same carat size.
It may appear larger, yet it can drastically impair the diamond’s brilliance. What if a diamond is cut too shallowly? Consider that a gem’s quality isn’t just determined by its broad table but also depends on the diamond’s depth.
Light strikes the gem’s pavilion at a low angle when the stone is cut superficially. And in such scenarios, light passes through the stone and exits out the sides rather than reflecting to the viewer’s eyes through the table.
A shallower depth might indicate a lesser number of facets or facets that aren’t properly oriented to reflect light around – resulting in less sparkle.
The Ideal Cut Proportions
A diamond’s cut relates to how well it is aligned. The cut influences the size, breadth, depth, facets, scintillation, and other characteristics, such as the table. That’s why a diamond cut is so crucial: It determines the stone’s beauty and brightness.
We recommend picking an excellent or perfect cut gemstone for any diamond shape. These are the best options cut-quality-wise.
While there are several standards for the ideal cut, the proportions they follow are more or less the same. The ideal measures are a percentage of the diameter of the stone’s girdle – which is the diamond’s edge and its widest point.
Let’s look at the most critical dimensions for an ideal-cut stone. The statistics are presented in ranges that encompass the criteria for the most often used benchmarks:
- The table diameter, or the diameter of the diamond’s flat top, should be 53%-57.5%.
- Crown height is the distance measured from the girdle to the stone’s apex. It refers to the top of the stone, from the girdle to the table. The crown height norm is 14.4% – 16.2%.
- Pavilion depth is the vertical distance between the girdle and the gem’s bottom. So, the pavilion is the lower section of the gem, from the girdle to the lowest point, and should measure between 43.1% and 43.2%.
Using the previous values as a guideline, we may deduce that an ideal-cut stone would have a top width of 53% to 57.5% of the girdle, a pavilion breadth of 43.1% – 43.2%, and a crown width of 14.4% – 16.2% of the girdle diameter.
An ideal diamond’s entire length, calculated from its plain top to the stone’s pointed bottom, will be around 57.5% – 59.4%.
However, the grade is only a beginning point. You want to go through each diamond one by one. Examine the diamond with high-quality pictures and read the specifications on the certificate.
To optimize brilliance in round diamonds, maintain the depth and table ratio below 62.5%. The table, facets, and proportions should be cut to optimize brightness; that gives it its unique glitter.
Most alternative cuts, unlike the standard round cut, lack precise – and commonly acknowledged – criteria upon which to judge cut quality. There are some norms, but they’re looser and will vary depending on the cut.
In addition, many grading laboratories don’t evaluate the cut of non-round, fancy diamonds. The easiest approach to judge the cut of such stones is to compare them and determine which one has greater brightness and which one looks prettier – or even bigger – when worn.
How Diamond Cut Works
The diamond’s cut influences three primary features and determines how light interacts with the diamond – brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.
When light enters the diamond and is reflected back to the viewer’s eye, brilliance is perceived. If the depth or height of a gem is too low or high, the light entering the stone will not be directed back to generate brilliance but will instead seep out of the diamond, going unnoticed. As a consequence, the brilliance of gems that are too deep or too shallow is unsatisfactory.
When the diamond’s composition breaks down the incoming light into a range of colors, that is referred to as dispersion. The result is viewed as color play while staring at the diamond and is also known as “fire.”
Scintillation refers to a gemstone’s propensity to dazzle in periodic flashes when you move it in front of your eyes. A well-cut stone shows plenty of flashes, while a badly cut gemstone seems considerably duller.
Pros And Cons Of Spread Diamonds
When deciding on a diamond, it is critical to examine its benefits and drawbacks. So, keep the following in mind if you’re considering a spread diamond.
The Benefits Of Spread Diamonds
The fundamental advantage of a spread diamond is that the stone seems bigger than it is. While you could potentially spend the same amount on a stone of the same carat weight that appears substantially smaller, the shallow cut enables you to level up in terms of size.
We’ll go through some trade-offs later – but know that you can manage them. While, as previously indicated, spread diamonds often sacrifice a bit of shine or brightness, one may mitigate this in various ways. Of course, this feature doesn’t mean that spread gems carry no sparkle but that they commonly sparkle less than “regular” diamonds.
The Downsides Of Spread Diamonds
As previously stated, the lack of brightness and sparkle owing to the stone’s poor cut depth is the biggest disadvantage here. Furthermore, spread diamonds are more susceptible to chipping, and they may be more difficult to trade or upgrade owing to the lower long-term value they carry.
