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A Complete Guide to Diamond Accents

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Complete Guide to Diamond Accents

The natural, stark beauty of diamonds have always garnered attention. They’re symbols of luxury and elegance, but there’s often more to the common diamond ring than just the centerpiece.

While the center gem is what draws the most eyes, if you’ve ever noticed smaller diamonds that sparkle beside or around the main one, you know about diamond accents. 

Let’s dive into the world of diamond accents and how they’re used in jewelry.

What are Diamond Accents?

Diamond Accents Infographic

Diamond accents are the smaller diamonds added to a piece of high-end jewelry that enhance its beauty and appeal and are often found circling the main diamond. Coming in a wide range of sizes, cuts, and shapes, they complement the larger diamond. 

Diamond accents are real diamonds. They’re held to the same rigorous standards you would expect from a trusted jeweler. Although you may not need to aim for the perfect accents like you would for the main diamond, it’s important to understand diamond accents before you purchase them. 

It’s a common mistake to overlook what type of accents are the right fit to encircle the center stone. From Baguette to Marquise, or carats to clarity, there’s always more to these than meets the eye. 

Types of Diamond Accents

Jewelers cut diamond accents into a few common shapes. While diamonds can be cut into an infinite number of shapes, these are the popular options you will find from most jewelers: 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of diamond accents.

Trillion Accent

1.6 Ct. Oval Cut Natural Diamond 3 Stone Trillion Diamond Engagement Ring - Diamond Mansion

Often found in three-stone settings, Trillion accent diamonds are distinguished by the triangle shape of the cut. 

Due to their large table width, they’re often mistaken for being larger than round accents even when both boast the same carat size. 

If you’re going for visibility and character, these are a great choice. They’re chosen for their striking shape and unique silhouette. You can go even further in choosing what’s right for you with either rounded or pointed edges. 

If you’re choosing a round cushion or princess cut for the center diamond, Trillion accents are the perfect complement. While they aren’t as prone to snagging as other shapes such as Marquise accents, that is something to consider when opting for anything besides rounded edges.

Round Accent 

Halo Engagement Ring with Round Diamond Accents - Shane Co

Round accent diamonds are the right choice if you’re looking for a shape that complements a variety of center gems. 

Expert jewelers will tell you the versatility of Round cuts are what has made them the go-to in the industry. It can be difficult to find shapes that work well with a custom centerpiece, but this cut fits with nearly all shapes and sizes. 

If this sounds promising, it’s worth examining a full slate of round accent options: 

  • Under 0.02 ct would be considered “stars” 
  • Full cuts” are considered 0.02 to 0.07 ct 
  • Between 0.07 ct and 0.18 ct are called “melee” 

Many types of halo settings consist of the large diamond surrounded by Round cut accents.

Baguette Accent

14K White Gold Tapered Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring - James Allen

Baguette accent diamonds are often used for framing sizable diamonds because of their symmetry. These cuts consist of a maximum of 14 facets (the flat surfaces on a diamond).

That means you don’t have to worry about it stealing the show from the main diamond. With elegant length and a satisfying rectangular shape, it’s easy to understand why that might be necessary. 

Many buyers choose to lay these side by side to give the appearance of a full diamond band. Even further, consumers have the option of a “tapered” Baguette cut accent, meaning they are given sloped edges to add to the appeal. 

It’s common to find these lacing the edges of Round Brilliant and Asscher cuts.

Marquise Accent 

14K White Gold Marquise Shape Three Stone Ring - James Allen

Boasting the largest face area of all accents (given they’re the same carat), Marquise accent diamonds have their own appeal. 

While they feature striking characteristics, it comes at a cost. You might pay less than you would for other accents, but your jeweler will need to add prong protection to the diamond. 

Its sharp tips can frequently catch on fabrics if not covered correctly. 

Because of their uncommon shape, there are a number of ways to fashion them to jewelry to help your piece stand out. 

Chevron V shapes are one of the popular styles that use these accents. Matching the soft curves with a straight-edge center stone is another way to bring out the elegance of both center and accent diamonds.

How to Choose the Right Diamond Accents

There’s more to consider in choosing the right diamond accent than just the shape. Next, you should consider the other Cs of buying diamonds: color, carat, and clarity. While they may not be the main attraction, it’s important to examine the details.

Color

While color may not be the be-all and end-all of diamond accent selection, you do want to be aware of how similar the color of your accents are compared to the center stone. 

We’re here to tell you it’s okay if you don’t have the exact same color across the board. It can be much more difficult to distinguish tiny differences in color because of their smaller size. 

That being said, you do need to ensure the difference isn’t noticeable to the naked eye. Most accents are Near Colorless grade, so it shouldn’t be a problem. 

It’s worth taking the time to compare the accent’s colors to the center before purchasing. If you settle for a slightly off-color matchup on first sight, imagine how it would grab your attention after years of examining the ring. Ask your jeweler for the chance to examine it more closely if you’re unsure about the color pairing.

Carat Size

There isn’t a right or wrong answer to how many carats should make up your diamond accents. The same is true for its total carat weight, which is the amount of carats in total when added together. While the industry spouts endless recommendations and consumer preferences, in the end, the only one whose opinion is vital to your stone choices is you. 

Experienced jewelers will tell you people tend to go no larger than 15 percent of the center piece’s size. A carat is ⅕ of a gram, which means if the main diamond is two carats, the accents framing it would generally be no larger than 0.3 carats. 

The carat amount truly depends on what looks balanced and aesthetically pleasing. The deciding factor should be the pattern you make the accent setting and whether it pairs well with the overall design of the ring.

That being said, a thicker ring can handle more diamonds. If you’ve chosen a knife edge ring, known for its thin, sharp edge, you won’t have the same options for accents as you would with a thicker ring.

But try not to overdo it on the accents. This allows your center diamond to truly get the attention it deserves.

Clarity 

The Gemological Institute of America established the authoritative rubric for diamond clarity, with 11 grades in total. Divided into six categories, they judge imperfections on the inside and outside of a diamond. The categories deal with internal points of interest.

Ranging from included diamonds, which have noticeable blemishes, to flawless, matching the clarity of diamonds with your diamond accents is important to complete a piece of high quality jewelry. You don’t want an instance of a flawless centerpiece surrounded by accents with noticeable blemishes.

You’ll pay significantly more as you move up the scale, so when it comes to accents, the best value is an “eye clean” accent. This means the naked eye cannot notice any blemishes, but you won’t pay the premium price for one where even a microscope can’t see them.

Prices Compared to Diamonds

The price of a diamond is dependent on its quality across the four Cs. In general, colorless, flawless, excellent, and higher-carat diamonds are more expensive. The same is true for the price of diamond accents, even though they’re significantly smaller.

Diamond accents with average clarity and color classifications average about $350 per carat. If you are looking for high quality cuts, you may be looking more at $1,000 per carat.

This might seem high, but compared to the center stones, you’re saving money. This is because the carat of diamond accents are lower than standard diamonds.

It should also be noted it’s difficult to find accents sold on their own. They generally come attached to a setting or with the purchase of a full ring, so it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact price. Instead, accents are priced by the carat.

Conclusion

There’s more to a piece of luxury jewelry than the center diamond. Diamond accents are a popular way to complement a striking center stone by adding even more sparkle.

You should go about the buying process for diamond accents in a similar way as you would with other diamonds. Decide where you want the accents to land along the four Cs, knowing the price increases as you move up the quality scale.

With the right diligence, you can make a selection that doesn’t detract from the main diamond, but instead adds a unique element and an extra bit of shine.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

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