Have you decided to purchase a diamond ring? If so, you must be wondering where you should start. Anyone can buy diamonds from the market if they have enough money in their pocket. But to buy the best diamond on a fixed budget can be a bit challenging.
Diamonds can be very expensive, and you don’t want to spend an extravagant amount on a diamond that was not worth its value. Therefore, you should have some knowledge about diamonds before purchasing. Choosing the right size and the right diamond cut will help you buy the best diamond for your budget.
In this article, we will talk about how to buy the best diamond for money in detail.
Understanding the 4Cs
In order to buy a diamond, there are four essential characteristics that you must understand.
1. Carat weight
This is the size of the diamond you are buying. Each carat represents 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams in the metric system. A medium-sized diamond for an engagement ring is about 1 carat.
Do note that prices rise exponentially as the size goes up. A 4-carat diamond might cost you anywhere between $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the other three Cs, but a 1-carat diamond will only cost you between $1,000 to $10,000 (these are approximate numbers).
Related article: How Big Is a 4 Carat Diamond?
Color varies from completely white (D, E, F) to a high amount of yellow tint (Z). Typically you don’t need to buy a D to get a pure white diamond. The grades G, H, and I are almost completely white to the naked eye but will cost you a lot less.
Clarity is a lack of impurities or inclusions in your diamond. Clarity varies on a scale between IF (internally flawless) to I2 and I3 (where the inclusions are clearly visible to the naked eye).
Typically, to get the best value for your money, you should choose a diamond in the VS1 to VS2 range on clarity because these diamonds are clear to the naked eye without costing an arm and a leg like the IF or FL ones.
The cut represents the shape of the diamond, and there is a lot of money to save by understanding how the shape can make your diamond look bigger or smaller. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.
What Is the Best Diamond For Money: Cut
Some might think that diamonds are available only in round shapes. On the contrary, there are many shapes available in the market other than that. Some diamond shapes are used as the center stone in the ring, while others are used as accent stones.
For instance, heart-shaped diamonds are mostly used as center stones, while baguette-cut diamonds are most popularly used as accent stones. The shape determines the brilliance and sparkle of your diamond, as well as how big it looks on your finger when you wear it.
There are two main ways in which the shape of the diamond affects the final price.
A diamond in a rough state is just like two square pyramids with their base in contact with each other. But when it is cut for jewelry, a certain amount of carat weight of the diamond goes to waste. If a cut involves more wastage, the diamond is more likely to be more expensive. But if there is very little loss while cutting the rough diamond, its price is bound to be lower.
Diamond shapes in higher demand will be more expensive. For instance, round-cut brilliant diamonds are most popular among the various diamond shapes, and thus they tend to be pricier.
Seven Popular Diamond Shapes
1. Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds
The brilliant round cut is the most popular diamond cut due to its high brilliance and sparkle. Almost 60 percent of rough diamonds are wasted while cutting the rough diamond into a round shape. That’s why they are quite expensive compared to other shaped diamonds.
You can opt for H, I, or J color grades when choosing a round brilliant cut diamond. If you want your diamond to be set in white gold or platinum, we recommend not choosing a color grade lower than H.
But if you want the diamond to be set in yellow gold, choose either K, L, or M color grade because the round brilliant diamond will have a slight yellowish tint. Due to the yellow gold setting, this will not be visible.
You can choose VS2 or SI1 clarity grade when choosing a brilliant round diamond. A VS2 diamond will look clean on the naked eye like diamonds with higher clarity. Moreover, you can select a small carat weight if you have a limited budget.
2. Princess-Cut Diamonds
The princess cut is the second most popular cut. There is only 10 percent wastage of a rough diamond while making a princess cut. So, a princess cut diamond is cheaper than a round cut diamond.
The best thing about the princess cut is it appears bigger on your hand despite having a smaller carat weight. You can choose a color grade within the H to I to the range when choosing a princess cut diamond.
If you choose a yellow gold setting, select the J color grade. Try to choose VS2 or SI1 clarity grades for a princess-cut diamond ring so that inclusions will not be visible to the naked eye.