Even so, for many, these aspects aren’t deal-breakers. Those on a budget may not be able to obtain every diamond quality they like and will have to decide.
So, this is a terrific alternative for people who consider size to be one of their top wants. The majority of spread diamonds are assessed as having a poor cut. So, we advise you to avoid buying spread diamonds in favor of a smaller stone with plenty of sparkle and fire.
How To Tell If A Diamond Is Too Shallow?
Seriously, how do you know if a diamond is too shallow?
The diamond’s unique measurements will be disclosed in any GIA report. You may use them to determine whether or not it falls inside the appropriate range for its form – independent of carat weight. You’ll be excused for assuming that the particular cut grade supplied for round diamonds in any GIA certification gives the entire tale. However, it only tells half of the story.
Yes, you should still aim for Excellent or Very Good marks for cut, symmetry, and polish – but do not get too comfortable with proportion.
The proportion diagram includes remarks on girdle thickness, depth, table, depth percentage, L/W ratio, and culet. And all of that should be evaluated by any consumer looking to make the greatest possible purchase.
It may appear complex, but it is an extra step that is well worth completing if you want maximum brilliance – and best value for money.
How To Pick A Spread Diamond
If you want a spread diamond, you must consider how much brilliance you are ready to give up for the price difference and the appearance of extra size.
Do note that if you want to purchase such a diamond, its cut would not be “Excellent” or even “Good.” The majority of cut diamonds are rated lower than that, and many get a “Poor” rating since they are too shallow.
Prior to actually purchasing a diamond, please request a certificate. Look at the carat grading to ensure you know how large the diamond is. The jeweler will often simply indicate the carat size of the stone and not the actual size, so double-check and read the certificate.
Related Read: What Is The Difference Between Certified And Non-certified Diamonds?
Are Spready Diamonds Worth Buying?
Our guess is that 99% of engagement ring buyers would like a bigger-looking stone – but finding the exact one that combines a stunning shine with a wide surface area is difficult.
On the other hand, spread diamonds are commonly regarded as “diamond cheaters.” Keep in mind that true well-cut gems seldom seem bigger than they are due to the mechanics of how light interacts with the facets.
These minor details – which the ordinary engagement ring buyer frequently disregards – shouldn’t be ignored since they may as well make or break the appearance of a ring and create significant price changes.
To put it simply: Spread gems are the braggarts of the gemstone world. They look large at first sight, but they lack shine and personality upon closer inspection.
Even if you get a smaller carat weight gemstone – a 0.75-carat diamond – it will be considerably more beautiful than a more prominent, lifeless diamond. You will have a ring that will sparkle for years to come with a well-proportioned diamond.
So, Are Spread Diamonds A Bad Choice?
Yes, and you should escape as quickly as possible from any jeweler who tries to sell you on the so-called “advantages” of spread diamonds.
There’s no denying that size is one of the factors we obsess so much over with engagement rings – or any other jewelry pieces. And because they offer a remarkable opportunity to impress our family, friends, and anyone we meet, we might fall into this trap.
There’s no doubt that diamonds are precious, which implies that whether you choose a 1-carat or a 3-carat stone, you may make a significant impression on anyone’s judgment. However, most of us will face the urge to splash out as much as possible to get a diamond that exceeds all expectations.
Unfortunately, the most “budget-friendly” path lies in the illusion provided by spread diamonds, and many customers have fallen for it in the past – and many more will be in the future. The problem is that aside from the first “wow effect” of a diamond with a significant face-up look, spread diamonds provide relatively little value.
The actual value of jewelry lies in its dazzling shine, intrinsic beauty, and the artistry of its design – three traits that come together to create far more coveted jewelry than a diamond cut primarily for size.
Now, let’s briefly go over the whole “what are spready (spread) diamonds” thing – and sum things up.
When compared to stones of the same carat size, these shallow-cut gems – known as spready diamonds – offer the impression of a more prominent stone. That’s due to its broader table and shallow cut, which are in contrast to the real cut requirements.
While individuals are likely to be drawn to the larger appeal of these stones, it is best to examine their cut excellence before making a decision. Sure, these gems are a fantastic choice if the size is your main concern – but they’re a pretty terrible choice in terms of brilliance, beauty, and value.