Let’s be honest, when shopping for a special-occasion ring that will (preferably) feature a stunning diamond beauty, our biggest concern is price.
Are they going to be in or way over our budget? Will they affect the design and performance of our already-imagined ring?
Questions of this kind sound intimidating, but the good news is that there is something we can do to avoid overspending. It's called “looking for the least expensive diamond shapes”. This is exactly what we are going to talk about in this article, so get ready for another amazing Kobelli hangout.
There are more than 20 different diamond shapes; some of them are incredibly popular, while others are barely known to exist. As you may already know, they are divided into two main categories: classic and fancy.
The classic diamond shapes include:
» round brilliant
The fancy diamond shapes include:
» heart shape
Each of these diamond shapes has unique properties that contribute to the overall quality of the stone and the value of the jewelry piece. In the following lines, you will get introduced to the least expensive diamond shapes nowadays.
#1. EMERALD ($2,521.00 per carat)
Diamonds that are given the elegant emerald shape are known for exhibiting outstanding grades of clarity, thanks to the large table and long facets, which are the hallmark of this rectangular shape.
But, there is another benefit they bring along – they create an optical illusion of a bigger stone, meaning that they make it ample and more expensive. At the same time, this makes the fingers look longer and slender.
The emerald cut features sleek, parallel lines that give the diamond a special architectural flair. Hence, the reason why this diamond shape is so demanded for vintage jewelry designs. The common emerald-cut diamond has 57 facets (25 on the crown and 32 on the pavilion).
Some of the drawbacks related to this diamond shape are that if the stone features tints of color, they will be easily revealed. That is why it is recommended to look for an emerald-cut diamond with a higher color grade (G-J). Another inconvenience is that step cuts, like emerald, are not the sparkliest, like the round brilliant cut, for example.
However, if the diamond is cut with the right proportions, it will exhibit a satisfactory amount of sparkle on the corner edges. The emerald cut reduces the price of engagement rings around 15% - 25%, thus taking the very first place in the competition of least expensive diamond shapes.
#2. OVAL ($2,715.00)
Diamonds fashioned in this fancy shape have been around for almost 60 years, as the cut itself was developed in the 1960s. Oval diamonds enjoy great credibility in the jewelry industry, because of their impressive brilliance, which is said to instantly light up the room. It is all thanks to the shape’s faceting structure that includes 58 facets (33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion).
Just like the emerald-cut, diamonds that are given an oval look make an excellent option for a center stone, as it is going to look bigger and at the same time, it will be easily noticed. This is why most oval diamonds are nestled in solitaire settings. However, they look attractive in halo and three-stone settings as well.
When shopping for an oval diamond ring, consumers should pay attention to the bow-tie effect, which usually appears on elongated shapes. When cutting an oval diamond, the most important part of the process is to give it the right length to width ratio (between 1.33 and 1.70). Anything less or more than this length to width ratio will either make the stone more circular or longer (skinnier), which is absolutely not desired for oval diamond jewelry.
#3. ASSCHER ($3,154.00 per carat)
The reason why? Because its wide, open table makes it look very similar to the princess-cut diamond. The difference comes with the cropped corners that give it a noteworthy octagonal shape, which is especially eye-catching when the stone is mounted in a classic four-prong setting.
Other one-of-a-kind asscher characteristics are a high crown and large, step facets that produce high levels of brilliance. The sparkling effect of asscher-cut diamonds is often described as “hallway with reflective mirrors”.
The asscher look has been around since the 1920’s, which explains why these diamonds look especially awe-inspiring in Art Deco jewelry designs.
Cherished as the brightest step cut, asscher appears in a “classic” mode with 58 facets and “royal” mode with 74 facets. On the other hand, they make the diamond prone to displaying any existing inclusions or tints of color. Therefore, it is recommended to look for asscher-cut diamonds whose clarity grade is at least “VS2”.
A symmetrical asscher-cut diamond has a length to width ratio of 1.03, ideally. Throughout history, this diamond shape has been promoted by eminent characters (the royalty mostly), because the design itself manifests the notions of class and prestige.
#4. PRINCESS ($3,205.44 per carat)
It was developed in 1979, from where its journey as the second most popular diamond shape in the world started, right after the round brilliant.
Luckily, it is one of the least expensive diamond shapes too, meaning that it exhibits almost the same luster as the round brilliant, but at the fraction of the cost. For example, the same amount of rough diamond material that is used to make one round brilliant stone gives two princess-cut stones. Hence, the affordability of this diamond shape.
The princess diamond look is immensely desired for engagement rings, regardless of the setting or style. All four sides have the same length, but due to the pointed corners prone to chipping, princess diamonds are recommended to be mounted in either bezel or prong setting. This is how the optimal security of the stone will be achieved.
The common princess cut features 57 facets, but depending on the expectations from the diamond, this shape can include up to 76 facets. The jewelry practice is showing that rings which are centrally mounted with a princess diamond are the ideal adornment for women with long fingers. Stones with an “I” color grade or better will give the best value-for-money piece, while the “eye-clean” clarity starts from “SI2”.
#5. CUSHION ($3,280.00 per carat)
Also referred to as “pillow-like” and “candlelight”, the cushion cut promotes gorgeous, opulent stones that are grabbing the attention with their large facets outlined with soft, rounded edges.
Cushion-cut jewelry is always preferred by those who opt for a more distinct look that will also suit their classic taste and personality. Due to the fact that the cushion cut was developed almost two centuries ago, it is also known as the “old mine cut”. Over the years, the cushion diamond was modified several times to achieve its final look that stands for incredible brilliance.
How and why cushion finds its place in the listing of least expensive diamond shapes? It is all thanks to its facets, which are long enough to make stones with even the smallest carat sizes appear bulkier. Again, it is a question of optical phenomenon that does not affect the actual size of the stone.
