Diamond Accents: Everything You Need to Know

Style and Design

Diamond Accents: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever found a ring you're interested in buying, and come across the term "diamond accents" in the description? You may have wondered "what are diamond accents?" If a ring has diamond accents, is it therefore a diamond ring? Are diamond accents real diamonds? It's important to know to justify the cost.

Diamond accents are actually real diamonds, and they play an important role in the overall beauty and artistry of the ring. Using a variety of different cuts and placements, jewelers use accent diamonds to complement the larger gemstone and add a unique composition to the ring.

What Are Diamond Accents? Why Use Diamond Accents on a Ring?

Diamond accents are the smaller diamonds that surround the main gemstone. It's not so simple as it sounds, as it takes an artistic vision to choose diamond accents with the right cut, size, and setting so that they enhance the brilliance of the central gem, rather than overwhelm it.

You don't want a ring with too many diamond accents with too many facets because they bedizen the ring rather than complement the main gem; they steal the show.

Ideally, you want to find a ring with diamond accents that are gorgeous in their own way, but subtle enough that the center stone remains the main point of attraction. Diamond accents are meant to make the center stone look even more dazzling than it would on its own.

If a ring says it has diamond accents, they're real diamonds. Only real diamonds can be marketed as such. However, cubic zirconium is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to diamond engagement rings, and it can be used to accentuate a piece, although it is a less hard stone and lacks the brilliance of accent diamonds.

However, if you find yourself not sold on diamonds, you can check out a CZ engagement ring with accent cubic zirconium gems, for a much cheaper price.

What Kinds of Center Stones Work Well With Diamond Accents? 

Jewelers have used diamond accents to enhance the center diamond on rings since the 19th century. However, in recent times, nontraditional engagement rings are rising in popularity, opening up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to using accent diamonds with colored gemstones.

Some of the most famous engagement rings from the past and in contemporary pop culture contain a colored gemstone and smaller diamonds that accentuate it. Katy Perry's engagement ring from Orlando Bloom features a ruby as the center stone and the middle of the flower, surrounded by eight baguette-cut diamonds as the petals.

Jackie Kennedy's engagement ring from John marveled the public. JFK took a lot of time searching for a ring that was personalized and would stand out. The ring he chose featured two central gemstones: a diamond and an emerald. Baguette-cut diamonds accentuated the diamond's sparkle and the emerald's alluring vibrant green color.

If you want a similarly elegant and unique engagement ring, a halo emerald ring with round accent diamonds would be worth looking into. It's a floral design like Katy Perry's, but with a Jackie Kennedy-esque eye-catching emerald.

Are Accent Diamonds Valuable? 

You might wonder if it might be a more cost-effective choice to skip the accent diamonds. You might wonder, "am I paying more for a ring with accent diamonds?"

Diamond prices increase exponentially with the increase in the carat weight. So, a diamond that is twice as big as another is going to be much more than twice as expensive. Large diamonds are desirable because they can feature a lot of facets, increasing the brilliant shine of the ring.

Accent diamonds are typically between 0.01 and 0.20 carats. Some can be even smaller; these are called melée diamonds, which are between 0.08-0.18 carats. These diamonds are small enough that they aren't worth much on their own.

Accent diamonds, therefore, do not add much cost to the ring. Yet diamond accents for engagement rings are valuable in that you can achieve the brilliance and sparkle of a much larger diamond using accent diamonds in a group.

For example, two .20 carat diamonds would be much cheaper to buy than a single .40 carat diamond. When you place the two .20 carat accent diamonds, together, you can achieve a look that can be even more stunning than one larger diamond.

What Are the Different Types of Diamond Accents?

There are four primary types of accent diamonds: round accents, trillion cut accents, baguette accents, and marquise accents. They are different in shape, which affects the type of accent they give the ring.

Although in the past accent diamonds almost always had fewer facets than center stone diamonds, this isn't the case anymore. Nowadays jewelers can cut even tiny diamonds to maximize and customize their facets. 

1. Round Diamond Accents

This traditional style of diamond accent is the most popular with designers. It is one of the most versatile shapes because it works with almost any shape of the center stone. 

Small round accent diamonds come in three different categories classified by carat:

  • Stars: .02 ct or less
  • Full cuts: 0.02-0.07 ct
  • Melée: 0.08-0.18 ct

Small round diamonds are cut with the full number of facets as for a brilliant cut: either 57 or 58. These facets add a lively sparkle, especially when round accent diamonds are clustered together.

In channel settings, round accent diamonds provide splendid light and multiplying luster by being placed next to each other.

They are also excellent for creating a halo setting for the center stone. Round cut diamonds can achieve a dazzling look in a starburst design to maximize the intense blue in a sapphire engagement ring.

Round cut diamonds can work with any type of center stone. They can also complement almost any cut of center stone. Cushion cut center stones are a trending center-stone cut that is often enhanced with round-cut diamond accents, such as Leighton Meester's engagement ring. Her 4-carat cushion-cut diamond really stands out thanks to the round accent diamonds on the side. Another trend you can see in Leighton Meester's ring is the rose-gold setting of her engagement ring, and the engagement ring set with a matching wedding ring with round diamonds.