3. Cushion-Cut Diamonds
The cushion cut diamond looks like a cushion or pillow. It is a square with rounded edges and has excellent fire. Moreover, it is 25-40 percent cheaper than round-cut diamonds.
You can choose H color grade while choosing a cushion cut diamond, and you should never go lower than H color for platinum or white gold settings. You can select I or J color grade for yellow gold settings.
You can choose SI1 or SI2 clarity grades while choosing a cushion-cut diamond. Your diamond will appear clear to the naked eye.
4. Emerald-Cut Diamonds
Emerald-cut diamonds are loved by both old and new generations. It is the most affordable diamond shape among fancy diamonds.
Emerald-cut diamonds have some unique features like an elongated shape, hall of mirror effect, and linear facets that make them unique.
It is known as a step-cut diamond because the facets in the diamond look like steps. Moreover, the emerald-cut diamond will look bigger on your finger because it is not cut as deeply towards the inside.
Unfortunately, this diamond does not have much sparkle compared to round-cut diamonds. Even inclusions are easily visible in this cut. So, choose VS2 clarity grade if you are interested in purchasing an emerald cut diamond. Again, you should not go below H color grade while buying this diamond cut.
5. Oval-Cut Diamonds
The oval cut is quite expensive and looks almost like a brilliant round cut diamond. This cut has high brilliance and gives you an elegant look. It takes a lot of skill to obtain an oval cut from the rough diamond, and that reflects clearly in its price.
An oval-cut diamond can have a bowtie effect in which light will leak and not reflect. The brilliance of the diamond is affected by the bowtie effect.
An oval cut diamond shows more color than a princess cut or round brilliant diamond cut. So, you should never go lower than the H color grade while purchasing an oval cut. You can opt for SI1 or SI2 clarity so that impurities cannot be seen with the naked eye.
6. Asscher-Cut Diamonds
The Asscher cut is quite similar to an emerald cut diamond, but instead of a rectangle shape, Asscher cut diamonds are square with corners cropped. It is pretty popular because of its classy, modern look, and affordability.
The unique, clean lines and facets distinguish it from other diamond cuts. Again, it has no sharp edges that can snag or chip on things.
The best Asscher cut diamond for your money is one with VS2 clarity and above H color grade.
7. Marquise-Cut Diamonds
Marquise cut diamonds are old and rarely available in the market. Its shape is like a pear, but its two endpoints are pointed.
The marquise appears relatively larger on your finger because of its elongated shape. It is even more stylish compared to an oval diamond cut.
If you intend to purchase a marquise cut diamond, finding a perfectly proportionate marquise cut with 100 percent aligned facets may be challenging because most of the cuts have a bowtie on the front end.
You should choose at least an H color grade or higher when choosing a marquise cut diamond. If you select a yellow gold setting, you can opt for a marquise cut diamond of I or J color grade. You can opt to buy SI1 or SI2 clarity so that inclusions will not be visible to the naked eye.
8. Heart-Cut Diamonds
Heart cut diamonds are romantic, and people like to wear them on pendants. However, heart cut diamond rings are also available in the market, and some women prefer to wear them for their engagement.
A heart-cut diamond shape requires a lot of skill and effort, so these diamond cuts are a bit expensive compared to other diamond cuts.
You can purchase a heart-cut diamond lower than H color grade and SI1 clarity. But if you intend to buy a larger heart-shaped diamond, you can consider a higher color grade.
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Comparison of Price of Diamonds Based on Their Shape
Below is a table that shows a comparison of the prices of diamonds at a reputable online diamond retailer based on various diamond shapes. All the diamond cuts mentioned in the table have G color with VS2 clarity.
Related article: Does James Allen Use Real Diamonds?
Note: These prices are only for comparison, actual prices may vary.
|Shape||Price of 1-Carat Diamond, Color G, VS2 Grade|
Final Thoughts On Buying The Best Diamonds For Money
Every diamond cut has pros and cons. For instance, if you think of purchasing a round diamond, then it has high brilliance and sparkle, but it is likely to be more costly.
Some people want their diamonds to look bigger even at a lower price. For these individuals, an emerald diamond cut is a great choice. Understand that the best diamond cut for money purely depends on your taste and preferences.