One of the most important factors you will have to consider when purchasing a diamond is the cut. The cut refers to how a piece of rough diamond is cut and shaped to bring out the stone’s true beauty. We love diamonds for their magnificent sparkle and brilliance. But, the intensity of this sparkle and brilliance depends on the quality of the cut.
The cut has a big impact on how the stone absorbs, reflects, and deflects light. As such, it not only plays a significant role in determining the shape; it also has a huge influence on the price of a piece of diamond. For this reason, some diamond shapes are more expensive than others.
As you shop for your diamond, you might wonder, “what is the most expensive diamond cut?” This is a great question and one that will help you purchase the right diamond that suits your budget. This guide will explain everything you need to know about diamond cut and reveal the most expensive ones.
How Does Cut Affect The Price of Diamond?
Cut is not the only factor that determines the price of a diamond, but it is one of the most important and complex. So, before answering the question ‘what is the most expensive diamond cut,’ let’s look at the effect of cut on the price of diamond.
The cut quality is the first characteristic that plays into the price of a piece of diamond. A stone cut with precision not only reflects craftsmanship; the diamond will inevitably have better light performance. A perfectly cut diamond can appear bigger than other stones of the same carat weight. Cut will affect critical features such as a diamond’s facets, angles, and shape. All these factors come together to determine how well the diamond absorbs and deflects light out into a lit room.
The Geological Institute of America (GIA) determines a diamond’s cut quality using three factors. These are pattern (arrangement of the facets), scintillation (the brilliance), and contrast (interaction between light and dark spots on the stone).
Depending on the cut, diamonds can be graded as: excellent, very good, good, or fair & poor. Diamonds with excellent cuts have evenly placed facets and intense brilliance, while those with poor cuts do not shine as brightly and have a low scintillating score. In general, the more brilliant a diamond appears, the more expensive it will be.
Cut can also affect the apparent size of a diamond. Some diamonds are so well cut that they appear larger than they are, which is advantageous to the wearer. Large, brilliant diamonds also tend to fetch more money for jewelers.
Lastly, cut plays directly into the shape that a piece of rough diamond will take. As we’ll explain in a bit, the jewelry industry uses the shape of a diamond, among other factors, to determine the cost of diamonds of the same carat weight.
Shape and The Price of Diamond
The shape of a diamond, especially one that is nested on an engagement ring, is an important consideration that will play into your final purchasing decision. Some shapes are more expensive than others because of factors such as the market demand and the costs involved in cutting and polishing a rough diamond into a particular shape.
Let us take a look at the different diamond cuts and how they are priced.
Round Brilliant Cut
Round brilliant cuts are the most popular and expensive diamonds. More than 75% percent of engagement rings sold in the United States are brilliant round-cut diamonds.
Aside from the demand, much effort and precision go into cutting and polishing brilliant round-shaped diamonds. Also, as much as 60% of the original rough diamond is lost during this production process.
Because of the waste and the sheer amount of work needed to produce round brilliant cut diamonds, this style is the most expensive you will find in the market.
Other shapes such as cushion cuts, emerald cuts, Asscher cuts, and marquise cuts, for example, do not have a demanding cutting process like that of the round brilliant cut. Also, only a small percentage of the rough diamond is wasted in the production of these shapes.
If you are keen on purchasing a round brilliant cut diamond, there are a couple of smart steps you can take to snag a good deal. First, consider going for a diamond with no more than 1.0-carat weight; above the 1.0-carat weight, the price of a brilliant round-cut diamond will skyrocket exponentially.
The best part is that the naked eye will not differentiate between 1.0 and 1.2 carats, but there will be a significant price difference between these two stones, but going slightly lower on the carats can save you as much as 20-40%.
When purchasing a round brilliant cut diamond, insist on an ‘Excellent’ cut grade. But, if you are on a tight budget, you might be able to go slightly lower in the clarity and color gradings. If you opt for a lower color grading, consider setting your round brilliant cut diamond on a white gold band to hide any color differences and enhance the diamond’s sparkle and brilliance.
Princess Cut Diamond
The princess cut is the second most popular shape after the brilliant round cut. This diamond style has a square table, and the long diagonal outline gives it the same fire as the round brilliant cut but at a much lower price.
It is common for princess cuts to sell at less than 25-35 % percent lower than round brilliant cuts without sacrificing beauty and value. The lower price is because compared to round cuts, princess cut uses up to 80% of the rough diamond, resulting in minimal waste. The princess cut is a good choice if you are eyeing a big-looking diamond at an affordable price.
Cushion Cut Diamond
Cushion-cut diamonds have a square-ish shape with soft, rounded edges and are among the oldest diamond shapes. This cut has a unique light dispersion characteristic, causing the diamond to produce beautiful sparkle, color, brilliance, and fire.
There are several types of cushion diamonds cut, but all of them are incredibly stunning and a perfect choice if you are looking for value for money.
Despite being very attractive, cushion cuts can be up to 42% cheaper than round brilliant cuts of the same carat weight. The only downside is that a cushion cut has a significantly smaller table, but this cut style hides flaws and inclusions very well.
Emerald Cut Diamond
Emerald cut diamonds are among the rarer shapes, but they have impressive qualities. This diamond features elongated outlines, step cuts, makes your finger seem slimmer and longer, and has an enchanting Victorian vibe.
Compared to round brilliant cuts of similar carat weight, emerald cut diamonds can be 10 to 40 percent cheaper. Emeralds have a large table, which can make the diamond seem large. But, the large table also shows off flaws easily, so you want to go for one that is slightly higher on the clarity grade.
Oval Cut Diamond
Oval cut diamonds are another popular choice. The main advantage of this shape is that the diamond seems larger, and the facet angles give off impressive brilliance. Oval cuts with an ‘excellent’ cut grade are as bright as round brilliant cuts. The best part is that they are 10 to 30% cheaper with a large table.
Some people shy away from oval cut diamonds because the facet angles tend to form a bowtie pattern in the middle. On the upside, this shape hides flaws well, all at an affordable price. That said, because the oval cut tends to show color, I recommend choosing H color or better to keep the color in your diamond at a minimum.
Is A Round Brilliant Cut Worth It?
As we have seen, a round brilliant cut is the most expensive diamond cut compared to other cuts of the same carat value. This diamond shape has many great qualities—it offers incredible brilliance and fire, far better than any other cut.
Aside from outsparkling the other cuts, the round cut also looks stunning in any setting and gives off the impression of being bigger than its actual size. If you are looking for a traditional, tried and tested versatile cut, the round brilliant cut is an excellent choice.
I haven’t mentioned many other fancy cuts here, such as the Asscher, trillion, marquise, heart-shaped, pair-shaped, and radiant. All these are equally beautiful, and if you are keen on having a larger stone, for example, for an engagement ring, these fancy cuts will offer amazing value for money.
Round diamonds offer more sparkle and brilliance effect and are perfect if budget is not a big concern. Still, you might be able to snag a cheaper brilliant round if you are willing to settle for lower carat weight.
In the end, the diamond cut that is worth it is the one that vibes with you, whether that’s an Asscher, pear-shaped, or princess cut.