If you're interested in Leighton's ring, you might want to explore going for a similar look but with colored gemstones. This amethyst engagement ring has the trendy cushion-cut center stone, round diamond accents, and a 14k rose gold band. Colored gemstones are always a great way to follow a trend while making it your own.

2. Trillion Cut Diamond Accents

A distinct cut for accent diamonds is the trillion cut. This triangle shape is less traditional than the more common round cut diamonds. The angles of the shape add an interesting use of space that can complement the curve of the ring.

One benefit of the trillion cut accent diamond is that its unique cut makes it look larger than it actually is. This shape is also the one that gives off the most intense reflection of light, making it breathtakingly sparkly.

Because of their intense shine, if the center-stone is another diamond, trillion accents should only be paired with princess or radiant cut diamonds so as to avoid outshining the main gem. 

They also pair well with colored center stones, and the unique shape combined with bright colors can create an art deco style ring.

Trillion cut diamonds provide the most stunning accentuation when placed in a three-stone setting with center stones that are either round brilliant or cushion cut.

3. Baguette Diamond Accents

Baguette cuts are probably the second-most common accent cut after the round cut accent diamonds. Whereas you have to be more careful with other cuts outshining the center stone, this isn't much of a worry with baguette-cut accents because it's a style of cut that is only used for side stones rather than center stones. 

Baguette-cut diamonds get their name from their long, rectangular shape (given a diamond's incredible hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, you might not want to bite into them like the French bread, though...). 

Because baguette-cut accent diamonds only have 14 facets, you don't have to worry about creating too much sparkle that will outshine the center stone, like you have to think about with trillion cut accents. The long shape of these cuts is perfect for rings or bracelets because they can be aligned along the edges to create a consistent sparkle along with the whole silhouette.

4. Marquise Diamond Accents

This is a unique shape that is pretty uncommon for accent diamonds. Marquise accent diamonds have curved sides and angled ends. They're similar to baguette accent diamonds in their length, but their softer edges give them a nice contrast in shape in comparison to a more geometric center-stone.

Marquise accent diamonds pair well with classic shapes such as round center diamonds because of their more dramatic shape. Their shape stands out and allows for other unique pairings as well. It's up to the designer how to best utilize them. 

Jackie Kennedy actually redesigned her ring to replace the sleek baguette diamonds with more formal marquise diamonds.

A designer can create new looks in a ring simply by changing the orientation of marquise accent diamonds. It can change the impression of the center stone based on its setup.

How Much Does the Accent Shape Matter?

Although you can put a lot of thought and work into selecting accent diamonds, it's important to remember that they're there for the overall composition, not to stand out. 

A variety of shapes may work with the center stone; there isn't a one-fits-all solution. The nature of diamonds as clear and bright means that almost any cut will bring out the brilliance of another gem.

If you're buying a ring with diamond accents and it doesn't list what shape it is, you can usually tell by looking, but most likely it will be a round accent diamond.

While knowing the different shapes of accent diamonds can be helpful in figuring out what kind of look you prefer, all that really matters is if you like the style of the ring in the first place.

Most good jewelers plan out the combination of accent cuts and center stones for you, so if you're buying a ring that's already manufactured, you don't have to worry about facets and cuts so much as the appearance. But if you're buying a custom engagement ring, you may want to spend more time considering accent diamond cuts and accent diamond settings.

Settings for Diamond Accents

Just as most store-stock engagement rings are already designed with compatible pairings of diamond accents and center stones, most store-stock diamond-accented rings are set correctly.

It can, however, be very helpful to know settings when picking out custom diamond accents for engagement rings, or to recognize which settings you're drawn to when shopping. There are many types of settings, but here are a few popular ones for accent diamonds:

Basic Prong Setting

  • Any accents held up by (typically gold/silver) prongs
  • Two kinds of prong settings for accent diamonds

Shared Prong

  • Adjacent accents share prongs
  • Allows more light to pass through diamonds

Surface Prong

  • Small prongs slightly over the surface
  • Popular for melée diamonds

Channel Setting

  • Accents placed between two parallel metal bars
  • Soldered to top and bottom of the stone
  • Solid backing — ideal to prevent stone loss

Pave/Bead Set

  • Closely-set, dazzling accents 
  • Diamond-encrusted look
  • Accents held by shared prongs
  • Gives a beveled side-wall 

The most common types of setting for accent diamonds are the pave and channel settings. Prong settings are often used within other settings, and they're usually silver or gold for diamond accents, but sometimes platinum for center stones.

It's important to know if rings with channel settings have a solid backing (i.e. you can't see the stones from the inside of the ring) as a precaution against stones becoming dislodged and lost. If there's solid backing, even if they become dislodged, they can stay within the setting and repaired.

Are Accent Diamonds Worth It?

People often don't consider accent diamonds enough. They don't add much to the cost of your engagement ring, but can really make it pop. Multiple accent diamonds can produce the same effect as one higher carat diamond for a fraction of the cost.

Your engagement ring should be your most eye-catching piece of jewelry. It signifies an unforgettable moment and should last as long as that memory. Accent diamonds are versatile enough that they can make any engagement ring scintillate, whatever the color of your center stone.

If you're interested in exploring more options for engagement rings with diamond accents, colored gemstones, or other personalized touches, contact us.

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