What’s the Best Diamond Shape for Your Money?

Round diamonds on gray background

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Not all diamond shapes are made equal: some give you more bang for your buck. There is a direct connection between the shape of a diamond and its price.

Let’s take a look at the types of diamond shapes out there and which gives you the best value for your money.

How many diamond shapes are there?

Complete list of diamond shapes and names side by side

Some of the many diamond shapes available

While the round brilliant diamond is the most popular, there’s a range of diamond shapes to choose from. Some of these are typically used as center stones for engagement rings while others are most commonly used as accent stones. Cuts like trilliant and baguette are popular side stones.

Round diamond with trillions side diamond engagement ring

Ring featuring round center diamond and side trilliant cuts.

See it here

Of all the diamond shapes available, only ten are the most popular and can be found on almost every jeweler’s diamond search filter. If you’re considering buying a diamond, especially for an engagement ring, chances are it’s going to be one of these 10 shapes.

10 popular diamond shapes

Blue Nile diamond shape search filter

The Impact of Diamond Shape on Price

Deciding on your diamond shape is one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your diamond because everything else rests on this. While the shape affects the brilliance, size and appearance of your stone, it also significantly impacts the price.

Here are two main ways that a diamond shape affects the price:

  • Diamond shape and diamond rough – a diamond in the rough is shaped like two square-based pyramids placed base to base. When cutting this into diamonds for use in jewelry, the amount of wastage varies depending on the shape of the cut. The higher the wastage, the more expensive the diamond.

Rough diamonds have an octahedral shape

  • Consumer demand for a shape – public demand has always helped to set prices for any product and it’s no different to diamonds. The diamond shapes with the highest demand are often more expensive. Can you guess which diamond shape is the most popular? Without a doubt, round brilliants!

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the top diamond shapes and how they’re priced. We’ve used examples from the same site to easily compare the price of the various shapes and to keep the number of variables low.

1- Round Cut

Round shape diamond

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $6280. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Most expensive yet most popular cut. Highly versatile, brilliant and classic in appearance.

The most popular cut of all, the round brilliant accounts for over 75% of all diamond cuts. Since the earliest diamond cuts, like the point cut or the table cut, cutters have been trying to fashion diamonds into perfect rounds. With today’s advanced technology, the complex faceting structure and the amazing symmetry of round brilliant cuts are breathtaking, making for a stunning diamond.

When fashioning a diamond rough into a round cut, a lot of the rough is wasted. What can sometimes be two princess cuts, for example, often ends up being just one round! The round is also the most popular cut of all time. These factors contribute to the fact that the round brilliant cut is the most expensive diamond shape. 

We compared the round cut with all other 9 shapes and found that, all else being equal, the round diamond was at least $600 more expensive that the most expensive fancy cut.

2- Princess Cut

Princess cut diamond

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $4,530. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Modern, brilliant cut at a lower price point

The princess cut is the second most popular diamond cut and has a sparkle and beauty to rival the round. Because of its shape, the princess cut has a modern, glamorous look. Unlike the round, this cut only results in about 10% wastage of the rough. This translates into lower prices for the customer and better value for your money.

The cut also has the advantage of looking bigger than its carat weight. This is because when you measure a princess cut with your eyes, you tend to look at it diagonally. This makes it appear larger than it is especially next to a round cut.

3- Cushion Cut

Cushion cut true hearts diamond from James Allen

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $4,040. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Vintage, brilliant look and great value for money

This beautiful cut has seen a lot of fluctuations in popularity over the course of its lifetime, but today is experiencing a lot of love. In recent years, the cushion cut has become one of the trending diamond shapes for engagement rings.

Cushion cuts are one of the oldest diamond cuts but has recently been modified to suit modern tastes. This is why you’ll find it in two main versions – antique and modern brilliant. The modern brilliant cushion has exceptional sparkle and a classic, vintage look. It remains one of the most affordable diamond shapes, providing excellent value for customers.

4- Emerald Cut

Real emerald cut diamond close up

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $3,640. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Unique look, different type of sparkle and great value for money

One of the most affordable diamond cuts, the emerald cut is very different to the brilliant cut diamonds. Emerald diamonds are cut into long, clear facets placed in parallel lines along the edges of the diamond. This is known as a step cut, because the facets look like steps reaching to the top of the diamond.

Naturally, this cut isn’t very brilliant but instead it shows a nice, clear look with a contrast of dark and light on the diamonds surface. This is known as the hall of mirrors effect. An emerald cut diamond is glamorous and has a confident look. Only choose this if you’re absolutely sure you don’t want a traditional sparkling diamond.

On the bright side, this is one of the most affordable of the diamond cuts. It also makes your diamond look larger because it’s not a very deep cut and there’s less of the diamond hiding under the surface.

