Last updated on October 9, 2020
Setting your engagement ring with side stones enhances the centre stone, giving it a bolder look and highlights the overall beauty of your jewellery piece. In this guide, you will find out how to choose diamond side stones that perfectly match your engagement ring style.
What Are Diamond Side Stones?
Side stones are jewels, commonly diamonds, which are used to enhance the beauty and the brilliance of a centre gemstone. They are placed beside a larger gem and typically can be found on engagement rings, pendants, brooches and other pieces of jewellery.
Depending on the design, diamond side stones may be the only embellishment on the ring or may be accompanied by pavé gems, halos and other additional decorations. Whatever the design of a jewellery piece, side stones allow adding personality and individuality.
Many diamond shapes multitask as both centre gems and side stones. For example, a three-stone ring featuring diamonds of the same shape such as round, oval or princess is a popular choice. However, diamond cuts most often used as accent side stones to add contrast to the centre gemstone, are baguette, trapezoid, trillion and half-moon.
Types of Diamond Side Stones
The cut and shape of diamond side stones can vary, but usually, they are found in a baguette, trillion, trapezoid, half-moon, Asscher, emerald, cushion, marquise, oval, pear, princess and round cuts. These shapes complement different types of centre stones and add a beautiful contrast.
Baguette cut diamonds, both straight and tapered, are one of the most popular choices due to their appealing symmetry and large table size. They pair perfectly with step-cut diamonds such as emerald and Asscher and create a lovely contrast to other diamond shapes.
Trillion cut diamond side stones can come both with rounded and pointed ends. Rounded trillion cut diamonds pair beautifully with round and cushion cut centre stones, while pointed trillion cut stones look perfect when set with princess cut diamonds.
Trapezoid, also known as trapeze or trap, cut side stones are versatile accents. They are found in brilliant cut and step cut and both complement to square and rectangular centre diamond shapes. One of the newest version of this cut is the crescent trapezoid that features a curved edge making it work well with oval and marquise cut diamonds.
Half-moon cut diamonds feature a semicircular shape and are often used to highlight larger centre stones. The geometric lines of half-moon side stones are ideal both for rounded and sharply defined designs.
Classic Asscher, emerald, cushion, marquise, oval, pear and round cut diamond side stones are simple and stunning. As a general rule, step-cut side stones pair well with step-cut centre diamonds, while brilliant-cut accents look perfect when paired with brilliant-cut stones.
How Many Side Stones Should You Choose?
While the exact number of diamond side stones depends on your personal preferences, the most common combination of side stones is to have either two or four.
In case of two side stones and a central diamond, you end up with a three-stone ring, while in case of four side stones and a centre gem you will have a five-stone ring.
In general, there is no limit to how many side stones can surround your centre diamond, but it is important to understand that each side stone you incorporate will require a separate setting. This means the more stones you have, the more complex is the structure of the ring and the more difficult to clean and maintain it in the future.
Choosing the Size of Diamond Side Stones
When choosing the size of diamond side stones, the main things to consider are the size of the centre gemstone and the number of accent stones you have chosen. These two factors allow achieving a balanced final design.
As a general rule, the centre gem is the biggest, hence the most visible. The side stones serve to complement and emphasize it, meaning they should not be too big to take the attention away from the centre stone. At the same time, they should not be too small, otherwise, the overall design will have a disproportional look.
In case you have chosen to have more than two side stones, it is recommended to choose diamonds significantly smaller than the centre gem. If you have chosen two side stones (a three-stone ring), they may be of the size as the centre diamond, slightly smaller or half size.
Another aspect to consider is the dimensions of side stones. Accent stones should have very similar measurements to appear in proportion to each other. Make sure their size does not vary by more than 0.2 mm in length, width and depth.
Choosing Colour of Diamond Side Stones
When it comes to choosing a colour grade for diamond side stones, it is best to have them in the same grade as that of the centre diamond in order not to have a visible colour mismatch.
In case the colour of your side stones is a couple of grades lower that of the centre diamond, they will look yellowish on contrast. This effect is not desirable unless done for a purpose.
In general, the colour of side stones and the centre diamond should not be more than one grade apart to create a consistent look. For example, if the centre diamond is F colour, the side stones should be within the G-H range.
Choosing Clarity of Diamond Side Stones
To achieve a pleasing look the side stones in your piece of jewellery should be eye clean, meaning there should be no flaws that are visible to the naked eye.
This doesn’t mean you should choose the highest clarity grade. You can opt for diamonds that are graded VS1 – VS2 (Very Slightly Included) or SI1 (Slightly Included). In most cases, such stones look clean and still have affordable price tags. However, the clarity between each side stone should be as identical as possible, and no more than one grade apart similar to the colour. For example, if the centre stone has VVS2 clarity, the side stones should be not less than VS1.
Choosing Settings for Diamond Side Stones
Choosing the right setting is very important because it will determine how well the diamonds will be protected from accidental hits or falling off, and how easily the ring will be cleaned or repaired.
For example, the prong setting is more easily maintained than the channel setting. The latter, on the other hand, offers better protection for your diamonds. The bezel setting is among the safest, but it also hides your stones.
Each setting type has pros and cons, so you need to decide how important each of these factors are for you and choose the setting that best suits your expectations.