Therefore, the affordability and versatility of cushion-cut diamonds. Surprisingly or not, cushion diamonds are said to emit greater amounts of fire than round brilliants, which have always been considered absolute winners in all categories.
The modern cushion cut features 58 facets that can be arranged in three different faceting styles. Each of them is needle-like and promotes the one-of-a-kind "crushed ice effect". The least expensive diamond shapes are gaining even more popularity for having the cushion cut as one of them. Why? Because this diamond look is as famous in bridal jewelry as in fashion jewelry.
#6. ROUND BRILLIANT ($3,477.60 per carat)
As mentioned earlier, the round brilliant is the most popular diamond shape in the world. Maybe it is not a leader in the world of least expensive diamond shapes, but it is definitely a leader in traditional jewelry. The best part of it is that the round-brilliant diamond can be adapted to any jewelry style, from most antique to most futuristic designs.
According to the statistics, 65% of engagement diamonds are sold under the label “round brilliant”. The other 35% is divided between all the other diamond shapes on the marketplace.
Experts say that round brilliant is the only cut developed with proportions that optimize the fire and brilliance of a diamond. It features 57 facets (*58 if the culet is included). The ideal length to width ratio is between 1.00 and 1.02. The man standing behind the round brilliant invention is Marcel Tolkowsky, an engineer and diamond cutter who introduced it to the industry in 1919.
Diamonds cut into this shape tend to cost 20% - 35% more than fancy-cut diamonds. They offer customers two wide-open possibilities:
1. To choose a less expensive stone with lower fire and brilliance.
2. To choose a more expensive stone with maximum fire and brilliance.
The final decision is nothing, but a matter of personal preference.
#7. RADIANT ($3,685.00 per carat)
This is one of the most catching and realistic slogans that make radiant popular in all jewelry categories, including the category of least expensive diamond shapes. There, it is placed in the seventh position. The trimmed, step-cut edges are the signature mark of the radiant look that has been around for more than 30 years. Although relatively new, it has managed to find its place on the list of least expensive diamond shapes. It is a huge success, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
What is interesting about the radiant cut is that it has one particular characteristic that no other cut has; it is the only square-shaped cut with facets arranged in a “round-brilliant” fashion on both the crown and pavilion.
This makes radiant-cut jewelry more vibrant, more sparkly and consequently, more appealing to the eye. Radiant-cut diamonds score almost no negative points, except for the fact that some manifest the bow-tie effect, which, as previously mentioned, is also typical for oval-cut diamonds. The common number of facets is 70 and they are ideally arranged in a length to width ratio of 1.00 – 1.50.
#8. MARQUISE ($3,874.00 per carat)
In fact, this is one of the common talks between first-time buyers of fancy diamond jewelry. But, this does not mean that it is not in-demand, because it is. And it is all thanks to the magnificent royal shape that promotes femininity and subtlety at their finest.
Marquise diamonds have the largest crown of any other diamond shape; in a combination with the long and narrow facets, the optical illusion of a massive rock is created.
The second hidden attribute is making the fingers longer and slimmer. This explains why the female jewelry audience seems is going crazy about the authentic marquise look. Other popular names for marquise are “navette”, “eye shape” and “boat shape”. As a matter of fact, these are some of the buzzwords in vintage jewelry.
The elliptical look of marquise is made of 58 facets, all ending in two pointed ends. Symmetry is the determining factor for the allure of the diamond, as well as the jewelry piece itself. In diamond cutting, the length to width ratio used to sculpt a mirror-like marquise diamond ranges between 1.75 and 2.15.
#9. PEAR ($4,033.00 per carat)
Actually, this cut has been melting the charts ever since 1458.
For more than five centuries, the teardrop cut has been creating some of the most compelling jewelry designs ever seen. During the past decades, it has become one of the least expensive diamond shapes as well. Pear-shaped diamonds combine the gracefulness of marquise and the brilliance of the round brilliant. They confirm their authenticity with one rounded and one pointed end.
When the 56 facets of the pear-shaped diamond are expertly polished, the light reflection within the stone is optimized. Therefore, the diamond appears outstandingly glistening and captivating. Pear-shaped diamonds look best in a prong setting, where their grandness is perfectly exposed and becomes the focal point of the entire piece.
There is no denial that pear makes it in the top 3 best-selling fancy cuts, which is largely supported by the fact that consumers know it as one of the least expensive diamond shapes on the market. The trends are showing that celebrities love wearing pear-shaped jewelry, especially on the red carpet.
#10. HEART ($4,880.00 per carat)
Solitaire designs perfectly display the heart-shaped beauty. This, on the other hand, imposes the importance of cutting the diamond with the right proportions in order to look impeccably symmetrical (the two halves of the heart have to be identical).
This is the 10th-ranked participant in the global competition of the least expensive diamond shapes. We would all agree that both its tenderness and romantic significance are making it being worth this position.
However, heart-shaped diamonds can’t be afforded by consumers with a limited budget. Generally, their price fetches almost $5,000 for a single carat weight.
This exclusive diamond shape features between 56 and 58 facets with an ideal length to width ratio of 1.10. Some heart-shaped designs are made with the so-called “French tips”, which are typical for marquise and pear-shaped diamonds.
The most expensive shape diamond traded in the diamond industry with the 4c’s being equal is the round brilliant, It is more expensive due the rough diamond loss through cutting. The round brilliant diamond can average between 14-22% more than any other shape. This data can be confirmed by using Rapaport as your price guide.
There are always market fluctuations due to desirability of shapes, right now the diamond shapes commanding the most attention are round brilliant, oval brilliant and cushion modified brilliant.