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How the Shape Of a Diamond Affects Its Price

By Mike Fried,

More than color, clarity or any other factor, the shape of a diamond has a massive impact on its appearance. 

It also has a significant impact on its price. Although most people associate a higher price with a larger carat weight, the shape of diamond that you choose can also have a significant impact on how much it will cost.

For example, this 1 carat G color SI1 clarity excellent cut round brilliant diamond from Blue Nile costs $5,250. Meanwhile, this princess cut diamond also from Blue Nile, which is identical in color, clarity and carat weight, only costs $3,263. If everything else is equal, how is this possible?

1ct g SI1 round cut from blue nile
1ct G/SI1 Round Cut

The answer is simple: while these two diamonds have the same carat weight, the manufacturing process for each cut uses a different percentage of the original rough diamond.

We’ve explained this in more detail below, along with some additional information on the most expensive and least expensive diamond shapes. 

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Why Some Diamond Shapes Are More Expensive Than Others

For many consumers, seeing two differently shaped diamonds of equal diamond 4 Cs (cut quality, color, clarity and carat weight) simply doesn’t make sense. After all, isn’t a diamond a diamond, meaning the two stones should cost the same amount? 

Well, not quite. While a diamond is a diamond, a variety of factors can make certain diamond shapes more expensive than others. 

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The first of these is the amount of diamond that’s wasted during the cutting process. Each and every diamond you see online or in a jeweler’s display case began its life as a rough diamond, after which it was cut and polished into a specific shape. 

Each diamond shape requires a different cutting process. For example, the process required to cut a rough diamond into a round brilliant cut diamond is totally different from the process used to cut a rough diamond into an emerald cut diamond

1ct G SI1 asscher cut from james allen
1ct G/SI1 Asscher Cut

During the cutting process, a certain percentage of the rough diamond is removed in order to cut the diamond into its finished shape. This percentage can vary massively between shapes, with some wasting a much larger amount of the rough diamond than others. 

The larger the amount of the rough diamond that’s discarded during the cutting process, the higher the average cost per carat for the finished diamond. 

To maximize the amount of rough diamond that’s used during the cutting process, many diamond cutters opt for fancy shapes that use the rough diamond more efficiently. As the American Gem Society explains:

“Usually, the rough diamond crystal is shaped as an octahedron – a three-dimensional shape with eight faces, much like two pyramids stuck together at their base. When the diamond crystal isn’t the typical octahedron because of how it was formed in the earth or transported to the surface, diamonds are cut into fancy shapes to get maximum yield from the crystal.” American Gem Society (AGS)

For example, princess cut diamonds are typically very affordable. The reason for this is that a princess cut diamond uses, on average, about 80% of the rough diamond’s carat weight. This means that only about 20% of the rough diamond is disposed of during the cutting process.  

On the other hand, the average round brilliant diamond only uses about 40% of the total rough diamond’s carat weight. About 60% of the rough stone is lost in the cutting process, resulting in a higher price, on average, per carat. 

The cutting process isn’t the only factor that influences the relationship between diamond shape and pricing. Another factor is popularity.

The round brilliant cut is by far the most popular diamond shape. Round diamonds account for 75% of all diamond sales, as well as about 60% of engagement rings. Due to this high level of demand, there’s an incentive for jewelers and suppliers to pay a premium for this shape. 

Most expensive vs least expensive diamond shapes

What’s the Most Expensive Diamond Cut?

As you might expect after reading the information above, the round brilliant cut diamond is the most expensive diamond shape. This is due to the amount of rough diamond that’s discarded during the cutting process, as well as the consistently high level of global demand. 

As we covered in our guide to diamond shapes and pricing, round diamonds are as much as 65% more expensive than the least expensive diamond shapes. 

While their high price can make them seem like a poor deal in comparison to other diamond shapes, round cut diamonds are highly sought after for several good reasons:

  • They’re beautiful. Round cut diamonds have 58 facets, allowing them to reflect an incredible amount of light and giving them a stunning appearance.
  • They’re extremely brilliant. When cut well, round diamonds reflect a huge amount of white light, giving them exceptional brilliance.
  • They have great fire. A well-cut round diamond disperses an incredible amount of fire, or colored light, giving it a unique beauty.
  • They’re versatile. Round brilliant diamonds have an incredible versatile appearance, allowing them to look great in all styles of engagement ring setting, as well as in other diamond jewelry.
  • They’re timeless. While some other diamond shapes go in and out of style, the round brilliant cut has a timeless appearance that will always look great.

What’s the Cheapest Diamond Shape?

In general, the cheapest diamond shapes are those that use the largest amount of the original rough diamond. These include the Asscher, radiant, emerald, princess and cushion cuts:

Each diamond shape is different, making it important to be aware of what to look for before you buy anything. Our diamond shapes guide lists all 12 of the most popular diamond shapes, with specific pointers and buying tips to help you get the best deal on your preferred diamond. 


A variety of factors all affect the price you’ll pay for different diamond shapes, from the amount of rough diamond that’s discarded during the cutting process to the level of global demand for each specific shape. 

Most of the time, round brilliant cut diamonds will be the most expensive, while shapes like the Asscher, radiant, emerald, princess and cushion cuts are more affordable and may offer better value for money. 

If you need expert help finding the right diamond, contact us. Our experts can help you find the largest, highest quality diamond to suit your tastes, preferences and budget. 

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Save 25% on settings at Blue Nile!

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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