5- Oval Cut

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $4,760. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Rarer choice with a vintage charm and very good value for money 

Oval is one of the more expensive diamond cuts and has the look of an elongated round diamond. It’s highly brilliant and has an elegant, feminine look. It’s not a very popular diamond shape but has recently seen a surge in popularity.

The thing about ovals is that they can exhibit a bow-tie effect, which refers to dark sections on the surface of the diamond in the shape of a bow-tie. It’s very important to see the exact diamond you’re buying to avoid getting one with poor symmetry and misaligned facets, which results in the said bow-tie.  

It takes skill to cut an oval diamond to perfect proportions, and this reflects in the price.

6- Asscher Cut

Asscher cut diamond

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $3,460. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Classic, modern and good bang for your buck

Often called a square emerald, there’s a lot of difference between an Asscher and an emerald cut. The Asscher is a trademarked, patented cut that was invented in the 1920s. It’s one of the most popular diamond cuts today.

The Asscher cut is very stylish and modern, with an Art Deco look to it. It’s clean lines and clear facets make it ideal for a range of jewelry styles. It’s also a very durable cut, with no sharp edges that could chip or snag on things.

The Asscher is a very deep cut, which can make it appear smaller than it really is. It’s among the most affordable of diamond cuts, giving you style and sophistication at great value.

7- Marquise Cut

Marquise cut diamond

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $5,560. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Unique, rare choice at a reasonable price point

The marquise is one of the older and rarer cuts. It’s essentially a pear cut with two points, instead of one. It’s very difficult to find a perfectly proportioned marquise with perfectly aligned facets as most marquise diamonds feature a bowtie across the front.

The marquise is a shallow cut, but it has a very high level of brilliance and sparkle. It’s intense faceting structure makes for excellent light performance. Because of its long shape the marquise often looks larger than it is. It’s also more stylish than oval and very unique.

The marquise cut is ideal if you want a larger looking diamond. It’s good value for money but high-quality marquise cuts can be pricey.

8- Heart Cut

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $4,540. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Romantic and sweet but maybe too cutesy for an engagement ring. Good value for money.

The heart cut is the most romantic of all the cuts, and when shaped well with perfect symmetry, it can be a very beautiful looking cut. However, if the cut is misaligned or improperly done, the shape can look like a round cut with a point. It’s not suitable for small diamonds, as getting the shape perfectly can be difficult.

While heart cut diamonds are beautiful in pendants, it often comes across as too romantic/immature looking as the center stone for engagement rings. This, of course, is a matter of taste, but if you’re putting down a huge chunk of cash for a heart shaped diamond, why not go with a round brilliant or princess cut that’ll last the test of time?

Because cutting a heart diamond takes effort, time and skill, these stones are often rather pricey. They’re among the more expensive of diamond cuts.

9- Radiant Cut

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $4,650. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Brilliant, stylish cut

The radiant cut is fairly new and was created in the 1970s. The cut is designed to maximize the sparkle and brilliance of the diamond. It’s got 8 bevelled corners and is a durable shape to wear.

Unlike cuts like the emerald or the marquise, the radiant shape is somewhat deeply cut which means that the stone can look smaller than its size. Another factor to note is that because it’s not a highly popular shape, radiant cut diamonds in shops can be limited giving you less choice than some other diamonds.

These factors also mean that the radiant is among the more expensive cuts. However, for a modern looking, highly brilliant square cut, the radiant is perfect. Also, because it’s a forgiving cut, you can choose a stone with a lower color/clarity grade and still have it looking gorgeous.  

10- Pear Cut

Average price for 1.00 carat, G color, VS1 clarity – $5,010. Check it here.

Bottom Line: Highly brilliant, elegant cut, perfect for engagement rings but can be pricey

The pear is a popular cut and in recent years has become a favorite option for engagement rings. One of the oldest cuts, pears are a cross between a round brilliant and a marquise. Its single point elongates the round giving it a classic appearance.

Because the pear cut tends to show color and imperfections, you may have to invest in a higher quality stone, which can drive prices up. Also watch out for the bow-tie effect, which is evident in most pears to some degree and pick a stone with a good length to width ration to avoid a pear that’s too wide or too thin.

Wrapping Up…

When considering the diamond shape the offers the best value for your money, you need to consider several things.

If you’re looking for a large, affordable stone, then an emerald will offer you the best value. For a unique, brilliant shape, consider a pear, marquise or princess.

If, however, you want the most traditional diamond shape, then nothing beats the round and you won’t mind paying a premium to get it.

If you’re shopping for an engagement ring, think beyond price and appearance and also consider the taste and style of your other half. You might be in love with a princess cut, but is she?

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